Mothers, Sons and Lovers © Martyn Carruthers 1998-2017

Our relationships with our mothers may be the most influential relationship
of our lives, creating life-long relationship habits. We help people
change childish habits and develop their emotional maturity.

Little Prince 2 … Mothers, Sons and Lovers
Mothers & Sons 2 … Peter Pan Grows Up
Mothers & Sons 3 … Sons and Lovers
Fathers & Daughters … Daddy’s Girls

Martyn Carruthers, Soulwork Founder

I began this summary of mother-son relationships while trying to understand why so many men sabotage their own happiness.

Some of my lessons were:
1) most self-sabotage is unconscious,
2) mother-bonded men may not care if they hurt others,
3) men close to their mothers may feel too special to change.

Why do some men fixate on their mothers?

Most boys fixate on their mothers until adolescence but some men obsess about their mothers for decades longer. Although the consequences can be severe, few men recognize the consequences, fewer seek solutions and very few follow through.

Do you cause friends and family to suffer because
you have emotional problems and you won’t get help?

Here’s a quick check. (If you are a man – ask female friends to honestly rate you).
If you have five or more YES answers, maybe investigate further. Does a man …

  1. obsess about his mother?
  2. attack or sabotage people?
  3. expect women to serve him?
  4. react strongly to any criticism?
  5. demand devotion (not just love)?
  6. obsess about immature women?
  7. not commit to happy partnership?
  8. damage other people’s relationships?
  9. show jealousy, anxiety and insecurity?
  10. demand attention or threaten to leave?
  11. blame his mother for all his problems?
  12. blame his partner for all his problems?
  13. feel huge anger but avoid expressing it?
  14. act like a child or like a tyrant … or both?
  15. brag, boast and lie in attempts to be special?
  16. have obsessive interests and few social skills?
  17. obsess about physical and mental health issues?
  18. try to rescue married women from their husbands?
  19. hunt women – quantity not happiness is important?
  20. avoid couple coaching, marriage counseling or therapy?

These common signs of covert emotional incest predict years of suffering
for these men, for the women in their lives and for their children.

Car bumper sticker seen in America

Mother-Son Fixation or Obsession

If a parent relates to a child in unhealthy ways, the consequences can be severe. Many children of immature, depressed or dissociated parents suffer obsessions and compulsions throughout their lives. Later, as parents, they may enmesh their own children – perhaps with self-sabotage, passive-aggression or codependence. Contact us if you want to change these habits and to develop your emotional maturity.

I lived with a mother’s boy for 7 years. I left him not long ago but I still hurt
and I still feel betrayed. I feel like I had a long affair with a married man.
I asked him to ask you for help, but he always said that he would
fix his own problems, if he had any.

Adults with immature partnership and parenting skills often blame their partners and parents. They may complain that their partners act like children, or like tyrants, or that their partners are physically or emotionally absent – perhaps like their parents were. They may seek the love that they want in intimate affairs … or from their children.

While immature adults often complain about their partners and children, they rarely recognize that their partners and children are responding to their own immaturity. In such families, immature behavior is often normal and expected.

My ex-husband is a child. He avoids decisions and only wants to play …
I liked his childishness until we had a baby, but he resented our son …
after three bad years I divorced him, and he went home to his mother.
It took a few sessions before I stopped trying to mother him.

Are you Entangled with a Man who is Entangled with his Mother?

When parents do not enjoy being together, cross-generational bonds, obsessions and fixations seem much more likely . When you were young, were your parents:

  • separated or divorced?
  • irresponsible or immature?
  • addicts, depressed, bipolar or suicidal?
  • miserable – but they stayed together anyway?
  • physically absent, chronically ill, dysfunctional or dead?

Since my teenage son moved in with his father, I feel terribly lonely,
depressed and betrayed. My son visits me every few weeks and
although he knows that I am sad without him, he won’t come home.
You told me that I need him more than he needs me.

I outlined solutions for some common family issues in Learning Disabilities and Parental Alienation. Covert emotional incest between fathers and daughters is also common – see Daddy’s Little Princess.

Mother-Son “Triangles”

In a strange, faraway country, many boys believe that their mothers are virgins,
and their mothers believe that their first sons are gods.

Our story begins with a pregnant mother. While pregnant, the mother likely enjoyed the attention of her family, but when her baby was born, attention shifted from her to her baby. Feeling ignored, she tried to regain her family’s attention by post-partum depression, and/or by becoming a Super-Mom.

My last boyfriend was a 42 year old child who didn’t want to disappoint his mother.
He never did chores around the house and he phoned his mother all the time.
He phoned his mother when he left, when he arrived and in between.
He would get upset if I talked to him like to an adult.
North Carolina

The husband of a Super-Mom may feel rejected, especially if he depends on his wife to provide meaning for his life. He may feel that a baby – especially a boy baby – is a rival, yet he may avoid his wife’s need for intimacy, support or responsibility. He may become depressed and/or obsess about intimate affairs with young women.

Your Little Prince article described my ex-husband. Add passive-aggressive to the profile,
also broken promises and denial. I will avoid mother’s boys in the future.

Next … The Little Prince – Part 2

Contact us to solve negative emotions and relationship problems.

Sincere thanks … I found validation and understanding for my marriage. My husband is aggressive when he cannot avoid responsibility. I recently had health problems and asked my husband for help, but MAJOR fighting began. My husband cannot accept any role for me that is NOT Mother – and he martyrs himself as my abused son … You offer me hope that I can live and love and laugh again. THANK YOU. Georgia