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I cannot believe this

(49 Posts)
Coco1 Mon 12-Aug-19 19:09:31

My son who is 44 years old and single at the moment - he and his long term girlfriend finished 3 years ago, had a mental issue 2 years ago which involved me in supporting him emotionally and financially for a long time. However he said about 18 months ago after I had refurbished his house as well as emotionally supported him that he didn’t need our input any more and he was quite able to manage we thought fine. However he hasn’t been in touch with me despite my texts etc which he has ignored and now I hear from his sister that the reason he hasn’t been in touch is because we go away too much!! I cannot believe that he expects us to be there waiting for him. At 44 years of age I think it is a cheek and about time he realised we have a life too but he seems to think only of himself and nothing about us. What do you other parents think?

Coyoacan Wed 14-Aug-19 15:37:43

As for the OP, you really shouldn't take reported speech, have you never heard of Chinese whispers. You need to talk to your son and find out what he actually meant to say.

But, assuming it is true, it depends on the state of his mental health.

And yes, sometimes we do too much for our adult children and they take it for granted. I do not understand why you had to refurbish his house, for example.

Tillybelle Wed 14-Aug-19 16:13:47

"Going away too much" can't possibly be a reason for not answering a text. We can text anyone wherever they are. Currently I'm in close contact with my friend by text as she is visiting her son in the US. I normally have frequent telephone contact when she is at home in another part of Britain.

I think he is making an excuse to his sister and saying the first thing that comes into his head.

I do think too, that given his previous illness, he may be inclined to live differently to the rest of us and not have the same reciprocal relationship behaviour which most of us take for granted. Obviously I don't know his condition and even if I did, I don't know him, so it could be any number of reasons why he is so uncommunicative.

I would try not to read too much into it, try to wean yourself away from worrying about him. I realise that is hard, having been so close to him and done so much for him to get him through his illness. I wouldn't pay much attention to the excuse for not being in touch either. Maybe just send him a message once a week saying how you are and sending your love and asking if there's anything he's like you to do for him. Actually maybe not that last bit - you can decide if it is appropriate. You can invite him over for Sunday lunch or something. It isn't against the rules to get cross if he persistently does not reply, so long as you have ascertained that your texts have arrived!

It could be that he feels - even without actually putting it into words - that having received so much help from you at a very bad time in his life, he now finds it hard to see you. He may find that it brings back that time, or he is embarrassed about how he was at that time. I remember when I was a Psychologist, walking through the Hospital with a Psychiatrist friend. We passed a teenage girl to whom my friend said hello, but the girl turned away. My friend said she had treated her for anorexia nervosa and the girl had been seriously ill. She said she understood why the girl did not want to be reminded of that time or to talk to the person who knew all about her at her worst. It made a very big impression on me. Then my husband died by suicide. We had the most amazing Funeral Director, whom the Police suggested. I always planned to go back to the Funeral Director's premises to just visit him a few weeks after, as he had said I would be welcome to do. Whenever I drove in that direction, I began to feel colder and colder and as if I would be sick. I couldn't go back to that time and he belonged to that time.

I am sorry to say you can't do more than you have done. I think Smileymiley7 has said it perfectly. If you can meet up with him this would be a good idea. But do so without any resentments, just be amicable. You probably have to adjust to his personality being such that he is rather incommunicative. Some people are. But just keep a simple, unprovocative message going to him about every week or even once a month. I say that in view of his having had a mental illness in the past. It is good that he can always make contact with you and know where you are.

Good luck. I know this is very difficult. I hope you get some good news soon so that you can relax and leave him to it.

Tillybelle Wed 14-Aug-19 16:28:10

Jacks1. How awful for you. I don't know where you are but in the UK there are organisations for the families and spouses of alcoholics. Google it. They will be your best source of advice.

It's not my field but I do know that addicts including alcoholics do not stop their habit for anyone but themselves. They have to reach their "rock bottom" whereby they realise they have to stop.

You are not at all wrong to ask him to leave. It is best for the children. It might help bring him nearer realising he needs help. You can't provide the help. He will need a clinic. But do get him out of the house, for your sake and the children's sake.

Alcoholism often happens because of an underlying mental disorder. You cannot take him on, especially on your own. You are co-dependant with him right now and enabling him to keep drinking. He has to find himself in a place where he knows he can't manage any more and that the alcohol is the problem and that he has to get the right help. No one knows what will make him find this place, he doesn't know, we just hope it dawns on him soon.

