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Feeling helpless

Community Member

My family and I decided on a relocation from one state to another last year. Since that decision my youngest son who is 16 got his first serious girlfriend. He has alienated himself from his entire family and all his friends. When I arranged to do things with him she was always upset about one thing or another so he would cancel our plans to be with her. He would often stay at her house and the nights I would make him come home all he did would sit on his phone to her. I also found out she has all his social media logins and checks his accounts regularly.

My son was accepted into a specialised sports program in the new state and was so excited about pursuing a possible career in the sport he loved and worked hard for. A lot of things happened and he kept telling us he didn't want to move away from her. We had a meeting with her parents to explain that he needs to be with his family and pursue his dreams. Her parents shook hands with us and promised they would not allow him to live with them. A week later they went back on this promise and to cut a long story short myself, my husband and my 22 year old son all moved states as planned. My 16 year old remains with his girlfriend and her family. He has changed from a caring, loving, sweet and loyal person to someone I no longer know. Prior to moving he got physical with both myself and my husband, which is so far out of his usual behaviour we were totally blown away by it. Her family also got physical with my husband when he went to their house to try and pick him up. My son doesn't think they did anything wrong in the situation. Prior to meeting them he would have defended his family against anyone. My eldest son wants nothing at all to do with him. I am trying to keep a connection going because despite everything I still love him and miss him every single moment of every single day. He doesn't respond to messages or phone calls. I send him simple messages to say I love him more than the world and I get nothing back. I don't know how to move on or live without him. I have to try and hide my emotions in front of my husband and son because they are so angry about the situation but it's literally tearing me up inside. I can feel myself starting to lose it and I don't know if I can stop the free fall into god knows what. Has anyone else gone through this that can provide me with some much needed help because I can't do this on my own.

4 Replies 4

Community Member

Hello Soconfused

I have never experienced your situation so my advice may miss the mark. It seems you have tried very hard to keep the communication with your son open, but it obviously hasn’t worked.

If I was in your shoes, I would cease the communication attempts temporarily. Try writing a letter ( not email or SMS) on writing paper. Something he can keep and read over and over. In the letter explain to him that you understand he has made his mind up that living with his girlfriend’s family is his choice an you won’t try and persuade him otherwise. Then I would make it clear that you are his mother and if ever he needs help, advice or shelter you are there for him.

Then I would only have intermittent contact. Send him an SMS every 6 weeks or so and request he call you. Obviously birthdays, and other important dates should be remembered. The chances are that within 12 months he’ll realise he has made a mistake and reach out to you. But if you keep “nagging” him to change his mind now, all you will do is drive him away and deepen his resolve to stay the course he has chosen. I was a sixteen year old rebellious boy once so I have some idea on how they think.

I know it’s easy for me to sit here and suggest plans. I am not emotionally connected but that lack of connection allows me to see clearly.

Good luck and let us know if there is progress (if you are comfortable).

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi there

I can imagine this would be terribly heartbreaking as a mother, so I'm sorry for that. I am a mother of a 23 year old, but my perspective I want to share is from that of myself as a young person who behaved similarly to your son. First loves can be all-consuming. Maybe it's not like that for everyone, but it was for me. All I wanted to do, all I could think about was this boy I was seeing, and my parents wanted me to do inane things like homework or hang out with my family (quite reasonable from a parental perspective!). The more they tried to prevent me from seeing him, the more annoyed I got. They would ground me, I'd sneak out. Eventually he and I moved away together. I was 15, he was 16. I know my parents were devastated, but I didn't care because I got what I wanted, which was to be with him all the time. Young people can be quite self-centred. Understandable as they're trying to become independent people and find their place in the world. It's a confusing time.

So perhaps, if I can suggest, he's the same person, but his behaviour has become different when centred around the possible loss of something so important to him - his new love.

I think it's wonderful that you are trying to keep the connection going. Whilst his focus may be elsewhere at the moment, and he's not reciprocating that communication, I'm sure he appreciates knowing he still has your love and support. There may come a time when he needs it, or he's ready to get back in touch, and he'll be able to do that more easily if he knows the door is open.

I do wonder if your partner and son are showing their emotions in a different way? Perhaps it hurts for them too? Do you have other people in your life that you can talk to about this? Being able to share, is in itself cathartic. And good on you for coming here to talk. Aside from that if you're really not coping, perhaps some professional counselling?

I don't know if this has been at all helpful, but I hope you can take something from it at least. I'm happy to talk further if you like. My kind thoughts, Katy

Thanks for the post, it did help. I have taken your advice and stopped contacting him trying to convince him to change his mind. I am sending him a message every now and then telling him I miss him and love him. Usually I don't get a response or he starts attacking again and dragging up previous arguments. I went for almost 2 weeks of not contacting him until he sent me a msg asking for his Nan's number. I sent it and checked with her if he contacted her, nothing. Makes me even more confused. I was continually checking his status almost every 5 minutes on Instagram hoping he would message me and was driving myself crazy so I disabled my account. There are days at a time that I don't cry and just think about him all the time, then bam it hits again. I guess I just keep taking it one step at a time, somehow.

Again, so so sorry 😞

Do your best to take care of yourself while you wait, and please reach out for help if you feel you're becoming overwhelmed by your feelings. Parenting is hard! So is being a teenager! I really hope you have the opportunity to work things out soon. Sending you a big hug (if you like hugs). Katy