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I think my son is bullying me

(74 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?

Philippa111 Sat 26-Nov-22 12:52:39

I'm sorry to say but your son sounds like he has a narcissistic personality. I have known a narcissist. Narcissists are bullies, don't have the ability to see or respect the needs of others, are totally self centred and will use control and manipulation to get what they want. It's a classic that they call other people victims and control freaks and use verbal abuse and gaslighting to justify their behaviour.... it's how they behave . They are cruel and can make people feel unworthy, less than etc. It's a head melt to be on the receiving end of this.

Please explore this online and look after yourself. Personally if anyone, my child included, treated me like that I would not have them anywhere near me. They are toxic. You deserve peace.

Madgran77 Sat 26-Nov-22 19:50:37


My son is 23 and is bullying me. He has always been nasty with me. I know that I am in for the full works of exclusion and the full works when grandchildren arrive and Christmas and any other “family occasions” as time goes on. His girlfriends will always hate me. So I have decided I am not going to buy into it. I am not going to picture myself at any of these fictitious future functional family happy events, so I won’t be disappointed when they don’t materialise.

Boundary you posted on a very old thread and people may not see your post and will comment on the 6 year old original post. Start a new yhread about your sad predicament and others will I'm sure be able to offer advice flowers

Hetty58 Sat 26-Nov-22 20:12:54

A very old, revived and resuscitated post!

Still, just to say that a fellow student had a son like that. Everything was her fault and he tried to rule the roost - an absolute bully.

One day she'd had enough, called the police and they took him away. An injunction means he can't visit her house but they're in contact by phone.

Boundary Tue 29-Nov-22 07:51:38

That’s it you get to a point where you’ve just had enough of it. Now when I see him in my mind I can see the man as he actually is the absolute bastard that he is with with me!

OnwardandUpward Tue 29-Nov-22 09:47:08

So sorry.

The last thing I said to my son was "Why do you think I want to talk to you when you constantly insult me?"

He replied with seven voice messages and loads more insults, but I never replied. My son was also trying to coerce me into criminal activity and I refused, hence the abusive messages.

I do miss him, but not the abuse. I'm so sorry for anyone going through this. They will always be our child but they have made choices that we don't have to make.

Boundary Wed 30-Nov-22 20:19:31

I treasure that hope.

OnwardandUpward Wed 30-Nov-22 22:21:27


A very old, revived and resuscitated post!

Still, just to say that a fellow student had a son like that. Everything was her fault and he tried to rule the roost - an absolute bully.

One day she'd had enough, called the police and they took him away. An injunction means he can't visit her house but they're in contact by phone.

That's what my son is like. Because I never replied, his pride won't let him contact me. Everything is "my fault". YES, the same.

From what I can see of his social media, he's abroad. I am not sure if it's a new life or a holiday. He had already told his brother he would not be in the UK at Christmas. I wait in hope too, for a change of heart.

Boundary Sun 18-Dec-22 09:48:37

I get the feeling I’m never going to see him again. I went through a terrible period of grief, but I’m feeling a bit brighter now. I don’t know/no one knows what’s causing this behaviour, but I am sure he can change and respect me, but he has to want to first.
I couldn’t think about anything other than him. I still struggle with it. While I was worrying about him and what he wanted I wasn’t able to think about what I needed, I stopped looking after myself - I stopped living - and all the good things in my life fell by the wayside. The hope and peace is coming from feeling the good things in my life are slowly come back.

Smileless2012 Sun 18-Dec-22 09:58:05

Boundaryflowers. It's horrible when the feeling that you're never going to see them again first comes, but that is when the grief for what's been lost begins and also the process of healing.

It takes time to realise that there is life after estrangement and to begin to appreciate the good things that we have in our lives, rather than dwelling on what we've lost.

GagaJo Sun 18-Dec-22 10:02:08

That's a lovely post Smileless2012.

Boundary Sun 18-Dec-22 10:41:37

Yes kind of

Boundary Sun 18-Dec-22 17:31:00

Yes it’s a loss that I had been dreading for a long time, but I faced it and I think I did the right thing for myself and my family

Smileless2012 Sun 18-Dec-22 17:46:01

You did do the right thing for you and your family Boundary and it took courage, so be proud of what you've done, how far you have come, and don't lose sight of how far you can go.

