Mother-Enmeshed Men: Has A Mother-Enmeshed Man Been Brought Up To Feel Comfortable With One-Sided Relationships?
If a man is in a position where he does a lot for his mother and very little for himself, he is going to be more like his mother’s parent than her son. As with a parent-child relationship, he will be giving a lot but he won’t receive a great deal back.
Now, of course, if he was her parent, she wouldn’t be there to fulfil his needs. But as he isn’t her parent and a number of his own needs will be overlooked as he is not there for himself, his own tank is not going to be filled up, so to speak.
The trouble is that while he won’t be responsible for her and he will be neglecting himself, he might not realise this. If this is the case, he is going to be there for her and not there for himself but this won’t be something that stands out.
Sooner or later, however, he might arrive at the stage where he is no longer able to behave in this way. Until then, he will continue to abandon himself and play a role that he is not here to play – the role of his mother’s parent.
He could end up extending himself even more, though, if he was to end up in a relationship. Without even thinking about it, he could focus on the woman’s needs and do what he can to please her.
The woman could soon wonder what is going on and why he is so focused on her, or she could feel comfortable with what is going on and not question what is taking place. If she doesn’t think about what is going on, it could show that she is somewhat or extremely self-centred.
A Lot to Handle
However, although how he behaves around the woman won’t be much different to how he behaves around his mother; his mother is still likely to be his priority. Therefore, before long, the woman that he is with could end up criticising him.
She won’t be angry that he is neglecting himself; she will be angry that he is neglecting her. When his mother was the only woman in his life, there wouldn’t have been anyone else who wanted his attention.
In the beginning, he might have tried to be there for both his mother and the woman he is with, but, this would have gotten harder and harder. At this point, he would feel well and truly exhausted.
Yet, as he is not aware of the fact he is not responsible for his mother and is neglecting himself, he could feel guilty and ashamed. Also, he could feel as if he is a failure and is letting down his mother and the woman that he is with.
A Big Decision
Not being able to do as much as he did before for his mother could be what affects him the most. The woman that he is with, after having had enough of having to share him with his mother, could give him an ultimatum.
She could say that he either puts her first and their relationship will continue or he puts his mother first and their relationship will come to an end. If this was to take place, it is highly likely that he will choose the second option.
A Key Moment
After this has occurred, he could end up taking a step back and reflecting on his life. This is after he has hit rock bottom and no longer has the energy to be there for his mother.
In addition to wondering why he is not there for himself, he could wonder why he doesn’t have a strong connection with his needs and feelings. He might see that he acts as if he is a part of his mother and is simply here to meet her needs.
An Odd Scenario
Behaving in this way won’t be serving him but this is what will feel comfortable. Moreover, his mother will expect him to behave in this way and won’t make it clear that he is not here to meet her needs.
So, as this is what feels comfortable and his mother has not made it clear that he is not responsible for her, it is not a surprise that he has not been there for himself. If this is how he has experienced life for as long as he can remember, it is likely to show that his early years were not very nurturing.
Back In Time
Practically from the moment that he was born, a number of his developmental needs might have typically been ignored. Due to this, he would have had to focus on his mother’s needs and be there for her.
Over time, a number of his needs, along with his feelings would have been repressed. Naturally, now that he is an adult, he will be totally estranged from himself and focusing on his mother will be what feels comfortable.
As he was deprived of what he needed, he will be in a developmentally stunted state, which is why he is likely to believe that focusing on his mother is the only way for him to survive. When he is with a woman, he will unconsciously see her as his mother and will automatically play the same role.
By being deprived of the love that he needed as a child, he will continue to look to his mother and the women that he ends up with to provide him with the love that he missed out on. His unmet developmental needs will be repressed but they will continue to have an impact on how he behaves.
The Same Story
Yet, as his mother was unable to love him when he was a child, it is highly unlikely that she will ever be able to love him now that he is an adult. And, when it comes to the women that he ends up with, if these women are very similar to his mother, they are also not going to be able to truly be there for him.
But, as he will now be an adult, it will be too late for him to meet his unmet developmental needs. Facing and working through the pain that he had to repress will be a key part of what will allow him to reconnect to and be there for himself and to have relationships that are more balanced.
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.