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Should I say something ?

(43 Posts)
Pigeon Tue 18-Apr-17 14:21:24

My son is 35 and as a rule, is a kind, loving, sensitive man. He has a reasonably good job, a lovely wife and is popular. Family and colleagues (we work for the same company) all speak highly of him. He is intelligent and principled and I know he aspires to be a good person.

We generally have had a good relationship, although he was a bit of a handful in his late teens/mid-twenties and I supported him financially and with advice/emotional support. He used to confide in me a lot at that time so we were reasonably close until he got married - when I was glad to hand him over!

Despite this, he still does have a bit of a 'dark side' that I worry about. He can be quite selfish at times, an example being he plays and watches football regularly and has a group of old friends that he meets a few times per week for an extended session at the 'local' afterwards. This lifestyle seems to be a major priority in his life, often more important than his wife or family and can take up the biggest party of a weekend. At the football/pub sessions he often drinks much more than he can handle (his wife describes him as "a bit of a lightweight") and spends the rest of the day sleeping it off. Whilst he's not at all violent or aggressive, sometimes he can become snappy and argumentative if challenged about it.

His wife, whilst obviously upset and irritated by the behaviour, appears well able to handle it. She will tell him exactly what she thinks and then leave him to it. Apart from this, although she often complains about this particular thing to us (me and his sister), they are mostly a loving couple who, as far as I know, seem to agree on most other things and are happy together.

From his point of view, he just says it's his life and he'll do as he likes and that his wife knew how important football/friends were to him when they met.

I think he is completely immature and selfish but up to now, I have kept this opinion to myself. However I became accidentally caught up in things this weekend when I visited to take a present and he had just arrived home. She made a joking comment that he was "intoxicated" and he immediately got very defensive saying he couldn't do anything right and that we were ganging-up on him. We tried to placate him and laugh it off but he wouldn't leave it alone - as if he was looking for an argument.

I objected to the way he spoke to us (he was downright rude) and it turned in to a full-blown row. Most of what he said was irrational and nonsensical. His wife says this is his normal reaction when had too much to drink - a persecution complex and delusions that he is being misunderstood or picked on.

Whilst he can be a bit bolshie and opinionated at times, he doesn't usually behave like this towards me. I was quite shocked, got very upset and stormed out.

Later, he sent me a text message saying he was "sorry that we had argued" and that he loved me. I was fuming. I didn't see it at all that we had argued, rather that he had been rude and disrespectful to us both and he had shouted at us for telling him so.

Today, still being upset I have text his wife to see how things were. She seems to be quite philosophical about things and says he is "back to normal". There seems to be no major concern on her part about what happened but I do worry that she covers up how upset she really is.

My worry is that he drinks so much on these sessions (he doesn't drink much in-between times) that he will cause himself some harm. Also, that his wife will tire of this and give him the elbow. Or that if they have children, he will carry this behaviour on.

I know that none of this is my business really and as I read back what I have written, I can't help feeling that I sound like an interfering mother. I can't stress how much I don't want to be involved but I feel a responsibility as his mother to let him know what he's risking. I admit that I am ashamed of how he behaves at these times.

But then I think that as an anxious person myself, perhaps I am over-thinking/reacting to things and would do well to chill-out a little myself.

I would be grateful for any comments about what to do next - if anything?

Christinefrance Tue 18-Apr-17 15:24:21

I think you should talk to him quietly when he is not drinking and let him know you think his behaviour is not acceptable. After that I think you have to let them sort things out for themselves unless you are directly involved.
They are adults and need to make their own life choices.
Standing back is not easy but we can't run their lives.

Luckylegs9 Tue 18-Apr-17 17:02:02

For what it's worth, I wouldn't get involved. Where's his behaviour would annoy me, lots of people seem to live like your son and their partners seems ok with it. Their reasoning is, they were like that when they married, I do think grown up children, present a different dude when with parents, bet we would all be a bit surprised if we knew the other side. He loves you, they are happy, so try not to worry.

Pigeon Tue 18-Apr-17 17:02:20

Thanks Christine, I appreciate your reply.
I know you're right about leaving them to it and I know myself that I must stop thinking that my adult children are still my responsibility. I suppose that I'm just very angry and disappointed in him and need to tell him in the hope he will change as a result.

