If a man is seen as a ‘mother-enmeshed man’, it is not going to be a surprise for someone to come to the conclusion that he is this way due to how his mother treated him. Therefore, if his mother had treated him differently during his formative years and treated him differently now, he would be different.

In other words, his mother will be the one who did the most damage so she will be the one who is responsible for what he is like as an adult. And, if he is aware of what he is like, he could also come to the same conclusion.

Another Angle

However, although it can appear to be this black and white, what if there is far more to it? What if his father also had a big effect on why he was unable to break away from his mother very early on and express himself?

If his father did play a part, it wouldn’t be right to solely hold his mother accountable for what took place. There would be the part that his mother played and the part that his father played.

Two Roles

During his formative years, there were things that he needed from his mother and things that he needed from his father. From his mother, he needed her to be able to see him and to provide him with love.

Whereas from his father, he himself also needed him to see him and to love him but he also needed his support, encouragement and protection. This is, of course, a very basic way of looking at what he needed from each parent but it provides a rough idea of the different roles that each should have played in his development.

One Part

So, when it comes to his mother, she is unlikely to have been able to truly be there for him on a consistent basis. In general, she may have seen him as an extension of herself and, thereby, used him to meet some of her adult and unmet childhood needs.

This would have caused him to be deeply deprived and stopped him from receiving the nutrients that he needed to stay connected to his true self and develop a strong sense of self. Instead, he would have experienced a lot of pain and lost touch with his true self.

The Other Part

When it comes to his father, this might have been someone who wasn’t even around and, therefore, there was no one to notice that how he was being treated by his mother wasn’t healthy and stand up for him. His father would have abandoned him, for one reason or another, and this would have left him defenceless.

Now, it could be said that if his father was around, there would have been no reason for his mother to treat her son in this way. But, while this can sound accurate, this is likely to show that his mother had underlying issues or else she simply wouldn’t have looked towards her son in this way.

A Clear Sign

If a mother was mentally and emotionally together, it is highly unlikely, regardless of if her partner has left, that she would look towards her son to be there for her. A mother looking toward her son to meet certain needs and for a very short period of time in a situation like this might happen but this is radically different to a mother turning her son into her surrogate partner.

For a mother who is together, seeing her son in this way wouldn’t occur to her and if it did, it simply wouldn’t feel right. When this does happen, then, it is not solely a sign that a mother’s partner has left or is distant; it is also likely to be a sign that her own developmental years were full of deprivation.

Another Scenario

If his father was around, not only might he have been emotionally available but he might have acted more like his partner's slave than her equal. In this case, his partner would have been the centre of his world.

When he was not at work, assuming that he had a job, he would have been there to serve just about every need that his partner had. Ultimately, he would have lacked backbone and not been in his power.

Greatly Undermined

Taking this into account, the man would have had a mother who forced him to be there for her and a father who was also focused on his mother. His father was then in no position to encourage him to individuate and live his own life as his own life revolved around his partner.

Seeing his father behave in this way is likely to have caused him to believe that this is just what is normal and how he should behave. If he ever tried to go against how things were in his family system and express himself, his father might have verbally and/or physically harmed him.

Two Parts

What this illustrates is that when a man is enmeshed with his mother and both of his parents were around during his early years, he was wounded by both his mother and father. His mother will have probably lacked boundaries and had no sense of where she began and ended and where her son began and ended.

As for his father, he will have been in the same position but he would have been more passive than active and been the one who was typically walked over. Furthermore, as his father was emasculated, it is likely to have created the impression that his mother had far more power than she actually had.

A Replay

Lastly, if his father was physically abusive at times and had no trouble standing up to and harming his son, it is likely to show that, during his early years, his mother and/or sister were domineering. This would have played a part in why he ended up with a partner to who he was afraid and was unable to stand his ground.

Either way, he probably won’t have been brought up with a father who was strong and able to model healthy masculine behaviour. The outcome of this is that he didn’t know how to be there for and guide his son as no one had been there for and guided him; the only thing he could do was to unconsciously undermine him just as he himself had been undermined.


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.

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

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