Avoiding conflict avoiding relationship feeling sad

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lavacake

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Avoiding conflict avoiding relationship feeling sad
« on: May 11, 2019, 11:21:00 AM »
My adult child (23) is upset with me but hasnít told me why despite several invitations.

Itís so frustrating. This is a pattern. He takes offence , gets emotional and withdraws.

When I can get him to talk about it, itís all emotional reasoning and blaming. I make him feel...

After an extended period of time, it can be a week or more, he will apologize for... Iím not even sure I can recall his words, in my recollection he apologizes for being unfair or difficult.

I encourage him to be honest and to use I statements. He accuses me of being defensive and uncaring. Which I think are unfounded but thatís how he feels (emotional reasoning/ blaming). I ask him to give me specific advice about what I can do to be more supportive, which is usually when he ends the conversation.

We keep repeating this pattern.

Right now he is questioning whether we should have relationship at all, which is also part of the pattern.

It sounds like he believes conflict means the relationship is better off discarded.

I keep repeating that conflict is a normal inevitable part of all relationships and everyone needs to learn how to process conflict effectively but that doesnít seem to help. Or he doesnít see the truth in that.

Heís been to counselling, weíve been to counselling as a family but he stopped coming and didnít participate in the sessions he did attend other than to complain that his father and I did all the talking. I get individual counselling as needed but right now I am waiting for my extended benefits to come into effect after changing jobs.

I think I need to let go of my stress.  I feel awful, guilty, inadequate, so sad that he is suffering. But I have done everything I can. I think...

I spend a lot of energy second guessing and wondering what I could do differently, better...

I have been reaching out to him daily. He lives nearby and I am reassured that he has at least responded minimally. That is some progress. It hasnít been complete cut off this time.

I have been telling myself to follow my heart and do what I think might be helpful. He will be mad and blame me for being wrong regardless.

This morning I debated with myself whether saying that I love him would make things worse in response to his statement that he is questioning whether we should try to have a relationship. I decided to say it. And to repeat that processing conflict is a necessary skill. No response from him yet. Maybe tomorrow. 

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Penny Lane

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Re: Avoiding conflict avoiding relationship feeling sad
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2019, 09:12:42 PM »
lavacake, I see a lot of wisdom in your post. Especially these things:

I think I need to let go of my stress.  I feel awful, guilty, inadequate, so sad that he is suffering. But I have done everything I can. I think...

I have been telling myself to follow my heart and do what I think might be helpful. He will be mad and blame me for being wrong regardless.

I think that you know what you need to do to set good boundaries and take care of yourself. I also think that taking care of yourself will mean that you set a good example for your son and give yourself the best possible chance of having a good relationship with him. But it is so hard.

 :bighug:

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momnthefog

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Re: Avoiding conflict avoiding relationship feeling sad
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2019, 09:00:25 AM »
lavacake,

Welcome to the forum!

Does your son have a dx of a personality disorder, or does he exhibit behavior that leads you to believe there's a PD?

I ask b/c as a 23 yo man this could be his way (the behavior you mentioned) of trying to cut the apron strings....so to speak.  I have a 24 yo nearby (non-PD) and I have to remind myself sometimes to let him come to me and give him space. 

Boundaries are important regardless of anyone's dx or personality style.....as well as letting go of the mom guilt that plagues us.

Again, welcome....hope you'll feel comfortable in sharing more of your story.

momnthfog

momnthfog
"She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible.  She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings."

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lavacake

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Re: Avoiding conflict avoiding relationship feeling sad
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2019, 01:48:43 AM »
Thanks for the comments and encouragement

There is no diagnosis. I found this website looking for help with boundaries and have found the information very useful. I borrowed the book Out of the FOG and considered that I may have been raised by a BPD mom, which could explain why I have trouble with boundaries. My mom used to threaten to kill her self and me (because she didnít want to leave me alone in the world). I can see some of the traits in me as well as my children.

I find it comforting (?) to read the stories and coping strategies because I donít want to always talk about this stuff with the people in my life. And the website is always available, 24/7. Iím very grateful to the folks who make it possible.

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lavacake

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Re: Avoiding conflict avoiding relationship feeling sad
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2019, 02:17:50 AM »
He (adult son) cut me off completely about two months ago, telling me that I was abusive and not to contact him. 
It was a bit of a relief but I would like to have a friendly relationship. And I worry a lot about his wellbeing. I think he has depression, he does not eat enough, which likely affects his mood, his thinness looks unhealthy, he drinks alcohol to excess alone in his room. I feel like such a bad person to be describing this situation and admitting that I am doing nothing to intervene even though I know he has very clearly told me to leave him alone. He is in contact with his dad and other relatives so that makes me feel a bit better.

He tried to manipulate me into bringing him on a trip with his brother. Itís so crazy. That was how the whole thing started when I was encouraging him to come with us, and he got upset for some reason I donít understand, refused to explain and started making false accusations about things he claims happened years ago, putting words into my mouth, claiming to know my ďrealď thoughts and feelings.

So a week before the trip he texts his dad ďI guess Iím not allowed to go on the trip ď. Which I see as taking zero responsibility for his behaviour and completely ridiculous. It recalled all of the bad experiences I have had on trips with him, including refusing to speak to me for extended periods, encouraging his younger brother to also not speak to me, refusing to get in the car, running away, getting black out drunk. I felt really guilty for not longer being willing/ able to do family vacations, especially when I would hear advice about how they build happy memories. I have kept our family events local for the past several years. There is always some kind of drama and lots of criticism/ verbal abuse directed mostly at me, sometimes their dad too.

And then he texted his brother the night before we were leaving, getting him all worked up and mad at me for being mean and ďcoming between him and his brother ď.

I donít know what I was thinking to begin with, inviting him. I guess I wanted to believe things had gotten better and would be different this time.  How could I be so delusional?

It seems like he thinks it would be ok/ possible for him to come on a 4 day car trip and not speak to me? And he thought that I would agree to that? I felt guilty about not saying yes. At the same time I feel relieved that he is not coming and the conflict started before we left, so that I could see that my hopes were unrealistic. And I feel really really sad and discouraged and inadequate that this is the state of our relationship. I think I was a decent parent, I know I wasnít abusive. I think I tended to err in the direction of being too easy going.

All of the counsellors I have seen have encouraged me to be firm and keep doing what Iím doing, in terms of responsibility and respectful communication. But my kids seem to hate me. I am trying to accept that some things are out of my control and hope that one day they will see things in a more balanced way. 

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momnthefog

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Re: Avoiding conflict avoiding relationship feeling sad
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2019, 12:37:12 PM »
lavacake,

Whether or not our kids have PDs....as they become adults they need more autonomy and space.

It's part of finally cutting the apron strings. 

I'm not suggesting that there aren't issues on his part, but suggesting that part of the challenge may be a natural response to trying to establish his own identity.

momnthefog
"She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible.  She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings."