Although a man will be a separate being, if he is enmeshed to his mother, it will be as though he is merely an extension of her. He will then look separate from her but he won’t act like he is separate from her.

This could be something that hasn’t even crossed his mind, which will show now normal it is for him to be there for his mother and to focus on her needs. As for his own needs, he could typically be out of touch with most of them.

A Tiring Existence

Naturally, apart from the approval that he is likely to receive, living in this way is not going to do a great deal for him. But, as he will be neglecting himself, how could living in this way really serve him?

He could deny the feedback that is inside him, that is there to tell him that he is living in the wrong way, and do his best to carry on living in the same way. Most likely, this will be something that takes place unconsciously.

The Point Of No Return

Now, if he was to get into a relationship, he could end up coming to see that he is living in the wrong way. The reason for this is that his partner, by being on the outside, could see that he is too focused on his mother and is neglecting himself.

This could be something that he will dismiss and deny at first, though, but over time, he could gradually accept that this is the truth. Still, this doesn’t mean that his life will simply change after he has become aware of this.

Totally Powerless

At this point, he is still likely to feel the need to behave in a way that is not serving him. As a result of this, he could believe that he has no control over his life and that his life will only change if his mother changes.

So, being aware of what is going on will have been an important step, but he might not believe that he can take the next step. This can cause him to feel angry, frustrated and helpless.

Going Deeper

As he is a man, not a boy, he shouldn’t feel this way; he should be able to draw the line with his mother and live his own life. What this can show is that his sense of self is dependent on his mother.

Therefore, unless he plays the same role and continues to behave in the same way, he will literally lose himself. He will then be like an empty shell and feel as though he no longer exists.

A Matter of Survival

With this in mind, doing what his mother wants will be a way for him to receive approval but this won’t be the primary reason why he behaves in this way. He will behave in this way because this will be seen as the only way for his self, and therefore himself, to exist.

His sense of himself, then, will need his mother’s attention in order to exist. However, his sense of self will have very little to do with who he is; it will be based on him playing a role.

Closer Look

What this is going to show is that his sense of self didn’t develop properly, hence why he needs his mother’s attention to feel as though he exists. If his sense of self had developed properly, he wouldn’t need his mother’s attention to feel as if he is a real human being.

He would have gone from a dependent to an interdependent human being, meaning that he would need other people’s acknowledgement but he wouldn’t need anyone, in particular, to acknowledge him for this sense of self to exist. This shows that he is in a developmentally stunted state.

Back In Time

The reason for this is that, during his early years, his mother probably used him to meet some of her adult and unmet childhood needs. Instead of providing him with the nutrients that he needed to grow and develop, and to develop a strong sense of self in the process, he had to be there for her.

This would have forced him to lose touch with his true self, his needs and feelings, and to create a false self. This false self won’t have firm foundations and its whole existence would have been, and will continue to be, dependent on his mother’s feedback – without her, there will be no him.

A New Reality

Due to being developmentally stunted, if he was to draw the line with his mother and started to live his own life, he would end up coming into contact with a lot of deep pain. He could end up feeling abandoned, helpless, and hopeless and experience a deep sense of loss.

If this pain was too much for him to handle, he could end up dissociating from himself. His emotional self and brain are unlikely to be in a good way and a lot of inner work will probably need to take place for him to change his life.


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, inner child and inner awareness. With over two thousand, eight hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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