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I'm not the mother he expected, and probaby won't be the grandmother he expcts either

(80 Posts)
mothercat Mon 09-Dec-19 21:29:39

New here and this is my first post after reading through several of the forums. Looking to commiserate.

Son and DIL are expecting first baby, our first grandchild.
Things are getting tense with our son. He's 33 y/o and increasingly over the years he has let me know that I am a disappointment as a mom. As he sees it he is always having to rein me in for something I have done that makes his life miserable. DH thinks it started when he wanted to get a personal loan to cover living expenses while he went to school so he didn't have to work and could concentrate on his studies. We (DH and I) said "no" because he would need us to cosign and we were not in a position to pay back the loan if he couldn't.
I think it goes back further to multiple other incidents where we would need to help him with money, travel, etc. and weren't in a position to do that or felt that he was making bad decisions.
It seems that no matter how I try to help, even when it's something he specifically asked for, it is not good enough. Now with the baby coming I have become so gun shy that I tend to not get involved for fear of once again being harshly criticized and that just reinforces his feelings of me being inappropriate.
Of all 4 of my children he was the golden child, had everything together, looks, ability, drive and I thought I was being supportive, but he doesn't see it that way and now I'm really afraid to say anything about anything. Trying not to comment on anything he and DIL do or say regarding pregnancy, birth, and baby, but that looks like disinterest and lack of support to him.
I feel like I can't win.

Smileless2012 Mon 09-Dec-19 21:41:51

What a shame that your natural excitement and enthusiasm as you look forward to your GC is being curtailed because your son constantly makes you feel nothing you do or say is good enough.

I'm sorry to say mothercat that you probably never will feel you can win, so try not too. Be yourself, enquire after your d.i.l. whenever you can, ask if there's anything they would like you to buy for the baby and ask if there's anything else they may need or want you to do. Don't push it, just ask and if they say there's nothing they need don't ask again; once is enough.

As for your son, well when he becomes a father he'll soon learn it's not that easy and he can only hope his child doesn't take after him, and as s/he grows up makes him feel as a father, the way he makes you feel as a mother.

Your first GC, it's exciting and wonderful news so try to look forward to it.

I wish you wellflowers.

Madgran77 Mon 09-Dec-19 21:47:03

Mothercat That sounds very difficult for you. Have you been able to sit down and really listen to your son whilst he tells you what he feels you did that wasn't good enough or why he has felt he has to rein you in? I know how hard this would be but it just might be a start|?

I think that Smileless suggestions re just ask re the baby is good; ask once and let them respond as they see fit

I really do sympathise, it is so hard, this "eggshell treading"

mothercat Mon 09-Dec-19 21:48:43

I was just looking at the thread about estrangement and the article you linked to. It is sad, but comforting to know I'm not alone.
I just got a followup FB message from him about the baby shower this weekend. It's like the earlier messages he sent upbraiding me never existed.
Thank you for the advice.

mothercat Mon 09-Dec-19 21:55:02

Madgran77, yes I've tried several times but each time it becomes a long list of how I behave and how he feels about it instead. It is very bruising to accept his words and not to defend myself, but offering a defense just looks like I am trying to rationalize my actions and discount his feelings so I avoid that and simply accept what he has to say.
In turn I have done things for him to show my support that I haven't done for the other kids. It makes little to no difference.

MissAdventure Mon 09-Dec-19 21:57:57

He sounds spoilt.
Is he?

GagaJo Mon 09-Dec-19 22:06:21

Mothercat, I know EXACTLY how you feel. You could be describing my daughter. She's spent years telling me how I am a bad mum and LISTING the ways. Now, I am FULLY aware I wasn't the worlds best mum. I was too young, had an alcoholic husband and just wasn't a natural at it. I made mistakes and screwed up. BUT, I was the parent that was always there.

I no longer take her comments lying down. IF she goes off on one (which she is apt to do), I'll remove myself from the situation (similar to you). Like you, ALL the support I've given her, in the past and present, is totally discounted. She's monumentally ungrateful.

However, now she has my beautiful, darling grandson. So to a certain extent, I have to keep her on side. We had a HUGE blow up fairly recently. I wasn't to blame but I apologised. And I'd do it again to be able to spend time with my grandson.

One day, my BDG will be older and won't want as much time with his granny, so I want to make the most of now. It's a tightrope.

Madgran77 Mon 09-Dec-19 22:10:46

Motgercat If you have listened then you have tried. I am so sorry you are in this position flowers

aggie Mon 09-Dec-19 22:10:55

one of my adult children started on me like that I am afraid I just glared at her and told her in loud and forecful tones to adjust her memory and ask her siblings to say their side of it , never heard another word , we are distant and cool now , she had always been difficult and I was fed up with being wrongsided

M0nica Mon 09-Dec-19 22:23:11

mothercat, you have my sympathy. I long ago realised that two people hearing the same words or experiencing the same event can interprete it entirely differently.

You describe him as the 'golden child' and when someone is clever and successful and academic and social success has come easily, it is often a real shock when reality eventually arrives and they suffer some set back. Since life has always been such a smooth ride they expect it as a right and when they do not get it, they look for someone to blame and as his parents, you are first in the firing line. Because you, quite rightly, refused to sign up to a financial obligation you could not afford, you were an easy target and now he automatically blames you when he doesn't get his own way all the time.

I am not sure there is much you can do about it. Just accept that is the way he is, try and step back and do not take his criticisms too personally.

Like others I thnk Smileless has given some very good advice

If you think you could get away with it, try a little banter. If he does something silly,nothing to do with you, like break a plate, immediately apologise for it, and if he says what is to do with you just comment, 'well a mother's place is usually in the wrong'

Only you know whether the above is a good idea or a very bad idea.

