I am the mother of an only child-a 23 year old son who lives less than a mile from my house. I am at a loss to express my disappointment with his behavior. He is a man full of incredible rage, particularly aimed at me and his father. If we dare to deny him anything-and I mean anything-his reaction is beyond belief. We have only recently dared to say 'no' and feel ashamed it's taken so very long to express ourselves. To say I am disgusted is an understatement.
This used to depress me to no end, however now all I feel is anger, then numbness. I wonder how I 'went wrong' when raising the boy. This may sound cheesy, I know, but we raised him to be a kind, compassionate, and respectful human being. He shows none of these qualities; instead, he seems to have gone to the 'dark side' in every sense of the word/s. And he seems to revel in his black inner world.
He has alienated virtually all of his former friends and does not seem to care. Yet he does not seem to be aware of it. He throws 'parties' and no one ever shows up.
Though he has never raised a hand to us, I am terrified of this person-he does not listen to anyone but himself. His view of this world is incomprehensibly hopeless, finding minorities and those who disagree with his world-views ignorant and worthy of death. Sometimes I think he is actually severely depressed, but will not seek out counseling.
How on earth did I raise such a person? Nature? Nurture? In other words, was he born this way? Was I unknowingly instilling such negativity?
Sorry to be such a downer, hubbers, but I am desperate.
I am so sorry you're going through this. Your son is still young, so perhaps he'll mature some with age. I know people who have the same type of relationships with their grown children. I'm extremely fortunate that my 3 grown daughters and I have great relationships. I don't take that for granted, either. Honestly, I thank God every night for my family.
Your son's attitude isn't your fault! It's obvious that you care deeply for him and are concerned about him. All you can do is to keep loving him.
Sending you cyber hugs!
Oh habee, thanks for your reply! There is such shame in even admitting this situation, especially as a mother. I hope this whole thing is delayed adolescence. Ah, I have such sweet dreams of family-not perfect, certainly, but NORMAL!
You are so blessed, my friend, and thanks so much for the hugs.
Never take the blame on your own shoulders - your son is a man and MUST take responsibility for his own actions. We have a similar situation with one daughter and have recently said no to her (about a year ago) - it strained the relationship a little but took a lot of pressure and strain of us.
What you must realize is that an adults brain is not fully formed until 25 - so throught the teens, and on into the twenties there are a lot of emotional changes going on, and often the only emotion 'they' can feel is one of selfishness - this will change.
Think back to how you treated your parents (or at least what you thought of them) when you were twenty - I know I was very arrogant, perhaps a little crule and I was very selfish always wanting but never giving - I am not like that now!
Just hang in there but be firm - over time he will fend for himself, and hopefully one day he'll come back to you and thank you for what you are forcing him to do - he's being forced to grow up!!!
Was he happy as a child or angry?
You can see if you went wrong yourself..read this site and see if you followed these rules.
Your son seems to blame you for something either real or imagined.
I'm not saying you did anything.
http://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/ … ngry_child
I know he's a man, but he could still feel like a child. He may be using anger as a weapon
http://www.empoweringparents.com/Anger- … t-You.php#
Sounds to me like he could be on drugs - I mean serious drugs like crack cocaine or heroin.
They change personalities like you describe, cause black moods, and will certainly lose him his friends.
Your son sounds very much like I did in the years between about 15/16 until I was 31. I was an extremely angry and opinionated person. If I didn't like your views or your thoughts or even the way you looked at me, I'd burn the bridge of any friendship or other relationship. I never had a nice thought about anyone. Smiles were forced and fake. My face, literally, stayed in a permanent frown or scrowl.
My mother discovered that depression was rampant in my father's family, but no one ever talked about it. She then tried to talk with me, but I'd just become angry and tell her that was not MY problem.
After the birth of my third child, something just changed. I realized that I just didn't care if I died. I wasn't suicidal, but there was none of that typical worry of dying common among those with young children at home.
And that's when I sought help. I was diagnosed with depression and today, with the help of antidepressants, I'm a whole different person. And I am sickened when I see videos or pictures of me during that time.
My parents never gave up on me during this time, but they did let me know my behavior was not acceptable. They told me no frequently and wasn't afraid to stand their ground. As my mother tells me now, they never stopped loving me but they did not like me one iota then.
So I guess what I'm saying is love him but don't let him dictate to you what you will do or say, etc. Be firm, as being such is an act of love. Occasionally mention to him about seeking help, but don't force it. And hope that one day he realizes it himself.
I truly hope this helps.
