I’ve been asked this a lot lately and the answer is: Yes men CAN have a mother wound too
It may however be experienced and expressed differently
I am writing this as a therapist who is working with men who are experiencing mother wounds of their own. They can experience the same emotional neglect and meaness women experience, but this is what I feel is different.
Where narcissistic mothers may be in competition with their daughters, seeing them as rivals for affection, for example think of the story of Snow White, or Cinderella, where the step-mother or evil mother figure is vying for the affection of her spouse or the accolade of being ‘the fairest in the land’.
For the young boy there is a different pressure. From a very early age he is taught to suppress his emotions. ‘Boys don’t cry’, ‘You big girl’s blouse’, ‘Oh grow up’, are just some of the phrases that are used to shut boys down emotionally. Yes there are some enlightened parents out there doing things differently, but we’d be foolish to think it doesn’t still happen, and even if it was eradicated as an ideal, we still have generations of men who were brought up this way.
So what are the consequences?
This kind of messaging to small boys has consequences:
- Confusion-The young child that cannot turn to his mother for emotional support, has to regulate his emotions by himself. As an adult he may find it hard to access emotions or name them, and find women difficult to understand and relate to.
- Self-esteem issues-A lack of loving care means the young boy feels unlovable, not good enough and like he doesn’t matter. This can lead to an adult man who struggles in relationships, who doesn’t take care of his needs and who uses work, money or power to feel like a somebody.
- Externalising self-soothing-If mum was unable to help the young boy to name and regulate his emotions, as an adult he is likely to use external gratification or substances to feel better. Gaming, gambling, alcohol, extreme physical activity and drugs are common ways men try to self-soothe.
- Relationship difficulties-the child who is taught to suppress their emotions becomes an adult who struggles to relate to others emotionally. This can cause distance in your relationships where you rely on sex or money to show love.
- Suicide-The child who can’t express emotions and share them becomes an adult who struggles to resolve them, when noone understands and all feels hopeless, it may feel easier to end things.
- Domestic abuse-Suppressed emotions often lead to anger as the only form of expression, anger at the emotional abndonment of your younger self is a recipe to holding women responsible for your pain. This can lead to abuse if it is not dealt with.
- Stigma-The child that is taught not to speak about emotions, becomes the man who feels shame at having them, in a society that belittles men for being human.
If you feel you are affected by this, don’t suffer in silence, get in touch
Just click on the button below
Love and light
Ps I mean it, please don’t continue to suffer in silence, let’s break the stigma together!