Girls have heard about the perils of falling for a bad boy a thousand times and are usually berated for overlooking the “good guys.”
Unbeknownst to them, there are plenty of different characters that fall under that “good guy” stereotype – one of which is the mama’s boy. For me, humorous imagery of Terrence Jenkins comes to mind in his role as Michael in Think Like A Man. However on the other side of the spectrum there are more extreme portrayals such as in Hitchcock’s Psycho, where the troubled Norman Bates suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder, and takes on the identity of his deceased mother.
Whilst the chances of girls coming across a modern day Norman Bates are extremely slim, it is worth noting that succumbing to a Mama’s Boy could be leading you into the dragon’s den where some deep rooted behavioural issues are buried. Throw in the cultural norms and demands that you find in any Asian community and you may just have a recipe for disaster.
When typically researched, there are clear pros and cons of dating or marrying a Mama’s Boy. A commonly assumed pro of being with a Mama’s Boy is the fact that you’re with a man who knows how to respect women on account of how he treats his own mother. This isn’t always the case. Respect towards his mother doesn’t equal respect towards a girlfriend or wife.
Author Dr. William July explains that: ““Mama’s boys tend to marginalize relationships with women.
“They’re selfish with other women because they know they can get love and attention from mama.”
All too often you hear about men who have seemingly good relationships with their mothers and have the audacity to treat women like objects. So why is there such a difference in behaviour?
From a religious stand point, mothers have always been held in high esteem – and so they should be. Christianity teaches that mothers should be honoured every day. In Islam, there is the well known Hadith that states that Paradise lies at the feet of our mothers, whilst even Hinduism notes the necessity of a mother’s blessing in all walks of life. Society in general stresses the importance of listening to one’s parents whilst growing up.
But the lack of emphasis on the treatment of women coupled with the way boys see older male figures treating and talking about women deeply shapes their outlook and perception of them, which can then manifest into destructive behaviour.
July explains that other women aren’t going to be as important, adding, “These guys won’t stand up to mama when they love a woman mama doesn’t approve of.” Instead, men – Asian men in particular – will fall horribly at this obstacle and end up getting involved with someone fully vetoed and approved by their mother. The sad reality being that this female figure who receives an abundance of respect, doesn’t trust his choice and decisions. As a result, the next 40-50 years of his life has been decided for him.
Writer, Stephen Arterburn, notes, “The mama’s boy is different from other people. He is too enmeshed with mama and needs to develop his own identity. He is really a scared unhappy little boy who only wants mama to love him. The clinical term for mama’s boy is Passive-Aggressive Personality, which is the same as passive-dependent. He is overly dependent on his overly controlling mother.”
Where does this sense of control stem from? I’m not an expert but from the various conversations and hand picked life experiences, I reckon I’ve sussed Asian mothers out.
In their youth, they too believed they would be entering a marriage full of love, equality and mutual respect. Horribly wrong, these women didn’t anticipate the strong presence their mother in laws would have in their lives. With their husbands unlikely to stand strong with them, the only way that these women could feel empowered and essentially valued was by exerting authority over their own children. To further cement this dynamic, particularly with sons, the decision to pick wives who are more subservient works in their favour.
As a result the cycle continues, which is sad in my opinion because as each generation produces the same mindset, respect for women outside of the home weakens even more.
Mama’s Boys, especially Asian ones, aren’t equipped to handle strong, opinionated women who have a sense of who they are. He’s yet to find himself and carve out his own identity and often mistakes this for the identity his mother expects of him. Harsh – but true.
Don’t get me wrong. A man who respects his mother is so admirable to me. A man who allows his mother to influence big decisions that he should be capable of making triggers alarm bells. It’s so important to evaluate how much of a Mama’s Boy a guy is. It could be the difference between a blissful partnership or a lonely existence where you always rank at number 2.
And I thought bad boys were a handful.