Feeling like I failed as a mom


I am 55 and I have a 29-year-old married son and a 24-year-old single daughter.
My son was always a naturally smart kid, scoring high on all tests with no studying. Very confident, happy. As an adult, he has developed anxiety, not been particularly ambitious. Did not pursue a challenging major and stayed at his high school job after college. Married his college sweetheart, who comes from a verbally abusive upbringing.

I feel that I was a bad mother to him growing up. I ignored him and focused mainly on his younger sister, taking her to athletic practices, supporting her in her theatrical pursuits. I supported him as well, in his passion for music, guitar lessons, attending performances, but when he was home, I feel like I ignored him because he was a grumpy pre-teen and then later a grumpy teenage boy with me when I did pay attention or ask him questions. (He did grow out of this attitude.) My husband was not around much as he worked at a newspaper about 10-12 hours per day when the kids were growing up.

Before we knew it, our son was off to college, met this girl and we never really got to finish parenting him. I feel like I am responsible for the way he is living his life as an adult. The phobias he has developed – fear of heights, insects, his breathing disorder, which appears to have no physical reason. I blame myself. He is out of shape, spends too much time playing video games and has grown his hair long during quarantine with no plans to cut it.

I’m so sad and worried after we have a visit with him. I worry about him and complain about his life to my husband.

Here is my model:
C – My adult son has anxiety
T – I think I was a bad mom to him growing up and this has caused the anxiety to develop.
F – I feel like a failure – ashamed.
A – I yell at my husband about it because he won’t take it seriously.
R – My husband is frustrated and upset.