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When A Son Hates His Mother – What Happens & What Do You Do?

The mother and son bond can be really strong. Little boys grow up loving their moms, they form a tight bond and enjoy spending time together. There’s nothing as strong as a mother’s love for her baby.

Sometimes though, as sons grow up they can start to hate their mother, and that strong bond they once shared disappears. When a son hates his mother there are steps both parties can take to try and repair the relationship.

Not all sons grow up to hate their mothers but it does happen in some families. The love between a son and his mother can return over time, but only if everyone is invested in healing this broken and unhealthy relationship.

What Is An Unhealthy Mother-Son Relationship?

It is quite easy to imagine why a son might hate an abusive or neglectful mother. If a child has never been loved or cared for properly by his mother, then it would not be surprising if he grew up to hate her and not want a relationship with her. 

However, some mothers who have done nothing but love their son unconditionally, still find themselves with a grown son who hates them.

An unhealthy mother-son relationship can cause a lot of stress and upset for moms who have always tried their best to do right for their child and be the best mom they can be. 

So what exactly does an unhealthy mother-son relationship look like?

The ‘mommy’s boy’

When a mom and her son are extremely close, the son is likely to be referred to as a ‘mommy’s boy.’  A mommy’s boy is a child who has a really tight-knit relationship with his mom and the mother gladly makes most of her child’s decisions and does everything for him.

Whilst unconditional love is an imperative part of parenting, if moms take complete control of their child’s life this can lead to problems developing later on.

Sons may grow up to feel resentful of the guilt they feel for not wanting to spend as much time with their mother when she has done so much and always put him first.

Mommy’s boys can sometimes struggle to make decisions as grown men because they were brought up by a mother who decided everything for them.

A mommy’s boy may struggle to put other relationships first in his life, even the one he has with himself, as he always feels like his mom should be his only priority. 

The ‘spouse substitute’

Sometimes the mother and son relationship can be impacted by the loss or absence of a male partner in the mom’s life. If a father has died or left the family home, the mother may begin to look to her son for emotional support.

It is not a child’s responsibility to meet all the emotional needs of their mother and the mother-son relationship is very different from the romantic relationship between a man and woman. 

Without even realizing it, mothers sometimes begin to rely on their sons to make them feel happy and loved in the same way a partner would.

They may expect their son to always be there for them and able to support them with their emotional needs and struggles.

Sons should of course be loving and be caring towards their mom, but the relationship can grow toxic when the mom has unhealthy expectations of their bond and treats her son like a substitute spouse instead of like her child. 

The ‘overprotective mom’

Sons can grow to resent their mom if she was overly controlling and overprotective when they were growing up. Making mistakes is an important part of life, they help us to grow and learn.

However, overprotective moms will do everything they possibly can to protect their children from learning life’s hard lessons.

An overprotective mother is usually only acting from a place of love and concern for the wellbeing of her child but can become insufferable to her son as he gets older. 

Some moms want to always be a big part of their son’s life and struggle to let them branch out into the world as grown men.

An overprotective mom will want to always play a large role in her son’s life and even try to stop him from doing certain things as she is worried for his safety and happiness. 

My Grown Son Hates Me! 

A toxic mother-son relationship can cause hate to grow and you may find yourself wondering, why does my grown son hate me?

Sometimes mothers are able to easily determine the reasons behind their son’s hatred but this is not always the case.  Your son may not ever reveal exactly what it is you have done to cause his negative feelings towards you.

Take a moment to reflect on your parenting, can you identify anything you have said or done that may have caused your son to feel this way?

Your son might be upset with you, or feeling let down by how you reacted to something important happening in his life.

Whilst you should not blame yourself for the way your son is treating you, it is important to reflect on how your relationship has changed over the years and try to locate the period of time when your son started acting as though he hates you.

What Happens When A Son Hates His Mother?

Are you struggling to work out if your son actually hates you? If he is just going through a bit of a grumpy phase or if he is just testing boundaries and pulling away from you as he transitions into adulthood? Here is a list of things that can happen when a son hates his mother:

He stops talking to you

If your son has grown to hate you he may completely withdraw from communicating with you. If he lives at home he may start spending more time in his bedroom or out with friends, refusing to spend quality time with you.

