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My 19 Year Old Son has been giving me the Silent Treatment for weeks now!!

Started by Teardropper, May 23, 2018, 04:43:22 AM

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Hi there!!

I am new to this site and this is my first posting.  I actually stumbled across the site whilst looking for online advice regarding my son.

He is 19 years old and for the last few weeks now he has not spoken to me.  We live in a very small flat and his father has never been part of his life.  He left us when I was 7 months pregnant and now lives in USA with his new family.  I have worked full-time since I was 16 years old and I am now 52.  I have done lots for my son and when he was growing up he always had what the other kids got as I worked my backside off to provide for him.  He never received one penny piece from either his father or his father's family (who have also rejected us).

He was very badly bullied when he went to High School, and I was never away from speaking to his teachers etc and he eventually left when he was able to.  He got into college and has a job now and earns his own money.  Although he does not earn a lot, I never have taken any money from him for rent etc.  All I asked was that he kept his room in order, I was happy to do his washing, ironing etc.  So all in all, he is OK. He was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease early last year but is able to manage his medications etc but I went to every one of his consultants appointments etc with him and always let him know that no matter what I was there for him.

I came home from work one day to find wet towels, pants etc all over the place (this is really the norm to be honest) but this day I just got so fed up with it, I sent him a text saying basically he needs to get his act together and that I am sick of it.  He is not the only one who works.   This was almost 6 weeks ago and he has not spoken to me since. I left my job a couple of weeks after this due to stress and went out with a friend of mine.  I dont drink alcohol as a rule, but between my son not speaking to me, not having my job, I just felt totally worthless and fed up and got very drunk.  I found a bottle of alcohol in my son's room and started on this as well.  I got up the following day and threw in the bin what was left of the alcohol but my son has obviously spotted this and fished it back out and put it back in his room.  He is not a big drinker and is quite a healthy person but I think he was angry because this was a gift that someone had given him.  I felt terrible and have tried to apologise.

I have sent text messages which he does not reply to.  I have left notes before I go out which he ignores.  I have even managed to get myself a new job which I start on 4 June but I am not looking forward to it because I have this hanging over me. 

I have told him that I love him and even if he does not want to speak to me right now, he can come to me when he is ready.  I am actually feeling like I am grovelling and have no self respect or self worth right now.  I feel awful and every day starts and ends with tears.  I actually feel like I am grieving.  I cannot feel the happiness in anything right now.

I feel like such a bad parent even though in MY heart of hearts I dont believe this to be true.  The guilt I feel is so overwhelming that sometimes I wake up and just think what is the point in being here.  He hates me and doesnt want me anyway??

I am reaching out for some advice here because for the first time in my life, I just dont know what to do??

I am so sorry for the length of this post but feel I needed to get this out of my system.

Can anyone help??



Welcome, T. We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Open Me First, to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We are a monitored Website.

Pease know that a long initial post is what helps us get where you are coming from. We don't give advice, T. No one here is a professional counselor. We read (listen) and we care. Often we share.

For me, it was a very painful wake-up call to get that my eldest son had somehow entered the turbulent waters of adulthood at 18 when I wasn't looking. It was even harder to understand that he got to make his own choices there and learn from the consequences (or not). The first one was he couldn't live with me for free and call himself independent and it was time to let him go. He didn't want to go. He wanted to have it both ways. Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Hi there and thank you for my first reply back to my first post!

You send very kind and very wise words.  I just really wanted to know if there were other members/mothers on here who had experienced what I am going through at the moment and if so, how they dealt with it.  Give me some pointers and share there experiences so to speak.

I have never been a single mum to a 19 year old boy before and therefore have no idea of what "normal" is at this difficult stage in their lives.  I suppose in a way I am the one who is feeling a bit lost.

