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.

What I'll 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.

My first easy tip for dealing with this situation is this: 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 reading this in the first place. But if a guy has a controlling mother, then you're in for some drama and it's worth asking yourself why you're attracted to this situation in the first place.

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?

The first thing to note is that control is all about anxiety. When a man has a controlling mother, his mother dumps her anxiety onto the guy as he's growing up and in his adult life in the form of control.

People who are controlling are trying to deal with their own anxiety 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.

A self-aware parent will recognize that they're feeling anxious and go and deal with whatever has caused their anxiety. 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.

This is pretty heavy stuff, and you really need to recognize the anxiety that is running this whole show because when a controlling mother dumps her 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.

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.

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. 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.

Often 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.

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.

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."

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. Continued in Part 2.

Graham Stoney

Graham Stoney

I struggled for years with low self-esteem, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence before finding a solution that really worked. I created The Confident Man Program to help other men live the life of their dreams. I also offer 1-on-1 coaching via Skype so if you related to this article contact me about coaching.


Peter Tuziak · February 25, 2015 at 11:59 am

I agree with your initial response and that is ditch him.

    Graham Stoney

    Graham Stoney · February 25, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    lol. Kinda cheeky that suggestion... but it's amazing how many people seem to not even think about it. 🙂

      Peter Tuziak · February 25, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Thanks. Your piece reminded me of a time when I was between jobs and Mum suggested that a friend of hers was involved in marriage mediation and asked if I was interested. I told her: "I would say the same two words for every client - get divorced. Easiest money I'd ever make."
      Sadly I think people trap themselves in a comfort zone, even if the zone is torture.

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