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Angry 20 Year Old Son Abusive To His Father

by Greta
(Melbourne Victoria Australia)

We have a 20 year old son who can be very verbally abusive to all of us but especially to his father. His father is European and thinks the world of him, and can't believe our beautiful happy little boy grew up to be so arrogant and aggressive.

I am so sad when he flies off the handle at him with little reason. Only this evening my husband who is deaf in one ear did not realize our son was talking to me. He wanted to show him something funny on TV.

My son turned around and shouted in his face "Shut up, I'm f--ing talking." I was so shocked...and then I saw the look on my husband's face. He was so sad, he left the room.

I warned my son never ever to talk to him like that again. He argued that he interrupted him, etc., and then he turned the blame on me. I said to my son clearly that he was to leave the room then later return with an apology.

Regardless if it ever happens again (it has happened before) then I will ask him to leave. Of course he had plenty to say, but he knows I mean it. I have said to my husband we would have a better relationship if he did not live with us. Later he did apologize to his father but I am clearly frightened of his outbursts.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Greta, and thanks for telling your story here. I agree with everything you're saying. It sounds like you are a parent who is very inclined to stand up to your son. That's good.

One way of understanding what your son's going through is that he may be trying to get his dad to rise up and claim his power and authority in your home. His father may not be willing to do that, from what you've described here. This doesn't justify or excuse your son's behavior, it just might help to explain it.

You are totally on track with your plan to ask your son to leave. You will have to be strong, and hopefully your husband will support you.

Trust yourself and your sense of what's right. Everyone, including your son, will benefit by your plan to protect your home from abusive and disrespectful behavior.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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