Having an Oedipus Complex does not mean that you want to have sex with your mother. It simply means that you seek to recreate the same emotional state and relational template in your relationships with women as you had with your mother.
The Oedipus Complex is a natural state in the development of boys. When we were young, “mother” was our entire world. A boy is born into a world of emotional enmeshment with his mother, to the point where it could be said that he is completely in love with her. Wise parents know that this condition will stunt the boy’s development if it is allowed to persist beyond the age of six or seven years old. It is the role of the father to break his son’s Oedipal bonds and initiate him into the world of competency and independence.
Emotionally healthy mothers celebrate their son’s development into manhood. If you’re reading this book, chances are you weren’t so fortunate. My mother acted on every level to subvert and undermine any development of burgeoning manhood within me. I was a top-notch student in high school. When it came time for me to go away to a University, my own Oedipal mother sat me down and explained to me how it would be a huge financial burden on the family if I did that and that I would have to stay at home with her. This was of course, a complete lie since student loans were financing the entire worthless college-adventure anyway.
My mother uses crying and self-pity as a means of emotional control and manipulation, so naturally I fell prey to women in my dating life that did the same thing. This is a direct expression of the Oedipus Complex. “Mother,” represents a kind of feminine ideal; a safe place for us to rest our emotional desires. It is important to make note of why this happens. No matter how toxic your childhood was, by some miracle you managed to survive it or else you would not be reading my words right now. As an adult, you still have an emotional part of you that is alive and well inside your subconscious mind, your “inner child.” This inner child assumes that the same conditions that were present in your childhood are also true for you as an adult.
In fact, much of humanistic psychotherapy involves having the client “act from the adult in them.” This allows the patient to consciously examine their internalized wounded-child dynamics and make decisions more rationally and holistically.
The Oedipus Complex is adults is a wounded-child dynamic. My mother was hyper-emotional, smothering and intrusive – however, I managed to survive my childhood by clinging to her. My own internalized, wounded-child (subconscious), attempted to re-create that dynamic in the women that I dated. For a child, abandonment is death. Adult men become emotionally dysfunctional when they act-out from wounded-child space. If their Oedipus Complex could speak, it would say, “if I don’t create a new mommy in the likeness of my old mommy, I will die. I will be abandoned.”
There is nothing “manly” or empowering about this, because it is not intended to be so. This is acting-out from wounded-child space, and all the wounded child is trying to do is to not be abandoned. Children have zero power in the world and rely on their emotions to communicate to their caretakers that they need help in an unsympathetic world that is ruled by adults.
My most popular blog article to date is entitled How the Oedipus Complex Destroys Men. I have received letters from psychotherapists, men and women from all over the world thanking me for the article and asking me what I think about their particular issues with the Oedipus Complex. I am not a therapist, so I don’t give medical advice, however I can speak from first-hand experience. My mother is an extreme-case Oedipal mother. I will quote my own therapist directly, “your mother is the most narcissistic, emotionally manipulative mother I have ever encountered in my thirty years of practice by far. Not by a little, by a lot!”
Until I was nearly thirty years old, I was emotionally “married to my mother.” We cried on each other’s shoulders and told each other everything. No, we weren’t physically intimate with each other or anything like that, but everything else was fair game. I was to have no secrets from her and was to tell her everything. She gave me advice on how to live my life, so I would never have to make decisions for myself or do anything too scary or difficult. “Mother knows best,” was my motto. Sometimes I would get fed up with her control and get angry at her or yell. I would have very up-and-down emotional reactions to her. My anger at her would result in her feeling sorry for herself and I would wallow in guilt or depression for a few weeks. “How could I be such a cruel person to lash out at my perfect angel of a mom like that?” I would ask myself.
Our relationship began to deteriorate after I had completed my first two years of University while living at home. I noticed the other students who lived on campus were enjoying their first experiences being away from home. They had fun staying up late and running around without their parents lording over them. Meanwhile, I would dutifully return home to mother dearest.
The strange thing is that no matter how well behaved I was or how many straight-A report cards I would bring home, my mom would just ratchet the smothering and the control down harder. When I would get home from college, she would get in my face and grill me about what I learned and how hard I planned to study. She would burst in my room without knocking and make up some excuse about “needing to clean.”
Yes, I was completely brainwashed by her and believed at a deep and moral level that she could do no wrong, was always right, was full of nothing but good intentions for me and always had the right answers. However, there was a deeper – dare I say spiritual part of my masculinity that she could not touch, and that part of me was seething with rage and hatred towards her.
I came home from University one day and found her sitting on the bed in my room with a piece of paper in her hands. She was looking down at it sullenly and didn’t look up to greet me. “We need to talk,” she said. “Sit down.” I was twenty years old and there was a girl that I had been seeing. I don’t recall exactly where we met but I had spoken to her on the phone and she gave me directions to her apartment, which I had written on a piece of paper and put in one of the drawers of my desk. While I was away, my mom had rummaged through my desk and examined every paper and article that was in there.
