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I think my son is bullying me

(73 Posts)
PDawn Fri 16-Sep-16 23:40:02

I've come to the conclusion that my 33 year old son is bullying me. I live alone and divorced his father when he was 14. He does not live with me, he rents a room 14 miles away but he visits my home often. He is single, unemployed and hasn't had regular work for a number of years. He is often short of cash, so if he needs money, I help him out even though he reluctantly accepts the offer of cash or bank transfers. He is verbally aggressive, critical of my lifestyle including my diet, how, what and when I cook or eat, dislikes my friends and seems to disapprove of how I choose to spend my time. He makes what I consider are unreasonable demands on me asking for help with such tasks as washing his clothes, internet banking, rent & housing advice expecting an instant response even if I'm busy, tired or unable to help due to other commitments. If I say I am unable to help instantly he gets agitated and doesn't seem to understand that I can't always be available when it's convenient for him. When I do agree to offer help advice, this is often rejected or I am criticised if he doesn't agree with my suggestions.

When I do attempt to help, I try to offer the most practical solution. He often calls me a control freak and whatever I suggest he rejects. This creates tension and arguments resulting in my son raising his voice either on the telephone or in my home. I do not retaliate but he continues to behave in a verbally aggressive manner. He refuses to see that this type of conduct is not acceptable, especially in my home. He once left some paperwork on my dining room table and as he'd just left the house for the bus, I took it to him at the bus stop which is just over the road. He was so angry that I'd followed him that he frogmarched me back over the road and tried to push me down the street yelling at me to go home.

He accuses me of behaving like a victim if I protest or become upset. I find it difficult to say no most of the time because of the hassle and upset it would cause. I also feel guilty because of his medical history and because I think that his father wasn't around for him during and after the divorce and worry about the effect it has had on him. He was diagnosed with OCD at the age of 14, he is also dyslexic, is noise sensitive, suffers from depression and has pectus excavatum which doesn't help with his outlook on life. He is also a cannabis and nicotine smoker. At heart he is a kind and considerate young man, intelligent with good manners, but when he visits me I'm the person who bears the brunt of the aggression. He often behaves like this towards his 84 year old grandmother who is more sensitive than me but has a larger home with a spare room he can escape to.

What can I do? I am certainly not the type of person to accept this type of treatment from anyone else but I am at a loss to know how to deal with this situation. I am 61, a single grandmother, (I have a married daughter too). I was made redundant after 14 years in June. I've just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I'm stressed, tired and need to slow down but how can I do this if I am worrying about my son most of the time?

Hilltopgran Sat 17-Sep-16 00:03:39

I think we always worry about our children whatever their age, and am sorry to read how your son behaves towards you.

You seem a very caring and understanding Mother, but if you want to change his attitude to you it will not be easy.

Are you able to talk to him about how you feel, or is it always about his feelings. When he is in a better mood could you start by explaining how he upsets his grandmother and ask him what he can do to improve the situation.

Bulling does become a habit in families, and you will need strength to resist and stay calm and not react to your son. I personally would not help out with money that might support a habit, but give gifts in kind in response to a request that is made in an appropriate way. Allowing him to bully you and get his own way is not working for you, but only you can change this.

Look after yourself and remember whatever his problems your son is now an adult who has to take responsibility for his own behaviour and actions.

M0nica Sat 17-Sep-16 06:21:45

At heart he is a kind and considerate young man, intelligent with good manners, but when he visits me I'm the person who bears the brunt of the aggression. He often behaves like this towards his 84 year old grandmother who is more sensitive than me but has a larger home with a spare room he can escape to.

Can you see the contradiction in the quote from your email? A kind considerate young man, who bullies you and his grandmother?
Your tendency to be convinced that underneath your son is a kind caring individual is not uncommon in people in your situation. It is very hard to accept that some one as dear to us as one of our children could behave to us in the way that they are and we all seek reasons and causes (for which we usually blame ourselves) why they are acting the way they are.

You are a victim of elder abuse and there are a number of organisations that can help you Although the sites major on elderly people dependent on the care of others, what you are receiving from your son is the same thing. Please ring one of their help lines and talk to someone who is an expert in this field.

In the meanwhile, there are one or two practical actions you could take. 1) Stop making excuses for your son. He is psychologically abusing you and this is now a crime.
2)You and your mother could change the locks on your front and back doors so that your son cannot come in or out of the house without your active agreement.
3) Stand back and think how you would view your son's behaviour if a friend told you their son was behaving like he is, or your read about it in a newspaper or online. How would you react. Apply those re-actions to your own case.

