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Fear of Dependency 

Paul Olsen, declares in his book, Sons and Mothers, “What a man is frightened of, more than anything else in the vast possibilities of living experience, is dependency, regression to a state in which he becomes an infant in the care of his mother—a mother later unconsciously symbolized by almost all women with whom he comes in contact.”

If the son has had any male to male sexual exposure in his childhood, this issue is compounded. Subconsciously he will seek to prove his heterosexuality by bonding to other women outside the marriage. When a dad abandons a son emotionally and physically, he is left to gain that validation elsewhere, often through a female or even another man. If the boy has any male-to-male sexual exposure he will grow into adulthood leaning toward homosexuality or he will have to prove his heterosexuality to himself by getting his validation from women.

The popular comedy TV sitcom series Everybody Loves Raymond is a classic portrayal of two sons who have been doted on by their mother and conflict consistently arises between the loyalty of the sons at the expense of their wives. The father is emotionally bankrupt and emotionally abuses the mother. The mother seeks to get her emotional needs met from Raymond, the favored son. Many of the situations are quite humorous, but sadly, are portrayed very accurately as to the depth of the problem.

Ken Nair, author of Discovering the Mind of a Woman, cited a perfect example of this when counseling a couple and the husband was reacting to his wife’s treatment of his wife. “I’m thinking of a situation where a wife said, ‘On Mother’s Day, you made sure that your mother got to sit at the head of the table and was waited on first.’ He retaliated, ‘Well, it was Mother’s Day!’ His wife defensively said, ‘I’m a mother! In fact, I’m the mother of your children. But that doesn’t seem to carry any weight with you!’ He illustrated his deafness to her spirit by saying, ‘I’m not going to stop loving my mother just to make you happy!’”

This man always gave deference to his mother’s needs at the expense of his wife’s. The husband was never emotionally bonded to his, but was still bonded to his mother. When this happens the husband will pull away from his wife because he subconsciously views her as his mother who he believes is trying to control him. Whenever a son’s behavior changes in the presence of the mother and the wife feels like a third wheel, you can be confident there is a mother-son bonding issue that exists.

This usually results in the son bonding to other women outside the marriage in a subconscious attempt to deal with the pain of the mother-son bonding. He is often a flirt with other women usually unknowingly. Subconsciously he is meeting an emotional need in himself to prove his manhood through other women.

John Eldredge shares a very personal account of his discovery of similar deep rooted issues he described in his book, Wild at Heart. He discovered what happens when a man cannot offer himself emotionally to his wife. “If the man refuses to offer himself, then his wife will remain empty and barren. A violent man destroys with his words; a silent man starves his wife. ‘She’s wilting,’ a friend confessed to me about his new bride. ‘If she’s wilting then you’re withholding something,’ I said. Actually, it was several things—his words, his touch, but mostly his delight. There are so many other ways this plays out in life. A man who leaves his wife with the children and the bills to go and find another, easier life has denied them his strength. He has sacrificed them when he should have sacrificed his strength for them.”

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