What is clear is that in order for a man to both have and sustain a life that is fulfilling, he will need to be there for himself and take care of his needs. If this doesn’t take place, he will live a half-life at best and he won’t have much of a life at worst.

Nonetheless, even though this is the case, he could be in a position where his life is of secondary importance. The reason for this is that he could focus on his mother and do what he can to take care of a number of her needs.

A Strange Scenario

Yet, despite the fact that living in this way is going to cause him to neglect himself, he might not be aware of this. If he is in this position, it is likely to show that behaving in this way is just what is normal.

So, like a fish that has only lived in a fishbowl, he won’t know what it is like to experience life differently. Consequently, he will need to experience life differently to see that he has turned his back on himself.

The Catalyst

What could allow this to take place is if he started seeing a woman or started a relationship. As he will have someone else in his life, he won’t be able to do as much for his mother.

In the beginning, he could feel relieved that he has someone in his life who is there for him. He could also find that he has more energy and feels better about himself.

The Next Stage

After a while, though, he could start to experience a lot of guilt and shame. He will then be doing the right thing by spending less time doing things for his mother and putting a number of his needs first but he won’t be able to fully accept this.

Furthermore, he could experience a fair amount of fear and anxiety. Based on this, not only will it be as if he is doing something wrong but it will be as if his survival is under threat.


To deal with how he feels, he could end up spending less time with the woman he is seeing or his partner and more time doing things for his mother. He is then gradually going to go back to how he was before.

At this point, he could block out what is going on or he could wonder why he is behaving in his way. If he does block out how he feels, he is not going to be able to change his life; whereas if he doesn’t, it will give him the chance to do so.

The Other Side

Along with how he behaves, there will be the impact that this will have on his partner. If he does just pull away and is no longer as available, she could feel hurt and confused.

Naturally, his behaviour is not going to make any sense. But, although she will want to find out what is going on, she might not be able to attain the answers that she is looking for.

Another Outcome

If this is not possible, it could mean that she will end up drawing the line and cutting her ties with him. This could be the best thing that she could do if she doesn’t want to waste her time.

Alternatively, if he stays connected to what is going on for him and shares this with her; it might allow their connection to continue. It can all depend on whether he ends up reaching out for the right support and gradually deals with his issues.

The Next Step

Assuming that he doesn’t completely block out what is going on for him and has had enough of living in this way, he could struggle to understand why he is experiencing life in this way. He will want to put himself first and no longer be focused on his mother’s needs.

If he could put himself first without feeling bad and as though he was going to die, he wouldn’t need to experience life in this way. What this illustrates is that he will look like an adult but he won’t feel like one.

Stepping Back

If his physical age is put to one side and how he feels and behaves is taken into consideration, what will stand out is that he is like a boy who is dependent on his mother. For some reason, then, he won’t have moved passed this stage of his development.

This could be hard for him to accept and he might believe that there is something inherently wrong with him. Nonetheless, most likely, he is this way because he missed out on the emotional nutrients that he needed during this stage of his life.

Role Reversal

His mother was likely to have been developmentally stunted and unable to provide him with the love that he needed to grow and develop in the right way. As to why she was this way, she was probably also deprived during her developmental years.

Instead of him receiving what he needed, he would have been forced to be there for her and meet some of her adult and unmet developmental needs. Due to how caught up she was with her own needs, she wouldn’t have been able to accept that he had a self and his own needs and feelings.

The fallout

To handle what was going on, he would have had to disconnect from his true self, so his needs and feelings, and create a disconnected false self. This false self would have been focused on his mother.

Being there for her wouldn’t have allowed him to be seen and heard and receive what he needed, but it would have minimised the harm that he experienced and allowed him to survive. The role that he was forced to play at this stage will be very similar to the role that he plays as an adult.

Frozen In Time

Behaving in this way is not going to be serving him, but, when he changes his behaviour, it is going to unlock some of the pain and unmet developmental needs that he had to repress all those years ago. This is why his sense of self will be compromised when he doesn’t focus on his mother as it will be dependent on him pleasing her.

Of course, if he had received what he needed during this stage of his life and was able to develop a strong sense of self, it would be different. For him to move forward, he will need to be courageous, patient and persistent.


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.

Author's Bio: 

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, enmeshment, inner child, true self and inner awareness. With over three thousand, two hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

To find out more go to - http://www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/

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