You have three other children, who are not as difficult as this child, just accept that that is what he is like, ignore his jibes and follow the very good advice

Hetty58 Mon 09-Dec-19 22:32:09

He sounds a bit like my eldest (of four) who has a great big chip on his shoulder about the lack of help he received growing up. The others don't feel that way. I think he compared himself to schoolmates who were showered with love and cash, cars and holidays etc.

I was coping alone (having been widowed) working hard and often exhausted. There was a warm, happy atmosphere here, good food, days out, nice clothes (even the 'right' trainers) but they didn't get extravagant gifts or many holidays. I couldn't afford them. The house was often full of their friends, though.

To me, having had a privileged yet rotten childhood myself, I thought I'd done well. They seemed happy, had fun, knew they were safe and loved. It seemed that they had everything they needed.

One day, he said he wished he'd been an only child. He makes snide little remarks about things not having been good enough. I've decided he just has a spiteful streak, so now if he makes a negative 'comment' I just reply 'I'm sorry I was such a terrible mother, but then you would say that, being you' - and laugh it off. I'm not upset by it any more!

pinkquartz Mon 09-Dec-19 22:34:36


I am sorry that he is like this with you . It sounds very hurtful. It is good you have other children.
How do you get on with his partner?
Can you build a bridge there so you can see your grandchild when it is born without having to negotiate with DS?

I think the first thing is to stop trying to please him. If you stand back for a while and just trust your own instincts of what feels right for you to do, then he may unconsciously change himself......You can't change anyone else but you can change yourself.
If you stop making all the running then he has to make some.

Stop feeling that you have done anything wrong. He is his own person.
I do hope things work out better.

GagaJo Mon 09-Dec-19 22:38:06

Exactly Hetty58. My daughter has unintentionally turned off my guilt switch by banging on so much about it. I used to feel bad. But there is only so much guilt I could feel.

Now, I just think, change the record.

Funny how being such a s**t Mum, I can now be such a good granny. Amazing that. Those skills must be magic granny skills.

M0nica Mon 09-Dec-19 22:40:23

Hetty I think you are very wise. My DD can be more than a little difficult at times and I have just accepted that that is the way she is and, if at times I get blamed for everything, my response is always that 'a mother's place is in the wrong' and I do not take her words too much to heart.

There really is nothing else you can do.

Hetty58 Mon 09-Dec-19 22:46:51

Isn't it strange how writing it down helps us think logically! It just popped into my head that he's a perfectionist - so, of course, nothing is ever good enough!

Evie64 Mon 09-Dec-19 22:47:25

My daughter and I fell out big time when she had my GD. She expected me to give up my career to have my GD so she could continue to work. Needless to say, we sorted things out and have been very close ever since, but it was a difficult time.

BradfordLass72 Tue 10-Dec-19 06:00:02

I feel like I can't win

And there you have it in a nutshell - and why can't you win? Because he is a chronic complainer and is manipulating you to make sure he has the upper hand. He refuses to see his own flaws and dissastisfactions, so has to put it all on your shoulders.
How convenient to blame his poor Mom for all the things he can't handle.

When we love someone dearly, we hate to admit this but it is often the 'entitled' golden child who turns out like this.
They think they can do no wrong.

It is very bruising to accept his words

So stop accepting his words and understand they are lies It's very clear that he has got you under his thumb because he can upset you and make you feel guilty. And he gets the power trip.

Like GagaJo Turn off that guilt switch and start seeing this selfish man for what he is: a shameless, unsympathetic wretch, manipulating a Mom who has loved him and done her very best.
It's NOT your failure -it's HIS.

He'll certainly use your need to see and love the baby, too good a chance to miss, isn't it, for a guy like that? So be aware and armour yourself against it.

If this was my son, I would stop him even talking about my supposed flaws in future and I wonder why your DH hasn't given him the hard word about how disrespectfully he treat you?

If you realise this is all a power trip to make your son feel good by making you feel bad, it'll help you strengthen mentally and be determined not to play this destructive game any longer.

Davidhs Tue 10-Dec-19 09:22:31

Why does your son think he needs help from you he sounds successful and able to cope, he’s a big boy let him get on with his life. I’m thinking that if he treats you that way, what is the relationship with his wife like, probably not the best.

For you, try to maintain a good relationship with DIL don’t comment on how she looks after the baby, if she asks then give a diplomatic reply.

NotANana Tue 10-Dec-19 10:14:09

I feel a little sorry for his other siblings. If he was indeed the "golden child" who could do no wrong, did you privilege him over the others in his youth? Did they receive the financial help and support that he wanted - or have they managed to separate themselves from your parenting and become grown up and "equal" to you?
He doesn't sound as though he has really ever "grown up" and learned how to stand on his own two feet.

None of this is your fault, but I think that you need to take a backward step and stop treating him as the golden one.

jaylucy Tue 10-Dec-19 10:19:20

"Golden child" in whose eyes?
Until you said that he was one of four, I was beginning to think that he was an only child!
Sorry, but I think that the problem is with him, not you. Just because most things came easily to him, he seems to have decided that everything therefore, including his mother must bow down and worship him! Can you imagine how it would have been if you had given him the money that he demanded every time he asked? Your life would have not been your own - he'd have gone through what savings you had by his continual demands , one after another.
The person he needs to "reign in" is himself, not you - how arrogant can he get?
You have done absolutely nothing wrong, your other 3 children must be testament to that and his continual manipulation must be stopped, here and now.
Keep up contact with the DiL - she may well be needing your support in the future. I also suggest that you ask your other children what they think of your parenting skills - you may well find that they are as tired of him as you obviously are.