Last night I managed to get a few words from him but today I have come to the conclusion that if he is getting on with his life and if this (whatever "this" is), is not bothering him then why should it bother me.  I have said I will be there when he wants to speak to me again so I can just get on with being me and having my life.  He is going to work, he is coming home, he is not bringing trouble to the door, he looks fine and is safe, so for now I will just take each day as it comes and take it from there.

Thank you again for replying so soon.

Hugs back to you!



I had issues when my eldest gained his freedom.  I had no problems letting him move out of the house but once he got out he started making all kinds of (in my opinion) bad decisions.  He quit school and used his "school money" for supporting himself and his now wife.  He quit his job (which paid very well for one without a college degree) because his then girlfriend talked him into calling in sick often enough for his boss to tell him to go home and decide if he wanted the job or not.  He got engaged, he married and then they got pregnant.  The whole time I was going 'wait a minute!!' but I was completely ignored. 

He quit calling and he quit noticing special days like my birthday and Mother's day.  He quit visiting.  The more he pulled away the harder I tried to convince him not to.  I tried everything, even going to counseling with my now DIL where I was told that I had "separation issues" and my DIL was totally supported and heard (while I was forced to be silent).  The entire ordeal was incredibly one sided and unfair.  Although my needs were small they were obviously not going to be met.

It was around that time when I found this website.  I will never forget the relief I felt knowing that there were others out there who knew how I felt.  It was the wise women here who told me that my son was an adult and my parenting phase was over.  He had his own lessons to learn and his own mistakes to make.  Now my job was to enjoy my life.  You can read my past posts to see how I went about that but the one thing for me that sticks out about your posts is that you are not enjoying anything.  You have spent your life making his life as good as you possible, don't you think it is time for you to concentrate on you?  I do!

Please read our archives, they are loaded with suggestions on how to change your focus from him to yourself.  You deserve the best and we all want it for you!  Good luck!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


I actually read your post over and over and can I say how grateful I am to you for taking the time to reply to me!!

You are right about me needing to start taking more time out for myself.  He IS no longer a wee boy but a grown man, out working, earning his own money and obviously he has cut some ties from me which I have found somewhat hurtful in the way he has done it, but what else CAN I do now except let him know I am there if he needs my (but not to be used as his own personal slave)??

I am already feeling a bit anxious as I am starting a new job next week and it is something I have never done before.  I have been working as a Legal Secretary for the best part of 15 years now and to be honest, I have had enough of working for people who "over work" and "under pay", so I am moving on.  I feel as though I have a mish-mash of emotions just now and maybe once I start my new job I will have something else to focus on and not dwell so much on my son. 

It is really good to know that I am NOT the only person who has experienced this sort of rejection (if that is the correct word) and it IS a relief to know that I am not on my own. 

When I read your post the first time I was actually on the train and had to look out of the window so nobody could see my eyes were filling up.  As you said "the relief you felt".  For me, it felt like someone was removing a heavy rucksack from my back that I have been carrying around for weeks.

I will be there for him but your right, I DO need to start looking after myself too......and I will!!

Thank you again!!

Teardropper XXXX


Dear Teardropper,

I have such ADMIRATION for you and what you have accomplished.  You have successfully, singlehandedly, raised a child to be a caring successful man.  Congratulations!  Please take a few moments to bask in the sunshine. 

I think you are doing everything right, right now too.  I think those little notes to your son are perfect.  Yesterday my DH was telling me the story of someone he just met, someone in his history club, a man whose 16-yr-old daughter won't listen to him and won't speak to him.  I reminded DH what I did when that happened to me, when my 14-yr-old daughter refused to listen to me or talk to me.  You know, I can't even remember what it was about!  But I remember what I did. I wrote her a letter.  It turned out to be quite a long letter, and I put it in her bed.  I'm sure I told her how proud I was of her, what a good kid she was, what I felt in not being able to talk to her, etc.  OK, I'm just blathering because actually I can't remember anything I said.  I didn't expect an answer - just wanted her to know how I felt and I knew that I couldn't tell her in person because of the strained relationship we had.  Well, she did answer that letter!  And we went on to have many more letters back and forth.  And the problem between us cleared up.  Now it's 22 years later, we have a great relationship, and I wonder if she remembers what those letters were about?  I'm sure she remembers there were letters.  So you see I think those little notes you write to your son are exactly the ticket.  Who knows, maybe someday he will send a note back to you!  (Haha, maybe leave the note to him right on the notepad - so he has something to write on!)