Has your son been tested for a brain tumor? My husband's son developed this kind of behavior and his wife gave him an ultimatum. Go to the doctor and find out what is wrong or you have no family. He went to the doctor and discovered he had a brain tumor. With surgery he lived another five years with a much happier wife and family
I can relate to you plight, but maybe not with the anger issues. My daughter is 36. A mom of three wonderful kids. Married to a hard-working guy who doesn't abuse her or the kids. But at my age, 58, it would seem that when she moved out that she lost (or never had to begin with) the respect she had for me as her earthly father. I am disabled. I cannot work. My wife makes our living at her job. But during the day, my daughter seldom knocks but just comes into my home and takes whatever she needs--my meds, things from the cabinets and one day I heard her and walked into see what she would say and she just continued to pilfer like a common thief. I know that I didn't raise her to this. God help me to love her and be patient. I honestly feel that some times I am out of both.
Hi, Lorlie. Sorry to know you have this going on. Based on a few people I've known, you're far from alone. Then again, if you question was intended to ask if "everyone" goes through this with grown kids- no. Everyone doesn't. I don't think parents are always to blame for it, though - at all. This is a long post, and I have no idea whether any of it will be at all useful for you; but the situation you describe is a serious one (so even though I'm self-conscious about the length of my post here, I'm posting it anyway).
As Izzy mentioned, drug use (and sometimes even alcohol use, or non-use when a person needs it) can make for some pretty unpleasant behavior. Depression can be bad enough, too, that people's reasoning ability is affected. Kids can have "oppositional defiance disorder", but I've always thought kids show that earlier, rather than later.
Since he obviously doesn't seem to be in a cooperative mode, I wonder if it would help if you (and maybe your husband) saw a counselor by yourself and asked for some ideas on how you should/could handle the situation? I'm not at all suggesting that you're the one who "needs counseling" - only thinking it seems like you could use some kind of "support" or ideas when it comes to a situation that seems to be too much for you to deal with by yourself/yourselves.
As someone else said, he's still young. Young people can misinterpret why it is parents think/do/say some things. I think what happened with a couple of the people I've known was that the kid started to get a little "free with the mouth and the voice" at some point in the teen years, and from there things just got worse (maybe as the kid got more and more sure of himself, thought s/he was "a big cheese" because of being grown up, and got to the stage in life where they they thought they "knew everything" and their parents "knew so little" that further lost respect for them.
When one of my sons was seventeen, he and I were always arguing because he wanted to keep beer in his bedroom (), and I wasn't OK with that. We argued all the time (but it wasn't rage - just arguing). We'd always been close, so this was awful for both of us. We agreed to say away from the "hot button" issue(s) and just to talk about "neutral" stuff. It wasn't exactly "good communication" or "relating", but it gave us time to experience being together again and not arguing. It was my son's idea that we "just don't talk about this", but it helped; because as time when on things ironed out.
I've dealt with a person or two who "did rages" (not any of my kids, though). I know first-hand that the person who feels helpless in dealing with a person who does that isn't likely to get it ironed out without some kind of outside ideas or help.
The one thing I think is this: Maybe you could try telling your son that what's going on "between you" is unacceptable and destructive to both of you, and it isn't doing anything for your relationship ("and nobody wants to see important relationships damaged") Then, I wonder, if you and your husband let him know, "Look. If this is something you can control - then control it, whatever it takes. If it's not something you can control - then get help. Other than that, of you can't, or won't, do anything about what gets you so upset; please get in the habit of either leaving the house, or else not visiting, when you're feeling that bad."
If what I suggested seems "clueless" and like something suggested by someone who doesn't know how bad the situation is, then that would suggest you may be too intimidated by him/his behavior to be able to hope he'd even work with you that much. (Which would mean, at best, that you could use some professional ideas on dealing with your troubled relationship; and at worst, that you're always in an abusive (not physical) situation; and if you're not yet, you're at risk of it.
From what I've run into, people who feel free to rage aren't really as out-of-control as they want you to think they are. They can control it when they want to. Some of them start out being upset and doing a little bit of "venting", and I think they just kind of get into the habit of it. Then they get MORE into the habit of it - and when yelling is no longer enough then the walls start getting hit. From what I've seen, it can be that the person thinks the other person/people "just don't get" how bad the "rage-er" feels; so they kick it up a notch to try to "get through". Since they've "already had it", if anyone expects anything of them they get even worse; but they'll also get worse if the other person remains quiet or silent (because - I don't know - they want crying or yelling or something, maybe; so they can feel as if they " got through"???). BUT, yelling back at them makes them worse because then it's like "open season" on the fight they're in the mood for. Crying makes them worse because they detest what they perceive as "weakness" in the person they want something from.
