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Mother Enmeshed Men

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KatyDo posted 12/31/2013 12:35 PM

I just thought I'd share this great book I found called "When He's Married to Mom." It's about mother enmeshed men, or MEM as the author calls them. I think it really describes my husband and what has been motivating his behaviour all of his life. Furthermore it clarifies things why he acts the way he does. In relation to affairs, it says that men who have experienced an enmeshed relationship with their mother will act out with their wife the distancing they can't with their mother. I always wondered why he did that sort of behaviour. He is in heavy IC and so we will see what happens as time goes on. He is the one who described the dynamic of setting up inappropriate situations with women and wanting to change that, after the affair was revealed. If you ever feel you are dealing with a mama's boy extraordinaire, this book puts it all out there. I hope our marriage has a happy ending, but it helps to get to the crux of the problem in terms of my understanding of it.

datura222 posted 12/31/2013 13:12 PM

Reading this book started the healing process between my H and I. For 20 years he was a MEM and always put his mother first above me. This led to a breakdown in our marriage in which I became emotionally detached from him. He, sensing I no longer wanted or needed him, had a ONS with a prostitute. He has also had a porn issue since he was only 10 years old.

We cut his mother off 4 months ago....just 2 months after D-day.

This is an excellent book. Being married to a MEM is incredibly painful :(

[This message edited by datura222 at 1:13 PM, December 31st (Tuesday)]

datura222 posted 12/31/2013 13:14 PM

An excellent article along this same subject:

Blameitontherain posted 12/31/2013 15:02 PM

Does this book target just mothers? I swear I have a the opposite and it is his father. Sometimes I get the explanation that's just a father son relationship thing. No. No it isn't. Not when he picks father in law over his wife and family constantly.

fool4adecade posted 1/1/2014 07:21 AM

I'm glad you brought up the father thing. I thought I was the only one with this issue. My WH bends over backwards at the expense of our children and me for his father and 2 sisters. For years. In March I overheard WH and FIL conversation (during waiting on a school concert to start) that FIL was taking a European hiking vacation with a woman and how it upset my MIL who is in the final stages of MS. The whole event started a huge shitstorm that WH just can't seem to understand. I'm overreacting, its not my business, etc etc yada yada yada.

My MIL reached out to me about the situation and I became the enemy now. It came down to, after all this time, I cut all HIS family (father and sisters and their families) out of mine and my childrens lives pulled a 180 one him. Even spoke to a lawyer and arranged to have a consult fee available for my MIL and her daughter if she so chooses. I may be wrong, but I tried to let her know that she isn't wrong, she isn't crazy, and she isn't alone. I truly wish someone would have been there for me when I found out WH A's, lies, and porn use. Instead, his FATHER just counciled WH on how to lie, rugsweep, and gaslight. Its clear now. Only took 10 years to come into focus. So much FOO issues and cheating behind my back and upon finding out I'M THE A**HOLE!

Soar subject for me, but I'll have to research this more. I honestly thought WH behavior was mostly from abuse and neglect as a child. Maybe it is, but I've had 20 years and a belly full of this dysfunction and I just don't think I have it in my to do much more than just divorce and start over.

KatyDo thank you for the book reference. I'll check it out.

KatyDo posted 1/1/2014 11:58 AM

Thanks for the replies. That was an excellent article as well which nicely summarizes the theme of the book too. As for father or mother issues - I think both would apply. As long as there seem to be misplaced priorities there's going to be a problem.

DixieD posted 1/1/2014 16:18 PM

Katy, that is a good book. Another good book on the subject we read was Emotional Incest Syndrome by Pat Love. Datura that was a good article too.

My MIL has caused an incredible amount of damage in our marriage, both directly and indirectly through this MEM stuff too. She's textbook.

The good thing now is my husband recognizes all of it. How she operates, the use of guilt and manipulation. The whole bit. She no longer has power over him.

Lovedyoumore posted 1/2/2014 13:39 PM

This is my life. We saw a MC nearly 20 years ago because of the issues caused by my H and his FOO. We have never had a close, emotional marriage. I thought we had overcome most of our issues, but now I think my H has been an actor in a husbandly role. The heart and soul never developed. The MC from 20 years ago told my H that in order for us to have a real marriage, my H would have to emotionally divorce his parents, particularly his mother. I was her rival and she treated me like the OW in her life. My children were always second best next to her other grands and they know it. They never created the same bond as they did with my parents. When my son was a baby, my MIL never held him. Can you imagine not wanting to hold your grandson? She treated him like an OC.

My H used to pick a fight with me in the car every time we headed to his parents house, particularly on holidays. We would all arrive stressed out so I could look like the bitch and the kids would look like a mess. If I pointed it out I was told I was paranoid and crazy. I was always the third wheel. The worst part of it, they worked together in a family company. Everyday she had his ear to fill it with what a pathetic wife I was. He came home everyday angry with me. I could never measure up to my MIL and their perfect relationship. She encouraged him to live a freewheeling life while I wanted him to be with me and the kids. That made me the suffocating control freak who made his life miserable.

That was 20 years ago and like I said, I thought we had dealt with most of the issues. Then, three years ago, my MIL died suddenly. I did not think he was dealing with his grief, but I let him stay quiet about it. That is when he started his A. The real love of his life was gone, so he was free to find a replacement. Never mind I was still here, but his real emotional wife was dead. The MC told us 20 years ago that the emotional incest was very destructive to any normal relationship.

I wish I had known this 35 years earlier. I would have run as fast as I could. The sad thing is, the very qualities that I saw in H that I thought were good nearly destroyed me. He never talked badly about his mother, he was kind to her, he put her comfort above his, etc. I admired him for being so good to her. You know the saying...see how he treats his mother to see how he treats women....What a fool I was.

datura222 posted 1/3/2014 00:00 AM

My H was an only child. When his father was alive his job entailed travel over 50% of the year, leaving MIL all alone. H became her surrogate H. When FIL passed away 15 years ago she became unbearable.

She used to make him rub her feet in front of me, she would take him as a teen to get facials and haircuts together. She would make him accompany her to plays at the local theater. She treated him like a king, bought him anything he wanted and doted on him hand and foot.

I could never compare. She was always the perfect martyr. Oddly enough, she was emotionally vacant, and could never speak of emotions...hence H adopted this trait, which we are working on now.

When she would make abusive comments to me, he would actually NOT believe me and think I was lying. She mentioned that we should abort the first year of our marriage, that he never should have married me, that I was lazy etc etc...the list extends to hundreds of toxic actions and comments.

She tried to take over my role as mother with my first born son. She would drop by endlessly, buy my son gifts which were excessive and mistakenly call herself "mommy". My son finally stopped getting her confused with me and calling her "mommy" by mistake when he turned 4.

My H and I met young...she was the boss...that dynamic continued until I started getting sick of it about 7 years ago (we have been together for 20). My spine finally started growing....

Just this past year, when the shit hit the fan, and our d-days were revealed, it was through counseling that we realized that the root of his inability to put me and our marriage first was because he was in essence "married to his mother".

I put my foot down the day after D-day and told H that if we have ANY chance to R that we must both put each other first.

We decided this year to have our first xmas together as a nuclear family alone without her boundary stomping and taking over. When he finally got the balls to email her this (as well as also informing her of his realization that he was enmeshed with her and should have been putting me as a priority instead of her all along) she FREAKED out and went crazy. She basically told us she was cutting us off.

This was the BEST thing that has ever happened to us!!!! We are finally free.

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