Mother-Son Fixations 2 © Martyn Carruthers 1998-2018

Online Life Coaching for Emotional Incest .

Part 2 – Men who Fixate on their Mothers

Mother-son fixations are a basis for many legends, cults, myths and religions.

Part 1: Little Prince
Part 3: Sons and Lovers

Here’s a quick check for mother-son fixation. (If you are a man – ask some trusted female friends to honestly rate you). If you have five or more YES answers, maybe investigate this issue. 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 defects?
  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?
The Little Prince – his story so far …

If a lonely mother perceives her son as special, the son will try to be special. He may become prematurely adult or retreat into heroic childish fantasies. Instead of enjoying childhood and adolescence, he may develop adult obsessions and become a prisoner of self-deception – a prisoner who cannot imagine escaping.

Men who fixate on their mothers may be unable to maintain a partnership
with a healthy woman. They prefer women who act like mothers or daughters!

Peter Pan Grows Up

Lonely mothers may love their sons in ways that damage them. Such mothers may only share intimacies or plan family activities with their sons. Few sons can resist the love of a lonely mother … but the future partners of those sons will often carry a burden of an  egocentric, immature, demanding man who is rarely satisfied.

My parents divorced and I stayed with my mother. When I was 13, my mother got into bed with me.
She stroked my body … I knew it was wrong but I couldn’t move. It kept happening until I
threatened to tell my father. At 32 I could hardly stand the touch of a woman – any woman.
Since our sessions last year, I am engaged to be married.

The consequences of a mother bonding to a son (in a culture where this is not normal) often include family chaos. A displaced father may seek affairs, separation or show psychosomatic symptoms. The mother and son may together care for the father, as if the father was a difficult child. A son (especially a first son) may feel that he is somehow special – but he depends on his mother for his sense of specialness.

Later, self-absorbed sons may find that obsessive devotion by immature women is the only love they can recognize … that anything other than obsessive devotion is not love.

My son is 35 years old. His father left us 30 years ago. Although he was a brilliant student, my son has no ambition. He has no interest in anything except my cooking. I bought him an apartment – but I cannot make him move into it. He says I need a man around the house.
But if a male friend visits me, my son is upset for days.
Sydney, Australia

Often, the parents’ partnership worsens as a mother and son become closer. The father may feel jealous and angry. While he may hide his feelings, he may withdraw from his wife and son until they are emotionally separated. Unless resolved, such suffering often precedes intimate affairs and/or physical separation by a few years.

As a boy passes adolescence, he will want to explore boy-girl relationships, but if he is bonded to his mother he may have no space for a partner. He may become a shy and nervous nerd – or he may be a promiscuous macho and hurt many girls. Is he an adult-boy? Is he a child-man? Is he his mother’s partner? Is he his father’s rival? The life of a mother’s boy may only make sense if he tries to fulfill his special fantasies.

Life Patterns of Men who Fixate on Mothers

Few mother’s boys can enjoy long-term partnerships with women. Instead, they may flare out in their twenties, and spend their lives as might-have-beens, often blaming their mothers or all women for their problems. Unless they can dissolve their enmeshment, some common life-patterns of mother-bonded men are:

  1. Mother, where are you?: Only seeks women who will mother him
  2. Philosopher: Avoids partnership by rationalizing and denying emotions
  3. Pedophile: Avoids partnership with adults and obsesses about children
  4. Macho / Womanizer: Avoids partnership with many girlfriends and affairs
  5. Introvert / Nerd: Avoids partnership by withdrawal, may live with his mother
  6. Artist / Rocket: Avoids partnership by studying, followed by adult dysfunction
  7. Priest / Monk: Avoids partnership by abstinence (may seek a perfect Father)
  8. Gay / Bisexual: Avoids partnership with women, prefers relationships with men

Mothers’ boys often believe that they are special and that they need not change. They may become angry and defensive if confronted with evidence of their mother-fixation. They rarely ask for help, and if counseling is offered, they may say that they are too special or too clever to need help.

After a decade or two of such behavior, they may suddenly be aware of the inadequacy of their lives – and blame their mothers for everything unpleasant that ever happened to them, especially concerning their relationship choices and partnership history.

Princess, having experienced Princes, seeks Frog
Bumper Sticker (seen in Hawaii)

Little Prince’s Relationships

My mother-in-law is crude, vulgar and stupid, but my husband is devoted to her …
he finds nasty ways to hurt me if I hint that his mother is anything less than perfect.

Mother-bonded men can relax with other men who have similar fixations, although they may never realize how their fixations wreck their lives. They will likely be strongly attracted to father-bonded women who also suffered psychological incest – we sometimes call such women Daddy’s Princesses.

I’ve fought my mother’s dependence since I was a teenager … I was my high school valedictorian,
I have a B.S. degree, but I worked most of my life as a postal clerk.

If an immature man partners a mature woman …

  • She wants to talk about feelings, but he only discusses feelings with his mother
  • She becomes sad, angry and demanding – perhaps just like his mother
  • They may create a stable addict-helper codependence, and / or
  • They may create or adopt a baby in an attempt to re-create intimacy, and / or
  • He may decide that he is not respected enough … and leave

My spouse had several addictions, such as alcohol and smoking, which he overcame, and a sexual addiction, for which he is being treated. Most of his problems are connected to my mother-in-law. He is blindly loyal to her and always takes her side. Whenever he hurts anyone, she defends him. After reading your Little Prince, I feel that my spouse has taken that role with his mother. When can we start? Toronto, 2003

Martyn, I cannot begin to understand how I found you and our wonderful sessions. I believe that God sent you to our lives at the right moment. I can’t thank you enough for your help. I am still overwhelmed at the revelations of yesterday … Toronto, 2003


Although many wives resent their mother-in-law’s interference, if a mother-fixated man takes sides between his wife and his mother … he may reject his wife. (If he supports his wife against his mother, he may later blame his wife for alienating his mother.)

The way out is usually the way through. We help people resolve parental bonds,
manage their emotions and solve relationship problems.

Little Prince: Part 1 . Little Prince Part 3

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