First "not mean" contact from Difficult Child in several years


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Yesterday morning I woke up to a text from Difficult Child, "Do you know why you rejected me?"

It took me back, probably mostly because it was not mean. husband and I receive texts and vms from time to time - always rude and/or and defamatory. We have not responded to any of them. This has been going on for several years - ever since we stopped enabling Difficult Child and found this forum.

This one is manipulative because Difficult Child is an intelligent 39 yo who knows he has lied to us, about us, stolen from us, and been verbally and emotionally abusive. AND, has never sent a text or left a vm that was not venomous.

This was the first time I have been seriously tempted to respond.....something along the lines of: "You know we love you and that we have not rejected you, only your disrespectful rhetoric and ways."......knowing, it would change nothing.

Or keep waiting until we know Difficult Child has a change of heart?

husband suggested that I ask you for input. If you have time to respond, we'd love to hear your thoughts. If it helps at all, our last words were to him (years ago) were probably to tell him we love him.



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SeekingStrength, You are in a tight spot. One of my first thoughts, what does he want? I think if you could have an actual sit down talk with him and listen to tone it could tell you much more. You may not want to open that bag of worms and have a telephone conversation with him. Or you maybe done with all his harm that you don't even want to start anything up. Decide what you want for you. Can you go to the battle ground with him again? Do you think he is done being abusive? or come right out and ask him what he wants. I know you have nothing but love in your heart for him. I know you want the best for him. Just listen to your deep intuition, it will lead you in the right direction.

I told a friend of mine that I was talking to my daughter again, she said 'please be careful, a snake is always a snake.


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Maybe a " we never rejected you, we still love and pray that you are healthy, and hope the best for you" type of response.

Do you have any mutual contacts that kn I will if he has improved? Ksm


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Wow. Very hard.

If Kay sent this I would probably make it short and sweet because, after so much time, I would not know why she wanted to know. I would not rush to talk to her. Baby steps with boundaries, if indeed that was her goal.

Most likely I would text something like "We love you but our relationship was not healthy for any of us. Anything else?" Leaves a. Door open and if there is an answer you can see if his mindset is better or the same.

I would be very slow to let my daughter back in. There are major trust issues between us that can not be quickly resolved.

Hugs and love.


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Wow, you guys are as wise as ever. Thank you so much.

I have not yet responded...still mulling it over. Your ideas/possible responses are all so good.

No mutual acquaintances (that we know of) know how son is faring right now. He, as far as we know, lives about 1500 miles away.

Hi Seeking, what a horribly manipulative message to send you. My thoughts are that all his nasty messages haven't had a response, so he is trying a different tack. I would imagine that when my son chooses to contact me again it will be a similar approach. If you must answer, perhaps don't fall for answering the loaded question. Any answer you give to a question like that will be the 'wrong' answer! Maybe ask a question right back like, 'What do you mean?' I would tread really carefully, my son is only 24 but after all we've been through I would trust him as far as I could throw him...


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Dear Seeking

I haven't had a chance yet to read the other posts but my sense is that the note from y our son is of the type I might call "have you stopped beating your wife?" (The type is called a "loaded question." I extracted part of the definition from Wikipedia and posted it below.)

There would be no way to respond to him that would be affirming, I fear. He has structured the communication as lose/lose to you. Either you are forced to argue for your truth, against his or you are forced to accept his version of reality. I think this note is not only manipulative, it's aggressive. It may be passive aggressive but it's aggressive, still.

After reading the wikipedia entry I see you could respond: We have never rejected you. And then leave it at that. This way you speak up for yourselves. And he doesn't score a win. And then leave it at that.

Yet, I don't think I would respond at all. I might (try) to let him stew in his own juices. Why play his game? What does it serve? But you have a choice of actions to take.

If someday he wants to communicate or relate to you, from a true and responsible place, let him go to a therapist or to a 12 step group or a house of worship, and learn to be present to himself and to you. You've told him you love him so many times. He knows. You can say it again, why not?

He wants something from you. And he is very angry at you. He doesn't yet accept responsibility for himself or his life. He holds you responsible. This remains dangerous, I fear. Your son has hurt badly many people. He doesn't see it still, or care. That's sad.