ReadyMeals Tue 10-Dec-19 10:22:55

Mothercat, I think we must be sharing this son! Mine finally stopped seeing me altogether once I stopped the handouts in his 40s. Until that point he was just about putting up with me.

Nannan2 Tue 10-Dec-19 10:30:42

My youngest child blames everyone else when something goes wrong,not just me,but often it comes around to be my turn at being at fault,nothing is ever his own fault, ( losing homework/coursework/ not getting school/ college work in on time/ losing anything important like a busspass/ keys/ money/etc- or breaking one of his consoles or laptop/ phone etc- and yes, he is the spoilt one a bit,being the 'baby' of the family,at nearly 17- i just hope theres still enough time to change his ways before he becomes an adult,and im not on here years from now asking where i went wrong with him!This has been a wake up call for me.hmm

lovebeigecardigans1955 Tue 10-Dec-19 10:39:48

Ah, the 'golden child' - they always cause problems, don't they? My BIL was this and to honest I think it was a facade as he was a difficult moody character and still is.
Has he ever considered that he may not be the son you expected? It works both ways.

Graygirl Tue 10-Dec-19 10:49:32

Do you get along with dil , send messages to her not him. He wants to be the centre of attention take it away from him . My sister berated me at every turn when we were alone I started bringing her remarks up in front of others to be met with denial from her. Till the day someone overheard her and backed me up

Notthatoldyet9 Tue 10-Dec-19 10:54:28

Is he the son you expectef ?
I know my DD Often pisses me off and i her but we love each other ...but hey! I am her mother so hard luck
We are all individuals so why beat yourself up
Be you 😆

Bbbface Tue 10-Dec-19 11:13:47

Odd for a mother to describe one of her children as “the golden child”
What is your relationship like with your other children?

The fact is - when push came together shove you didn’t support him (he wasn’t asking for money, he was asking you to trust him that he would be able to pay back a loan so he could concentrate on studies, and you didn’t)

Bbbface Tue 10-Dec-19 11:15:15

So I am not at all surprised that his approach to you isn’t as you hoped. Because your approach to him wasn’t as he hoped.

Operalover Tue 10-Dec-19 11:15:48

Hi. Sometimes even though we do our best for our children it's never good enough for them. That is simply how they see it not how it actually is. My own son hasn't spoken to me for 9 years over very little , we had a difference of opinion on his lack of support for his 3 daughters. I would say to you just hang in there and let him know your door is always open and you are there. As for your grandchild let them know you would love to be involved and await their response. Good luck. X

Chinesecrested Tue 10-Dec-19 11:17:59

Hopefully your other children are nicer to you than he is. He just sounds like the golden child who was spoilt. He needs to grow up.

TrendyNannie6 Tue 10-Dec-19 11:25:18

I feel for you, but to be honest he sounds manipulative and spoilt you say no matter what you try to do it never seems good enough, I think he should start having a bit of respect for you, hoping things change when your grandchild comes along and he matures a bit,wishing you all the best and hope things work out for you all, think he needs to come of his high horse

freyja Tue 10-Dec-19 11:34:22

This says more about your son then you. I think you should try turning the tables and tell him that he is a disappointment to you after everything you have done for him. Tell him that you did your best and if that's not good enough we will just have to wait and see what sort of parent he will turn out to be. After all no one is taught on how to be a parent and as we all know it is the hardest thing in the world.

Your other children do not complain or criticised so you must of done something right. Don't beat yourself up about it, some people never grow up or are satisfied with their lot.

dragonfly46 Tue 10-Dec-19 11:37:03

My DD used to tell me when she was younger that she felt I never supported her enough. If she complained about other children at school for example, I would ask what she had done whereas other mothers were immediately on the phone to the child's mother concerned.
She now has told me that she thinks I was right to always look at the other's point of view.

Your DS obviously loves you otherwise he would not still be around. Just be yourself it is all you can be.

chris8888 Tue 10-Dec-19 11:49:43

I have one the same, my sister who married well and had her own business has been able to help her sons financially. I have not, one of my sons resents this. Makes me feel I should have been able to offer the same to him. Nothing I can do about how he feels I just point out that now he is an adult he has to manage with what he has, or work harder, re-train etc.

Catrin75 Tue 10-Dec-19 11:59:29

So sorry for you mothercat. Please don't take this as criticism but if you do what you always you'll get what you've always got or another way of looking at it is "A can't change B's behaviour but A can change THEIR behaviour towards B and that will change the dynamic, not always for the better but you really should stop letting him run you down as he does. No need for a big talk,just do something/saying different e.g. Is there any way I can please you (said in a harsh way not pleading) or "I don't want to hear any more of your criticism" - what do the other 3 make of him. Many people have mentioned theDIL - do you get on with her. Whatever happens the more you allow him to tread on you, the more he will do it.

schnackie Tue 10-Dec-19 11:59:49

Glad to hear you have the other three children. My mother was exactly like this to my grandparents. She was an only child and they bent over backwards helping/bailing her out with financial problems and she treated them like S**t in return. I will never forget the hurt on my grandmother's face time and again when she was told she was a rotten mother. Some people are just nasty. (However, in her defence she looked after my autistic brother all of his life and I just got on with my life...)

Cambia Tue 10-Dec-19 12:26:04

Join the club mothercat. Our younger son of forty finds us lacking too! He has always been challenging from very young and we have tried hard to support and encourage him. He is a lovely compassionate and thoughtful man but thinks far too much. Having now moved to Canada and a different culture he thinks we don’t express our feelings enough and we are typically British.
Whilst we try hard to accept how he feels, I often think that he needs to think how we feel. We can’t and wouldn’t change our characters to what he feels he requires from us as that would not be us then!
I do think growing up should be learning to accept that we are all different and letting everyone live and let live. It really is like walking on eggshells sometimes.

