tough love??

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2003
tough love??
4
Mon, 10-27-2003 - 1:42am
help I need some feedback--A little background. my nearly adult son--just turned 20 moved out of the home two years ago and became immancipated when i set limits with his anger issues and inapropriate expression of anger--verbal and physical abuse of me and his sister. Anger is justified but the behavior was unacceptable. Anyway, he has done very well, becdause he is really a good kid and has excellent life skills and a big inheritance from his deceasd father--he took the survior benefits to live on and now has the inheritence. I am struggling to make ends meet and save a little for my future. i was a single mom for many years. In the last two years he went to counseling and has been treating his sister and me well. I've been very rpoud of him and let him know. The problem that has happened is this spring, I was abroad and wanted to buy a little car to take a cross country trip , then sell it before i went back to my job abroad in the fall.. He offered to find one and found me a great one at a great price. he offered to pick me up at the airport. I was so proud of him and how he handled all that. On the way home he was driving way too fast and wrecked the car--no one was hurt. he said it was all his fault and would take responsibility for this. i supported him and helped him as we dealt with this. but he didn't want to communicate with me about how we should solve the problem-finally hesaid, I'll get it repaired. there was no collisioninsurance on it--he got it drivable and then said he and his brother would got the parts, I paid him what he paid for the car as was our agreement and offered to give him anything above the cost that he could sell it for. then afterI paid him, he got verbally abuseive with me, said he was not responsible and wouldn't even talk to me or follow through with his agreement or tell me what other work needed to be done. Basically blamed me and dropped me and wouldn't even talk to me. WEll, it ended up costing me another $1,000 for a $2800 car but more than that I was crushed by his dismissive behavior to me and breaking his word. He just kept refusing to talk to me even weeks later.So, i just decided to let him be until he was ready to talk.

Now three months later, two weeks before his birthday i get a little chatty note. "Hi Mom, just got back from Costa Ricca with my girlfriend, did my 100 skydive jump-it was great"

I wrote back to him-that for the last two years I had been so proud of him, appreciated how he found the car for me and how i wanted to be able to continue to trust him and respect him as an adult but what happend this summer broke my trust. I told him an apology and keeping his word to me about fixing the car would be a good way to mend that. i let him know how much more damage there was to the car. I got no response. When his birthday came along-i sent him a card only. He has a twin sister, however and i sent her flowers. I have always treated my kids individually and on a case by case baisis. But she is upset and is telling me they think i am favoring her. i still have heard nothing from him.

So, my question--first of all was i wrong to expect him to pay for the rest of the damages. Was I wrong to not him a birthday present this year--in light of his behavior this summer and ignoring me now. I am second guessing my self now but thought I needed to do this to let him know his behavior was not acceptable at the same time don't him to ever think that my love for him is conditional. I just think when he is an adult he should be treted as an adult-and I would not give presents to someone who treated me the way he did this summer or ignored my letter to him giving him the chance to make amends to me.




iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
In reply to: ivpurejoy
Mon, 10-27-2003 - 11:55am
I do not have any children, but my mom practiced "tough love" on me, and I am a better person because of it. Honestly, I do not think you did anything wrong. I think that you feel guilty about it though, so I recommend telling your son that you will always love him with all your heart. Reassure him that as soon as he is able to talk about the car issue, you will be ready to listen.

You have a few options here. If the accident really was 100% his fault, then ask him politely to pay for his mistake. If you think somehow it was 50% your fault offer to pay half. You can even offer to pay half in order to put this issue to rest, and go on with your life.

I believe your son needs help. If he has anger management problems with you, then it is possible that he will have anger management problems with his girlfriend and future kids. The verbal abuse can turn into emotional and physical abuse. Believe me, please, I know this for a fact. Even the most sweetest, nicest, caring people can become physically abusive.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
In reply to: ivpurejoy
Mon, 10-27-2003 - 3:35pm
I want to clarify something before I comment:

After the accident, you paid him for the car BEFORE he fixed it? In other words, you paid him for a car that you could not drive?

Ejkdmom Come visit my store: www.leorra.com
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2003
In reply to: ivpurejoy
Tue, 10-28-2003 - 3:12am
Exactly, I paid him for a car that i could not drive because I trusted him. The accident happend 5 hours from home, before i paid him, he said he would take 100% responsibility for it. it was 100% his fault--his sister and were passengers--he was driving way too fast around a corner. fortunately NO ONE was hurt. He bought the car and i paid him back. I trusted him and he broke that trust and not only that became totally non-communicative and mouthy with me.

I have told him I love him and told him what I expect in order to start rebuilding my trust. he has not communicated with me other than the cahtty letter two weeks before his birthday. However, I hear from his sister that she couldn't enjoy her birthday present in front of him because i only got him a card this year and that he feels that I favor her. i told her, that is the consequence of treating someone badly like he did--you can't expect to be close and get gits when you do things like that. wshe and i are close because we communicate and work things out when we disagree--not screw each other over.

He is blaming me because i ddn't have insurance on it yet--when he offered to pick me up I thought he was covered but it was him who was driving uninsured-even though he has been ticketed in the past for driving w/o insurance. I think that he should communicate with me if he wants to change the argreement that he would take responsibility for the repairs. Insted he sruelly just dumped me with no communication. If I had known that I wouldn't have paid him for the car When he started gettign mouthy with me when we were stranded in the other city i told him fine. I'll let him have the car and i'll find my way home and get another one. Then he said, why not this one. I will get it fixed it for you. so i stayed and paid for all the hotel/meal costs of staying over. He paid for only the repairs to get the car on the road home- but it certainly wasn't drivable for a two month-long road trip across the country and certainly not the car i paid him for in perfect condition. then when i paid him he dropped me.

anyway, I want to know----Is no Birthday present an appropriate act of tough love?? My brother thinks it is treating him like a baby by punishing him and a birthday present shouldn't have anything to do with it. I do't think insisting that he pay and apologize is out of line. And i think no birthday present is appropriate because when you damage a relatinship with someone they don't give you presents--presents are between friends- at this point he is not being a friend to me. Why should a Mom be any different? I am treating him like I would any adult--except that if he were not my son I would sue for the damges and i wouldn't have paid him for the car until it was fixed--but like i said I trusted him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
In reply to: ivpurejoy
Tue, 10-28-2003 - 12:08pm
I agree with the tough love part, if all of you are adults then you don't have to give a birthday present if you don't want to. I don't expect my mom to give me presents, but it is nice that she does.

I am confused now, he thought you bought insurance and you thought he bought insurance? This sounds like a miscommunication and both of you should pay, but him more so because the accident was his fault. An insurance company would fine him 100% of the cost, but this is your son. Please don't let money come between you. Somehow I think it is his behaviour that you are bothered with more than the money though. So, you are in a tough dilemna.