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How can I help my adult son who I hurt so much?

Community Member

The relationship between my adult son and I were never be good since he turned to 15 years old. He is adult now and had lived with me until 3 weeks ago.

He had a big argument with me and told me that all his problems were caused by my yelling to him every day when he was little. He has not grown to a mature adult as my yelling caused him long term depression. He often acted like a boy, not a man. He had not been happy for years and wouldn't be happy for the rest of his life as it is too late to do anything about that. He told me he hated me and didn't want to see me for the rest of his life. He moved out to somewhere very far 3 weeks ago.

I became a single mother when he was 6 years old and my another child was 3. I had to work hard to support 3 of us, never had any helps from their father at all. I had a full time job. The work place was 90 minutes away by public transport. I had to leave home early and got home late as I either did over time or the trains were delayed. I was frustrated, stressed & depressed from my work, travelling to and from work and two children not doing what they supposed to do almost every day. I do remember I yelled to them a lot. I couldn't control myself back then. But I never knew my yelling brought them life long impact until he told me so before he moved out. I apologised again and again before he moved out. I told him I would do anything, everything to help him to get better. He said it's too late. I feel his pain now and am so sorry. I texted him on Christmas eve, apologised again, told him I do love him and would be there for him whenever he needed my help. He didn't get back to me. I don't blame him. He is the one suffering from depression caused by me. And it is all my fault anyway.

I don't know what I can do to help him if he doesn't want speak to me or see me? I love my children so much and never and ever wanted to hurt them. But I did hurt them and I didn't even realize that for all those years until he told me lately. I am so sad and frustrated now. I worry him so much. I've been trying to convince myself 'He is fine. He is able to take care of himself. Don't worry about him too much. He might call you one day and ask for help when he needs'. Another me saying 'He moved out when he was angry at me. He had depression. His depression could possibly get worse. And no one is with him. He needs help'.

Can anyone please give me some suggestions? What should I do? Thank you in advance.

12 Replies 12

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hey Thanks for sharing and welcome

Im so sorry to hear what your going through, the community is always here to provide support

Please don't feel like your to blame as most things are 2 sided....also it is never too late there is always time to heal I used to think the same thing
Often after a heated argument both members need some time to recover and heal

Being a single mum is hard and I'm sure you did the best you could

In my experience with similar issues with my family I learnt that all you can do is let him know you love him and your sorry and when he is ready to talk he will let you know
Time often heals all wounds
Does he have anyone else close in his life that you can reach out to check on him?

All the best and I hope you find the support you are looking for, I hope you are okay. We are all here to help.

Thank you so much, HappyLelper88

I do have one of his friends phone number. I haven't contacted him yet. I don't want my son to find out one day that his friend has been telling me his situation and he might feel he is betrayed.

I might try to contact his friend.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Myer~

HappyHelper88 have raised some very good points. Plus no way this is "all my fault anyway", that is rubbish. Concerned and giving people sadly always seem to fall in this trap.

I'm afraid life does not give everyone all the things they need to live a calm relaxed life, or to give as much time to our children as we'd like.

Frankly it sounds like you have done a mighty job, 3 hours traveling a day, then the time at work, plus extra time on occasions. That in itself is more than enough for someone who is part of a couple. Sadly you had to do this by yourself, and have stuck to it for a large number of years.

It also sounds as if your work itself was frustrating and depressing.You do not even mention all the household things from washing to shopping.

OK, so you were vocal when you came home and found things undone, or were simply at the end of your tether. By itself that is not the end of the world. It's obvious you love your children, and that is more important by far. You gave them everything you could.

Now your eldest has left having words. It is easy to blame someone else for how one feels, and lumping it all on you is not only unfair but I seriously doubt at all accurate.

Regarding depression, if that is what in fact it is, as an illness that can never be remedied is simply wrong. So to is blindly accepting that accusation of shouting as being a cause.

As HappyHelper88 asked does he have any form of support, that friend or his younger sibling perhaps? You have already shown you care and are there for him if he needs it.

Just as important do you have support? It is a very stressful time for you and really do need someone on your side. A family member or friend - or someone at work - you can talk with, who will listen and care?

Please try to cut yourself some slack, you have done what you can, and have kept it up for years. If you continue to worry and blame yourself for an extra long time then can I suggest you see your GP and explain the situation in a long consultation, then see what happens.

