Relationship with my son

Hi Brooke

I am struggling with a model for my relationship with my son, Matt, who is 27. To give an overview, my son finds me very irritating and annoying (not all the time, but often enough!) In much the same way that I used to find my mum annoying, and now I wish I had been kinder and less judgemental of her! It just seems to be the way of relationships often, between adult children and their parents.

So, mostly, everything is fine, but now and again he snaps at me for no reason (no apparent reason to me), “bites my head off” with comments that suggest I am really, really stupid. Often it’s just a simple misunderstanding, nothing more, that causes this reaction in him. But I feel hurt at that moment, and clam up, not knowing what to say or how to deal with it. May be I could say “Ouch, that hurt” or something like that? Suggestions welcome !

In the Intentional model below, I don’t know if I can make the T line work in real time, because there is millisecond between what he says and how I feel. Literally, my throat constricts and the back of my eyes prick and I am seconds away from shedding tears (which I don’t do in front of him), and not so much any more now either. This has been going on for years, and during that time there have been times when I have cried, but hardly ever now. I do not feel sorry for myself, I just want to do some work on myself so I can handle this situation better.

Unintentional Model

C Converation with Matt

T That was so hurtful

F Rejected

A I clam up, unable to speak, sometimes welling up with tears

R I avoid conversations with Matt, (apart from general chit-chat) and feel anxious when he wants to have a chat about his work.

Intentional Model

C Conversation with Matt

T I am his mum and he finds me annoying

F Acceptance

A I show up for more conversations

R Our relationship improves

The intentional model above is an ideal situation I would love, but don’t know if I am able to make it work. Is the model ok? Any suggestions appreciated. Also any sentences I could say to myself to help me in this situation. Thank you so much.