I guess some things just aren't meant to be


Well-Known Member
First the good (great) news: My son is 60+ days clean and looking and sounding happier and healthier than I have seen him in a long time. You have no idea how proud and happy I am for him.

But the bad news: Something in our "relationship DNA" is defective and I don't think it can ever be fixed. He continues to be arrogant and condescending towards me. He is quick to correct my choice of words regardless how nitpicky and insignificant the "mistake" is (when I was talking about an apartment we used to live in he "corrected" me and said we didn't live in an apartment, we lived in a duplex. To me an apartment is an apartment whether in a duplex or large complex. And who cares what word I call it?) This was within 10 or 15 minutes after he got here yesterday. He continues to be inconsiderate of my feelings, needs, or wants, even in my home. We went somewhere with his friend who drives a 2-door convertible and I had to sit in the back seat (which is difficult for me to get in and out of with my lymphedema and problems that are developing in one of my hips) saying he was too tall to sit in the back. I think he could have endured a 5 minute car ride, if it had been a long road trip that would have been different. And to top it off, the car's speakers are in the back and he put music (or what he calls music) on so loud it was hurting my ears and got offended when I asked him to turn it down. And even here at my home he was watching Youtube videos on my TV and acted offended when I asked him to turn down the volume. Etc etc etc.

I love him very very much and I know he loves me but I also know that for whatever reason he doesn't see me worthy of basic courtesy and respect. At one point today I could tell he was tired and offered to buy him a Red Bull. He asked if I would get him something from Starbucks instead, and said he would get a discount because he works at a Starbucks in St. Augustine. Sure, no problem. So I gave him the money and when we went through the drive through he gave the guy at the window his employee ID or something and the guy gave him the coffee for free! First, he didn't even say thank you, and then he put the money I gave him in his pocket. $4 I think it was, and really not a big deal...he won't get his first paycheck until Tuesday, and if he had asked if he could just keep the $4 I would have said yes without a second thought. I didn't say anything to him but it bothered me that he was presumptuous enough to pocket the money without even asking if I wanted it back or not.

I don't see this ever changing, and the next time he calls asking if he can come home for an overnight (he gets one a week now that he's completed the first 30 days at the recovery home) I won't be so quick to say yes.

Also, I know this will sound dramatic on my part, but you hear stories all the time of adult children neglecting, taking advantage of, and outright abusing their elderly parents. The way my son behaves around me now makes me think that if I ever had to live with him as an elderly and/or disabled woman, I might find myself in one of those situations. Dramatic or not, it's got me worried and I'm trying to figure out a way to protect myself from that eventuality but I have yet to come up with a solution.

Anyway thanks for letting me vent. I'm ready to put more distance between us, because obviously the issues between us go far deeper than drug addiction, although certainly his addiction has exascerbated things. Would love to hear from other parents whose adult children treat them like they're insignificant beings...and is it more common among children who were raised by a single parent, particularly a mother?


Roll With It
I am glad he is 60 days clean. That doesn't solve all of anyone's problems. I have to say, it sounds like it is time to put some distance between you.

When he was younger, did you stand up for yourself when he treated you badly? All kids treat their parents badly at some point. It is how they learn what is and is not acceptable. It sounds like it has never occurred to him that you are an actual person with your own wants, needs, likes, dislikes and aches and pains. You need to learn to set some boundaries with him or he won't ever change how he treats you.

I am NOT accusing you of anything. Not bad parenting, nor anything else. I know it might sound like it, but that isn't my intent. I am having trouble choosing the right words tonight because of a migraine. So if it sounds like I am blaming you for his attitude and behavior, I am terribly sorry as that is FAR from what I mean.

I am saying that if he has been so obnoxious about things in the past that you and others have opted to not speak up and demand better treatment, it is understandable. Esp with soemone with a drug problem as they can be dangerously unstable.

Setting boundaries isn't easy, and enforcing them is also hard. But if you can do it calmly and clearly, and not back down no matter what, even the most difficult person CAN learn to abide by them. There is a book called Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend that is absolutely wonderful for help with this.

You might start with something like telling him "No" when he calls to come home next time. Even if it is not a big deal in your schedule, telling him that you are too busy and he cannot come might be a way to start. He WILL get angry because he has already planned what he will do and what you will give him or pay for on is behalf. He won't like being thwarted. When he gets ugly, hang up. You might even start when he is at the facility by speaking with the therapist or house mother or whatever. Let it be known that in the future, if he gets abusive or unpleasant on the phone, you will hang up and you will not speak to him for 24 hours. If he keeps calling even though you are not answering, every call will increase it a set amount of time. If he is planning to visit your home, he must ASK and he must be a polite guest while he is there. No more making you crawl into the back of a convertible, or keeping the change when he uses your money to pay for something, esp if he gets it free! If he does this to you, he won't be able to visit.

