Adult children extremely critical

Posted by junkartist @junkartist, Mar 16 10:35pm

I am at the absolute bottom trying to hang in there, have people to talk to. This has been going on all year. Starting with my oldest being viciously critical of me. I finally backed off of arguing with her and we are communicating online. She just recently sent me a sarcastic email, but I didn't get into a conflict with her and replied calmly to her.

About October, my middle child stopped talking to me. If he did, he sounded very angry. I don't know what's been going on with him, but I suspect it is related to telling her I talked to her father more than a year ago. (She broke relationships with her family, maybe 2 years ago.)

I felt much better when all of my 3 children talked to me on the phone at Christmas. In the last month, my youngest son, who is gay, told me that he was having mental health problems because of not getting what he needed as a gay person when he was young. Before, he always seemed happy and affectionate. I did not know he was gay until he came out after college. He has given my husband and I a book about emotional neglect.

I am extremely low, obsessing about negative things (of my whole past), and generally moving through molasses I have a supportive husband, some good friends, and a good therapist.

Thank you for listening.

Hi from Ontario. I noticed this before going to sleep last night and it is so sad….
I had a "friendly family" in UK, and walked away when I was 18 to move to Canada. Often hearing about family issues when I was an adult and even now, I cant help but wonder "what if" i had stayed – would we all have remained friends as well as relatives? Odd that I married first husband (abusive) who was only child raised by grandmother and ill mother… so no substitute family for me there; and my present husband of 40 years, well over the years one relative wasn't talking to another; back and forth back and forth, over and over; his brother quite friendly died; now his sisters daughter not talking to her mum…. not seeing grandchild… what a loss!…… i was not and am not used to it. Your last sentence , am sorry to here of your low mood (me too, for different reasons) but you have a supportive husband as i do – although things are not as they used to be since we have both been ill etc – and you have good friends and a good therapist. I cannot imagine not getting along with my 2 adult daughters, although I dont agree with their decisons and they are not perfect but we are a small family and almost "have' to get along. Best to you, I am a good listener but not a good solution-provider even for my own health etc. Hope you get some replies that help…. 🌺

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Just a note from my own experience. I have been dealing with similar issues regarding my adult son. The only thing that seems to work for me is to maintain strong boundaries between us. I now understand that his anger toward me is not something I can control. But I can definitely step back and refuse to listen to him anymore. Since I already have acknowledged his feelings, and offered my support, and he declined, I've done what I could. A parent's love cannot fix an adult child's issues. My son has the free will to keep his anger, and stay away from me, or make new decisions. So far, he chooses to disappear. I'm okay with that….as long as I keep reminding myself that this is his personal decision. I can choose how to feel about it. My choice is sadness, and to offer my parental love to so many adult children who want a nurturing mother figure in their lives.

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Thank you for your insight. I tell myself that these are their issues and do not engage in arguments. At least my youngest is trying to work this out with us. He has involved my husband which is good because it opens the channels more. I am left with a deep sadness and trying toget on with my life. It helps to know that you have gone through a similar experience.

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@junkartist

Thank you for your insight. I tell myself that these are their issues and do not engage in arguments. At least my youngest is trying to work this out with us. He has involved my husband which is good because it opens the channels more. I am left with a deep sadness and trying toget on with my life. It helps to know that you have gone through a similar experience.

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@junkartist It's wonderful that your son is trying to work it out. I can only come from the perspective of an adult child. My daughter is still young. Regardless of what your children feel, communication is key. If you communicate an open stance to their thoughts and feelings about the way you brought them up, that's all that you can do right now. Eventually your children will need to understand that parents have shortcomings too. Parents are people. Parents make mistakes.

I'm wondering if you have considered family therapy as a means to start a productive conversation with your adult children? It may only take a few sessions to get the ball rolling in a positive direction.