Wishing you every bit of good luck, never feel guilty for making him leave, and please get in touch with the Charities that help the families of alcoholics.
Love from Elle x 🌈

Summerlove Wed 14-Aug-19 16:35:26

He sounds very spoiled

Tillybelle Wed 14-Aug-19 16:42:27

Tricia55. Good luck Tricia. I do hope your health and the pain is not too bad. I thought of you when I read Coco1's letter.

Good luck with keeping up the tough love! I am a fine one to talk. My older DDs say I spoiled No3 who was bullied.... She was always such a strong character and frightening! I sometimes felt she would stop at nothing to have her way. Very terrifying - people who have not experienced this kind of thing simply can't imagine it. They say "Just say "no!"" which immediately tells you they have no idea about the kind of person you are dealing with! My DD3 is married now with children but I am still scared of her even though she can be so incredibly kind. It is a very difficult relationship.

Just wanted to say hello and how lovely to hear you supporting Cocol. People who do not have a child like this cannot understand what it is like. Lots of love Elle 💐

Tillybelle Wed 14-Aug-19 16:56:49

Summerlove. It's true that is what he sounds. But it can't help Cocol's dilemma. There are probably good reasons why she "spoiled" him or why he needed "spoiling". He had a mental illness. That is a very different matter than just being a very indulged person who demands to have their own way. It cannot help but worry Cocol when her son who was once ill suddenly loses touch. It is difficult for people who have not been in Cocol's position to understand the nature of this problem; the terrible worry she has.

I appreciate that people mean well when they say he is spoiled and behaving badly etc and probably are encouraging Cocol to treat him toughly. But it cannot stop her worrying and over-thinking everything about him because she helped him through a horrible illness. She will always worry that he isn't managing or that what he says isn't making sense. It is quite likely that she did do too much for him, but any mother seeing her child at his utter worst in misery with such an illness would do the same. It is an agonising situation for a mother.

Cocol's son is not playing fair by not being in touch. But the reasons why he is like this may not be as simple as his being deliberately thoughtless and selfish. OK his behaviour is those things but the reason why could be to do with his previous illness.

I hope Cocol and her husband are able to see him soon. To put Cocol's mind at rest. And I am not convinced that the reason he is said to have given for not being in touch is the genuine one. I think he might have made it up on the spur of the moment.

Applegran Wed 14-Aug-19 16:57:28

I think it sounds like the time to speak up clearly and calmly to your son - not listing all you have done for him, because he already knows and it could set the conversation on the wrong foot. No one responds well to being told they 'should' be grateful. But you could tell him what you would like - being in touch more, and seeing him from time to time, and ask him his feelings and thoughts about this.

Tillybelle Wed 14-Aug-19 17:22:19


Regarding "I do not understand why you had to refurbish his house," I may have said something about that in my reply to Summerlove above. We don't know what kind of illness Cocol's son had or what effect the state of his house had upon his health or why it needed refurbishing. It is none of our business and I wouldn't want Cocol to reveal any of the reasons. But the situation is not simply that of a spoiled child. This is a son who became mentally ill and who was supported very much through that very bad time by his mother. He had been through the ending of a relationship, this we know but his subsequent illness may or may not have been brought on by that. Most mental illnesses take a long time to get over. I imagine that Cocol did everything she could to lift burdens from her son while he was ill, such as taking the worry about the state of his house from him.

She is now in a difficult predicament, about which I have written. Her reactions are not going to be the same as another mother of a son who has always been very well and not ill and who is simply not answering the text messages. She needs to know if he is functioning ok. After what he went through she can't help worrying. On hearing the answer from his sister she is over-analysing that answer. It probably isn't the actual reason why he doesn't reply. He's probably really bad at answering. For all we know he may be a person with the kind of autism that makes him unaware that so much time has passed since he last contacted his mother and who isn't very communicative. I'm NOT saying he is!! I am merely illustrating that we do not know!

His mother needs some purposeful suggestions as to what to do. I'd say
try to stop worrying so much - he talks to his sister!
Don't take the reason for not texting to be actually true - he might have said it "off the cuff"
Try to meet up with him even briefly to satisfy yourself that he is OK, eating well, etc.
Be "light"with him, don't get cross or heavy. Just say you like to see him occasionally. Be pleasantly friendly - nothing too overwhelming!
Don't expect him be like you or how you think people should be - having had a mental illness he may still not be thinking things through in quite the same way as you do.
Try not to make him feel you are fussing round him. Recovery from such an illness sometimes makes people want to have some space for themselves and not be reminded of the time they were ill.
Enjoy your trips going away! Of course you deserve them! He probably didn't mean anything by what he said!
Try not to worry so much. So long as he socialises with people he should be ok.
Good luck!