If he has already moved out, your son may start avoiding your calls and messages and not commit to any plans to come and visit you. If your son hates you he may stop talking to you without even offering you an explanation. 

He is aggressive

It can be extremely upsetting for moms to watch their once-loving son turn aggressive and behave in hurtful ways. Sons who hate their mothers can become aggressive and use hurtful foul language and even violence towards their mom.

He doesn’t respect you

Your son may stop showing you any respect if he has started to hate you. He may say things that he knows will hurt you, he may swear at you or start arguments for no apparent reason.

He will no longer treat you with kindness and love, but instead, he will either detach and ignore you completely or only speak to you in disrespectful and unkind ways. 

He cuts you out of his life

Your son may decide he no longer wants any kind of relationship with you. If your son hates you he might choose to completely cut you out of his life.

He will stop taking your calls, stop replying to messages, and no longer visit you or allow you to spend any time with him. Some grown sons will stop all contact with their mothers with no intentions of ever repairing the relationship. 

Why Does My Son Hate Me?

So far we have discussed what an unhealthy mother-son relationship can look like and covered what can happen when a son hates his mother. But why exactly do sons hate their mothers?

As we previously mentioned, sometimes mothers are able to work out why their son hates them, sometimes the son will tell them why they feel this way but there are instances where the mother will never know the truth behind her son’s hatred towards her. 

While every family is different and there is a vast spectrum of reasons why sons may grow to hate their mothers, here is a list of some of the most common reasons:

He resents how you parented him

Now your son is older, he may have reflected on his childhood and come to the conclusion you didn’t raise him the way he thinks you should have. He may be angry that you were too strict or resentful that you didn’t show him enough love and affection. 

He feels you are controlling him

If your son feels like you are still treating him like a child and not like the adult man he is, he may develop negative feelings towards you. It can be hard for moms to adjust to having an adult child for who they are no longer responsible.

If you have been controlling your son’s life, taking charge of what he can and can’t do even now he is grown up, his love for you may turn into resentment and hatred. 

He has a mental illness

Mental illnesses can impact how people conduct their relationships with others. For example, if your son has a borderline personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder he may see you as inferior to him and not worthy of his love and respect.

NPD can cause your son to develop irrational and negative feelings towards you, he may be rude and hurtful and insult you regularly.

If your son is displaying symptoms of personality disorder, getting a diagnosis can help you to understand his negative behavior towards you. 

You don’t respect his boundaries

Are you always asking your son personal questions, trying to know all about his life, and overstepping his boundaries?

If your son has asked you to stop doing something – asking about his love life, for example – and you continue to do it anyway, he may grow angry and upset. By ignoring your son’s boundaries you will be making him feel unheard and disrespected, he may then stop treating you with kindness in return. 

You don’t respect his choices and are judgmental

Whether it is his choice of partner, job, friendship group, or even the clothes he wants to wear. if you are belittling or disrespectful of the choices your son makes, he may stop loving you.

Constantly judging and questions the choices your child makes can cause arguments or preventing them from wanting to share information about their life with you again in the future. 

What Do You Do When Your Grown Son Hates You?

Ok, it is clear your son has developed strong negative feelings towards you, what happens next?

There are several steps you can take to try and mend your relationship with your son. Some healing options will require both of your participation but there are some approaches to mending the relationship that you can work on alone. 

Talk about it

You can try having an open and honest conversation with your son about how you are both feeling. Try not to be accusing or respond to his anger with more anger.

Be vulnerable, explain how you have been feeling, and invite him to share his feelings with you too. Depending on how volatile your relationship has become, this conversation may be the first positive step in repairing your relationship.

However, your son may not want to speak to you, or be aggressive and hurtful and only be interested in inciting further arguments. If this happens, don’t rise to his anger and simply end the conversation.

Now might not be the time for talking but don’t rule the possibility of an adult conversation out completely if you think it may be helpful. 

Soul search

Are you really the innocent party in this situation? It is very unlikely your son has started hating you for absolutely no reason. Take some time to think about your relationship with your son, can you remember what happened just before he started acting this way?

Were there unhealthy patterns in how you treated him growing up that may be to blame? Did something bad happen in his life around the time he started treating you this way, did he lose his job or experience a relationship break up?

