The impact of controlling mothers on their sons


An unhealthy mother-son relationship has life-long effects.

Sadly, a mother’s love isn’t always unconditional. It can carry an implicit cost of suffering, through endless conditions and requirements, that leave a mark on her children. 

This is a problem that’s hard for the victim to recognize. A male child’s relationship with his mother is important for him in the construction of his identity and in the way he interacts with others as he grows up and into adulthood. Consequently, the shadow that a controlling mother casts in his psyche can have serious consequences when it comes to him achieving independence and happiness later in life.

How are the lives of sons affected by their bond with an overly-controlling mother?

Often, adult sons of controlling mothers live in an environment of silence and constant contradictions. This is due, above all, to that code of behavior that obliges sons to silence their emotions so as to appear strong. In the end, being raised by and living with a controlling mother — who is usually emotionally distant, has the typical sheen of egoism, constantly complains, and always needs to be in control — generally results in predictable effects. Let’s look at some of its concrete manifestations:

The repeated use of lies and denial

A son who has grown up under the influence of a controlling mother hasn’t had the opportunity to develop his own authentic, strong identity. As a result, these men turn to deception as a common survival mechanism. At the beginning, a son will lie so as not to disappoint his mother, and to avoid guilt. However, since he started to use this tactic in childhood, he may continue to do so in other areas of his life as an adult. He uses lies to protect himself, to hide his emotions, to make others happy — the way he tried to do with his mother, and to be able to survive as best he can in any context.

Strong emotional repression

The emotional lives of adult sons of controlling mothers are often suppressed by her influence. Since the sons start suppressing their emotional energy practically from the beginning of their childhood so as to give absolute priority to their mother’s emotions, they learn from early on that showing their feelings can be not only shameful, but dangerous.


A controlling mother always leads to insecure bonding. Her son ends up not being emotionally validated in his relationship with his mother, leading to aggressive or hostile behavior. Consequently, a man who has grown up in this sort of relationship can overreact to certain situations, revealing his lack of self-control and a tendency to vent his anger.

Failed relationships 

Controlling mothers think of their sons as their own personal property. This toxic bond has serious implications for the son’s affective development, his psychological maturity, his independence, and his ability to make decisions. One obvious consequence is a difficulty in establishing intimacy and an authentic emotional connection with a romantic partner.

We have to keep in mind that true love seeks the good of the beloved, especially in regard to our own children. Educating our children in love and freedom is essential for their well-being, and we should start this education at home from the very beginning of their lives. 

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