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Adult son having problems with my mother

Community Member

Hi All,

By way of background, I am a male in my mid-30s and my wife is due to have our first child in 2 weeks. My father passed away 20 years ago and my mum has never remarried. I have 3 other siblings.

My mum and I were close in my teens and early 20s, however things changed when I was 23 and had my first serious grilfriend. She was so difficult towards me and made it clear that she didn't approve of the relationship. She made my life extremely difficult during that period and the relationship ended after a few months. Things sort of returned to normal but unfortunately this pattern repeated 2 other occasions when I had serious girlfriends.

I met my now wife 4 years ago and things were a little strained between us but we muddled along. However, before the wedding there were 2 blow ups with my mum being offended by 2 fairly inoffensive statements my wife made about the sort of dress she would like my mum to wear. When I told my mum that my wife was pregnant, my mum went really silent and cold. She was good the last few months and even bought us a pram. However, the last week my mum was so awful to me (on my own birthday as well). She said that I was selfish and that my wife & I didn't include her. She then said that I wouldn't treat her this way if my dad was still around and that my 3 siblings are so much more considerate and caring. This argument started when we were 10 minutes late to dinner as we had been visiting my wife's nephew who was just born.

This unpredictable and hostile behaviour is so hard to understand. It hurts me so much and I don't think she understands just how bad it makes me feel. My siblings don't cop the same treatment, and the only real difference I can see between them and me is they have all largely been single their whole lives and don't have to juggle so many competing demands. I have tried so hard to be kind and understanding to my mum and always make time to see her once or twice a week just by myself. But it seems like this is never enough and I am not sure how long I can keep this up. Any advice on what may be causing this and how I should deal with it would be appreciated.


7 Replies 7

Community Champion
Community Champion


Welcome to the forum. This place is full of friendly .caring and supportive people.

Firstly, congratulations on the impending birth of your first child.

Sometimes as you get older you feel you may be left out of your children's lives.

Maybe your mum is missing your dad at this important time in her life and yours.

I became a grandmother for the first time this year and sometimes I do feel my daughter in laws parents get more information from their daughter than I do from my son.

It is funny so made some comments about my appearance that really upset me but he may have felt he was being helpful. I know as I get older I am aware that I am changing and your wife's inoffensive comments maybe have been taken to be critical.

Just basing on what you have written, it can be easy to take things the wrong way . I don't know your mum, but just maybe she is feeling left out . I am sure you try very hard to include her in your lifes but it is busy with the baby coming so soon, that maybe she feel you have not rung her , or texted her.

She maybe still grieving for your dad and upset he is not sharing the birth of a grandchild.

I am not much help, but you are not alone , and if at all possible you can include her, maybe even asking her to come on a shopping trip, or ask her advice on something. I know I felt that all my knowledge was so out of date I was being told how to look after a baby. I was keen to learn new techniques yet I still felt like a dodo.

Just another idea, maybe you could get your mum if she interested to write down a family tree or information about your grandparents, great grandparents. Or if she is a good cook some meals to freeze, , or good at sewing maybe she could make something for the baby.

Everyone likes to feel included at wanted and I am sure you do that already .

I know you are very busy and you love your mum and you obviously care so much about her.


Is your wife close to her mum?

Is your baby going to be the first grandchild?

Hi Quirky,

Thanks so much for your kind words and the response.

My wife is not particularly close to her mum. They talk mush less frequently than I do with my own mum and her mum (my mother in law) is from a non-English speaking background which is also an added complication.

It is the first grandchild and I have been very conscious of trying to include her and make sure she feels like I am not neglecting here. It just feels like it is never enough and that what she really wants is for things to go back to the way they used to be which is obviously not an option.

It has really put a dampner on what should be such a happy time. Thank you very much for responding and also telling me your own experience from a different perspective 🙂


Community Member

Hello Marty

Was so saddened by your post as you shared a lot of what is happening to me at the moment, but from the opposite side, completely!