Tillybelle Wed 14-Aug-19 17:28:31

Applegran. I do love you! (I love your name too) What you say is perfect! smile

FC61 Wed 14-Aug-19 17:51:01

Has he got Aspergers or on the mild end of the autistic spectrum ? Lots and lots of people do. It’s actually very common. I know someone who for example asked me if a £2 book was an ok gift for his sons birthday ? I said no give him £100 so he said ok and did. Just has no idea but would have looked very mean and selfish if he hadn’t asked me about the book !!

Summerlove Wed 14-Aug-19 20:03:28

Tillybelle, but we don’t know what the mental illness is (nor do we need to). But it could be one that he uses as manipulation to get what he wants from his family.

Even people with mental illness need to learn to cope on their own.

People who aren’t taught to do so do become spoiled, mental illness or not.

That doesn’t change her worry, but my comment was meant more to convey that he’s acting like a spoiled person, not one acting out due to illness.

Conversely, he could have learned coping skills and wants to try them out alone without feeling (rightly or wrongly) smothered by family who will only see him as delicate.

As you said, we don’t have all the facts

123kitty Wed 14-Aug-19 21:33:16

Good post Applegran

Lilyflower Thu 15-Aug-19 05:20:03

If your son intends to ignore and snub you after all you have done for him and then wait around for the inheritance, disoblige him. Drop some serious hints that he will be out of the will unless he becomes a proper son to you.

Don’t make it sound like a threat. You couldn’t talk vaguely about expectations and independence while saying you are going to see a solicitor to review your will.

Lilyflower Thu 15-Aug-19 05:20:54

Could not couldn’t of course. Predictive text ! Doh!

Coco1 Thu 15-Aug-19 07:07:00

Thanks for your comments. Yes I have seen him but only briefly and he said he was ok but has lost his job and looking for another. We didn’t get in the house as he was going out but although polite rather dismissive. I think he would like to control me but fortunately my husband ( his SF) is with me so that won’t happen.I also take your point about the mental problem but it doesn’t take much for a call or text whatever .
I have this week text and phoned but no response!

mumofmadboys Thu 15-Aug-19 08:31:18

I don't think mentioning your will is a good idea st all!!

dorrismillerrr123 Thu 15-Aug-19 09:36:17

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MissAdventure Thu 15-Aug-19 09:58:22

As much for the "urgently needs to find a mate" comment as for the spam.

jenpax Thu 15-Aug-19 10:49:48

Tricia55 I was in the same situation with my youngest DD who also has a chronic health problem and nearly died aged 8 (worry and guilt) but eventually she moved out and is now (largely) standing on her own and it’s so much better for both of us!
OP I would also speak directly to son and explain clearly, but kindly, that while you love him you want him to stand on his own feet (as that is a loving thing to do) and you and your OH are now going to enjoy your hard earned time (and money!) together which is your right.

Tillybelle Thu 15-Aug-19 11:48:30

Summerlove. I'm so sorry if I didn't make what I was trying to say very clear. Moreover, I am very sorry if I upset you, I had no intention whatsoever of doing so, indeed the reverse! It was getting late and I still had a headache (still have!) so perhaps I ought not to have written.

I agree with everything you say. Thank you for pointing theses matters out and making sure I haven't misled anyone, even inadvertently.

I like your point that people need to learn to cope even if they have mental illnesses. I was hoping to gently suggest to Cocol that she needs to let her son get on with his life and make sure he does not feel she is fussing round him. I do understand that she might feel anxious if she does not hear from him for a long time, but it is good that he is in contact with his sister. Through that contact Cocol can learn that her son is coping.

Thanks again for your helpful comments.

Summerlove Thu 15-Aug-19 17:18:20

@tilly, I obviously misunderstood your point a bit, I’m sorry if I came off as brusque. I had a headache yesterday as well, still working it off today.

I’m glad you saw your son cocol. I think it’s time to back off a bit. Let him find his way

Razzmatazz123 Thu 15-Aug-19 20:33:30

I wouldn't take second hand information and only put value on what he has said. What he has said after I period of you supporting him as he was unwell is that he doesn't need you which has frees you to live your life. I would be thinking that he has not recovered at all and doesn't want to be a burden. Perhaps he is worse and worried if he speaks to you you will see that. Anyway, I really wouldn't count chickens until you do speak.

loopyloo Thu 15-Aug-19 20:37:21

I think you should try and see your son without his step father being present. Just to hear his point of view. Perhaps go out for lunch somewhere. He might feel he has lost his mother.