in , ,

Mom Bans Her Son From Being Alone With His Girlfriend After She Starts Dictating All Aspects Of His Life

Elizabeth Fernandez/Getty Images

You always want the best for your children.  When you see them entrapped in a difficult situation, you want to make sure you can give them the proper tools to cope.  You want to save them.

u/RanchCrowns found herself in such a situation when she witnessed a disturbing interaction between her son and his girlfriend.  Then, patterns began to emerge.  So much so that she was forced to take drastic action.

She went to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” in order to figure out if she’d done the right thing.

She asked:

“AITA for disallowing my son from being alone with his girlfriend?”

At first, things weren’t weird between our original poster, or OP’s son and his girlfriend:

“My son is 16. His girlfriend is too. They’ve been dating for about a year.”

“When they started dating it was normal and appropriate. Then, over the last several months, I’ve noticed strange behavior, especially around her.”

But now he’s become very shy around her:

“He’s usually really talkative and emotive and energetic but he‘s kind of withdrawn whenever she’s around. She’d answer questions for him and finish his sentences, too.”

“I didn’t think much of it at at first. But then I realized he wasn’t spending time with his core group of friends anymore. Turns out it was because his girlfriend said he wasn’t ‘allowed’ to see them without her.”

It quickly became clear that something was wrong:

“He wasn’t going out and doing things he used to enjoy. I asked him about it and he said his girlfriend didn’t think they were ‘cool’ things to be doing (she sold his skateboard, she threw out all his drawings.)”

“We had a talk about not changing yourself to please others and I thought she was a b*tch but it was all normal teenage coming of age stuff.”

And then a major red flag showed up:

“Recently, I was on the road for work, and he had on a date with this girl so I texted to ask how it went. He didn’t reply. I followed up to be sure he made it home, he called and said he couldn’t reply over text because she reads all his messages and asked me to not ever text him about her.”

“I told him that was a red flag, but he said that when things are good with her they’re really good so he’s fine to put up with her when things are bad.”

“I’m a single mom, so I thought maybe I was being too overprotective of the whole situation, and I just needed to stop interfering.”

And then things continued downhill:

“But on that same trip I called again to ask how a visit to his aunt had gone and he said he didn’t go because his girlfriend feels like he spends too much time with his family lately.”

“I advised him that wasn’t her decision to make and if he felt like he spent too much with family, that was one thing, but he needed to learn to tell her ‘no’ and if she couldn’t handle it she didn’t deserve him.”

“He said he couldn’t do that because he was afraid of what she would say and she’s unpredictable when she gets ‘in a state.’”

And then it became clear that something had to be done.

“I was still at crossroads because I know he’s at an age where he needs to problem solve for himself. But a male coworker couldn’t help overhearing us talk and he said, ‘Just consider, if you had a daughter instead, would you be letting a boyfriend treat her like that?’”

“I hadn’t thought of it like that. So when talking didn’t work, I eventually banned them from being alone together and took her off his social media so she can no longer monitor it.”

But now she’s doubting her decision:

“A lot of men who I trust to give me ‘single mom parenting advice’ are saying this was an a**hole move, because my son is not in any danger and needs to learn not to let girls push him around just to get his rocks off.”

“But the parenting instinct in me said this was a double standard placing him at risk. But maybe they’re right and it’s actually just be overprotectiveness, in which case I’m the one who’s making things worse. I’m at a loss. AITA?”

Redditors ascertained where guilt belongs by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Reddit thinks if anything, OP is not taking this situation seriously enough.

“I strongly suggest getting in touch with a domestic violence organisation for advice.”

“He is in an abusive relationship, and I don’t know if you’ve done the right thing. I say that because you’ve now given her ammunition to turn him away from you – you can be made out to be the bad guy by her.”

“This is too big for this forum and you need to get some advice from people who understand the intricacies of abusive relationships.”~the_splatt

“I work in the domestic violence field and have worked pretty extensively directly with school health clinics, and I once worked with one school clinic that did dating violence screening for the students whenever they had an appointment.”

“But what they were always doing was screening only female students for the experience of dating violence, and only male students for the perpetration of dating violence. I had to explain to them, no, you cannot do this. You need to screen every single student, regardless of gender identity, for experience and/or perpetration.”

“You cannot make assumptions like this or segregate by gender, and by doing so you’ve likely missed a bunch of male students who may have been in abusive relationships, and a bunch of female students who may have been abusive. Not to mention the fact that transgender and non-binary students just weren’t on their radar either.”

“I have many more examples along similar lines. Don’t even get me started about the lack of domestic violence shelter spaces for male victims and transgender and non-binary victims…”~Ebbie45

“NTA. Misogyny is so damned dangerous. This idea that women are inherently ‘weaker’ and therefore absolved from being abusive is scary. The idea that women are ‘natural caregivers’ and ’emotional’ takes away from the fact that we’re just humans capable of being cold, calculating, and manipulative.”

“This idea that men are ‘aggressors’ and women are ‘victims’ it’s just too much!! These ideas (that are consistently reinforced) hurts women and men and its just such bullshit. I’ve seen so many men in toxic situations that they let slide because of what masculinity supposedly is. Hoping it all works out for OP’s son.”~nothatslame

“I really hate the fact that it’s called Domestic Violence and not Domestic Abuse Hotline. It really is a terrible misnomer. Violence is a very clear and specific form of abuse that does not reflect this situation.”

