IWill 2022-04-21 09:17 - 2 minute read

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MEM: The Mama’s boy phenomenon and its impact on the wife

Shalini Goswami

Enmeshed Phenomena 

Enmeshed phenomena is when a child no matter how grown up he/she becomes cannot hold independent relationships or decisions and only does have decisions, behaviors, actions that get the mother/father’s approval.

This phenomenon is dysfunctional because while the person becomes an adult,  grows into having relationships and doing things that are suited for independent people, but their behavior being stuck at an unhealthy level of dependence, creates a lot of problems and unhealthy patterns

One such enmeshed pattern is when a Mama’s boy with enmeshed traits gets married and becomes a husband.

Some of the common patterns that a wife would face here

1. Lack of independent relationship with husband
2. Husband judging and forming an opinion about wife not out of love, but out of opinions from the mother
3. Husband comparing wife, reluctant to form a bond with her to show loyalty to the parent
4. Reluctance to take care of wife’s family or her duties as his own because of fear of “breaking promise” to the mother
5. Seeing mother vs wife as either or as opposed to as both are mine and both are important and I should have space for both.
6. Abusing or even hurting the wife to sometimes win the continued loyalty of the mother
7. Taking permission to do basics in a relationship
8. Sidelining and ignoring the wife
9. Loving only when permitted to do so
10. Having difficulty in processing emotions of wife due to lack of empathy for her


This relationship pattern can have a very bad impact on the wife

She feels cheated, betrayed, angry, and resentful. She feels threatened and even insecure due to not finding her true place! She feels complete emotionally broken and even violated!
She marries as an adult and is expecting partner to be in the relations hon independently.
But she also finds herself getting confused and feeling guilty with the constant gaslighting.

Enmeshed relationships are dysfunctional
It’s not love for the parent but it’s inability to grow and become your own person and have meaningful relationships that give happiness!
Therapy for enmeshed dysfunction 

Many couples in therapy come for counseling at IWill because husband isn’t able to understand that he and his wife are a unit now and that his relationship with her doesn’t go through anyone else. It’s his! He is responsible and he needs to love, spend time, give respect, not compare, and be unapologetic for his time with his wife who is his partner!

And many times women alone are in therapy to deal with the hurt, pain, emptiness, and sadness that accumulates because of being seen as an outsider by their husband itself, a feeling that breaks them. Through therapy at IWill, they gain strength, and confidence to focus on self too and not derive their sense of self broken in an enmeshed relationship

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