I hope your new job is everything and even more than you expect and deserve.  Take care of YOU!  Because you are a star in my eyes! 


Hi Teardropper,
I, too, had an 18 year old who wouldn't give me the time of day once she had moved out and we decided to cut her off financially.  At first I begged and pleaded and accepted all kinds of negative treatment just to have a relationship.  But what kind of relationship was it?  Not one grounded in mutual respect, but one where I was choosing to be used and manipulated.  When I finally figured out I deserved respect, too, knowing I'd done my best as a parent and a pretty good job at that, I decided not to take the poor treatment anymore. The ladies on this website have been instrumental in helping me to see that. Things have come full circle for us - as she did realize I was serious.  I hope this will be your situation, too.  The future is a question mark, but today is yours to choose how to find joy, with or without your son.

All the best to you!


Thank you so much for your posts back to me today.  I am so glad I stumbled upon this site when I did a couple of days ago and made the effort to post my message, and am really grateful for the responses I have had.

I am going to just take things one day at a time now and just see how things go, but can honestly say that it feels so good to know I have some sort of support.  For the first time in weeks I actually had really good day today!!...   :-)   :-)

I will keep you posted and hope you dont mind if you see me posting on here on a more regular basis!!  (Obviously, it goes without saying that if I can post anything on here to help someone else then I will do so in a flash!!)

Lots of love to you!!

Teardropper. XXXX


So glad to hear this, Teardropper!!  Before you know it, you will have a string of good days and it won't seem so remarkable to have one.  We are all here for each other, and that is the beauty of this site.  No one is the expert - we just share and care.  Keep it going  :D


All of us (except Luise) started exactly where you are and some of us return regularly because we remember how good it feels to find this site.  I am so glad that we have helped you!  Over time focusing on yourself will become easier.  Women tend to put their all into parenting and trying to stop focusing on our children actually takes some practice.  At first I had to force myself to stop thinking about the subjects that would draw me down the spiral into what I now call "the abyss" .  Now when the thoughts pop up it is simple to label them as 'not my problem' or 'no news is good news' or whatever label takes them from the forefront of my thoughts and places them on a back burner (or out of mind completely!).  The good news is that once you start changing the focus of your thoughts to the good things, more good things happen.  Congratulations on starting your journey to the good life (or at least the better life).

We welcome everyone to come often and reply to posts from other people.  Everyone finds meaning in different things and I am sure you will be able to help someone with your insights.  Just posting makes you think about things and can shift your views over time lending a new perspective to your words.  If you read my posts over time you will see what I mean.

Good luck!!

PS.....I edited your post to remove your signature.  We prefer that everyone here stay unrecognizable to people who may pass through.  Luise is the only person who uses her true name.
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


Thank you for your kind message (sorry about the name thing at the end.  I suppose thats what becomes of being a Secretary for so long, you just get used to signing off your name at the bottom of everything, so thank you for that).

My son usually starts work at 9am on a Sunday and at 8.30am this morning he was not up. I went in to his bedroom to remind him and he just grunted when I told him what the time was.  By 8.50am he was still not up.  I was a bit concerned that he would get into bother from his boss if he went in late, so went back into the bedroom to say he was definitely going to be late and I was met with "I know what time it is, will you please just mind your own business!".

To cut a long story short, he had a night out last night with some of his pals which resulted in him coming home in the early hours but unbeknown to me, he had already swapped shifts and was in actual fact not starting work until 3.30pm in the afternoon.  Why he could not just say "Its OK mum, Im starting later today"  instead of "mind your own business" is beyond me!