He is going to call you names and tell you that you are a bad mother. He will tell you that you don't love him, and that you are trying to drive him back to using. This is manipulation and you need to hang up when it starts. If he is in your house and acts this way, tell him to leave. If he won't, call the cops. I am serious. If he doesn't treat everyone this way, then he knows better. if he treats everyone this way, it is time to teach him that people won't tolerate this. I am betting he only treats you this way. He knows how much you love him and he has learned that you won't set any boundaries.

I have a super tough time with setting boundaries. It can make my heart race, esp if the other person gets angry. But the more I ahve done it,t he better at it I get. And the less it bothers me to not put up with bad behavior from others.

I don't know if you have ever gone to al-anon. It can be a BIG help with this. No matter what your son was addicted to, Al-Anon is a way to learn to interact with him in a much healthier way. And to treat yourself better also. It really was a big help for me.

Oh, as far as him correcting you constantly, I would simply stop speaking at that point. I might tell him that I am an adult and will use any word I DAM well please, and he will keep himself from correcting me or he could walk back to the treatment facility he lives in. If I thought I could do it calmly. My brother did this to my mother for quite a while. He also would talk louder and louder until he thought she finally agreed with him. Even telling him it was disrespectful and to stop it didn't get through. Then she started to get up and walk away from wherever he was every single time he either corrected some little thing that wasn't a mistake or he started to repeat himself louder and louder if she didn't agree with him. I laughed at him SO HARD the night he called to tell me that I needed to help him commit our mother because she would just walk away in the middle of the conversation when they were talking. It was the funniest thing I ever heard of - and I am not lacking in comedy in my life!

I told him that she was walking away because he was either correcting her on something that wasn't incorrect, or he was doing the repeating thing. He assured me it just couldn't be that, it HAD to be Alzheimers. This was over a decade ago, and while he backslides now and then, he hasn't tried to even bring up committing our parents since. He knows better.

Setting boundaries when they have been so eroded is not easy. Just remember that if you EVER give in, it will be three times as hard to keep a boundary the next time. And that it is for his own good, because it really is. Parenting is NEVER easy, no matter how old your kids are!


Well-Known Member
My older adopted DGD corrects me all the time. Luckily, we don't spend much time together, even though technically she is living here. In the last 9 days she has stopped by twice, once for 5 minutes to grab clothes, and one long enough to shower and grab clothes.

I remember when she was in first or second grade. When I picked her up after school, the teacher was exasperated. She told me that J had been running around her desk off and on all day, J flatly denied it. I tried to explain that her teacher wouldn't lie. She still denied running around her desk. Then I asked, "we're you walking around your desk?" Nope. Were you jumping around your desk? Nope. Were you skipping around your desk? Nope. Were you dancing around your desk? Yep!

Jump ahead 15 years. Same bs. I might say... It's been a week and you haven't applied for one job. "It's not been a week, it's only been five days! Sigh.

And when I ask her to stop... Or I tell her I'm done and I'm leaving now... Then I get, "you are rude!" Or, you never listen to me! Yes, I listened, you said: xyz. And the answer is still no. "But, you won't let me explain xyz". you already have...and it's still a no. Endless circle. I know her brain gets fixated and she has a hard time moving on.

I feel your pain. Also correcting me on mispronouncing a word. Last week I asked about her friend "Mike". Immediately, "I don't have a friend named Mike. I have a friend named Michael!"

I have a tough time wanting to spend time with her, but she needs a mothers guidance...and I'm all she's got. Ksm


Active Member
My daughter and I used to have an extremely volatile and unpleasant relationship. Part of it was due to her substance abuse issues and untreated mental health problems as well as her general immaturity. Part of it was due to my own behavior. Instead of setting and maintaining boundaries I let her rudeness get to me and would fire back at her. Several years ago I was at my wit's end and set and enforced boundaries for her. Part of those boundaries are her treatment of me. Whenever she was rude or disrespectful I started telling her in a matter of fact manner what I didn't like and then removed myself from the conversation. In the beginning she ramped up her bad behaviors. She would call my phones repeatedly, leaving screaming, insane messages. But I kept with it. I would just turn off my phones. I could walk away from her because I live about 30 minutes away and I knew she wouldn't drive that far. It took awhile for her to get it, but she figured it out. She does it rarely now, but when she does I just hang up the phone or walk away from her. She no longer calls me over and over. She just lets it go for a few hours or a day or two until we talk again and are both in a better frame of mind. People will treat you however you teach them to treat you. It will be a struggle for a bit, but if you set boundaries with your son he will get it.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

You've gotten great advice I think. It's so very hard but people treat us the way we LET them treat us I guess.

We'd hope our loved ones would treat us better than anyone else but that is not always the case.

My son fell asleep on the couch yesterday and when we were going to bed I woke him up - being a nice mother I felt he'd be more comfortable in his own bed. He was rude. I told him about it today and he apologized but I told him that from now on I will let him sleep on the couch and be uncomfortable.

PS if he were not kind to us and working full time and doing good he would NOT be allowed to be in our home. I look forward to the day when he can be on his own!!