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Feeling Confused

Community Member

Hi. I'm new to this forum.

Wanting to share and seek advice. I have enabled my adult son for years, lending him money, financially bailing him out constantly. Have even gone bankrupt. It's never enough.

I have recently got a loan for him and his wife to consolidate their car loans. Payments coming from his account. He has let me down and not making the weekly payments. My husband and I trying to keep our heads above water.

He just never gives up asking for money. He works in a very high paid job earning over double what I do. Money is like water through his hands.

I have said enough is enough. He has asked again, for something that would benefit my grandson for his chosen sport. I have said no.

The response I have gotten is the following

Please don't contact us for a while...respect our wishes.

I love my 3 beautiful grandkids and they love us. He wont let me video chat or even talk over the phone.

It breaks my heart. This is the second time he has done this to me.

He is controlling and displays narcissistic behaviour. If he can't control me and get what he wants, this is what he does. I have constantly been walking on egg shells, giving in to his demands, not wanting to risk my connection with my grandkids.

Now it seems I have lost it all and I don't know where to turn or what to do.

6 Replies 6

Hi Roblee25,

Thank you for the bravery and resilience you have shown in joining our community, and having a discussion with us!

Narcissicism and financial abuse is horrific; to watch, to see, and to have inflicted upon you. First and foremost - we want to make sure you are ok - Please consider reaching out to us! You can all anytime on 1300 22 4636 - but also consider our email and webchat links. 
I would also want to bring your attention to 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) which supports people going through abuse and neglect - it is critical to have that sort of support!

Remember as well that you can reach out to your local women's support services, and your local Financial Counsellors may also be of use - to find your nearest service look up https://www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/

Please do not  hesitate to reach out! We would like to help anyway we can - in the meantime I am sure many of your peers here in the community will want to help where they can!


Soiphie M.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello Roblee,

This sort of manipulation & emotional extortion seems so common, I can assure you, you are not alone. I can see how your emotions are in turmoil because of how he plays on your love for your grandkids, & at least the fact of your familial relationship to him, as well as love you have felt for him, as your son, having raised him, cared & tried to give him what he needs. Sadly, that seems to mean nothing to him, & his wife, because of his own selfish needs coming before anything or anyone else. He can't even see how he would sacrifice good, loving relationships all around him, just for more money.

I hope you aren't fooled into thinking he really wants to get things for your grandkids. You already could have prioritised their needs with his own high income to support them long ago.... but he comes to you? I don't believe what he said for a moment.

Giving in & continuing to allow him to treat you this way is only going to make your life more miserable & find you bankrupt, with debts up over your head. Where will he be then? Not giving back & helping you, I'm sure. If he refuses to allow you to visit with his kids, your grandkids, sadly that is his decision, & he's taking something far more valuable than money away from his own family. Unless he & his wife are willing to change how they treat you, which doesn't seem likely, then you know yu have a very painful decision to make, because you simply cannot continue meeting their demands.

Sophie_M has given some good advice. (Thank you Sophie_M.)


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Not unlike a marriage breakdown this situation of being ostracised from your son and his family has parallels with the grief and adjustments you need to make to get your life back on track.

Unfortunately he is not mature enough to reflect the truth, that he's robbing grandparents from their grandchildren. Effectively using relationships as a pivot of hurt is not something that is wise not is it associated with the reasons for the conflict. Such tendency to behave that way is something you can't take lightly as the risk of losing contact with your grandchildren is there for as long as they're children.

The answer imo is not going to arrive with more conflict. To recover funds from him could involve legal action. You've already suffered greatly financially.

Just like a marriage split the best direction is now to regroup, take a break and try to accept the situation and begin planning a life of relative happiness until, hopefully things settle.

We often talk about distraction in all tense situations. Visit friends, watch sport, take up hobbies, grab a tent and head for a camping ground, whatever it takes, the more you fill your lives the more sadness gets pushed aside. If it still gets to you visit your GP, it's worth caring for each other.

I'm sorry you are going through this, as a dad that had narcissism in his family and had to recover from being discarded by his child from no valid reason I sympathise. I know rising up to the above challenges is tough but there is few other options but to not bow to uncaring unappreciative behaviour

Repost anytime


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Roblee, what you don't know and probably won't be told is what does he do with the money he earns in this well defined job, the answer could amount to anything.

One of the reasons you might be caught up in this trap is to ensure you can see your grandkids and this will only happen when he receives money from you, so he is using this as an excuse to get money off you.

There are many names for doing this which I'm sure you know, but it's unacceptable, you have done too much to help him and if this means that unfortunately you don't have contact with your grandkids, then they will try and find a way to contact you, whether it's by using a friend's phone, if that's possible, then it will happen.

You have your own life to live and if the cars are taken of he and his wife, then so be it, you got them the loan and it's now their responsibility, he has to grow up and sometimes this can only be done 'the hard way', he should be mature enough to know he has a family and mum and dad want to live their own life.

It must be disappointing for you and I'm really sorry but you can't be controlled by your son because you won't get a dime back.

Can I ask, and very sorry to do so, but have you adjusted your will, and please only answer if you want to.

My best.

Geoff. x

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Roblee25,

Very sorry to hear what you're dealing with, it's an awful situation. I can relate on a personal level as well, my sister and parents went through a similar thing, where she cut them off from her and her kids as a punishment for their issues and would only allow them to see each other when she and her partner needed money or some other kind of support. It was so painful for my parents, as they felt powerless and hurt by the control.

I agree with the sentiment behind many of the comments here, that taking a time out might be a good idea and not giving in. The more you bail him out with money, the more he will rely on it long term and the less serious he will take you if you ever try to stand your ground.

My advice would be to take a break, give them the space they need and focus on yourself for a while. Embrace any kind of distraction you can find, to allow space for you to distance from the situation.

Inevitably I think they will miss you and want to be in touch again down the road, so don't think it's forever - it just needs time to reset so you can come together after a cool-off period to redefine the relationship and set appropriate boundaries.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi roblee25,

Unfortunately you lost it all longer ago than you realised. Your son has gotten very comfortable manipulating you for his own gain. And so now any sense of resistance causes him to clamp down extremely hard so that you learn never to oppose him again. He is essentially holding you hostage, with your grandchildren/his children as the weapon. How extremely sad that he is unable to place his children’s needs before his own wants. But there is nothing that you can do about that, if you fall into line, this will only continue and increase in frequency/severity over time, with the slightest transgression causing you to lose access. The only way you can ever win against a controlling person is to refuse to play, as you have done now. Give your son the space he has asked for and see whether he comes back. If he comes back despite not receiving the money, even if it’s months and months later, that is a victory for you and you have sent a powerful message - the bank of mum and dad is closed. If he doesn’t come back, then you can either have it out with him that you feel used that he will only communicate with you as long as you are providing money. Or accept the lack of contact, as hard as that is. I would continue to buy your grandchildren gifts for special occasions so they know you are thinking of them and love them. They will of course continually ask their parents about you, and that will place added pressure on your son. But it will also let your grandkids know you love them and open the door for them re-establishing contact when they are old enough to do so. I really hope it doesn’t come to that though, it’s sad when children are wielded so carelessly.