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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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My 23 year old son is very verbally abusive to me. He blames

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my 23 year old son is very verbally abusive to me. He blames me for everything that happens in his life whereas it is him that makes the bad choices. He is so polite and charming to everyone else and nobody could believe that he treats me this way. He has pushed me into walls, threatened to hit me,  calls me a c..t and tells me to f''k off c..t. I cant believe he is acting this way. We have always been very close and everyone says that I am one of the kindest people they have ever met. I try to do the right thing by my son. I have gone out of my way to help him always but it now seems like the more I do for him the more abuse I get. I am terrified of him -he is like a monster. He had a wonderful childhood but all he can talk about is his terrible childhood. Honestly he was the happiest child and he had a magical childhood. I adored him and gave him all my time and energy. I just dont know what to do - I am totally shocked and distraught.

My son does not live with me - he built his own house last year and shares with his girlfriend and 3 of his male friends.  He left his job last month even though he has a mortgage and bills.  He just doesnt seem to care.  I have been doing his accounts but I cant do them anymore as there is no money coming in from him.  He is so totally irresponsible.  Everytime I go around to his place and bring up the subject of mortgage and bills he goes ballistic and thats when the abuse starts.  He screams at me those awful swear words - I cant believe that any son would speak to his mother in this way.  Its like he is two people, the one everyone else sees and the one that is specially reserved for me.  I cry every night as I am 63 and the stress is making me ill. I just dont know what to do.  He is a monster

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
It sounds like your son has possibly developed a personality disorder. People who abuse others are often narcissistic and think only of their own needs and not others. Therefore, they can become abusive when confronted with something they do not want to hear, even if it is something you feel is part of a normal conversation.
If your son is willing to shove you and hurt you at the slightest provocation, then it may not be a good idea to be around him anymore. He does not seem to have any boundaries in terms of hurting you and that could lead to something more serious. And you should not have to deal with someone who treats you poorly, hurts you then expects you to support them. The relationship is very unbalanced with your son using you and you getting emotionally and physically hurt in the process.
If at all possible, try to cut ties with him. It feels awful to have to do that with your son, but until he can deal with his behavior towards you, then he is only going to hurt you more. But if you feel that you cannot cut ties completely then it may be ok to back off the relationship. Start by letting him know you won't be doing his accounts. When you tell him, be sure to have someone with you who can help you in case your son acts out towards you. Then slowly reduce your contact with him until you feel it is enough for you but not so much that he has access to hurting you like he does now. And try being around others when you do see him. He will be much less likely to lash out if others are there. Many people with Narcissism will control their behavior and seem charming and kind with others, just as you described.
It also helps to learn more about personality disorders so you know what you are dealing with and you will have more tools to help you. Here are some resources to help:
Also, consider seeing a therapist to help you cope with what your son is doing. It can be heartbreaking to deal with a family member who is emotionally unstable. A therapist can help you deal with your own feelings about it and help you feel less alone in what you are dealing with.
I hope this has helped you,
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