In other words, there's no winning without help from someone outside. All there is is the high risk of the situation's getting worse before it gets better - if it's ever going to get better. People who do this (whether or not they intend to be abusive) usually need someone they respect to tell them the behavior isn't acceptable. They obviously don't respect the person/people they rage at, or in front of.
I don't know... I wonder, if nothing else, if you could just say to him, "Look. This isn't good, and our relationship is being damaged. I think, since it seems we anger you as much as we do, maybe you should stay away from the house for awhile. Maybe we can meet for coffee once a week for awhile, or something like that, and agree to talk only about things that don't upset you. If I didn't love you I wouldn't be trying to figure out how to improve things for you and us, so I'm not trying to distance myself from you - only trying to figure out a way that we can get along enough in order to go back to having a good relationship." Then, if he does the old, "I'm not getting into all this kind of foolishness. You're the one who........" (and blames you) - then I think that will highlight to you that you're in deeper than you realize and need someone outside to help you deal with it.
Right now, I don't even think whether you did something that "didn't sit well with him" as a younger kid is the point. All mothers do something or other that doesn't sit well with one kid or another for reason or another.
You said you're terrified of him. Feeling ashamed for not speaking up is part of how people in abusive situations feel. I think a lot of people don't speak up in the earlier stages because they understand that the other person is "stressed out" or "already has enough bothering him" and they "don't want to not be understanding" (especially when they want very much to be supportive "in good times and bad"). So what's right about the victim of abuse is often what actually leads to his/her taking the brunt of it - not what's wrong with that victim.
Lots of times, things don't seem all that out-of-control at first; and people who feel like capable, mature, understanding, adults just think they can deal with the problem by themselves. It's only after discovering they couldn't when people start to realize how bad the problem is. I'm guessing you've been thinking, "I'm the mother and the person who is older. It's my job to be able to deal with whatever problems he has, and try to be supportive and understanding of my own child."
Since he's alienated his friends I'd think you're not dealing with a "classic abuser". Hopeless is, no doubt, a sign of depression; but I think a couple of the other things you mentioned could be signs of something more than just depression. That's why I really think your best chance at getting some help might be to start with a counselor, yourself. You don't need him to cooperate for that; and, if nothing else, a counselor will probably point out to you all the factors that are between, and around, "being born that way" and "being turned that way by one's mother".
Stay strong, and I hope you don't try to deal with this alone.
lorelie, so sorry to hear your desperation. From what you have written, it sounds like he may be involved with drugs. Don't spend time blaming yourself and trying to answer impossible questions. I would do whatever I could to get him into counseling or therapy if he is experiencing depression or addiction problems.
I feel very fortunate with my 2 sons. They went through their hard times, losing their father at a young age, wandering, wondering and I knew they had to go through it, and it was very painful at times. As long as he knows you believe in him, there's hope in the long, dark tunnel. Best to you, lots of love to your family.
Right that is two of us at least that have suggested it could be drugs (thanks Rebekah and also Lisa).
It's the personality change, only drugs seems to do that to 20 odd year olds who have grown by the puberty stage.
He is living on his own? He's not living with you. Presumably he found an excuse to move out so that he could do what he liked within his own environment.
You're his Mom, go over there and offer to clean or something, so that you get the chance to look through his cupboards for evidence of drug paraphernalia. I assume he will deny using drugs of you ask him, so look for evidence.
I believe a hidden teaspoon tells a story, or cut down 2 litres plastic bottles.
I don't know what drugs are available in your neighborhood, or how they are used.
Please god don't find a syringe!
I just hope you find out what the problem is, and that it isn't drugs, but if it is, listen to what others have said and do what you can do.
I took my kids away from a city that is rife with drugs, and my ex took them back there.
My eldest is a user, that's why she won't talk to me because I tell it to her as I see it, and won't take her crap. But I can't do anything else...
I’m afraid I too am thinking drugs, and possibly other mental health issues. “Self medicating” with drugs and alcohol is very common for many psychiatric conditions. Unfortunately I’ve seen a lot of both in my family and extended family.
I’ve seen the kind of volatility, hostility, and anger you describe from “soft drugs” like alcohol and pot. In the case of my family member, it’s alcohol and pot mainly, with benzos periodically, and a borderline personality disorder. And unfortunately she’s changed very little since she was in her teens, and she’s close to 50 now. Her recent behavior reminded me of exactly how she acted when she was 17-23 years old. The phrase “walking on eggshells” comes to mind. That’s what it’s like to be around her. You constantly edit, so as not to “set her off”. She’s exasperating, but to an extent it’s not her fault. She has bad brain chemistry- a personality disorder and addiction.