Much as you love them, they need to accept you as you accept them without judging. Unconditional love it is called.

blossom14 Tue 10-Dec-19 12:31:50

It is hard to deal with this type of behaviour. I am really not a perfect Mum but my elder daughter behaves in this way and I put up with it for over 30 years until I could take no more scornful asides ( always when we were alone together). The turning point came after learning how much she ran me down to other people. I think she finds it puzzling that I have withdrawn to such a state of minimum contact that we have a very fractured family situation now.
Next year she will be 60 and I have lost all hope that we can ever have a comfortable grown up relationship

HettyMaud Tue 10-Dec-19 12:40:31

Our children expect us to be perfect and we aren’t. I often pussyfoot around mine and then I ask myself why. In my experience people who do little for others are often the most respected. I do so much for mine but am often spoken to with disrespect and it hurts. At the end of the day we love our children more than they love us which is the way of things.

Rosina Tue 10-Dec-19 12:51:49

I am sorry you are in this situation - it sounds horrible. Have you tried the indifferent approach to his complaints? As 'HettyMaud' has put it so succinctly, we love our children and they know they can lash out and still have that love. A friend had a really hard time with her daughter, and tried the bright smile and the ''I'm off out with so and so for a coffee' (whether true or not) and vanished from the house, leaving daughter to boil in her own bile, and whenever she struck up my friend would remove herself with a valid reason for leaving , demonstrating total lack of concern. This baffled her DD and it really did work - DD actually said to friend one day - while I was wating for her in the hallway - 'Why are you playing me at my own game?' That was met with a smile and 'Rosina and I are off shopping nows-see you later'. I can't imagine what it cost her in frustration, but she wasn't listening to the complaints and therefore not getting ground down by them.

Loobyloo12 Tue 10-Dec-19 13:22:55

When I left home to be married at 19 I decided that our life was our own. My parents bless them took out a loan to pay for the wedding. My husband s parents offered to help out with the rent at first. I never looked to the parents after that for money nor did I berate them for shortcomings. Some of today's adult children imo are spoiled and entitled. When we are adults, I believe we are responsible for ourselves and if we are able, help anyone else who is genuinely struggling. Lecturing someone on their shortcomings is a form of abuse imo. If you want to stay close to new grandson, be loving, say little, take it on the chin.

mothercat Tue 10-Dec-19 13:24:36

@HettyMaud, the estrangement article mentioned that for parents their children are a primary attachment, but for children their parents are a secondary attachment. Thus the comment that we love them more than they seem to love us rings true.

JujuD Tue 10-Dec-19 13:34:23

Been there, seen that! Don't waste your time on him, one day he'll cut you loose because of altered memories! It'll hurt but, you'll be better off without him. Trust me, I know!

librarylady Tue 10-Dec-19 13:56:47

Does he also berate your husband for being 'bad father'? The OP says the decision not to fund him was a joint one, so did Dad get his share of nastiness? Or is Mum just easier to bully.....

Dillyduck Tue 10-Dec-19 14:10:35

It's time he grew up and took responsibility for his own things, and understood that this isn't a perfect world, but we can only do our best with the hand we are dealt with in life.
STOP accepting his blame and turn it back on him!

Hithere Tue 10-Dec-19 14:11:56

Can you elaborate on the "golden child" comment?

It would be very useful to also describe a situation where you also tried to help him (as he requested) and it was not good enough

grandtanteJE65 Tue 10-Dec-19 14:14:35

Reading your account, I felt you had made the right decision in not helping your son financially while he was studying. You said you couldn't afford to and unless you had helped your other children financially, I see no reason why you should have helped him.

As your grandchild grows up, it will undoubtedly dawn upon your son that bringing up children isn't easy. I trust when he does, he will be big enough to admit that their are two sides to the story of his upbringing too.

Sounds as if you are invited to the baby shower, so go, have a lovely time and ask your DIL when you can if she needs any help when the baby arrives, then take it from there.

She may not entirely believe her husband's tale of woe regarding you and his father, but she can't very well say so.

Try to build a good relationship with her and leave your son to come around in his own good time.

Witchypoo Tue 10-Dec-19 15:11:28

My daughter is estranged and i do not know if she has children. My son is so distant. Eggshells everywhere til i decided i had a life and wanted to live it. The chip on his shoulder is so large he doesnt let me see his 3 year old or 5 year old. I am just me on my own. Sad i know but i just couldnt keep eggshell living.

Daddima Tue 10-Dec-19 15:25:26

Did you look at the things you did when you thought you were being supportive and think that maybe he had a point? I’m also a wee bit puzzled about him having to ‘ rein you in’ because you made his life miserable, and you say you didn’t help him if you felt he was making bad decisions.
Could you maybe talk these things over calmly, and agree to change some things, or do you think that would make things worse?

mothercat Tue 10-Dec-19 15:46:51

Thank you for all the comments and anecdotes. This has been helpful. A few people have asked questions so let me take a minute to answer a couple of those.

