A mother's love is not always unconditional. Sometimes it involves an implicit quota of suffering, an infinite number of conditions and conditioning factors that mark and leave their mark. An example is undoubtedly the adult children of manipulative mothers, people who, despite their maturity, bear the brunt of this harmful and complex relationship.
And the children? And the men? This is one of the most recurrent sentences whenever an article about narcissistic, manipulative or distant mothers appears. It's like, in a way, the weight of our culture continues to place its gaze between mother-daughter relationshipsleaving in absolute myopia the often painful link that can be established between a son and his mother.
Perhaps the shadow of theories, like that of Freud with the Oedipus complex, contributed to it, preferring to focus on the father-son bond, leaving the film world with this more pathological vision between the man and his mother. We only have to revisit several Alfred Hitchcock films to get an idea of how the idea of the influence that a manipulative mother can have on the life of a child has been addressed.
We therefore need more in-depth work to give us a more realistic description of those situations that are covered by our society. This is a difficult problem to recognize for the person concerned. In one way or another, the straitjacket associated with gender is still there, the code of implicit masculinity often plunges men into situations where they are unlikely to step in to ask for help.
A man's relationship with his mother is important for building his identity and the way he interacts with others. Therefore, the shadow of a manipulative mother can have serious implications for her independence and happiness.
The adult sons of a manipulative mother often live in a sphere of silence and continuous contradictions. This is due, first of all, to the above: the weight of our culture and this code of the child by which he is forced to silence his emotions to appear strong… so as not to be a girl.
Hide what hurts and react in the only way that they are allowed, with anger. Thus, in a world where man is still associated with the ideal of freedom or independence, it is not easy to accept that the weight of a narcissistic and manipulative mother falls on him.
We could say here that these adult sons of a manipulative mother share the same wounds with their daughters. After all, being raised and living with a person emotionally unavailable and with the classic glow of selfishness, complaint and the need for control, often leaves the same after-effects.
However, this is not always the case. There are always differences between individuals, for sure, those that have more to do with one's own personality than with gender. However, there is a model that can identify the sequelae that remain in adult men and not always in adult women. We will present them later in this article.
The recurrent use of lies and denial
The son who grew up under the influence of a manipulative mother did not have time to build a strong and authentic identity. So, a very recurrent survival mechanism of these men is the use of lies. At first, he will do it not to disappoint his mother, to avoid guilt, but if he uses this resource as a child, he will apply it in any environment when he reaches adulthood.
The lie serves to protect him, to hide his emotions, to please his mother and to barely survive in any context.
A strong emotional confinement
The adult sons of a manipulative mother often live emotionally upset by this influence. By removing the emotional energy of the child almost from the beginning to make it a priority, the child understands very early that it is not only embarrassing but also dangerous to show one's feelings.
Like this, the adult man who still lives under the influence of this mother will continue to show great emotional restraint, which, in many cases, can lead to various psychological disorders.
A manipulative mother always generates an unsafe attachment. A link where the child has not been emotionally validated, and very often aggressive or hostile behavior can be obvious. This is a characteristic that usually makes a clear difference with the daughters of manipulative mothers.
Like this, the man who grew up in this dynamic can show excessive reactions in certain situationswhere he loses control and reacts with anger. Their ability to deal with emotions is often weak or non-existent.
Frustrated relationships and boycotts
Handling mothers regard their children as their personal property. This toxic link has serious implications for the child's emotional development, psychological maturity, independence, ability to make decisions … And an obvious consequence is the obvious difficulty of establishing intimacy and a genuine emotional connection with an emotional partner.
Thus, it is common that this mother does not hesitate to develop the most complex tricks to frustrate any attempt of the son to have his own space, to build an independent and happy life with another person. They generate neurosis, so that doubts always arise in the mind of the adult man, and the boycott of oneself is almost constant to the point of annoying any relation.
To conclude, it is important to emphasize an obvious aspect. Men are less likely to seek help and therefore seek therapy. Even if they carry a good bag of suffering, their denial capacity is immense. Thus, the adult sons of manipulative mothers are a population group that requires specific help and our responsibility as a society is to facilitate it.