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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am 57 years old and have been married to my husband for 38 years. He is bi-polar, but h

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I am 57 years old and have been married to my husband for 38 years. He is bi-polar, but has managed his illness successfully for years. We both come from dysfunctional families, his lived very close to us and being most prone to interferance. His father (deceased) made my life miserable because he was very controlling.
There was no extramarital activity between my husband and myself, but the years have been stressful. I was not a take-charge person, but because of his illness I did assume the role.

Now our son, grown with two children, has unloaded on me blaming me that he was overweight and has low self-esteem. He says it is my fault that he has diabetes (diagnosed at age 20) and it is my fault that he was an extremely overweight child. (He is now a normal weight, but struggles with bad habits of overeating.)
I was diagnosed with an eating disorder during the height of my husbands episodes (we visited a counselor because there were a few incidences of him hitting me.)

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like your son is using you to vent his frustration with his childhood. For some reason, he does not feel it is acceptable to put blame where it is due (on your father in law and his family). It may be that he senses that you will accept his anger so he puts it on you instead of taking the chance that others in the family will be angry at him and defend themselves.


Your son needs to start accepting responsibility for his own actions and the bad things that happen to him. You are not responsible for his anger or what happens to him. He is an adult and needs to deal with his feelings about his childhood and what occurs in his life as a result.


There are a few things you can do to respond to your son. You can suggest counseling to him. If he feels so strongly that his life was ruined, then counseling will help him feel better and be able to take charge of his life. You can also offer to participate in the counseling if you feel it would help. The other option is to start shutting down when he tries to blame you. Think of a neutral response you can have to anything he blames you for. For example, if he says you caused him to be overweight, you can respond by saying "I'm sorry you feel that way. It's good you are an adult now and have more control". Then walk away. Do the same if he blames you for his diabetes or other things.

If he tries to continue the argument, say the same thing. The more you repeat it, the less he will try to agitate you.


I hope this has helped you,

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