@librarylady, DH made an interesting comment last night as we talked about this. He feels this is partly his fault for not telling DS "no" often enough. We made decisions jointly but DH always let me be the one to break the news.
I'm not sure I would call him distant when the kids were younger but I seemed to have a much better relationship with them as children and they have turned to their dad as they grew older.
@hithere as for the "golden child" comment. DS is the 3rd child of 4, 2nd son. His oldest brother has Aspberger's, his sister has weight issues related to a medical condition, and youngest child had a skeletal birth defect that required surgery but he is otherwise fine. DS was the good looking athletic one who taught himself how to do magic, sculpting, parkour, and play guitar. He was always the kid everyone wanted to hang with. I didn't treat him differently than the others. Anyone with more than one child knows that the kids are constantly on about fairness so that kept things pretty much in check if one asked for something that the others didn't also get or have.
A situation where we helped and it wasn't good enough? The most recent involved the upcoming baby shower. DIL's sister is hosting and we were invited but not asked to do anything else or if the date was convenient. (It isn't as I had committed to a craft show planned where I sell jams, scones, etc. and had to cancel. I'm self employed so it was a day of lost income.) He called asking for contact information for aunts, uncles, and cousins. I told him who could be contacted on FaceBook since the shower is an e-vite. I also told him who would need a paper invitation because they aren't on FaceBook and I would get him the addresses. I hear nothing from him, DIL or her sister for weeks and encourage husband to communicate to be sure he understands how to connect with those they want to invite. Still nothing. Then this week when I reached out to him again I get a screed about all the family and friends who are willing to help them out and he had expected that we would do more. It was quite harsh.
I didn't respond because I wasn't sure what to say and the next thing is a nice message thanking me for clearing up the invitation issue and asking are we planning anything fun for the evening, looking forward to visiting this weekend, etc.
I have thought several times that this seemed emotionally abusive, which seems an awful thing to say. Yet, I have enough training in abuse dynamics to understand why that is.
And, as for the comment that we didn't trust him to repay the loan? Well, we had cosigned for one loan for his first quarter and explained that it was all we could do. We had also helped him and the other kids with vehicle loans. He is the only one who has missed payments or has been consistently late so I think we had good reason to be wary.

sandelf Tue 10-Dec-19 16:01:01

Sad and difficult. Me too on the 'failed Mum' front. Just have to hope that a time comes when we all recognise that everyone fails in some way, BUT everyone is generally trying to do their best. Perfect is not for human beings smile.

ForeverAutumn Tue 10-Dec-19 16:07:07

I have a brother similar to this. I am the eldest of 3. He has made some very hurtful remarks to my mother and seems to have an alternative childhood that none of us recognise. My mother was very loving, supportive and protective but to hear him talk about his childhood you would think he was neglected and had to turn to other family members for attention. A complete fabrication. Recently he has admitted that 'perhaps' he has exagerated.

I hope your son grows up once he has a child of his own and realises how unfair he is.

Merryweather Tue 10-Dec-19 16:25:08

I have this problem in reverse!
Whatever I do whatever I achieve it's never good enough and somehow a slight on her. Eg divorce, having a baby with a new partner out of wedlock! Ooooh the scandal.
I achieved a first in two degrees, one medical - was that good enough. Nope.
Good career- good enough for her. Earning really good money which provided her with holidays etc. Nope, you guessed it. Not good enough.
Now I don't bother looking for her approval. There's no point. I could be the Queen and it still wouldn't be good enough for her.
With people like this you'll end up damaging your mental health wondering why constantly. Why am I not enough, what do I do? How can I get some acknowledgement or approval.
39 years in. My answer is don't even try.
You'll be happier if you stop.
Good luck xx

sandelf Tue 10-Dec-19 16:29:10

Oh dear, poor fellow. Did you have the mother you expected? What an idea - ones parents are themselves first. Offspring have to make the best of it. - Sorry to be a bit blunt but it just seems so odd that anyone should 'expect' their parent to be or do anything.

willa45 Tue 10-Dec-19 16:50:24

Our role as parents is to raise independent adults, able to fend for themselves in the real world with no support from others.
Your son seems to have a warped sense of entitlement typical of those who get what they want at any cost. Not unlike, a toddler who doesn't get his way and throws a tantrum. Your son needs to to grow up, especially now that he's going to be a father.

Going forward, let him know how much you love him, but don't allow him to make you feel guilty about saying NO. Ignore him when he reacts and remind him repeatedly, that he's now a husband, father and above all, a responsible adult. He needs to start behaving like one.

Do reach out to your DIL and maintain your good relationship with her in the event your son wants to use your grandchild as leverage. He's not going to change overnight, so you will need to be firm, patient and persistent. Whatever happens, do not allow him ever again to verbally 'lash' you into guilt ridden submission.

Summerlove Tue 10-Dec-19 16:55:04

I think you should try turning the tables and tell him that he is a disappointment to you after everything you have done for him. Tell him that you did your best and if that's not good enough we will just have to wait and see what sort of parent he will turn out to be.

Only do this if you want to burn all bridges.

Some of today's adult children imo are spoiled and entitled

I see this written on a lot of threads, even by parents complaining about their own children. The base thing though, is that these “children” werent raised in a bubble. Parents do bear some of the responsibility for this

Hm999 Tue 10-Dec-19 18:13:39

'So what sort of grandmother do you and X want me to be?'

Lynda152 Tue 10-Dec-19 18:21:02

I feel for you as I have had many negative, upsetting comments from an adult child. My advice to you would be to put the past to bed and start anew from the baby shower onwards. It will change I bet once the baby arrives and your son is a parent having to make decisions for his own child. Make sure you say often, and to both your son and DIL, that you are aware things have changed so they must tell you what you should and shouldn’t do etc for your grandchild or to best help them. This worked for me. When the new parents doubted themselves over what to do re babies feeding, sleep patterns, choice of equipment etc I have always said that as a parent you always make the decision you think is best for your child at the time. Over time this has opened certain people’s eyes!

Stella14 Tue 10-Dec-19 21:11:40

Join the club. I’m a disappointment too! I’m sorry you are going through this. Sometimes, we have to step back to maintain, or find, peace of mind.