What Simey referred to in regard to brain development is the pre-frontal cortex. I believe with a person like my family member, emotional growth can be stunted forever. She started smoking cigarettes when she was about 8, and pot when she was about 13. I think this stunted her emotional development. Her addictions are many. The more you try to confront her, or set boundaries, the more explosive and manipulative she becomes.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to do a search of his stuff. This could go wrong quickly, and turn dangerous. Taking a page from Dr. Drew, I would say to you: You can’t save him, you can’t fix him, and you can’t make him want to change. You can’t control your son. You can only control you, and how you react, and how you handle the stress. This is the basis of support groups like Al-Anon and Tough Love. These groups are usually peer-led, and they are free.
Damn! I just lost the text I wrote here in this reply-and it was LONG! Computers! Anyhow, I want to thank you all for your amazing insights. I'm going to work on your suggestions and ideas. Drugs? I do know he smokes weed, in fact that's the only time he is friendly and apparently 'happy.' I don't think he uses anything else, even liquor.
He lives with a fawning fiancee and my 18 month old grandson. The fiancee thinks he can do no wrong, calls him 'my superman.' God. I worry about my grandson, Quinn, since psychological abuse/neglect can be just as horribly damaging as the other forms of abuse. I've seen no evidence of this, but am very concerned. Yes, his father and I need to convince my son to get some help-that will be a trick!
I have ruminated over his childhood and can come up with some ideas: I was a single parent for a while and my son and I moved VERY often. He rarely made friends due to this, and he developed into quite a loner. The one time he came 'out of his shell' was when he beat up a boy in middle school whom no one liked. He became the hero of the school...even the school cop told me the other boy had it coming. I digress-back to earlier years.
I remarried when the boy was 5, and his step-father was physically and psychologically abusive, as he was to me. I left him after I found out about my son's abuse-1 year later-but the damage to both of us had been done. Perhaps my distress worried him on top of his own.
I've never thought about a physical reason for his behavior-a tumor perhaps? Hmm. Or even a personality disorder, other than his apparent rage disorder. Help from professionals is something I've dreamed about-I believe it is the only way to resurrect this situation, this disaster. Getting it for hubby and I will be a cinch, but the boy? I've mentioned it to him and he doesn't 'believe in that bull.'
And mcrayne, 'walking on eggshells' has become a way of life around here.
Yep, yep. This reaffirms what I think about it being depression. Pot IS an antidepressant of sorts. I've long said if people were allowed to legally smoke pot, there would be a lot less anger and violence in the world. Synthetic serotonin replacements would do the same for him.
I said the very same thing about not believing in that. Better believe I've changed my tune. I cringe at the thought of ever being without and risking becoming "that person" again.
Do NOT blame yourself. Sure, life was hard in the beginning for him. You made some mistakes. But, my best guess, is this is a serotonin issue and he would have been angry anyway - about something. Life circumstances are an EXCUSE, the anger is a MENTAL DISORDER, but getting help is a CHOICE - and he has to make it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Right?
I do understand how you feel. I was a single unwed mother, absent father, a marriage to a cheating, emotionally abusive to my son man. I know how you just want to kick yourself over and over and how you can't stop thinking, "If only I had..."
DON'T! You CANNOT change the past, you can only move forward. Dwelling on it only brings you down. And when you're down, you're worthless to someone who is already there emotionally and mentally.
Stay strong. Quite blaming yourself. And remember, he's still very young. Chances are he eventually grow up and realize he needs help.
lorlie, my heart goes out to you. Along with the other posters, I understand your feelings, and I want to re-emphasize that you really must not assume any "fault" right now. During those difficult years, you did the best that you could; even if you think some issues could have been handled "better" (true of every single one of us parents), some things also could have been handled much, much, much worse.
These previous posts have offered some very valuable insights and suggestions. If/when you and your husband spend some time with a counselor, perhaps even a psychiatrist, the counselor should be able to make recommendations about how to proceed with your son and what options exist.
Would there be any value (during one of his least volatile episodes) in trying to appeal to his childhood history - asking him what he thinks about the importance of good parents and how wounding and painful it can be to be around someone abusive? - perhaps - like your son now - at the moment of abuse, the abuser doesn't realize the impact of their rage, or simply doesn't care about it. Is that what he truly wants for his son? If he could find a way to be the best parent he can be, would he be willing to try it? (I'm suggesting these as questions for him, not asking them of you.)
