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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My relationship with my 19 year old son is pretty bad. He

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My relationship with my 19 year old son is pretty bad. He won't talk to me. I yelled at him last May and said something terrible; things have never been the same since. They weren't great before then, but now, they are terrible. I've tried talking to him; not talking to him; apologizing to him; just about everything. I feel he is angry and anger comes from hurt. I hurt him, but how long will it take for him to come around? I feel terrible about it. He hasn't eaten dinner with us in about 2 years. He doesn't have a great relationship with my husband or my daughter either. It's a little bit better than the one he has with me, but that's not saying much. At least, he says "hello" to them and talks with them a little bit. He is not angry with them. He goes to his girlfriend's house every week from Thursday or Friday until Sunday or Monday. I miss him terribly and miss having a relationship with him. I constantly talk about this situation and can't stop overanalyzing it. I just want a relationship with my son. I don't want to lose him (God forbid). He also went away to college for the past year and a half, but goes to a local school this semester. He will go to a school upstate next semester.
He had a track scholarship, got injured pretty badly last February, and never ran again after that. He also lost his eyesight (temporarily) the day of Hurricaine Sandy, and he also had something else medically happen to him (that he never told me about), but I know because I got medical bills for them.
I just want a relationship with him, but I don't know how to talk to him and I don't think he knows how to talk to him. I see hurt in his eyes. Any suggestions? I would greatly appreciate whatever advice you have.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you have done a lot to try to heal the relationship with your son but he is not willing to let his hurt go. When you have a situation where someone is not willing to let go of a hurt, even when efforts have been made to heal the pain, then you can reach a stalemate and the relationship either stays the same or gets worse.

If your son will not talk to you, then there are some things you can try to work around that so he might talk with you again:

Try asking your husband and daughter to talk to him on your behalf. If he is willing to talk to them, even just to say hello and a few brief things, then it is worth a try. Ask your husband or daughter to sit down with him and tell him that you are very sorry that you hurt him. If they are willing, ask them to communicate how hurt you are about what happened and see if he will respond. Also, they can try asking what he needs in order to heal the relationship between you.

Suggest counseling. See if your son is willing to at least try to talk this out with a therapist who is neutral in the situation.

You can also try some more drastic techniques. If your son is still asking you to support him by paying some of his bills or providing a roof over his head without him contributing to it, you might be able to let him know that you do not feel it is fair that you pay his bills if he is not willing to talk with you. In essence, he is using you in this manner so confronting him with it may get his attention. Try doing it in a very nice way. Use a softer voice and be open to what he has to say. But also be firm so he doesn't feel he can keep using you.

If all else fails, you can write him a letter saying what you feel. Repeat how sorry you are and that you want more than anything to have a relationship again but that you respect his wishes. Then try to see a therapist on your own in order to deal with what you feel. This is causing grief for you (it is a huge loss) so you deserve support through the process of trying to let go.

I hope this has helped you,
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