Well said JuJuD. I have 3 adult children. My eldest who wasn’t spoilt. I had her aged 16. I was an unhappy single parent and had very little to give her. The other two were spoilt when they were young because their father I had the ability and funds to do so. My son cut me out of his life when I divorced his father - he was 28 and married. The youngest from the age of 13, now 37, continually made it clear that I irritate her. I was constantly criticised, repeatedly snapped at, and talked down to. My husband had pointed out to me many times that whenever I visited her, or for that matter she visited me (she lived abroad for a long time, in recent years at the other end if the country) I was depressed and stressy for weeks after. Eventually, I went into therapy to work on the issues and my feelings. My youngest behaved the same way in text messages as in person. I wanted my therapist to see the picture from both sides and then give me an opinion, so I showed her several text conversations. Together with my accounts of things, this led her to tell me that it seemed to her that I was in an abusive relationship with my youngest, with her being the abuser, and me the victim. She pointed out that in addition to my daughter’s constant criticism and undermining of me, I was displaying appeasing behaviours as victims of domestic abuse display. I had never considered this. I asked my husband and eldest daughter what they thought. They hadn’t considered it before either, but both said that, thinking about it they agreed with my therapist.

A little while later, I tried to talk to my youngest (again) about out relationship (didn’t mention the abuse theory). I told her how difficult I found it and said that I wasn’t prepared to continue on the same basis, that we had to go forward with mutual respect. Short story long, she became angry, nasty and I said I wasn’t prepared to have ongoing contact on that basis. The only times that she ever contacted me (for many years) was when she wanted something from me (she admitted that, like it was fine). I told her she would have to find another resource as her personal assistant and I walked away. That was 20 months ago. Recently, we have tentatively texted brief pleasant messages on birthdays etc, but nothing more. My mental health and peace of mind is much better for it. There was an occasion earlier this year when she asked for something from me. I told her that I would always do anything I could for her, but only if our relationship was to go forward on different terms. Cue another tantrum. So despite the occasional pleasant message. There is no movement on her part.

Saetana Tue 10-Dec-19 23:15:55

Seriously? I can just image how my mother, or my husband's mother would react to this - particular my MIL who brought her two boys up as a widow in poverty. Selfish springs to mind - do not indulge this type of behaviour - you will be making a rod for your back for the future. I have no idea what is going on with the younger self-entitled generation - and am so glad we decided never to have children.

eebeew Wed 11-Dec-19 04:35:57

Andrew was the Queens golden boy. She spoilt him and now he’s arrogant, entitled and rude.

eebeew Wed 11-Dec-19 04:38:58

I spoilt one of my three without realising it at the time. Now I have to be careful around her.

GrandmainOz Wed 11-Dec-19 05:34:34

My late Mum used to say "a mother's place is in the wrong".
I've often had that in the back of my mind with one of my AC over recent years.

knickas63 Wed 11-Dec-19 09:45:33

pone thing that may be helpful is to try an communicate more with DIL around plans etc rather than your DS? At least then she will know that you are offering help and being reasonable. Having her 'onside' will take a lot of pressure off of your son. it sounds like he has massive 'middle child' issues. My son has this in a much milder form. He is the only son and the middle child. His sisters have had a few problems, and like your son - he was the 'golden child'. Never any problems, good looking, sporty, popular and now has a very good job and is in a much better financial position than his sisters. We have had good conversations, and he feels that he was often 'forgotten' because the girls needed me an he didn't. I have been able to reassure him how much he is loved and how proud I am of him and things are better. Perhaps your son is carry this chip as well?

Madgran77 Wed 11-Dec-19 13:39:19

*"My late Mum used to say "a mother's place is in the wrong".
I've often had that in the back of my mind with one of my AC over recent years."*

Yup. Recognise that one!

Newatthis Wed 11-Dec-19 16:59:52

What was his expectations of you as a mother? I think your decision not to bail him out financially was a wise one. Children can be really disrespectful sometimes and I sometimes wonder that if we said to them what they say to us and treated them the way they treat us then they would have good reason to complain. Most parents try to do the best for our children. Perhaps when he has his own child he will realise that parenthood is a lot harder than just doling out money!

timetogo2016 Thu 12-Dec-19 11:35:12

He sounds selfish and ungrateful tbh.
Maybe your thread should have read my son isn`t the son he should be.

Kryptonite Thu 12-Dec-19 18:52:25

I have a similar story with my son, now the father of our most beloved GC. I could write pages. It breaks my heart and yes, I will put up with anything in order to see my GC. He has even mocked me in front of the in-laws and made fun of my hair post-cancer. It can feel like punishment. Sometimes he will say something nice, but this is soon balanced with something unpleasant. We come way down on the list of priorities behind in-laws and friends. We have done a great deal to help him and always supported him, including saving him from making a really bad life choice. I read somewhere that adult children can resent parents who help out especially financially, because it shows they couldn't do it for themselves and feel some kind of shame that they asked for help. I don't know. Now he has a very good job and plenty of money, home etc. On a positive note, I have become much closer to my d-i-l. She has become very kind and inclusive and seems to understand. Unfortunately, I have heard him speaking disrespectfully to her and I do not hold back in 'telling him off' for this. I don't understand where it has all come from. Some kind of insecurity? I feel afraid of him sometimes and find him hard to like. He was a beautiful, sensitive child, clever, capable, artistic. Occasionally he seems a little jealous of my affection for GC! I hope in time he will treat me with more respect. My husband is very upset indeed at the way I've been treated. I don't tell him everything because it will sour their relationship even more. sad