Lorlie I won,t try to second guess or give you advice, but as a friend my thought are with you and hope you can find the support and help to get through this
Thanks again for all your support, people!!! My son had an appointment with his doc this a.m. because he hasn't been sleeping well. Apparently the doctor took enough time with him to diagnose depression as well!!! Unbelievable! What doc these days takes enough time to really focus on the patient? I am absolutely thrilled.
He was prescribed Amitriptyline (Elavil) which helps with depression AND sleep. And my son is willing-yes, I said willing!-to take these meds. OMG, maybe things will change. Thanks to you hubbers and said doctor, I feel hopeful and incredibly grateful.
((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) to each and every one of you-I mean it.
THAT IS FANTASTIC! Please come back and let us know how it's going.
Did he go to the doctor on his own? Did he want sleeping pills?
I hope his doctor suggested counseling along with the meds. I would keep a close eye on him, lorelie and try to get him in counseling as well. I wish you and your son the best.
Fantastic, indeed! Hallelujah! Do keep everyone posted.
Many hugs to you!
That sounds encouraging. Hugs and the best of wishes back to you, lorlie.
I will indeed keep a close eye on him! Yes, he did go to the doc on his own, and admitted to me last night that he knows he's depressed, and I know his insomnia is pretty severe-worry, you know... Though I sent him to auto tech school, he can't find a job in his field and is presently a box-boy at the local mom and pop grocer. He can't really provide for his family on his wages. Hopefully he'll get out of this one-horse town (pop. 3,500) and go where there is some real opportunity.
The counseling is another matter, but I guess it's all about baby steps. I am hopeful but cautiously so-it's in his court.
Thanks for your words!
I sure hope things work out for him. I was talking last night with my youngest son, who is also in his early 20's. He said it sounds like he's just depressed and maybe feeling lost and unsure of how to move forward. lorlie, he's lucky to have a mom who loves him and is concerned about him. Maybe once he feels more balanced, he can start looking for jobs in his field in a bigger town. Perhaps he feels boxed in. Let us know how he's doing.
rebekahELLE-you've been so very helpful, I thank you! And your son, who seems right on target about the lost and unsure state my boy is in. I am certain he does feel boxed in, by finances, by family, and by his love of this childhood home-he is, I think, frightened of leaving Bishop and going to a 'big' city. But hopefully he'll screw up the courage I know is within and get to living with his potential success. It's scary, but he's capable, I'm sure of it.
Thanks once again and take care.
My grandfather was exceptionally disappointed with his children. It still makes me cry at the very thought. For many reasons but also including his personal feelings, I never had children of my own.
With my first marriage, I was blessed with a wonderful man whose son returned to him at age 18. The man is a miracle and his wife is even better. I could not dream of better human beings.
Remember, fear causes allot of horrible emotions. Youth has allot of fear that your words of wisdom and age will cause to diminish.
My second husband and what I feel is my soul mate has feared the total loss of his children. Five years later, I am happy to say they have all returned to him. Their relationship is stronger than ever. They are growing up AND growing closer to their Dad.
I met a man at a business conference who was estranged from his daughter. They "split" on September 14th. I pray daily for their reunion. I stressed to him the lack of wisdom his daughter has - I know I was her age once and I did not reach out to my Dad.
Life is a journey and we all grow at different rates. Love them for the child they continue to be and pray for their wisdom and a closer relationship. Children - reach out to your parents - they are more scared than you are!
I do not have any grown children- just a toddler and a baby on the way but I was so intrigued by the title of this forum topic, I had to check in. I know many adult children are sadly a disappointment to their parents and I'm always trying not to be one. We seem to feel this innate responsibility to make our parents proud. I am so sorry about your story. It sounds heartbreaking but I hope things get better soon and I see you are getting alot of wise advice in other posts here.
Ah, Journey *, thanks for such a thoughtful reply. You've probably figured out that I did try-as you are presently-to be the very best parent I knew how, despite the ups and downs that invariably come with the job. He was a wonderful child and the only thing that bothered me as a mom was that as a toddler, he never liked to be coddled; no kissing of boo-boos, and so forth. He was sort of 'stand-offish' for years. He's always been that way. Presently, too.
But I know he loves me, he's just not very demonstrative-which is probably normal for an adult kid toward his mother!
It is heartbreaking, but I think it all reflects how similar we are. We were just talking about this a few moments ago. I need to do some soul searching-so does he, certainly-to get to the heart of all this discord.
Thanx again for chiming in!
Love 'em, but don't always like 'em. Could have done a better job had I had more practice. Better luck next time. Essentially, they turned out pretty well.
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