So now I feel its back to square one.  I was out all day with my mum and nephew today and when I come home he had not locked the front door (this is the third time in the last couple of weeks this has happened).  His room is starting to smell and looks like something has exploded in there it is such a mess.  I was SO angry at the thought that he had not locked the door again (I had already spoken to him about this during last week) that I sent him a text message (because he is at work) and told him that yet again I had come home and the front door was unlocked (and by the way that IS my business!!) and if he does not sort out his dirty, smelly room and get his act together the he will be OUT!!!!

This is not the way I would normally speak to my son, or the way I like speaking to him (reading my message back is so upsetting) but you know, I am not doing this because it is me, or the way I am, I am doing this because he is pushing me to it.  Maybe he is waiting for me to speak to him like this.  I dont know.  I only know that yesterday was such a good day and today I feel like rubbish again.  The thought of starting my new job now and wondering if he has locked the door or not is giving me even more to worry about.  Ive got visions of doing my training in my new job whilst some stranger is trashing my flat and stealing my stuff all because he has not locked the door....again!!

I think I would rather he didnt speak to me.  Being told to "mind my own business" really hurt.  I would never have told any of my parents to mind their own business.  (I would have been too afraid to).  I cant help thinking that I have been right all along in that I have raised a spoiled manchild and I have nobody to blame but myself.  I overcompensated on everything because he did not have a father and I always felt that was my fault as well (but you cannot make someone stay with you if they dont want to).  Its as if Ive owed him something all his life!

Sometimes I just wish I could turn the clock back.  I should be really happy and looking forward to starting my new job but I am actually dreading it.  I have been SO focused on my son its as though Ive not allowed myself to look forward to it and now it is actually scaring me.

Im sorry for being such a moan tonight but at least if I can type this up, I am getting it off my chest and maybe if I read back what I have written I can work out where I have gone wrong!!

Love to you all



Regarding your comment about having spoiled your son because he is talking to you in a way that you would not have talked to your own parents, I think that might be, at least in part, a generational thing.  Just last week my sister was lamenting the same thing about her 20-something daughter.  My sister was in tears over the way her daughter had spoken to her.  Other friends of mine have said the same thing, and I've experienced it as well with my own kids. 

I'm wondering if it might be time for your son to be out on his own, which may help both of you.  Him- to grow up and become more independent.  You - to let go of the worry and emotional energy.   If you had any other roommate, locking up and keeping the place clean would be basic expectations.  If your son isn't willing to do those basic things, he might need to get those lessons elsewhere.  I don't think of it as a punitive thing, but just a natural time for a young man or woman to have the opportunity to take on adult responsibilities.  My take is that while his choice of words and tone were disrespectful when he said to mind your own business, he was right that getting to work on time IS his responsibility and he has to take ownership for getting himself there. I admit that I have done the same thing as you with my own two young adult kids, thinking I was helping them or saving them from their own consequences.  Then I realized that wasn't doing them any favors and that the real world would provide the best consequences, and the ones that would stick.  My son has more issues ahead with job/career and it's so hard to watch his ennui.  But I know I can't own his problems and behaviors.  I need to somehow hand the reins to him and let him take full charge.  Not easy, definitely not easy, but that's what our parents expected of us at that age, and we managed it.

I hope your new job is interesting and stimulating.  It will give you a new place to focus your energy.  That's a good thing! 


Thank you for this.

I actually love having my son around (before all this carry on started that is) and the only thing that I ask of him is that he remembers to lock the door and to keep his room at least tidy.  He came home from work last night and as usual, right into the kitchen to fix his dinner and straight into his bedroom.  He only comes into the living room when I am not there.