You may have to accept that to stop this behaviour you will have to look to an outside authority for help; to Social Services or even the police. But, please,please please. Seek help and protection for yourself. You do not deserve it and should not need to put up with it.

mumofmadboys Sat 17-Sep-16 07:37:54

I agree with what the two previous posters have said. It is easy for this situation to arise and for the poor behaviour to be perpetuated. Can you try saying when a situation arises ,'If you can't talk to me respectfully I want you to leave now please'. Be firm and don't raise your voice. Has he ever been physically aggressive towards you? What does your daughter think about the situation? Is she supportive? He probably has very few people in his life he can take his frustrations out on but he needs to learn his behaviour is unacceptable. Try and be firm,consistent and kind if that is possible! Don't blame yourself for his problems. You have obviously been a good support over a lot of years.G old luck. Let us know how things go.x

Anya Sat 17-Sep-16 08:35:52

I think both you and your son should get some counselling.

DaphneBroon Sat 17-Sep-16 09:23:40

I think this is not a case of "thinking he is bullying" but knowing it.sad

He sounds a troubled young man and in need of help - both towards a career which will help his self esteem but more importantly some counselling or psychiatric help to assist him in addressing his issues.
That does not excuse his behaviour towards you or his grandmother and you sound as if you need some support in standing up to him, while offering the loving support you would naturally want to give.
Is he on JSA or ESA? I wonder how he funds his smoking (both types not coming cheap) and to what extent his behaviour is aggravated by his habit.
I wish I knew the answer, but I am sure there are wiser heads here who will point you in the right direction.
One last thing though -do NOT blame yourself for either his health issues, dyslexia, OCD noise sensitivity or depression. Easy for me to say, but you must not blame yourself or be made to feel guilty.

aggie Sat 17-Sep-16 10:27:38

Sounds like this young man needs someone to tell him to behave , what does your Daughter say ? No way would I give money to him

Smileless2012 Sat 17-Sep-16 13:43:45

This is a very sad situation for you and your mother to find yourselves in. Clearly your son has some problems but you say that you are the person "who bears the brunt of the aggression", this says to me that despite his problems, he is capable of controlling his temper and improving his attitude, if he so chooses.

I agree with other posters that you are being bullied and need to put a stop to it; easier said than done which is why you'll need the help from the organisations M0nica has recommended.

You are not to blame, you've done and continue to do all you can but sadly in so doing you are enabling him to abuse you and your mother. Please make your welfare and your mothers' your priority. Only if you are well physically and emotionally will you be able to give your son the support he needs, which isn't necessarily what he wants, in the future.

PDawn Sat 17-Sep-16 19:26:02

Hi all, thanks for the kind words and good advice. The links to organisations who may be able to help me are welcome. I'll keep you posted as to how I get on.


jinglbellsfrocks Sat 17-Sep-16 19:46:45

From what you say, your son is unkind and agressive in the way he speaks to you. Unless he is physically abusive to you, or forces himself into your home against your wishes, I'm not sure anyone outside could interfere with this. I think it is up to you to respond in a fitting manner, ie telling him where to get off.

Of course, if the abuse becomes physical, that would be an eni]tirely different matter.

At the moment he is just being an unpleasant person. He is adult. No one is going to try to change his nature now.

jinglbellsfrocks Sat 17-Sep-16 19:47:44

I'm sorry if that sounds harsh.

M0nica Sun 18-Sep-16 07:52:33

jbf I think that sometimes in cases like this one must, in as kind a way as possible, say how things are.

Most of us love and care deeply about our children and grandchildren and have happy memories of nurturing then as children and the happy times we had. It is very difficult to accept that these happy loving children can turn into abusive adults, who choose to abuse the ones that love them most.

I was a home visitor with a charity for the elderly and visited a number of old people who were being abused by family members. usually it was financial abuse. Every time I would advise the person to take some action and I did not succeed on a single occasion. The abused person would not take action, not because they were afraid of the person but because they believed that underneath they were such kind loving individuals, or it would upset their daughter/son if they realised what another family member was milking them of their money.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 18-Sep-16 10:39:01

I'm simply saying that there is no real abuse. Just a son who is, or who is behaving like, a thoroughly unpleasant individual. Not good and unpleasant to have to cope with. But it is a family relationship. No point expecting outside help with that. He is 33.

The OP does say he accepts financial help reluctantly.

westerlywind Tue 20-Sep-16 20:23:53

I saw something on the News about James Cagney being abused by his step son. I was quite shocked about that. I think there is a lot of pressure on the older generation to comply with the demand of the younger people in many aspects of life from minding the Gkids to money. I also think a lot of fear is created especially over threats stated or implied that the Gkids will not be seen.
What the older generation need to remember we survived a lot many of us born during or just after the war, and that facebook thing about being in cars with no seatbelts or child seats walking to school ourselves drinking from the same bottle as many others and we were smaked, belted, caned etc.
We don't need this nastiness and there could come a day that we stand up for ourselves.
The OP has my total sympathy poor lady. Even worse the Granny is getting it too. The male needs stopped.

Nelliemoser Wed 21-Sep-16 00:13:03

I am right with M0nica on this. His behaviour is totally out of order. This is essentially domestic abuse. I would suggest talking to your local domestic abuse supporters.

