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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

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Going Backwards,

Your distress is easily understandable (my own daughter periodically estranges herself for long stretches too). Being in limbo re what is going on makes it all the more difficult because there's no way you can fix what you don't know. The feeling of helplessness is not easy to cope with.

From your post, I gather that this is not personally about you. Your son has also distanced himself from the rest of the family. Since it wasn't caused by anything that was said/done to him, the issue lies with him. Most women like to discuss whatever problem arises. Men tend to withdraw and work things out alone. They're more private about their feelings/emotions. They resent interference. Enticing them to open up is often impossible. It doesn't mean your son rejects you or doesn't love you...he has just made himself unavailable for the time being. Having personal issues to resolve often makes people self-focused, without much thought for their loved ones feelings. Sometimes also, not getting others involved is seen as a way to protect them.

What is important here is that the way your son sees his estrangement is probably different from the way YOU perceive it.

If your son is really struggling, he would need to reach out for help. It is sometimes more easily done anonymously to begin with. There again, the decision can't be forced. How would he take a simple message reminding him that orgs like BB or Lifeline are there to help those in need over a rough patch ? Only you know him well enough to figure if it is worth a try. Also check the "Looking after someone" section at the bottom of this page, though this is difficult if that "someone" won't let you but it includes a "Looking after yourself" part.

Kudos to you for rebuilding your life after challenging times. You have had to work hard for this, which shows your courage and resilience. There is nothing you can do for your son right now, except from respecting and waiting out his decision to distance himself. All you can do is try to come to terms with his choice. You haven't caused any of this. Whatever the matter is, it is not your fault. So please, continue to take care of yourself. You are a good Mum who deserves self-TLC. Your family needs you more than ever to keep in a positive frame of mind.

Here for you.

Community Member

Hi, and welcome to the forum!

First off, I'm sorry to hear that your adult son is no longer contacting you or your other kids. As hard as it is, there is unfortunately little you can do to bring your son back into communication at the moment. The hope is that, with time, he will realise he made a mistake in cutting you and his siblings off.

It's great that you rebuilt your life after your ex-husband's wrongful actions. You can be proud of yourself for this. Right now try to focus on your relationship with your other children and your partner, and hopefully you can enjoy spending time with your newborn grandchild too. It is worth seeing your counsellor for a few top-up sessions during this period. This way, you have a good chance of preventing a depressive relapse. You are a fighter, and you can do this. If you need to talk to someone at any time, you can call Beyondblue's 24/7 helpline on 1300 22 4636.

If you would like to have mental health resources to refer to, I recommend visiting this site: http://www.mindhealthconnect.org.au/. Beyondblue also has a wealth of resources, particularly under the Get support and The facts blue menu bars.

It would be great to hear back from you 🙂

Best wishes,


Thank you so much for the words. I am so totally overwhelmed by them and has made me thing about it in a different way. I agree, no matter what, there is nothing I can do right now to make him talk to me and I can only keep the lines open for when he does. I guess being a parent is a never ending process of total love for your child, even though they hurt us without realising the affect it has on us. funny how i worry more about how his actions hurting him down the track. His birthday is soon and with Christmas coming too I guess I wonder how you cope with those special days too. Thank you again

End of year's festivities always brings home a sense of loss when a loved one has estranged himself. All you can do to include him is send your best wishes. No matter what he is going through and whether he chooses to respond or not, it will remind him that he is loved, regardless. To some extent, he will still be included though perhaps not up to direct participation. Not being pressured will let him know that you understand. The gift of unconditional love is the best present ever... Besides, who knows what may happen during the next couple of months...

Focusing on celebration with the rest of the family is a good way to concentrate on what you CAN control . Keeping busy is always an effective distraction. Being in good company will help...You are a caring Mum so I'm sure you will find some enjoyment in making this as good a time as possible for the rest of your family, regardless of the inevitable tinge of sadness caused by your son's absence. Sad thoughts come and go. It is only dwelling on them that shatters your peace of mind.

I plan to just keep sending my texts and tell him that I am always here whenever he feels like talking, no questions asked as I know the more I pressure him the more he will turn away, thats his character. Sometimes I just feel he has turned into my ex husband who rejected me and his other children, as if we were all to blame. Its the same feeling, only worse because it is my son. My son really dislikes his father because of what he did, yet he is doing the same. I still feel I have done something wrong as I think the last few years just trying to get myself in order took so much from me that I perhaps didn't pay enough attention to him. I worked so hard to get to this point in my life that I just don't know how I can keep handling everything. My other son is moving to the country for his work and taking my two little grandsons and that is hard too. He has to go and I know is sad to leave me behind and its not too far to visit, but that is hard too right now too. Too much going on right now to make sense of it all I guess and not much I can really do.

That sounds really tough. For what it's worth I think your plan is a good one. Non-threatening texts to remind him that he can come back to you. I think your plan is tough on you though.

You shouldn't feel guilty for taking time to fix yourself. You need to have yourself in order.

Feeling like you're losing your other son to distance is really hard too. At least we have skype and internet to instantly talk with each other. over such long distances now.

You have done well by attending to priorities, working hard at your own recovery and doing a terrific job of it. As you know, there is no way we can help others if we are in a negative head space ourselves.

I hope your son can take a leaf out of your book and attend to his own issues. You have set a good example but that's the best you can do. Time will tell whether he is ready to follow it.

You are doing all the right things and in difficult circumstances. You're an inspiration.

Some days I am doing so well, don't let it get to me. But I sent him a text message and the no response just eats away at me. I am finding it hard right now to cope with it all and i guess no one really knows how hard it is for me. I don't know anyone who is experiencing this. everyone has their advice but it is not stopping the hurt. I love my son so much, it just hurts. Really trying though, pushing through. The happiness I had is dulled by this.

You are right, GB...no one can know exactly how you feel. My daughter once spent 2 years without contacting me. At the time, I had no idea where she was or what she was up to. I just knew she was vulnerable, trapped in a dark place within her mind. The pain and worry I felt at the time could only be felt by me, no one else. A "one of", just like yours is. Past experience of similar situations only enables us to share the gift of compassion and understanding.

Sorrow doesn't just disappear. All we can do is accept it, do the best we can to accommodate it, make the most of the happy/peaceful moments Life has to offer... be kind to ourselves and acknowledge the courage it takes for us to do all of the above.

The fact that some days you are doing well shows your inner strength and resilience. For this, you have my admiration and respect.