The problem is made worse by the fact that we are on our own.  If there were other kids or even if I had a partner, then maybe it wouldnt be so bad as there would be someone else there to speak to but there isnt, its just us. Its just as well I have a television as this is the only thing that takes away the silence.

I wish there was something I could do to take my mind off this completely.  As I have said before, I should be enjoying the rest of my time off before I start my new job.  This has not been the case and I am scared I am going to turn up on my first day feeling rotten, a nervous wreck with no confidence whatsoever.  Already I am not sleeping very well and I am worried I am not going to sleep well the night before I start and go in like a half shut knife.

I also feel like 2 different people.  One day I am so full of positivity and everything looks OK an then the next day I wonder if it is possible to feel any lower.  I am spending a lot of time on my own because everyone else I know is working my best friends these days seem to be in the books I am reading.  Sometimes I wish I could just jump into the pages of the story I am reading and become part of another family's life.  (I know, I am starting to sound like a mad woman now!!).

I am off out now for my walk and hopefully I will sleep better tonight!

Thank you again for your message.  Much appreciated..



I don't know but it sounds like you might be able to find a book club that you would enjoy.  Try asking at the library or with your friends.  If you start not being there all the time then maybe your DS will appreciate the times when you are there. 

Oh and those days when you feel so low are what I call "the abyss".  It used to suck me in and the longer I let it guide my thoughts the worse I felt.  When I felt myself slipping over the edge I would have to force ably pull my thoughts to a topic that brought me joy.  I spent a lot of time planning camping trips and making lists of things to take camping but maybe you could spend some time on something you love.  It does not have to be expensive, just enjoyable and it needs to take some thought to do.  Bird watching?  Supporting your favorite political candidate?  Protesting some wrong in your area?  Helping at the homeless shelter?  Volunteering at the hospital?  Something that gives you a purpose beyond your adult son and shifts your attention from your troubles. I took up photography and it really paired well with the camping and gave me some pictures that I can look back on.  Anyhow I think you probably get the idea.  You spent your life raising a wonderful child and now that energy you put into parenting is available to you and you can choose to use it to make your own life more fulfilling, more joyful and more challenging and in the process you will be teaching your DS that there is life after parenting.  Now the only way we can teach is by example.  I am 61 and I went zip lining for the first time this spring.  If I can do it so can you!!

Good luck!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


This is such a good site because there is so much good advice and the suggestions given here are great and I really appreciate and am grateful for the time and thought put into the messages I am receiving.

I have been out walking and sitting in the sun reading for the last four hours or so (taking breaks in the shade as it is really hot just now and it is a heat that we Scottish folk are sooooo not used to!!).

When I start my new job on Monday I will be working full-time and it is a job I have never done before so I will be receiving a whole 6 weeks of training along with a group of other new people, so meeting new people as well should be good!

I dont know if I am being unreasonable or just plain daft here but I know that when you start a new job you expect to feel a modicum of nervousness but I am feeling totally petrified and that is just NOT me at all.  People often refer to me as "bubbly" "chatty" outgoing" etc but right now I feel as though I am scared of my own shadow!!   I just dont know what is happening to me right now.  I wake in the morning feeling really anxious with quite bad palpitations and I dont know if this is a bit of a knock on effect of what is happening with my son, new job etc. I am hoping that this IS just something to do with the whole newness of my situation.  The last time I worked was just over a month ago and this is the longest I have not worked.

I know they say sometimes the anticipation is worse than the actual "thing", so again, I am hoping this is the case. 

Hopefully, this time next week I will be able to come on here and let you all know that I have started my new job and that I am really loving it and feeling a bit daft for being so scared and insecure??   I think thats the words I would say best describe me at the moment "a bit insecure"....

Finding the world a bit of a scary place at the moment...   Fortunately for me, I am a good actress and what goes on in the inside is not showing on the outside.   I had really big sunglasses on today so nobody could see me crying but eventually I gave myself a good talking to and felt a bit better.

Thank you again for all your posts!!