Can you look back on how you have treated your son over the years and in retrospect see that you may have done something to hurt and anger him? Be kind to yourself, treat yourself with grace, and forgive yourself and your son. 


If you know why your son hates you either because he has told you or because there is a clear obvious reason, you need to apologize. It can be hard to say sorry but if you have done something to hurt your child then you need to recognize that.

Tell your son you want to apologize, explain how you felt at the time and why you did what you did. Own your feelings but also validate the feelings of your son.

You may not think his behavior is an appropriate response to whatever it is you did but your son clearly feels very strongly and an apology can be the first step to getting your relationship back on track. 

Make time for you

It can be really upsetting when a son hates his mother. Moms love their children more than anything and it can sting when that love is no longer reciprocated or appreciated.

If your son is refusing to speak to you, instead of trying to spend time changing his behavior, use this time to work on yourself.  Make more time for your hobbies and friendships, try something new and get active to help boost your mood and overall wellbeing.

If you dedicate time to improving yourself and growing as a person, you will also be in a much better headspace to try and repair your relationship with your son when the time is right. 

Give him space

Constantly trying to get your son to treat you differently can become overbearing and just fuel more hatred and anger. Give your son the space and time he needs to grow and transition into adulthood in a way that is comfortable for him.

If you have a tendency to be overprotective and controlling, take a step back and give your son the freedom he wants. Your son will make mistakes in life, he will get hurt at times and won’t always be happy.

This can be a hard pill for moms to swallow but for the sake of your mother-son bond, you need to let your son experience life on his own terms. When your son is ready to talk to you, offer him grace and compassion and in the end, hopefully, forgiveness. 

Honor his boundaries

If your son has asked you to stop showing up at his house announced then stop showing up at his house unannounced. If he has asked you to stop phoning him three times a day then put your phone away.

If he has requested that you no longer ask prying questions about his romantic life then try to keep your curiosity in check. Whatever boundary your son has set, he has put it there for a reason and you need to respect his decision.

If you continue to cross his boundaries after he has very clearly stated them to you, he may feel like you are ignoring his wishes and don’t care about his feelings. Show your sons boundaries the respect they deserve and he may begin to treat you with more love and kindness. 

Treat him like an adult

Your son is not a baby anymore, he is an adult and deserves to be treated like one. You will always be your son’s mom but he is a grown-up now and doesn’t need you in the same ways he did when he was a child.

Treat your son with the same respect you would show any other adult. Your love for him doesn’t have to change but you need to accept your son is a grown man now and your relationship is going to be different from what it was like when he was younger. 

Get support

Having a strained relationship with your son can impact your mental health and general wellbeing. You may be too upset to enjoy your usual activities and hobbies or you may be constantly arguing with your son.

If you and your son are willing to go to therapy together, a therapist will be able to help you both learn the true reasons why your son hates you and provide you with strategies to overcome the problems in your relationship.

If your son is not willing to see a therapist with you, there is no reason why you can not seek professional advice by yourself.

Speaking with a therapist can help you to cope with the way your son is making you feel and they may be able to help you pinpoint parenting mistakes you have made that may be the root cause of your son’s behavior towards you.

Therapy isn’t for everyone but hearing your son say ‘I hate you’ can be really traumatic for mothers, make sure you surround yourself with friends and family who love you.

You will need a lot of support during this difficult time, if you don’t want to confide in a loved one, seek out a local support group for mothers in a similar situation. 

The Final Thought 

Sons hating their mothers isn’t a common occurrence but it does, unfortunately, happen in some families. There are many different reasons why sons may grow to hate their mothers.

The main causes of a strained mother and son bond are mental illness, a controlling or overprotective mother, and disrespected boundaries. However, each family is different and there could be several reasons why a son no longer loves his mom.

A relationship can be healed after the words ‘I hate you’ have been said.  However, it can take a lot of time and hard work for a reconciliation to happen, both mother and son will need to acknowledge their mistakes and be willing to forgive each other. 

If you find yourself thinking ‘why does my son hate me?’, we hope you have found lots of useful information in this article.

Mother and son relationships can be complicated but there is hope, with the right strategies in place you and your son can rebuild a strong and healthy relationship. 

Maybe you are having difficulties with your relationship with your daughter, check out our advice here, or if you are having issues with general fighting within the family check out our strategies here.