I'm sorry this is happening, Seeking. I guess what I am saying is that while this note from difficult son is less overtly aggressive and hostile, to me it's still mean.
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Loaded question​

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A loaded question or complex question is a question that contains a controversial assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt).[1]
Such questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner's agenda.[2] The traditional example is the question "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Whether the respondent answers yes or no, they will admit to having a wife and having beaten her at some time in the past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the question, and in this case an entrapment, because it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed.[2] The fallacy relies upon context for its effect: the fact that a question presupposes something does not in itself make the question fallacious. Only when some of these presuppositions are not necessarily agreed to by the person who is asked the question does the argument containing them become fallacious.[2] Hence, the same question may be loaded in one context, but not in the other. For example, the previous question would not be loaded if it were asked during a trial in which the defendant had already admitted to beating his wife.[2]
This informal fallacy should be distinguished from that of begging the question,[3] which offers a premise whose plausibility depends on the truth of the proposition asked about, and which is often an implicit restatement of the proposition.[4]



A common way out of this argument is not to answer the question (e.g. with a simple 'yes' or 'no'), but to challenge the assumption behind the question. To use an earlier example, a good response to the question "Have you stopped beating your wife?" would be "I have never beaten my wife".[5] This removes the ambiguity of the expected response, therefore nullifying the tactic. However, the asker is likely to respond by accusing the one who answers of dodging the question.

Deni D

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Seeking, sadly I agree with the others, it's a land mind. The message shows he see's himself as a victim of you and either has no insight to his behaviors or has been able to justify them in his mind. My son goes back and forth with the pity for himself and venom for me. In my situation, because I'm allowing a slight open door incase the time comes when my son goes back to taking medication and stops his self-medication I would respond "I haven't rejected you, just your behaviors." And in my case I know I would be met with a torrent of name calling, character assignation and a host of false accusations of things I did to him. But then he'd have one more written communication to refer to for clarity if he ever pulls his head out of his butt.


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Amazing responses, as always. The names may change, but our experiences remain so similar.

We have not yet responded. Your input has helped immensely, including the wonderful responses we had not thought of.

Such incredibly wise folks on this forum.

You talk us down every.single.time.

Thank you,


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"Do you know why you rejected me?"
"You know we love you and that we have not rejected you, only your disrespectful rhetoric and ways.".
Dear Seeking

What I would counsel you NOT to do is to make reference to his misbehavior (s). It will not have a good effect. Oh. Do I understand why you would mention this. (I have been a broken record.) You see, on some level we believe that if we tell them (yet again) what is wrong and what they did, that they will change. I have found this to be a fantasy on my part.

First of all, your son knows quite well what he has done. (That's one reason he projects it onto you.) Second, that you tell him is to descend to his level and to invite tit for tat with him. By his tone in the note you know already he is not open to taking moral inventory. On the contrary he is wanting you to take moral inventory!

Nor do you have to defend yourselves to him. That's the set up of the "loaded question." He has sought to put you on defense. And it has worked! Wrong!

You've done nothing at all wrong. And his wrongs are his business to fix or not as he chooses in his life. The only reason they are your concern, is because you must (and do) protect yourselves from him. That's all.


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Hi SS. It is always so nice to “see” you!

Ugh. Contact out of the blue is so difficult.

Aside from it being a loaded question, there is a big difference between “Do you know why you rejected me?” (which we hear in a plaintive, little boy’s voice bc we are their mothers) and “Do YOU know why you rejected me?” (which implies his having a very strong opinion and wanting to educate you on your “shortcomings“). So I am with the others. I would consider holding off until you get some clearer signals over a longer period of time.
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Sending good vibes...
Interesting that your question and responses from everyone help me. That's why this site is so wonderful.

So my two cents about this is that the other's are right. It is a loaded question. A bait, if you will, so he can blast you again for some injustice done to him (I'm really speaking for myself) no matter what your reply. Otherwise, a text after a long lapse in time that genuinely was meant to restore, improve or mend your relationship with him would not have been open-ended. It would have said something like..."I hope you're doing well and I've realized I'm broken in a lot of ways and would like to talk with you when your ready to see how we can begin the process of a healthy relationship".

He has taken no position of responsibility and that is a sure sign that not a lot has changed.

I recently experienced this with my son too. We didn't speak for about 8 months then I gingerly began communicating with him again and lo and behold 5 months down the line after that, I received the old "sucker-punch" that came with all the anger, resentment and bitterness he still holds towards me and his father for all the injustices that have happened throughout his entire life. Wowsa...he still takes no responsibility for anything. It just breaks your heart all over again.

I've learned to get back up a lot quicker than I used to and have a lot more strength that I gained during the time we were apart. It goes right back to what we all know that WE have to be the change in the situation.


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Hi Albatross and I love seeing you just as much.

Thank you for your response and thank you, Jaypee. I love love love your example of what a real "wanting to reconnect" message might look like. I have lost sight of so much and your responses help push me back to center position.

You both are absolutely correct.....and we are doing nothing right now.



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Thank you for posting your situation. I haven't dealt with this from my son, but have been asked loaded questions by others. I learned so much from the responses so thank you for sharing.