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Ask Ellie: Adult sons must help with household chores or move out

It's time to live on your own without enduring the demands of two spoiled adult men who can take care of themselves

Reader’s commentary regarding the topic of parenting methods that harm rather than help:

Toxic Parenting by Dr. Susan Forward is one of the best books and manuals I’ve ever come across. I’ve passed on many copies throughout my own years of therapy, to so many tortured souls.

“I’m the only one of four children that my mother claimed she wanted, and unfortunately, I’m also the only one with over 30 years of ongoing counselling, including needing meds for anti-anxiety.

“Fortunately, my own kids aren’t too badly scarred by my history, and mental health issues.

“One major thing I’d like to point out on this topic is that, although many mothers get blamed for poor and abusive parenting, many women had no choices regarding becoming a mother, since there were no laws and no birth control protecting them.

“My own mother confessed how she grew to hate my dad for the hell he put her through during the 10 years he would force sex on her shortly after childbirth and abusing her.

“I only understood her predicament many years after having my own children and moving away to a better life. And I only realized how bad things were when the abuse by my brother became evident in a landmark lawsuit that my sisters and I fought on behalf for her.”

Nine years ago I unexpectedly became a widow. Raising two young boys was, and still is, a challenge along with my own progressive neurological health issues. To compensate for the loss of their father, I spoiled the boys with toys and electronics; but still thought I did a good job of parenting them on my own.

Now that my health problems are more serious, both of them have become verbally abusive. I get very depressed because I thought that I’d raised them better than that. The older one has a full-time job and still lives at home. He’s also still refusing even to clean his own bathroom or help to bring groceries inside from the car. He doesn’t contribute anything financially to living here, either.

My younger son pretty much copies his brother, refusing to help because, since his brother doesn’t, so why should he? I asked my 25-year-old to move out, but he refused. Most likely, I will need to have a caregiver to look after me in a few years.

But how can I trust either of them to care for me in the future when they don’t have any compassion nor empathy now? They actually say to me that I’m lazy and useless, despite that I clean, cook, do their laundry and shop for groceries.

Please advise me.

Spoiled Adult Sons, Worried Mother

It’s time to take care of yourself, in many important ways. Start with your health care:

1.Get fully informed by your doctor about what meds and care you need and what other regimes (fitness? change of diet?) can help you.

2. Discuss with your bank manager/lawyer what are your current living costs and what financial moves can make your life easier… e.g., selling your home to move into a more affordable place.

3) Talk to a counsellor about preparing for an easier future, e.g., living on your own without enduring the demands of two spoiled adult men who can take care of themselves.

These three major moves can relieve you of more than your share of looking after immediate household needs, and hopefully, get your sons to recognize that they must help out or move elsewhere. Period.

I’m a female senior, enjoy people and contributing to causes, but in a relationship never consummated over 25-plus years. I thought he was respectfully waiting until our marriage, but it never happened. Would that make leaving easier?

Or would I still have to divorce? We sleep in separate rooms.

He now has physical issues. I’m an unappreciated caregiver with every household need on my shoulders but no communication regarding decisions. He prefers me to handle everything, which is difficult.

I have good friends, but am also private and don’t want to discuss it with them.

Also, my family has never been supportive, and know nothing of this as it’s too embarrassing for me to share.

Some suggestions, please.

Caregiver Only

Ask a lawyer whether your jurisdiction allows divorce based on failure to consummate a marriage. Meanwhile, hire caregiving help for your husband at least part-time. Enjoy your friends, and share some realities.

They are your support system.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Relationship problems affect whole lives.

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