“Where did you get that?” I asked her. “I was cleaning your desk,” was her excuse. What did I do that was so wrong? What was the “sin” that I had committed? Well, I took an interest in a female that wasn’t her. The Oedipal mother is said to be a castrating force in a man’s life. The developing man’s libido for a real partner stands in direct competition with the emotional enmeshment that the Oedipal mother has over him. The Oedipal mother is threatened by her son’s burgeoning sexuality, and thus seeks to shame him out of developing a natural sexual interest with women.
We have many terms for this; “blue pill,” “beta males,” “nice guys,” “repressed males.” The source cause is the same. At some level, the alpha nature in a developing man, that is – his libido, is suppressed and subverted by an overarching sense of duty, shame and obligation to a feminine imperative (Source: The Rational Male)
I wish I could say that I had enough knowledge to recognize the fact that the angry part of me was, in fact, the healthy part of my repressed manhood that was being locked in the proverbial cage by my toxic and abusive Oedipal mother. Instead, we went back and forth. I would explode in anger when she went too far, and she would cry and pretend that she was perfect and that I was such a rotten and angry son. At the end of the day, we fought so frequently that we decided that it would be best that I stay at University for the last two years of my education.
Toxic relationships in adults are, in essence, a war between two wounded inner children. Neither party is able to step into the role of a cool, rational adult. Sure, I was “away” at University, even though my University was twenty minutes away from the house I grew up in. I lacked the personal confidence and courage to leave home, clearly because my parents did nothing but instill dread and emotional neediness in me. Regardless of my newfound “distance” from my mother, every two weeks or so she would call me, using her best sad and depressed voice, and beg me to come and have dinner with her.
Usually, I would get guilted into going, and I was generally angry and unpleasant to be around. The truth is I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be like the other students at the college who were far away from home and have some space to develop. I had the idea to transfer to a college that was farther away. When I presented my mother with these planes, she exploded at me in a fury of anger, screaming and yelling that it would ruin my life and I would mess up everything.”
My Oedipal mother did this every time I voiced a desire to move farther away. When I rented my first apartment in another city, it was only thirty minutes away from her house. She exploded at me on the phone, her voice filled with tears and anger, “You’re STUPID! That’s so STUPID! Why would you do that?! I’m your family! You don’t care about your family?!”
She pulled this stunt again when I told her that I was moving from Los Angeles to Portland with a friend of mine. I was twenty-six years old. I sat at the dinner table as she flopped the upper half of her body over the table and began sobbing into her hands. I remember clearly that was the moment when my Oedipal conditioning broke. I sat back unemotionally and watched the spectacle that was my completely deranged and emotionally abusive mother. “Would you listen to yourself?” I asked. It was the first time that I expressed anger towards her and felt no guilt.
Stephan Molyneaux said that, “anger is the immune system of the soul.” Narcissistic abuse has a way of getting you to distrust your own feelings. It has a warped value system that I call “Oedipal Morality.” In these cases, the Oedipal Mother (like my own), convinces her male child that she is the absolute moral authority. Like a religious cult, she convinces her son that she is completely perfect and endlessly caring, like an angel or a goddess. The only price he must pay for this endless ocean of selfless love, is his total devotion to her – he must never leave her and never grow up. The other part of the Oedipal economy is that he must completely suppress his sexual imperatives for the sake of his mother’s emotional needs. Any other woman would be a threat to her control over him, and would detract from the attention that she so desperately needs. If he does date, he must date women that are versions of his mother in-extension. Healthy male sexuality is a no-go.
Now that I have told you all about my crazy mother, I will use my personal dating life to show you how the Oedipus Complex has demolished any chances I had at normal, healthy dating. All of my girlfriends have been emotionally smothering and on some level immature and emotionally childlike. They retreated to crying, pouting and passive-aggressiveness when they didn’t get their way. They subtly would remind me that I wasn’t all that competent or masculine and that “I should be grateful to be with them.” My first-ever girlfriend was a hideous fat pig who I found to be physically repulsive. However, I was brainwashed to think that “judging her by the way she looked” made me a “bad person” and that I should be a “good man” and “judge her for the person she is on the inside.”
The truth is that obese people are no prettier on the inside than they are on the outside. They became obese because of the multitude of mental and emotional problems that cause them to become addicted to food in the absence of a healthy lifestyle and genuine self-esteem. My fat pig of a girlfriend was an emotional carbon-copy of my mom. She did a great job in putting up a front that she was some kind of an enlightened goddess and a saint. Behind closed doors, she was insanely possessive, jealous and emotionally manipulative. The “appeal” for me was to re-create the emotionally smothering and enmeshed relationship that I had with my mother – a shining example of the Oedipus Complex in full-effect.