Smileless2012 Wed 21-Sep-16 14:04:01

Well said westerlywind

franjess2000 Mon 03-Oct-16 15:58:23

The recent change in the law under the new Care Act clearly defines abuse as being much more than physical. This bullying is a form of abuse. Get some help- no one deserves to be treated this way. Your local social service would be a good place to start.

And stop giving him money! The use of cannabis can exacerbate mental health issues.

Good luck.

whereamI555 Tue 01-Nov-16 20:50:21

Have you tried calling 'Silverline' 08004708090 open 24 hours a day, it is like Childline but for the older age group. I am sure they would put you in touch with organisations who may be able to help.
I would try and talk to another member of your family too.

Also try a trick I heard someone in a similar situation do. Record his visits on a recorder so you would have evidence to prove what he is doing to you.

Remember this, he is well aware of what he is doing to you, he is a bully who gets away with it, just as long as you let him. Saying NO is very hard to someone we are supposed to love and care for, but it will do him good.

He is just taking his life's misery out on you, because he can. He is getting away with it because he can. The police would take a dim view of his manner. Grit your teeth and give back what you get from him.

Have you told your daughter? Stop making excuses for him and put an end to it, then get on with YOUR life. p.s change the locks too.

BlueBelle Wed 02-Nov-16 00:08:03

He can be a good and caring young man and be using the wrong way to deal with things This doesn't mean his behaviour is right but it's very easy to blame people who's brains may not be wired the same way as 'normal' expectations He obviously has a number of mental Heath problems, probably low esteem frustration and the inability to see things from a different point of view
I would think you would benefit from some professional advice as to the best way to deal with his anger and unhappiness and if he is willing, someone to perhaps befriend and help him understand the world around Have you spoken to any professionals in mental Health (not social services they won't have the necessary understanding ) I can see whilst you don't want this to continue you also don't want your already unwell son to be more castigated he sounds as if he doesn't have too much positivity in his life

The cannibis could be a lot of the trouble though

f77ms Wed 02-Nov-16 07:55:39

This may sound completely mad (and I am sure some people on this forum will tell me so) . Is there any chance that he could live with you ? He sounds as if apart from all his health issues, he is also lonely and without direction . Living in a rented room is no way for anyone to live . I do have experience of a son with similar problems but he was never a bully in the way you describe . If he lived with you it would be easier to help him with sorting his money out, maybe doing some voluntary work etc . Of course there would have to be rules ie smoking outside , letting you help with sorting his money and doing some work paid or unpaid . You sound in a desperate position , the suggestion of Silverline for someone to talk to sounds good .

vampirequeen Wed 02-Nov-16 09:13:34

He's a manipulative abuser. He doesn't want to take money but he does which is his intention otherwise why would he tell you that he needs money. By being reluctant he even manages to make the act of giving seem wrong.

He also emotionally abuses you every time he criticises you until in the end you won't be able to trust yourself to do anything. Then you'll constantly criticise yourself and do the job for him.

As for saying you're in victim mode. That's an attack that abusers regularly use when you start to stick up for yourself. Again it's to make you doubt yourself.

I was married to someone like your son and, believe me, you won't be able to reason with him. You have to be strong and say, "this far and no further". He will be horrible or upset. Say you're being antagonistic and/or argumentative. That you don't understand how difficult you are to be with. How he tolerates all your faults. Everything will be geared to make you feel that you're victimising him and the instigator of any unpleasantness. Don't fall for it. The blame for his behaviour and it's affects lay totally at his feet.

Luckylegs9 Sat 12-Nov-16 15:53:20

PDawn, do hope you are ok.

DAncer66 Sun 13-Nov-16 15:17:04

Be firm. Do something about this behaviour now while you are still strong.

If you don't he will be treating you in the future the same way he treats his grandmother now.

I'm sorry but, having been brought up by an abusive father, this type of behaviour makes me so angry.

He needs to take reasonability for himself and stop depending on his mum.

Don't enable him.

Could his 'aggression' be down to drug taking? If this is the case, that's where your money is going.

Get some professional help in dealing with him. Create boundaries. If he doesn’t behave in your home then he must leave and come back when he is calm and ready to talk reason.

Give him an inch and he will take a mile.

No matter how much you feel you owe him or let him down, you don't deserve to be treated like that.

Mistyfluff8 Fri 25-Sep-20 16:41:25

I’m so sorry for you but my son isthe same so we are in debt paying off his debts but we have stopped .He wants money for drugs every day

Starblaze Sat 26-Sep-20 20:40:17

Sounds like your son needs some serious help, is he getting any with his diagnosed conditions?

You also need some help to manage this. You've had a hard time of it lately and you may struggle more to deal with the loss of your job and your medical condition with the extra stress on top.

I think there is an element of your son caring underneath it all. He has concerns about your lifestyle and you do indeed have a lifestyle related condition that is a serious issue.

Try to persuade him to get help, try to get yourself some counselling and support to manage. You need good boundaries and some resilience to deal with a son with all his issues.

I really hope things improve but remember they won't improve on their own