MissAdventure Thu 12-Dec-19 19:05:33

I couldn't and wouldn't put up with it.
How bloody rude and disrespectful. angry

Booksnbeer Fri 13-Dec-19 10:34:19

First, I will tell you that you will never “win” with this self involved child. He is determined to blame you for everything and I’ll bet he is enjoying making you feel miserable to give himself the power. Please don’t fall for it! Second, you’re a grown woman - why would you stay silent and be so worried about saying the wrong thing to your own son? Would you tolerate this bad behavior from a friend? Would you want to still be friends with that person?? This sounds harsh I know. But I’ll bet you were a good mom and did your best like we all do. Punishing parents for their beliefs is childish and cruel. I’ve been there with a daughter....listened to her abuse, wouldn’t let me see my granddaughter etc. Called me a liar when I wasn’t able to go to the high school graduation because I was too ill from cancer treatments. I finally told her that I wasn’t going to tolerate this bad behavior anymore and that she knew where to find me when she wanted to apologize. I haven’t heard from her or my granddaughter in over a year. They moved two months ago according to family members - we don’t know where. What does your DIL have to say about all this? And what about your husband? Does your son blame him too? Does your husband stand up for you? This situation is happening all over the world. These “children” feel entitled to do and say as they please regardless of the truth.

I’m very sorry for such a long response! But I feel bad when I hear another parent being unduly harassed by their child. Enjoy your other children and let him go about his business without you as his punching bag. He will either change his tune or completely snub you....hard for you with that newborn I know. My daughter walked away and now it’s actually a relief to not be mucking about in her drama all the time. She is 45 and doesn’t have any friends - very telling, eh? I send you my very best wishes for happiness, peace and love in your life 🕊💕

Bbbface Fri 13-Dec-19 11:32:02

* I think you should try turning the tables and tell him that he is a disappointment to you after everything you have done for him. Tell him that you did your best and if that's not good enough we will just have to wait and see what sort of parent he will turn out to be.*

Possibly the worse advice I have ever read

Starlady Sat 14-Dec-19 23:20:21

So sorry to hear of so many AC who are full of gripes about their parents! My DD has had her issues w/ me but not to this extent. I guess this is another reason I should consider myself lucky. Hugs to all of you dealing w/ this problem!

A lot of these issues seem like cases of "mismatched expectations." IMO, a lot of these AC have a different idea of what mums/parents are supposed to do/not do than their mums/parents have. In some cases, they may need to be told that you (general parent) expect them to respect your life choices (career, degrees, etc.) the same way they expect you to respect theirs.

Mothercat, I agree w/ PPs (previous posters) that you should stop trying to "win" w/ this DS (dear son). Just be who you are and let the chips fall where they may. Well, except that I agree w/ your decision not to offer advice about the baby, etc. DS and DIL are adults, and now parents. Let them do things their way, even if you disagree. You can have your own opinions in your mind, of course, but unsolicited advice will likely be seen as "interfering." You can show "interest" in what they're doing ("How does that work?"... "How are you decorating the nursery?" etc.) w/o criticizing or offering advice.

As for not saying yes to certain financial requests, I don't blame you. Did you explain to DS at the time that you simply couldn't afford it? If not, if the topic comes up again, can you point that out now? No need for elaborate explanations, just "We couldn't afford it" or the like would be enough, IMO. I think that about the other AC mentioned here who seem to be dissatisfied w/ what their parents provided, etc.

But yes, perhaps the blame fell on you b/c DH stood in the background, letting you relay the decision. Maybe DS thought these were your choices alone? Perhaps DH should step up now, at some point, and make sure DS knows these were joint decisions, if the topic comes up, that is.

I must admit, I'm a little confused. You and DH seem to think DS' attitude is related to lack of financial efforts, but DS says he has had to "reign (you) in." That sounds as if you said or did things he thought were out of line or whatever. (NOT saying you did, just that he might think so). What kind of things did he believe he had to "reign in?"

IMO, sometimes, DS may just be expressing his tensions, etc. That would explain, for example, why he recently sounded off to you about the family not helping - and then turned around and thanked you for your help. He was probably feeling pressured, etc., the first time, and might have been talking about other family members (maybe even DIL's family), not you. The second time, clearly, he was calmer and focusing solely on what you had so kindly done for them.

Excellent suggestions from Smileless, IMO!

And, of course, congratulations to all and many joys!

Starlady Sat 14-Dec-19 23:49:43

Nannan2, I feel for you, but, IMO, trying to blame others for one's own mistakes is very common among teenagers. Maybe your other kids didn't do that, but your 17-yr-old is not alone, believe me. How do you handle this w/ him? Is there a way you can (gently) remind him that these things are his responsibility, etc? And perhaps help him figure out ways to prevent the same errors from recurring? B/c I think there is still time for him to learn that he has to own his personal mistakes and learn from them.

Dragonfly, I had the same issue w/ my mum when I was growing up. I came to believe she did it b/c she didn't feel she could do anything about the other kid, she could only advise/correct/teach me. I get it - and I get the idea of learning to see the other person's POV. But I still don't see how the other kid could always be "right," so to speak, and I could always be "wrong." And I would have appreciated more support in those situations (she was very supportive in other ways). So, IMO, you are very lucky that DD has come to see this your way.

Merryweather, you said, "Why am I not enough, what do I do? How can I get some acknowledgement or approval."

Sigh... sometimes, IMO, we have to give ourselves our own approval and that has to be enough. Good for you that you've learned to stop even trying to get it from her. (BTW, I think your degree and career sound wonderful!)

Kryptonite, you said, "He has even mocked me in front of the in-laws and made fun of my hair post-cancer. It can feel like punishment."

