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Adult son stopped talking to me

Community Member

I don't know what to do. For a reason I don't really know, my son (who is now 28) has just stopped communicating with me. He won't answer my texts, phone calls or emails and I haven't seen him in 5 months. He has also moved and I don't even know his address (but do know the area). He also has no contact with his siblings either and didn't even acknowledge his own nephews birth recently. It is breaking my heart to the point where it is affecting every aspect of my life. My marriage broke down (9 years ago) after 30 years when my husband cheated and left to be with the other woman and it really did affect my son and tore the family apart. I fought hard with severe depression, almost taking my life at one point but got through by fighting hard and getting 3 years of counselling. I built up my life again, remarrying and my family are all happy for me but it was a very tough road.

But now my son seems to have been slowly pulling away over the last few years (he has a new girlfriend too) but now no matter what he just won't talk to me. His father has no contact with him and he has now totally rejected his father from his life and I am terrified he is doing that to me. I just can't bear the thought of not having him in my life. He was a hard child to raise (ADD) and has good job and life now but because of the ADD I have to be careful how i approach the situation as he is more likely to run further if I push any blame on him etc.

It feels like rejection all over again and I am finding it almost impossible to stop thinking and wondering and not knowing what to do. It is affecting my work, my family relationships and every aspect of my life. I have lost all interest in myself and feel like I am going backwards after all the hard work I put in to rebuilding my life. I was so so proud of myself, reinventing myself so to speak and becoming a strong and independent woman. Now I fear I am falling backwards.

I don't know how to cope or what to do anymore. I know it is something he feels deeply about and I can only guess. My husband confided in me recently that he called my son's girlfriend but she felt (or would not) say what was happening. I suspect she is part of the reason too and the whole situation is just tearing me apart.

13 Replies 13

Thanks, you know that feeling and how dark it can feel. Finally made an appointment to see a counsellor this week through my work, know I cant go on letting it eat away at me. My mind just keeps turning with what ifs, what did I do, what didn't I do, what should I do. Funny, all I need is a simple text, don't need him to see me if he doesn't want to, just so I know he is there. Love isn't easy is it

No, it isn't easy. Feeling helpless in the face of a loved one's struggles is painful and frustrating..but I'm relieved that you will be seeing a counselor to help you over this rough patch. Kudos to you for taking this all-important self-care approach. You are one brave lady.

I hope some well- deserved peace of mind can be reclaimed.

My thoughts are with you.

Honestly don't know how I am going to get through it. Saw my counsellor and really nothing much I can do. Says extra hard as it brings memories up from when my husband left (rejection etc). I have to basically respect his decision not to talk to me. I realise I did or said something or didn't do something that caused him to totally move away from me. the hardest part is knowing that I have done something that has hurt my child and caused him to feel that he doesn't want me in his life. It doesn't matter how much I understand the feelings, or rationalise it all, I can't stop crying. At work I am surrounded by young people all laughing and talking and I feel so distant and out of that as well. My other son is getting ready to move away too. It seems like so much is going on at the one time. I draw on my strength and hope its enough. People say how strong I am etc. but you know I am tired of being strong if that makes sense. I have a wonderful husband and lovely daughter that keep me going but gosh its hard eh. Thanks for listening, don't know you but funny to actually be able to verbalise it makes it better to someone who doesn't know me at all, and who understands some of what I am feeling. Before my son was born I had 3 miscarriages and a stillbirth so when my son was born it was as if the world opened up for me and so he is extra special. I will be ok, but I want to be more than that as I have been so happy before.

Hi GB,

How can you be so sure you did/say something wrong ? If you did, the sensible approach would have been to let you know, not to withdraw. Though many men find communication uncomfortable and prefer to work things out alone. The chances are, he may well not be clear at all about what is happening within his own thoughts.

I understand how precious your son is to you and hope he will eventually realize it too. Life is full of surprises. The parent/child bond is a strong one. Unless major trauma severs it completely, it can take a lot of stress without breaking. It is not uncommon for people to pop in and out of each other 's life.

I agree with you that therapy can feel like surgery without anaesthetic...one often feels worse after a counseling session. Like throwing a rock in a murky pond, it can stir up a lot of mud. Then it settles again. A disquieting but necessary process. It takes courage. Hats off to you for working things through !

Yes, when the mind turns into a battlefield, feeling exhausted makes sense. Inner resources cannot be stretched forever. This is when consciously stepping out the mind means sanity and where distraction, practicing strategies like relaxation and mindfulness is helpful. Some of those can be googled (Body Scan, Relaxed breathing, Mindfulness).

You are right, anonymity allows community members to talk through/share their concerns at a deeper level than possible in face to face conversation. The aim of these forums is to give a voice to silent suffering. Though we all react differently, many of us are/have been in similar situations.

It is a pleasure talking with you.