I am a Mum and a Grandma, blessed with 4 lovely grand kids here in Australia, and a brand-new arrival in Canada last week. My son is mid thirties and married to a lovely Canadian girl and they moved back to Canada a couple of years ago. He is my youngest child and there is a long story as to how he came to be so special and so wanted when he was born. His Dad left when he was only four and I raised and educated the kids on my own...did my best through thick and thin, and got three of them across the line eventually. My second daughter died unfortunately when she was only 16, but that is a whole different story.

I got tickets to fly to Canada to be with my son for a white Christmas and to meet the new baby, but when I told him I was coming, he told me he didn't want me to come...they wanted to be on their own (all her family live nearby) and he was very cruel and didn't phone me, just sent awful texts that have so shocked me and made me feel worthless and totally unwanted. To the point where I haven't even put up Christmas decorations or bought one single present for anyone here at home. I have been so depressed and sad, it is awful.

So what I am offering you in your own situation is just the simple, hard reality that people change, people will always hurt the ones that love them the most because they know they can and they will be lovingly forgiven when the time comes...if it does come. So while I am grappling with the rejection from my son, you are also putting yourself and your wife through hoops trying to feel wanted, and relevant and loved. Take joy and strength from the baby you are expecting and comfort from the Christmas season and try not to fall into the fruitless game of trying to understand why and how and when, because you just end up blaming yourself and never getting free. I am a long way off that goal and I fail every day, but I am desperately trying to think of the good times my sons and I shared, not pretend to people that everything is OK, and not be afraid or feel guilty to admit there has/and is a breakdown in our relationship. At the moment I am scoring about 3/10!!!

Your words were powerful and I read the hurt and disappointment they contained. Good luck, have a peaceful Christmas (I am dreading it) and every best wish for the safe and joyous arrival of your child.


Well, if you have read some of my thoughts, you may well have understood some of the "grandmother rejection/irrelevance" issues I have been going through since late November. Christmas was miserable and I have slowly crawled out of the hole I have been hiding in only to find today that the feelings have multiplied..... I have seen photos of my new grand daughter, she is beautiful, but I am not included and my daughter-in-law's mother is enjoying the moment and I am here on the other side of the world not being wanted by my son. Not a good day.


I was just wondering how you were going and if things have changed in any way for the better.

Farmer J , I am sad you are not having a good day, but glad you have a beautiful grand daughter and have seen the photos. I suppose the thing you can hope is that people can and do change . Of course at the moment it hurts but I hope that one day you will be able to see her.


Hi and welcome

Great replies above

Your post actually reminded me about my relationship with my mother even down to "if you father was alive..." comment from her.

I will say my opinion about this, you might not ever be good/perfect enough to make her happy. And, it doesn't matter the reasons she is rageful, it can be a minor trigger, like a build up of resentment then bamm! you are 10 minutes late....she was likely angry before the time was due. It took me many years to realise this.

I'm not suggesting she has any mental illness. But my mother was in total denial that her train wreck of a life with other people existed. In the end a friend suggested I google this

Waif hermit queen witch

Those are the 4 characters of a woman with severe BPD as told in the book "walking on eggshells" by Dr Christine Lawson.

Again I'm not demonizing BPD sufferers but it all fell into place in the end.

My sister and I got fed up with the denial and parted ways with our mother 8 years ago. She is now 87yo and through family I know she denies all. She even ruined my first wedding.

So I'll leave you to that google thought and wish you best of luck.



As time passes, I thought I would be able to tap into some well-used, "cooping mechanisms", but for some reason I can't find the familiar old buttons to push. I packed up some things and posted them to Canada, and I am doing battle with the airline after postponing the flights, so I guess I am contributing to my miserable state of mind because every day something crops up or has to be done, that makes me vulnerable. Oh well, the drought and this terrible summer heat are not helping either, but I have a very special friend on a farm only 10kms away and she "checks" on me as I cannot share all this heartache with my daughter or the rest of my family.

Thanks again for replying.