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@lacy2

Hi from Ontario. I noticed this before going to sleep last night and it is so sad….
I had a "friendly family" in UK, and walked away when I was 18 to move to Canada. Often hearing about family issues when I was an adult and even now, I cant help but wonder "what if" i had stayed – would we all have remained friends as well as relatives? Odd that I married first husband (abusive) who was only child raised by grandmother and ill mother… so no substitute family for me there; and my present husband of 40 years, well over the years one relative wasn't talking to another; back and forth back and forth, over and over; his brother quite friendly died; now his sisters daughter not talking to her mum…. not seeing grandchild… what a loss!…… i was not and am not used to it. Your last sentence , am sorry to here of your low mood (me too, for different reasons) but you have a supportive husband as i do – although things are not as they used to be since we have both been ill etc – and you have good friends and a good therapist. I cannot imagine not getting along with my 2 adult daughters, although I dont agree with their decisons and they are not perfect but we are a small family and almost "have' to get along. Best to you, I am a good listener but not a good solution-provider even for my own health etc. Hope you get some replies that help…. 🌺

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Thank you for sharing your experience with me . One thing that saddens me is that I think that I don't believe I have any prospect of grandchildren. One of my daughter's first accusations was that I was pressuring she and her husband to have children, which they a't afford. I can only think that she overheard me saying, "I have baby envy," one time. It is something I would say to my friends occasionally as a joke.

I'm not exactly sure what a friend family is, but I did think that the family my husband and I built over 35 years was a good, happy family. I do think This has all been an unexpected shock. My birth family was an unfriendly family, always bickering. My father was verbally abusive and we four kids were always in competition. I got away from home as soon as I graduated from college. During college and until I met my husband, I "dated" a lot of men, some very wonderful and some not so much. No one I would call abusive.

One of things that has bothered me during this past year has been my relationship with my parents who are both deceased. I understand how much it must have hurt my mother not to get a response to me from her letters and to not see her grandchildren more often. (Part of the reason for that was the cost of travel.) I understand that Dad only wanted what he did not have when he was a young adult. (To not have to struggle for an education.) Unfortunately, he wanted me to have a solid career, not be another "goddamn artist") Now, I beat myself up for being so much like him in some ways.

At least my sister and I have gotten through some serious conflicts and are on good terms now. So much so, that I was able to call her when I was in crisis last week, and tell her about the woes of the last year. We are the only ones left now of our birth family.

Thank you for listening to all this long story. Even good friends cannot hear it over and over again.

I hope you and you husband get well soon.

Cheryl

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@erikas

@junkartist It's wonderful that your son is trying to work it out. I can only come from the perspective of an adult child. My daughter is still young. Regardless of what your children feel, communication is key. If you communicate an open stance to their thoughts and feelings about the way you brought them up, that's all that you can do right now. Eventually your children will need to understand that parents have shortcomings too. Parents are people. Parents make mistakes.

I'm wondering if you have considered family therapy as a means to start a productive conversation with your adult children? It may only take a few sessions to get the ball rolling in a positive direction.

Jump to this post

Thank you Erika, family therapy has been suggested, but for now, I think we'll stick with gentler approach. One of my daughter's criticisms is that I am manipulative and controlling. I think that one possibility is that she is blaming me for all her worries. My middle son has said flatly that "he doesn't want to talk about it at this time." I think that working with thing out with Sam may leading to breaking through to the other two. They do talk to my husband and usually ask for me. I try to respond calmly and neutrally. One time, I was talking to my middle son and I pushed him too hard to tell me what was wrong. He was very angry about that. So you see, they all have different personalities and I tend to light the fuse. My husband is taking the lead right now.

Thank you for listening, reminding me of the importance of communication and suggesting options.

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@junkartist

Thank you Erika, family therapy has been suggested, but for now, I think we'll stick with gentler approach. One of my daughter's criticisms is that I am manipulative and controlling. I think that one possibility is that she is blaming me for all her worries. My middle son has said flatly that "he doesn't want to talk about it at this time." I think that working with thing out with Sam may leading to breaking through to the other two. They do talk to my husband and usually ask for me. I try to respond calmly and neutrally. One time, I was talking to my middle son and I pushed him too hard to tell me what was wrong. He was very angry about that. So you see, they all have different personalities and I tend to light the fuse. My husband is taking the lead right now.

Thank you for listening, reminding me of the importance of communication and suggesting options.

Jump to this post

@junkartist Families are complicated. I wish you luck with your youngest son. It sounds like you will be able to patch things up there. The other children will likely follow, as you said.

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