It has been said that someone’s yes will only mean something if they also have the ability to say no. The reason for this is if they are unable to say no, they will say yes out of their need to please another person.

On the other hand, if they felt comfortable saying no, they would be able to say yes and really mean it. They would be going along with something because they want to, not because they fear displeasing another or others.

One Scenario

Now, if a man’s life largely revolves around his mother, it is going to mean that he will spend his life both directly and indirectly saying yes to her. He will rarely if ever say no to her and be there for himself.

On the surface then, it may appear as though he is choosing to be there for her, but, as he seldom if ever says no to her, it will show that this is not actually the case. In reality, he will lack the ability to say no.

The Outcome

If he was merely an extension of his mother and was needless, this wouldn’t be a problem but he isn’t. Therefore, not only is his yes not going to mean anything but he will be saying no to himself.

If there were two of him, he would be able to be there for his mother and he would be able to be there for himself. Yet, as there is only one of him, he can either be there for his mother or he can be there for himself; there is only one option.

A Big Difference

Of course, being there for himself doesn’t mean that he would never do anything for his mother. No, but there is a big difference between him being there for himself and doing certain things for his mother and being there for his mother and only doing certain things for himself.

When it comes to the former, he will be able to take care of all of his needs, but, when it comes to the latter, he is only going to be able to take care of a few of his needs. The outcome of this is that he will be abandoning himself.

The Norm

Nonetheless, behaving in this way can just be what is normal, which will stop him from being able to see what is going on. Still, even if he is unable to see clearly, behaving in this way is going to have a negative impact on him.

For example, his life is likely to be anything but fulfilling and he could often feel drained and even exhausted as a result. By being so caught up in his mother’s world, though, these signs could generally be overlooked.


Irrespective of what the signs are, they will be there to let him know that he is out of alignment with himself. And, if he was to pay attention to the fact that he is often tired, for instance, he could put this down to a separate issue.

So, he could say to himself that he is just unwell or has too much going on at work. He is not going to be able to join the dots, so to speak, and see why he spends a lot of time feeling worn out.

Waking Up

Assuming that something was to take place that allows him to see clearly, he could end up wondering why he is in a position where he typically says yes to his mother and no to himself. What could also become clear is that he has been this way for as long as he can remember.

If he was to simply imagine that his mother was to ask him to do something and he was to say no, he could soon end up feeling guilty and ashamed. After this or perhaps before he feels guilty and ashamed, he could feel anxious and fearful.

An Odd Scenario

As he is an individual, who has his own needs and feelings and, thus, life to lead, this shouldn’t take place. The discomfort that he feels when he put himself first should be how he feels when he puts his mother first.

To understand why turning his back on himself feels comfortable to a big part of him, it will be a good idea to take a closer look at his early years. This is likely to have been a stage of his life when he was deprived of the loved that he needed and used by his mother to meet some of her adult and unmet developmental needs.

A Closer Look

Not receiving the love that he needed would have stopped him from being able to go through each developmental stage, causing him to be emotionally stunted. He would have been deeply wounded and, as he was egocentric, he would have come to believe that there was something inherently wrong with his needs, feelings and himself.

To handle what was going on, his brain would have repressed how he felt and a number of his needs and he would have developed a disconnected false self. Many years will then have passed since he was a powerless and dependent child but, at an emotional level, he won’t know this.

Not a Surprise

Considering this, as he is in an emotionally stunted state and a number of his needs were overlooked, it is to be expected he would feel as though he is doing something wrong and his survival is under threat when he says no to his mother. If his mother had provided him with what he needed, his life would probably be very different.

Most likely, his mother was also developmentally stunted and a deeply wounded human being. This would mean that she didn’t provide him with the love that he needed as she simply didn’t have it to give.


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.

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