I hope we can talk some more


Community Member

Thank you so much, Croix

Your understanding made me feel better. I feel I have got support from you. I will speak to my GP about it.

Thanks again.

On The Road
Community Member

Hi Myer,

HappyHelper and Croix have some great points, I'm glad they can provide support for you.

I am a young person without a lot of life experience and my relationship with my family isn't perfect, and I'm from a culture with a traditional household hierarchy. A large part of my issue is contributed by family issues.

Your concerns and your care about your son are validated, I think he knows this well. I also think he may need time for himself given he just moved out three weeks ago. He "escaped" the environment that he feels hurt and depressed, maybe this is the time for him to explore and reorganise himself.

Try not to worry too much which is too distressing for you, it is no good for your own mental health and not helpful for you to deal with this issue. Try to give some time and space for yourself as well.

yes it may be too late for you to be a gentle mom who doesn't yell at her kids but it is never too late to have a respectful relationship between two adults. Your gp may refer family therapists for you.

This is just my opinion, hope things go smooth for you and have a good outcome.

Community Member

Hi On The Road

I've never got an opportunity to speak to a young person about how young generation deal with relationships, what they think about their future and how they deal with the problems in their lives. You are the first young people gave me an advice. I am so glad about that. You sounded like you know my son more than I do. I guess that's because you are from the same generation with him. You would understand how he feels now from your own experience better than I do. I guess I will give him some time to calm himself down. Also give myself a break or I will break soon. I don't think I can stay like this for too long.

Thank you so much. I do feel so much better now after I have received supports from three of you. I will try to be a better mother and learn to respect my children like adults. They are not kids anymore.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Myer~

One of the hardest things I found as a parent to do is step back and let kids learn to be adults -which they do by making mistakes as well as having successes. I'm not sure you need to try to be a better mother, you have given your kids a stable loving and secure home.

So if I might suggest yes by all means treat them as adults -but fledgling ones. They are still learning and may not as yet have come to realise that you not only support them, but it is a two way thing and they in turn need to support you. Hopefully in time this will happen as they mature.

It may help when the time is appropriate to quietly share your daily worries, kids may regard parents as invulnerable to such things and thay are the only ones wiht them -a distorted view.

Apart from that simply being that stable and loving oasis in a turbulent world is all you realy can offer.

Giving time (to you too) is a good idea


Community Member

Dear Croix

I think you are right. I myself went through so many learning curves and difficulties in my life. I was trying to let my children go through less learning curves than I did and make their life easier by telling them what they should/shouldn't do. I didn't realise that by doing that I made them missing the opportunities to grow from their own mistakes. My son is immature comparing with same age young man. It's time to let him grow to a man, not a boy anymore.

I actually saw him 3 days ago. I went to somewhere and passed where he lives. I asked him if he needed anything from home. He said yes. So I dropped what he wanted. When I saw him I said Hi and commented where he was living was a nice place. He didn't say a word to me, not even Hi. Just took what he wanted off me and went back to his building. I stood on the street watching his back disappeared inside the building my tears were almost dropped. He didn't even want to say Hi to his mum after I have done so much for him for more than 2 decades. He must be very sad too. I guess I have to be strong and hoping one day he will contact me and we can have a proper conversation like 2 adults.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Myer~

It would have been very hard for you, I know it would be for me, but I guess you did what you could, saw to his welfare and most importantly did not start to accuse him, just gave the impression of being you and being there.

So he made two mistakes, the first follows on from the second,. He did not treat you with love, courtesy or understanding, quite the reverse. Maybe he felt resentful and that was his way of showing it, after all you did mention relations had been strained for years.

The basic problem is that he has not made the connection between all the things you have done, in fact the life you have lead, has been for his and his younger siblings sake. That takes a level of maturity to become clear, to get over petty disagreements and see the real loving you.

It may take a while, then again circumstances may help

May I suggest you do not be too accommodating. By that I mean resist the temptation to keep checking on him or asking what he needs. Still be yourself and remain approachable, but not taken for granted. Let him find out that maybe he is may not be completely independent, emotionally as well as in material things.

Frankly this is just a guess. It is what I'd try, though I am by no means sure I'd succeed.

Please remember in any case you have really nothing to apologize for.

I'd also like to ask how the both of you get on with his younger sibling and their attitude to this development of his leaving home and the strained relations beforehand. Maybe a means of keeping indirectly in contact.

You are not alone in this, worrying though it is.