And, IMO, it sounds like verbal abuse. Have you tried saying something like, "How rude!" during those moments? It's one thing not to criticize how our AC raise their kids or live their lives, etc., quite another to accept verbal attacks.

"On a positive note, I have become much closer to my d-i-l. She has become very kind and inclusive and seems to understand. Unfortunately, I have heard him speaking disrespectfully to her and I do not hold back in 'telling him off' for this."

I'm glad you have such a good relationship w/ DIL, Kryptonite, and kudos to you for standing up for her! I just think you also need to do the same for yourself when DS is rude to you. Or maybe DH can/should speak up for you. Clearly, it hasn't ruined your relationship w/ DS to call him out on his disrespectful behavior, so it can be done.

mothercat Sun 15-Dec-19 00:20:03

So today was the baby shower. DS & DIL arrived yesterday evening. Things seemed tense but friendly enough.

At the end of the shower today DS pulled husband and I aside. He said that he didn't want to be angry with us anymore and forgave me. He was very emotional and trying hard not to cry, but what does one do when they are forgiven but have no idea for what?

What eventually came out is that he felt abandoned, not listened to, not heard starting at 15 y/o because I was finishing midwifery school and trying to start a business. He realized that he was having troubles with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder and felt that I wasn't hearing him and he wasn't getting the help he thought he needed when he most needed the support. This is a pattern that is repeating with his professors in grad school.

He felt that now was the time he needed to talk about this in relation to me because he is trying to be proactive in protecting the baby. He doesn't want the baby/toddler/child have a date with grandma and then I cancel or disappear at the last moment. He wanted to be sure that if that was going to happen there would be fewer or very select visits to avoid the baby having hurt feelings and being disappointed.

I didn't point out that I have no history of doing such things as I don't have any other grandchildren but since this speaks to his own feelings of abandonment I thought it was important to simply accept his feelings.

In fairness when he was growing up I was finishing midwifery school, joined an unbeknown to me troubled practice, then left to start my own birth center/home birth practice. When you are the solo practitioner you are on call all the time and family events will be missed. We had multiple family meetings before I applied to midwifery school, before clinicals, before I joined the practice, and before I opened my practice trying to explain how hard this would be for everyone, but something I really felt I was called to do. DS doesn't blame the husband because "he was working all the time." I didn't ask what he thought I was doing as I didn't think that would help the conversation.

In the end he got to speak his peace, I acknowledged his feelings and how hurt he felt and didn't offer any defense for my actions. I need to process all this and now I just hope he doesn't think my need to do that is indifference or "shutting down" as he said I usually do when he tries to talk with me.

pinkquartz Sun 15-Dec-19 00:41:40

I think that sounds really positive.
He has said what he felt and the grudge he has hung onto and you did right not to defend yourself,

I do remember when my DD was young and I was busy working and in full-time study that I thought i was being a positive role model but that its not how she saw it.

We do our best but kids see it so differently. It can't be helped.
I often feel mum is always in the wrong though i have had positive feedback from DD as well.

I hope you have a lovely time with your new DGC

ReadyMeals Sun 15-Dec-19 10:27:50

The problem is that with all today's emphasis on parenting and counselling, young adults get the impression their lives must have been ruined by a parent not doing totally what the child felt they needed at any particular time they can remember. Obviously if you think your life is only a shadow of what it could have been if your parents were perfect, then it's quite understandable you're going to be angry. In fact I believe that if we'd all had exactly what we felt we needed all through our development, we'd all be either too complacent to do anything for ourselves, or complete overindulged psychopaths. A sense of proportion is needed, and an acceptance that even parents are human and have needs and interests of their own.

Starlady Sun 15-Dec-19 20:24:39

I'm another one who thinks it's a good thing that DS told you what's been bothering him, mothercat. And it's good to know it wasn't about money either. I'm sorry that he felt abandoned when you went back to school/work, but I know that wasn't your intention and, IMO, it's good that it's out in the open.

Kudos to you for not trying to defend yourself! I know that must be hard. But it would only have led to arguing, etc. The important thing is that now he felt "heard."

I'm also glad there is no concrete reason for him to fear that you would break plans w/ your new GC, etc. Please make sure that, in the near future, you plan any dates w/ DS and family carefully, so you don't have to change plans, etc, you know, just not to give DS any ammunition or whatever the correct word would be.

Enjoy your new grandbaby!

Hetty58 Sun 15-Dec-19 20:40:14

The latest insults:

DS criticised how much I gave my grandson for his birthday!
(OK, more than mine used to get - but I can afford it now)

DS wondered how tall he would have grown if he had been 'properly fed' (he was). He's six feet two and sixteen stone. How big did he want to be?

I just laugh these days!

Hithere Mon 16-Dec-19 16:29:35


The present complaint is a very common one.

If gp are upstaging the parents, it is valid
If gp are giving a present the parents wanting to give, like a first bike, for example, it is valid
If parents gave a limit of quantity, monetary amount and passions, they have a reason for it.

It has nothing to do with the amount of money you have now vs when your ds was a child.

love0c Mon 16-Dec-19 17:30:41

Hetty58 If only I could laugh. My eldest says the most unkind and untruthful things to us. My husband says it is because he has a huge chip on his shoulder and has done for the last three years. He reckons it is because he knows he has made some really bad decisions which he will have to live with. Therefore he takes it out on us. He is usually sorry but I feel once he has said it, it's there. I get terribly upset.

willa45 Mon 16-Dec-19 20:27:49

My daughter (dog lover) once commented that female dogs are more nurturing towards their young than female cats.

Not sure how true that statement is but I can say for sure that cats are more independent by nature. I remember telling DD jokingly to be thankful that she had been raised by cats grin