Allsorts Wed 21-Dec-22 09:39:23

When I read this I recognised it as a very old list looked at the date. Then I read through and saw Boundries post. The way she eventually took was right. We put up with a lot from our children at time because we remember the lovely kind things about them, whether it's down to a personality disorder you have to keep to your boundries as funding their bad life choices and bullying to get it, is just saying in a way they are owed it. Set your boundries , when there's trouble you have to face the fact that they cut you off. Isn't that better than being ruled by your own child who is only hanging around to bleed you dry, plus you're not helping fund his awful life style.
Under no circumstsnces have them living with you. It took courage Boundry.

AnneWilson Thu 29-Dec-22 06:42:02

Both of my adult children only ever wanted to see me to get money from me. I used to give it to them but eventually I said no. They also used to control me and boss me around just like my ex husband did. Now I won’t do what they want or give them money I haven’t seen them in 10 years. They told me to enjoy my money alone. I am not allowed to see my grandchildren either.

AnneWilson Thu 29-Dec-22 06:43:26

Both of my adult children are like this too. Their father is a narcassist and they copied him.

Antonia Thu 29-Dec-22 07:20:00

I wonder how he funds his smoking (both types not coming cheap) and to what extent his behaviour is aggravated by his habit
It's the first I've heard that nicotine causes or aggravates bullying!

Wyllow3 Thu 29-Dec-22 07:53:20


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.

vampire queen went through the same as I did with my nearly Ex. It is coercive abuse, it is recognised by law, my EX did have MH stuff like you son which of course clouds ones feelings as one is afraid of the consequences on the abuser by standing up to them.

And he was physically violent to you, the pushing from the bus stop. he's going what is called gaslighting, where he makes you doubt your own reality and controlling you by telling you not to think of yourself as a victim, tying in knots.

Certainly try standing up for yourself more - calling out this or that - it may work, it may help, I dont know: its just that if he can lie and fantasise about whats happened (and may genuinely believe his own lies and fantasies) its in my experience 100% effort put in and you may get 20% acceptance back and then it just recurs.

I strongly agree to get a voice recorder on your mobile and secretly record exchanges. Take screenshots of any abusive texts or WhatSapps. They have stood by me all this time as we went through a divorce - should I falter I know they are there

My family supported me and I did call the police in but every situation is different and first *

PDawn you need to talk to someone who understands these matters so please contact the helplines.

To back you up a bit from what you said: yes, people like him are often not out and out villains. they can have a decent side, it gets overwhelmed. But they also can do whats called "love-bombing" or you might recognise as a "Charm offensive" in between hurtful things so in the end you dont know where your head is.

Wyllow3 Thu 29-Dec-22 08:14:31


this is a good article to read. obviously it may not be to the degree described of some behaviour but it may help

Lollin Thu 29-Dec-22 08:50:01


A very old, revived and resuscitated post!

Still, just to say that a fellow student had a son like that. Everything was her fault and he tried to rule the roost - an absolute bully.

One day she'd had enough, called the police and they took him away. An injunction means he can't visit her house but they're in contact by phone.


Lollin Thu 29-Dec-22 08:53:18



Sad isn’t it because here it is again December 2022

Wyllow3 Thu 29-Dec-22 08:53:41

A very frightened struggling individual (and he sounds it) may seek to blame and bully as they can't cope with their own lives and feel ashamed, "not being a good enough man?"

Boundary Sun 01-Jan-23 00:00:58

Don’t argue with them. Think what you want then put it in simple straight words. Then look at all the different ways they say to you: I think it would be better if I was there. The arguments are like an addition they have - bad attention is better than no attention.
Also no one knows what makes adult children behave this way to their mothers witnessing domestic violence is only one of a list of possible reasons that there is some evidence to support. Forget about thinking why they behave like that and concentrate on the behaviour.
If an adult child is making you anxious and depressed they can’t be in your life until they want to change and then change.