My 20-year old son hates me. We have been so close his whole life. He really did not seek out the company of others his age. He grew up in the company of adults and with his IQ and Asperger's he preferred mature friends of both sexes. He was smart, generous, kind, and mannered. I wanted him to grow up to be independent and become exactly the person he was meant to be (as I was raised with not being good enough for my "foolish" choices.)

He is a sophomore in college studying what he loves and holds down a good job. I have always accepted him for who he is. Then a few weeks before Mother's Day, he was struggling in school and becoming more and more distant. We had a good visit in April; I told him it would work out, that if he needed to repeat a class, he'd be just fine.

The distance thing suddenly and drastically became outright hostility. He refused to see his grandfather who only visits a couple of times a year (and who had been financially helping him out.) A difficult man but it was one meal that grandpa wanted to spend time visiting him. His grandmother shattered her shoulder in a fall and he wouldn't even call her though I begged him too. She is elderly and infirm and I didn't want him to regret letting her know he cared. She was a very important figure all through his life: a generous, loving and accepting force throughout his upbring.

I started to get angry with him for what had gone from rudeness to outright meanness and a level of selfishness I had never witnessed. I handled it poorly telling him I was disappointed and alarmed about his conduct.

His response: he wrote me and told me he would not accept any contact from me at all. And if I reached out to him in any way in the next three months, he assured me he would not have any further contact with me, indefinately.

For weeks I have cried daily. My heart ached for the 15 minute weekly phone calls, the funny texts back and forth. It underlies every day, every stress of the rest of each day. I can barely breathe with the weight of it, the sense of loss. So drastic that it feels like he "died" and he is forever lost to me.

The truth is, I have not been as good a parent as I hoped I'd be. But I have always felt that he is the one thing I ever did right. Far from perfect but he was my first priority. And I took my "job" (more my stewardship) of his health and happiness very seriously.

I don't know if anyone has read this far. I know I am a total stranger to you and I have rambled on.

I understand this is some version of "normal" for any teenager and since he didn't go thru this phase in high school that it was probably inevitable. But I can barely stand the company of my friends whose relationship with their 20-something children is warm and mutually loving.

How could I have gone so wrong when I tried so hard. Too hard? I spoiled him? I relied too much on him? I treated him too much of an equal? I was clingy as he's grown away from me? Not at all his freshman year but as he became more anxious and distant his second year I tried too hard to be a part of his resolution?

I read this and I see that I need to let him completely severe ties with me to grow up the way I intended him to. But the grief has kept me from sleeping for 3 months now. I feel aged and worn.

Is this temporary? I have as many friends who have been estranged from their children for decades as I have friends who have tight bonds that were never broken. It seems it is just as likely I have lost my only child for good as him resurrecting our bond.

I am so tired.
zepha123 zepha123
41-45, F
3 Responses Aug 21, 2014

My heart goes out to you. Parenting is never easy. I am a mother to a 10-year-old boy and there are a lot of frustrations with bringing up a boy. I find that boys are very different from girls. They thrive on praise and rewards. They are not as empathetic as girls and they show affection differently from girls too. I am still learning. You hang in there, yah?

Thank you.

He is your son. You gave him everything he's ever had and he owes you every little bit of it. I understand how upset you are over this, but now it's up to him to rekindle your relationship.

Maybe you did spoil him, maybe you treated him a little differently than you would have liked to. The fact is it sounds like you raised an independent person, and it's up to him to take things from here.

Thank you.


I'm so sorry you are going through this. I have gone through similar, though not as intense, with my eldest daughter who is now 18. It sounds to me like you've tried to be a VERY good mother, especially given the extenuating circumstances in your son's case. Asperger's is not an easy thing to work into the mix.

You may be on the right track that he is seeking some independence. But, at the same time, he is treating you and those who have been assisting him financially in a terrible manner. He is fortunate that his rudeness to his grandfather did not result in the loss of monies he has been receiving. Though hard...that might be a good lesson for him to learn actually... You can't go around being a jerk to people and expect them to pay your way through life.

At the end of the day Zepha, you have done your best. The ball is in your son's court now. Rest easy that YOU have done a good job. You have. It may not seem that way from where you are, so close to the situation, but other mom's and dad's can see it. Give him the space he's requested then try reconnecting after his deadline has passed. Do so in a very mild way, just reach out to say Hello.

I am happy to say that after a couple years of distance, my eldest and I have a better relationship. She's learned a few things about life and discovered that her mum wasn't ALL wrong about life and can be a good friend.

Hang in there. My thoughts are with you.

I so appreciate you sharing this with me. It helped having people respond when mostly I thought I was casting my words into the ether. It has helped.