My son turned "50" and my daughter and I planned a wonderful birthday celebration - just the 3 of us - after I spent a whole weekend watching his two children so he and his wife could go out for a full day to celebrate. I've been a very loving mother and grandmother and have a good relationship with my daughter-in-law. I was tired after spending the weekend - lots of cooking for the children and keeping them entertained. I am 73 years old. My son drove us back to my house and he was aware in the car that I was tired. He ran late as usual - we had a dinner reservation at a "fine" restaurant and we still had lots of gifts to unwrap including one major gift that he wanted badly. He asked if he could drop books off at the library but I knew how late we were running and guess I had a little inflection in my voice when I responded "whatever you want to do" - obviously I should have said we are running late. I did offer to return the books for him after dinner as we were driving in separate cars. All of this sounds so ridiculous and petty - nothing major happened as far as I was aware. When we arrived at my house, he immediately went down to the couch and laid down. My daughter eventually asked him if he'd come upstairs to do his birthday so we could then leave the restaurant. He then said in a very angry tone "I can't do this" and with that, grabbed his backpack and proceeded to walk out the door - turned to my daughter and said "if YOU want to have dinner with me that's fine. He kept walking, she said nothing (felt so uncomfortable) and went to his car and left. I couldn't believe this. I didn't understand. I was so sad, disappointed, angry. Went into a rage and ripped apart every gift we creatively put together for him and the next day returned the major gift which was from a company on the East Coast. It has taken 3 weeks to finally connect with him. He never reached out to me so I eventually reached out to him. He is in a very unhappy marriage and from all that he felt on the drive home and at my house and asking me if he could go to the library and I wasn't very happy about that, I really feel that I became his wife who controls him, rushes him, and he feels he has no autonomy in the marriage. He has been married for almost 7 years and the marriage has gone South for a very long time - he stays because he doesn't want to be separated from his children. So that's it - I was so perplexed and upset - went into a depression and felt such a loss that we never celebrated one of life's passages - his 50th birthday but more that I felt very abused by him after being such a wonderful mother and always going out of my way to help in any way I can with him and his family. My husband passed away years ago so I am his only parent. I'm feeling now estranged from him and don't know what to do - feel a loss that my weekly visits to his house and to be with my grandchidren (who by the way love me!) will now come to an end. I would feel very uncomfortable going there. After we both had our "say" in the matter and expressed all that we felt, he said after 45 minutes that he wasn't done but I was. I am exhausted from all this and told him that I am done with talking about this. It's just too much - he didn't accept anything i said. This behavior has happened before but not often and not recently but I don't want to even think about being near him - I think he is a very unhappy man - not working and feels trapped for such a long time in an unhappy and unfulfilling marriage. My daughter is also feeling lost in how to handle any of this. She and I have a wonderful relationship - she's in her 40's and very supportive. She of course witnessed all of this and was in the dark as much as I was - we just don't know what set him off. I really feel that he transferred a lot of his feelings about his wife - control issues etc. - to me that day and absolutely lost out on having a wonderful birthday.
We put so much effort, energy and creativity into his gifts - it feels like such a loss. Help!
I am going to close this topic and suggest that you find a counselor to help you with your issues, C. My Website is about sharing common problems and solutions. What you describe sounds much more complex. I believe you could benefit from seeking professional direction and advice. We don't have counselors here and are unable to offer that level of support. Please know that we all wish you well.