Pigeon Tue 18-Apr-17 17:06:00

Thanks Luckylegs9. I worry too much and I shouldn't take on other people's problems. I appreciate you taking the time to reply

rosesarered Tue 18-Apr-17 17:09:51

He has told you that he loves you and is sorry ( that counts for something.)
His wife seems to handle things well, I would step aside if I were you.Once married ( a son) his wife has more clout than a Mother, so if she tells him things are not acceptable he may take notice.If he doesn't then the wife has two choices.
Sounds as if she is philosophical about her husband though, so is understanding of his needs.Perhaps he is a lucky man!
Things never go well when parents meddle in their married childrens affairs, and I have learned to keep well out of things.

Pigeon Tue 18-Apr-17 18:42:26

He's definitely a lucky man rosesarered. And she will have put him firmly in his place, that's for sure. But I don't think it's enough to make him change his ways.

I can only hope she feels his good points outweigh this one bad thing. Or that he outgrows his equally irresponsible friends. He has a great loyalty to them but things change over the years so here's hoping they drift apart/grow up eventually.

norose4 Tue 18-Apr-17 20:39:00

Perhaps you could meet up for a coffee & as you indicate that you have a good relationship with him, just tell him you are a bit worried as you were quite taken aback about how different he is when under the influence & ask him if he is aware of it or how it may make his nearest & dearest feel. Then you can only leave it up to them but at least you will have made him aware that it could become a problem .

Morgana Wed 19-Apr-17 00:00:38

I can understand your concern. I would be mortified if this were my son. What if anything you can do about it I don't know. Does his wife go drinking with friends? Is there any danger that he will become violent when drunk?

Starlady Wed 19-Apr-17 01:32:09

So sorry you went through this, Pigeon! "Sorry that we argued" doesn't quite cut it, imo. Ds (dear son) should have said, "Sorry I was rude." But I guess he can't bring himself to do it - probably embarrassed - so if you want to smooth things over, you'll have to accept the apology he gave. That's up to you, of course.

As far as saying anything to him, I don't think so. I understand why you want to. But if DIL's words can't change him, I doubt that yours will. You brought him up, and, apparently, did a good job of it, seeing that he generally gets along so well with everyone, etc. But he is who he is. If nothing you said when he was growing up prevented this, then nothing you say now will stop it. It may take you a while to get over what happened. So take your time, but, imo, you need to back off.

I do worry about the influence on children if they, eventually, have any. But again, DIL will have to decide what to do about that.

Pigeon Wed 19-Apr-17 07:15:58

Norose4 I think I probably will meet him for a coffee. It was something we used to do often so might be worth a try.

Morgan, yes his wife does meet up with friends quite regularly. She's quite independent and he wouldnt dare try to stop her. She's just more sensible and restrained than him. No chance of him turning violent though, it's just not in his nature and I've never seen any sign of this. Even as a child he wasn't a fighter. The worse that happens usually is that he comes home worse for wear but happy and falls asleep. It's when he is perceives he is being ticked off that he reacts by getting overly defensive, staring a ridiculous argument and then all he can muster usually is sulking and feeling sorry for himself. I think this time was different because he was exceptionally drunk (after celebrating his football team's promotion) and I reacted by giving him a good telling-off whereas his wife just says her piece, then laughs and ignores him until he gets over himself.

Starlady, as far as the influence on children, that's my fear too, but underneath all this he's a real family man. I know he's desperate to have children as soon as possible. I think he would take his parental responsibilities very seriously and his sister (who is quite astute and has his measure) agrees with me. Let's hope so.
The bottom line for me us that he's a fundementally decent person but has a selfish, immature streak that he needs to sort out. .

radicalnan Wed 19-Apr-17 10:43:19

He has apologised and loves you, be careful where you tread on this because he knows now what your feelings are. He will make his own choices whether you like them or not, settle for the love and the good relationship you have with him

Norah Wed 19-Apr-17 11:07:06

I'd think talking at him was a bit presumptuous. He's making choices you don't like the colour of, but he's grown. You get on well, to not ruin your relationship I'd leave it to his wife to discuss.

Jinty44 Wed 19-Apr-17 11:07:55

But he hasn't apologised at all. He "sent me a text message saying he was "sorry that we had argued" and that he loved me". They didn't argue, he was rude. He has not apologised for being rude, he has drawn a red herring across the whole thing, claiming an arguement happened. Or to put it another way, implying his mum was just as much to blame as he was.

