If a man is in a position where he spends a lot of his time and energy doing things for his mother, he is going to neglect his own needs. The reason for this is that there is only one of him.
However, if there were two of him, he would be able to focus on her and be there for himself. Naturally, there is a big difference between focusing on another and being there for them from time to time.
But, although he will be depriving himself by living in this way, he might not be aware of this. If this is the case, it is likely to show that he has been this way for most of his life.
He is then unlikely to realise that there are his needs and then there are his mother’s needs, as her needs will be seen as his own. Therefore, it is to be expected that he would take care of her needs and not have an issue with behaving in this way.
What this is also likely to show is that he doesn’t have a strong connection with a number of his own needs. This is then why he can be there for her and be oblivious to the fact that he is neglecting himself.
Unless something changes, then, he will probably continue to behave in this way and to put his own life on hold. Having said that, it will be more accurate to say that his own life will continue to pass him by as he won’t be able to put his own life on hold.
An Energy Source
Based on how he behaves, it will be as though his sole purpose is to support his mother’s life. He is then going to be a supporting actor and his mother will be the leading actor.
Ultimately, he should primarily be using his energy to build and then sustain a life that is deeply fulfilling. What this will illustrate is that something within him is holding him back or his life would be his priority.
A Wake-up Call
Still, while he will be able to behave in this way right now, there could be a point in time when he is no longer able to. Neglecting himself will take its toll on him and he could end up being well and truly exhausted.
If he was to arrive at this point, he could find that he doesn’t have the energy to be there for her any more. Even so, this could be a time when there is a big part of him that doesn’t want to change.
If he was able to reflect on how he feels, he could find that he feels a strong need to be there for her. Not doing so can be seen as something that would cause him to be rejected and abandoned and for his life to end.
And, when he thinks about his own needs and focusing on them, he could end up feeling ashamed. His needs are then going to be seen as bad and it won’t be a surprise that he has denied them for so long.
What's going on
He should feel comfortable with his needs and taking care of them and having boundaries when it comes to this mother. As things stand, he is not comfortable with his needs or taking care of them, and he doesn’t know, deep down, that his mother's needs are not his own and that he is separate from her.
To find out why he is this way, it is likely to be a good idea for him to take a closer look at what took place during his formative years. This is likely to have been a time when he missed out on the nutrients that he needed to grow and develop in the right way.
Back in Time
Instead of having a mother who was able to truly be there for him and generally meet his developmental needs, she might have been emotionally unavailable and generally forced him to adapt to her needs. A stage of his life when he needed to receive would have been a time when he was largely forced to give and this would have stopped him from being able to emotionally separate from her.
If he didn’t do what she wanted, he might have been punished, rejected and/or abandoned. Over time, he would have learnt that being real and expressing his needs was too much of a risk, which would have caused him to gradually lose touch with his true self and develop a disconnected false self.
Consequently, a number of his needs and the pain that he experienced would have ended up being repressed. He would have also come to believe that his needs and feelings were bad.
Furthermore, he would have been conditioned to attune to her needs and to see them as his own. Not being in tune with his own needs would have also played a part in him believing that her needs were his needs.
Drawing the line
For him to move forward, he is going to have a lot of pain to face and work through and unmet developmental needs to experience. This is something that will take courage and patience and persistence.
If a man can relate to this and he is ready to change his life, he may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.