Most of my advice is aimed at men, but today I have a video for you ladies out there on the topic of how to deal with a man who has a controlling mother. I've written a previous article on how to deal with a controlling mother, and I'm getting an increasing number of comments left by women in response to this article which was originally aimed at men. And the women are talking about their frustrations in having dealt with partners who had controlling mothers.
So what I'd like to cover here today is what you should if your boyfriend, husband or partner has a controlling mother and this is having some kind of impact - and it's generally a negative impact - on your relationship with the guy.
And my first easy tip for dealing with this situation is leave. If the guy has a controlling mother and he's not willing to deal with it, then this is going to be a real problem and you probably already know this. I'm sure it's not news to you. It's probably why you're watching the video in the first place. But if a guy has a controlling mother, then they're in for some drama.
Now, if you don't want to just leave, if you want to stick it out and try to actually deal with this, then you have my respect. So what are some practical things you can do to actually deal with this situation if you think the guy is worth hanging around for?
Well, the first thing to note is that control is all about anxiety. And what happens when a man has a controlling mother is that his mother dumps her anxiety onto the guy as he's growing up and in his adult life in the form of control.
So people who are controlling are trying to deal with the anxiety that they feel by controlling the circumstances around them, and controlling parents do this to try to deal with their anxiety by controlling their children; trying to stop their children getting into trouble or doing the wrong thing or just generally having a life because any kind of risk that the child takes causes the parent a lot of anxiety and therefore the parent's response to that anxiety is to try to control the children.
Now, a self-aware parent will recognize that they're feeling anxious and go and deal with whatever has caused their anxiety, and generally it's some kind of baggage from their own past that has caused them to be overly anxious about certain situations that they're now dumping on their children.
So this is pretty heavy stuff, and you really need to recognize the anxiety that is running this whole show because what happens is that a controlling mother when she dumps the anxiety on her son, the son then feels tremendously anxious and is going to be very scared of doing anything that's going to upset the controlling mother.
So the typical scenario that I'm talking about here has a man who is not willing to stand up to his mother, is not in his manhood and not in his masculine presence around his mother and just acts like a scared little boy because that's basically who he still is.
The problem here is that a man with a controlling mother often doesn't grow up, doesn't individuate during adolescence and often remains under the thumb of his mother. Now, you'll recognize this dynamic in your relationship if there are times when there's conflict between you that relates to his mother in some kind of way. You'll notice that the man will always side with his mother over you, and he will often do this quite irrationally. I mean, it makes no logical sense for a man to side with his mother in a conflict with his partner because his partner represents the future and his mother represents the past.
What happens during adolescence is that men grow up from being boys into being men, and in the process they start doing their own thing. We start breaking away from the emotional ties that we have to our mothers and we start actually becoming men.
And often what happens if there's a controlling mother, the boy is simply too afraid to say no to his mother or to stand up to her or perhaps when he does that he gets absolutely crushed because controlling parents often feel that they need to crush the spirit of their children in order to get their control, and they're willing to do that because it's easier than dealing with the anxiety that the parent feels inside.
So a boy who has failed to individuate from his mother can often end up as a man walking around where he's really just a boy in a man's body. Emotionally, he's been held back, so emotionally he's underdeveloped and he's still feeling a lot of this fear that is running the whole control thing in the dynamic with his mother.
So what you need to understand is that a man in this situation is basically terrified of dealing with this fear towards his mother that is like a life-threatening thing. It's the fear of death coming up because as a child we're totally at the mercy of our parents and we need them to provide for us. And we know as a baby that if we don't get provided for that we die and that's why we experience this fear of death, and it's that very same fear that comes up when a man first confronts his controlling mother and says, "Look, I'm not prepared to have you treat me this way."
So, firstly, you need to understand that this is not easy for a guy. He is going to be having a whole heap of fear come up around standing up to his mother, and it's not going to make any sense to you because to you it's going to be like perhaps he acts like a man most of the time, but around his mother somehow he regresses back into childhood and it's going to be hard to understand and it may cause you tremendous frustration to see this guy doing what his mother wants when it may be to the detriment of your relationship.
Now, having said that, that it's good to understand where he's coming from in terms of the fear that he feels, really he's the only one that can deal with this.