So he's not taking responsibility for his own actions at all.

He sounds as if he wants to lead the life of a single man. His wife "often complains about this particular thing to us (me and his sister)". If she is willing to complain to his family about his shitty behaviour, you can be pretty sure that this is a very big problem to her. She's telling you both about it - she's looking for your support. What support have you given her?

If he doesn't buck up his ideas, she will leave him. And she will be right to do so.

I think you need to stop taking the 'none of my business' line. Your son has made it your business by being such an arse to you, and frankly it sounds as if his wife would like you to make it your business, or she wouldn't 'often complain', would she?

Talk to your son. Over a coffee in a cafe is a good idea, neutral territory. And be honest with him. He's going the right way for a lonely life.

tigger Wed 19-Apr-17 11:09:37

It's always upsetting when you see a side of your children that you have never seen before and it usually involves alcohol. I now avoid visits when I know large quantities of alcohol will be consumed, parties etc. It makes life easier.

Caro1954 Wed 19-Apr-17 11:10:40

No, "sorry we argued" doesn't quite cut it but I think he knows he was in the wrong this time. He did make the first move and obviously regrets the whole thing. Getting together with him when you're both calm sounds like a good plan.

Grampie Wed 19-Apr-17 11:19:03

It seems that he hasn't fully grown up to become an adult.

Did his Dad's example help or hinder him with this?

He may need a better role model.


NannyMargaret48 Wed 19-Apr-17 11:54:03

Unfortunately alcohol can have a bad effect on some people. They will say things they don't mean and it can really hurt because they have said it to someone who is sober. I think the fact that he contacted you and apologised (sort of) is a good thing. If it happens again then I would take it further. I am not for a minute suggesting that your son has a drink problem, but this is where it sometimes starts.

Bez1989 Wed 19-Apr-17 13:39:22

Try not to tell your son that you're "ashamed of him" when he's had his drinking session. That's negative and personally I don't think one should say negative things to our ķids but more praise them on their good qualities. Maybe have a chat about the damage that may be happening to his body by binge drinking.
I realise it may be hard for him not to follow his fellow drinking pals and as the football team had done well one can understand that one particular occasion developing into a heavy drinking session.
Maybe as time goes by and he and his pals start having families then this period may change anyway. But the health issue might be the way to go ? Good Luck. sunshine

Penstemmon Wed 19-Apr-17 14:38:35

It is really hard to stand back when you see your 'child' behaving in what appears to be a destructive way.
But they are adults and unless they seek your advice and they are not actually deliberately harming others or themselves you have to wait in the wings ready to be there when the crisis comes!

Lewlew Wed 19-Apr-17 14:45:35

Sometimes lifestyle habits from uni days or single working world days are hard to break. When my DIL was working in Europe and DSS was on his till weekends when they either met here or at hers in Europe, would go out with his mates in the week because he was lonely. It was easy to fall back into that role when DIL was not around.

Once she got pregnant and finished her EU contract, and was back here, things were changed!

Nannarose Wed 19-Apr-17 16:41:21

I think that one of the issues here is ' a few times a week'. If we were talking bout behaviour like this a few times a year (maybe once a month) then both the example he is setting the children and the stress on his wife could perhaps be dealt with.

However' a few times a week' implies that for a good bit of family time he is 'under the weather'.

Although I wouldn't necessarily think you are describing an alcoholic, I think a visit to the Al-anon website, which offers advice for families, might be a beginning, help you get it into perspective, and be useful.

Izabella Wed 19-Apr-17 16:53:31

Won't do his sperm count much good either ..............

Penstemmon Wed 19-Apr-17 17:35:55

They don't have kids at the moment & sound like they are living more like housemates or casual boyf/girlf than spouses! That may suit them now and both may prefer that independent way of living. If they plan to have a family in the future maybe this is the way they agreed to live and are both enjoying the lack of ties!
Other people's relationships are always appear a bit weird!

Newquay Wed 19-Apr-17 17:46:29

I would be most concerned about his alcohol abuse for his health's sake so a chat along those lines over a coffee might be pertinent? He obviously knows it's a problem or wouldn't be so touchy about it