When a man is entangled with his mother, he is not going to know that he is separate from her. On the outside, then, he will look like a separate being, but, on the inside, he won’t feel like one. As a result of this, he won’t have gone from a dependent to an interdependent human being; he will be developmentally stunted.
Both his emotional and physical survival will be attached to her. Beyond appearances another way of looking at this would be to say that although he looks like a man, he will feel like a boy. Still, this is not to say that he will be aware of this as he could typically be out of touch with how he feels.
By being in an emotionally shut down state, he will rarely have access to the feelings that would shed light on how old he truly feels. And, even when he does connect to his feelings, this might not be clear. No concept the reason for this is that how he feels is likely to be what is normal.
Therefore, through having felt this way for so long, it might prevent him from realising what is going on. He is then not going to have the need to do anything and is likely to carry on living in the same way. For him to do something about this, he will need to see that his emotional experience has a lot to do with how a traumatized child might feel and to believe that he can do something about this.
One focus so, as his emotional and physical survival are attached to his mother, it is to be expected that he will do what he can to take care of her needs and to please her. This is not to say that this is something that he is consciously aware of as he is just likely to feel compelled to be there for her and to spend a lot of time thinking about her. It won’t matter that being there for her is greatly undermining his life as this is likely what will feel comfortable and be seen as the right thing to do.
He might not even be able to see how destructive it is for him to behave in this way. One direction most, if not all, of his energy, will be directed towards his mother, so it is to be expected that his life will be undermined. The evidence will be there regardless of whether he is able to see it or not.
If he has a career, it might not be going as well as it could, or he might not even have a job. As for his relationships, he might not have much time for friends and he might not have ever had an intimate relationship. A mess alternatively, he could be in a relationship but it might not be going very well, with his partner getting to the point where she has had enough.
Yet, if she is often ignored, this is not going to be a surprise
she won’t want to share her partner with another woman, his mother, and so she will be ready to cut her ties. Then again, this could be something that has recently taken place. The other side clearly, he is out of balance, and, even though he is not aware of this, one would think that his mother would be.
As she is older and is his mother, not his daughter, she should get a sense that this isn’t right. After seeing that he is wasting his precious life by focusing on her, she should make it clear to him that he is not on this planet to look after her. Thanks to her feedback, he might gradually be able to focus on his life and get back on track.
In her eyes, her son could be responsible for her. Due to the fact that, beyond the facade that she presents to the world, she is also likely to be developmentally stunted, she won’t be able to see that her son is separate from her. In the same way that her arm is part of her, her son will also be part of her.
Transference thus, while she is a lot older than him and is his mother, deep down, she is likely to see him as one of or a combination of her parents. As she didn’t receive the care that she needed very early on, she wouldn’t have been able to emotionally separate from her primary caregiver. The years would have passed and once her son was born, she would have unconsciously seen him as the caregiver that she didn’t have.
He would have been totally powerless and helpless at this stage of his life and would have had to fulfil some of his mothers needs to be able to survive. His mother probably wouldn’t have realised that what she was doing was harming her son. Her own neediness, along with her inability to attune to her son’s needs, would have consumed her, and thereby, stopped her from recognising the consequences of her behaviour.
As for his father, who would have played an important role in pulling him out of his mother’s world and allowing him to individuate, he might not have been emotionally available. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.