If a man is in a position where he spends a lot of time and energy doing things for his mother, it is likely to mean that he will neglect himself. The reason for this is that he only has so much time and energy and if these two resources are being directed towards his mother, he will have less of both for himself.
Now, this could mean that he is only somewhat depriving himself or it could be far more extreme. When it comes to the latter, he could be in a position where he is often running on empty.
The Signs Are There
Still, even if this is the case, it doesn’t mean that he will be fully aware of what is going on. The lights will then be flashing on his dashboard, so to speak, but he won’t be able to acknowledge, let alone do anything about, what is going on.
What this will illustrate is how focused he is on his mother’s needs and how out of touch he is with his own. Based on how focused he is on his mother, then, if her needs were his needs, he would be fine.
So, he could come home from work or have the weekend off and his mother could ask him to do something for her. Without checking in with himself and seeing how he feels and what his needs are, he could simply agree to do whatever it is that she wants.
After this has taken place, he could feel totally washed out and have no time to recharge, for instance, before going back to work. The time that he had to take care of his own needs will have been spent doing things for his mother.
Alternatively, he may have planned something with his partner something and, out of nowhere, his mother may ask him to do something. This can then be a time when he will cancel the plans that he has made with his partner and be there for his mother.
In this case, he will be neglecting himself and he will be letting his partner down. This will cause him to deprive himself and his partner can feel rejected, unimportant and resentful.
What this shows is that there will be how this will impact his life if he is single and how it will impact his life if he is in a relationship. If he is single, he is purely going to be depriving himself of what he needs but if he is in a relationship, he will be depriving his partner, too.
Although he will not only be depriving himself if he is in a relationship, through being in this position, it can allow him to ‘wake up’. By having someone on the outside that is not caught up in what is going on and can see clearly, she will be able to provide him with information that he is not aware of.
If he is not aware of the fact that he is out of balance, it will mean that he is not consciously choosing to live in his way. Therefore, having someone in his life who can shed light on what is going on, can allow him to gradually change his life.
By doing this, not only will be able to start putting his needs first and implementing boundaries with his mother, but he will be able to be more available to his partner. Instead of his partner being on the periphery and his mother being at the centre of his world, his partner will gradually become his primary relationship.
If he was able to acknowledge what is going on, irrespective of if he is or isn’t in a relationship, what could soon stand out is that he cares more about his mother than himself. She is then going to be very important but he will have very little if any importance; in other words, his mother will be the centre of his world and he will be on the periphery.
As this is how he sees his mother and himself, it won’t be much of a surprise that he behaves in a way that is totally destructive. One way of looking at this would be to say that he will be engaging in self-harm.
What’s going on?
At this point, he could wonder why he is behaving in a way that is not serving him and is actually causing him to suffer. In all likelihood, he is behaving this way due to what took place during his formative years.
This was probably a stage of his life when he was deprived of the nutrients that he needed to grow and develop in the right way. Throughout this time, his mother is likely to have used him to fulfil some of her adult and unmet childhood needs.
He needed to receive the right nutrients to be able to go through each developmental stage but, instead, he would have been forced to give, which would have caused him to be developmentally stunted. This would have stopped him from being able to experience an emotional birth and start the individuation process and thereby, he would have stayed ‘enmeshed’ with her.
As he was egocentric, he would have come to believe that there was something inherently wrong with his true self. This would have meant that his needs and feelings would have been seen as bad and his survival would have stayed attached to his mother.
A matter of Survival
With this in mind, focusing on his mother and ignoring himself will be seen as the only way for him to survive. This is what he had to do during his early years to avoid being punished or disapproved, or rejected and/or abandoned.
And, even though he did do what she wanted, he is still likely to have been punished, disapproved, rejected and abandoned. Ultimately, he will be trying to avoid something that has already taken place, on perhaps hundreds if not thousands of occasions.
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 25 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.