“Violence is the unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force. Abuse is cruel or violent mistreatment. Which one sounds more accurate to this situation? All forms of violence are abuse but not all abuse is violence.”

“When the term violence is used improperly it by virtue of being inaccurate, lessens the perceived validity of cases where there is mental abuse and cruel manipulation such as we see here. It unfairly creates a crying wolf syndrome against the victim’s case and that is why using the proper terms is incredibly important.”

“OP needs to shut that down. He’s too young and naive to assess the abusive behavior of his girlfriend on his own. This is a stepping stone but expecting him to figure this out on his own after this long is extremely unlikely. This is essentially brainwashing at this point. Do what you need to do. NTA.”~TPoppaPuff

Redditors are pushing back against the idea that women and girls cannot be the abusers in their relationships.

“NTA. Your son’s girlfriend is abusive. There are so many classic red flags in this. I’m not sure how it’s best to deal with when the victim is still a kid who can technically be told what to do but has enough autonomy/smarts to figure out how to go behind their parent’s/’ back(s). Get him in with a counselor ASAP. And ask that person for advice on how to proceed.”

“You don’t want to alienate your son by making him feel like he can’t trust you/you’re not there for him. At the same time, his girlfriend is actively trying to make him feel that way so that he has nowhere to go. The men who are telling you he just needs to grow a pair are wrong, misinformed, probably ignorant/stupid, and possibly dangerous as well.”~luciielouu

“I’m hijacking a top comment to say that i had friends in a similar situation to your son/his girlfriend and the same age. Once they reached adulthood the abuse continued to escalate. I watched a dear friend go through so much trauma and such a young age.”

“My friend wished their parents hadn’t shrugged off the abuse and paid a little more attention to the signs/red flags. They also wish their parents recognized the level of trauma they experienced as someone who went through an abusive romantic relationship during formative years.”

“OP, contact a domestic violence organization and get professional advice. Please, please, please continue to intervene (guided by professional advice) and stay in your kid’s life even if he pushes you away. He will need you when the relationship is over. Good luck.”~spiirel

“As someone that was the 16 year old boy being abused by his girlfriend, I can’t express enough how great it is that he is even willing to talk to his mum about it. I was too worried about what would happen if I talked.”

“He is a child and he doesn’t know what is best, I know I was him. You get caught up in the relationship, try to forget about the crap so that you can just remember the good stuff. But then you break up, and the day after you see your friends feeling completely unrestricted and you smile properly for the first time in over a year, and you realise just how bad it was.”

“Interfering with your child’s relationship when they are being abused is never the wrong decision, even if they reject you because of it, you have to do everything you can to help. And get him professional help, he shouldn’t have to use Reddit as his therapist 4 years after the fact because he had no one to confide in at the time.”~adamandTants

“NTA, but please keep talking to your son about this. I kinda want to suggest counseling for him, too. He’s in an abusive relationship with this girl. She’s socially isolating him and being emotionally manipulative and for some reason he’s allowing it to happen.”

“He needs to get at the root of this. It’s not just about this girl. He has to understand that this isn’t how healthy relationships function.”~icyfingerwaves

In fact, not interfering now could have serious consequences for OP’s son in future.

“NTA and I’d even suggest holding an intervention. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be about the GF, just the fact that he’s stopped his favorite hobbies and quit his friend group and seems to be withdrawing from the family (all signs of depression). Let him put it together for himself that this relationship isn’t healthy.”~Agitated_Twist

“NTA oh I have such compassion for you! Your kiddo is in the early stages of an abusive relationship. I don’t have sound professional advice, and I think that’s sincerely what you need. These interventions are important, and they’re so very complicated.”

“Is there a counselor at his school who can help you with resources on where to begin? I totally understand the risk of pushing him further into her arms, so it’s important to proceed carefully. You’re doing the right thing.”~SalaciousSapphic

“In this, of all years, protecting your son from an emotionally abusive relationship is hella important. I wasn’t expecting this to be my answer going in, but Mama Bear, you are NTA. Privacy and learning how to behave appropriately is important, but your spidey sense seems well placed here.”

“She is controlling to the point that he’s isolating himself from other friends and family and changing his personality. That’s not healthy. Make sure your son isn’t fighting some other mental health issues.”~slydog4100

“NTA at all.”

“Admittedly if you lay down the law and forbid him seeing her it will push them together because it will ‘prove her right,’ so your handling, while gentle, might prove effective.”

“But this is a real red flag situation and he needs rid of her quick. Just don’t push him too hard on that point. I was in an abusive and controlling relationship even younger than him and my parents coming down on me so hard only reinforced his lies and further away from them.”

“Your son needs a neutral party to talk to to help him come to the conclusion alone, like a counsellor. An outside perspective really helps.”~houseofmcsnouts

OP’s son is in a difficult and dangerous circumstance–so much so that she has been forced to take action where she otherwise would not want to interfere.

Hopefully her son stays safe and finds himself a respectful and healthy relationship after the fact.

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.