There was a deeper side to me that wasn’t happy at all with this relationship. That healthy part of me was angry about it and wanted to be done with her. This repressed “alpha in me” got fed up with her control, her emotional smothering and her ugly fucking fat face. I broke up with her, she cried and begged but I didn’t let her connect with me emotionally. That night she snuck into my parking space and keyed my new Pontiac Firebird from nose to tail. I took it to the body shop the next day. It was totally worth it.
Nothing is worth the shame and humiliation that comes with dating a woman that you’re not attracted to. Instead of taking better care of themselves and their appearance, these Oedipal women will instead blame you and attack your masculine sexuality. They would rather block your cock than lose weight for anybody.
Oedipal Issues and Sexual Addiction
The suppression of male sexuality produces outbursts. The energies that make us human, may those be emotional, sexual, mental or physical, must either be expressed or repressed. If repressed, the water behind the dam builds up. Eventually the volcano ruptures, or the dam bursts – and the results are always ugly. A man who has been married for twenty years finds himself living in a sexless relationship that is completely devoid of intimacy, feminine kindness or anything that might in any manner uplift his Male Ego. He searches the internet for prostitutes so that he can get some of that feeling back, and finds himself arrested by an undercover officer. He loses his job, his wife, and everything he has. To add further insult to injury, most likely it will be his “sex addiction” that is to blame, and his male sexuality in general, rather then its repression, that was the root cause of the issue.
Discarded by Dad
My dad definitely did not like having me around. I don’t think he wanted a family, to tell you the truth. I think the fact that my mother was willing to go to her job as a schoolteacher every day in order to support the family was the only thing that kept him around. My dad was an inventor, a genius-in-his-own-head and a “too good to get a job” type of guy. He worked from home in our carpeted garage that he had converted into his office. He was an inventor in the audio field, in the eighties custom home stereo systems were very popular (this was known as the “hi-fi” hobby). People would invite their friends over to their houses just to listen to music and boast about each other’s home sound systems. I remember living rooms like these that were made for exclusively this purpose. They were like early versions of home entertainment centers, minus the television. This “hi-fi” hobby typically involved the man of the house, he would gather all of the necessary equipment: amplifiers, tape decks, turntables for LP’s, and large speaker cabinets, in order to create the most impressive and highest quality sound.
My dad made his own brand of speaker cabinets for setups like these. His engineering skills were quite good, and I do believe he truly is a genius of the dysfunctional sort. He had soundproofing installed on the garage walls so that he could test his equipment. Before I was nine years old I knew what all the testing-sounds were, I could distinguish between “pink noise” and “white noise.” My father often would play the same ten-second portion of a single song over and over again for days at a time. There was some quality about that piece of audio that he wanted to get “just right.” The problem is that he never really sold anything, he was too busy perfecting his designs to be bothered with that. Besides, he had it made – a roof over his head and a wife who was willing to support it all. In his own mind, he was too special to go to work, get a job, or even focus on silly trivialities like the profitability of his own business.
In that manner, my dad would sleep in until noon every day. He had things set up just-so. He could put on his robe without showering and walk across the hall to his “office.” He would sit there all day tinkering on his projects and listening to his speakers.
White noise on, white noise off.
More volume, less volume.
Left speaker, Right speaker.
Clip from Blue Motel Room, again and again.
Then back to white noise.
Typically, I would return from school to find him still in his bathrobe, tinkering away well into the night.
According to Rosenberg, my dad was the active narcissist and my mother was the passive, codependent enabler. However, in my view, the codependent has their own form of self-deprecating, self-absorbed narcissism. The Oedipal Mother, like mine, sees herself as martyr and therefore pure, clean, and ceaselessly “good and self-sacrificing.” This gives her the moral permission she needs to do anything she wants to her children, including violating their space, sabotaging their autonomy and overwhelming them with romantic and sexual jealousy and hidden contracts. Once such hidden or “unspoken” contract is the pact that the Oedipal Mother makes with her sons, that they are to be her “replacement husbands” for her otherwise emotionally, or physically absent real-life partner. The unspoken contract? “All of your emotional needs and problem-solving will come from me, your Oedipal Mother. In exchange you can never leave me. Deal?”
There is a lot of talk today about a crisis in manhood and how young, millennial men simply don’t know what it means to act in a masculine way and take responsibility for their actions. This speaks to the popularity of modern-day sages like Jordan Peterson. His message of embracing the challenges of life and accepting personal responsibility are novel and empowering to the young men of today, who have been raised on a diet of nothing but Oedipal mothers and Marxist indoctrination.
I said at the beginning of this book that in order for manhood to develop properly, it requires certain special inputs. The most critical of these inputs being male initiation, which quite simply is the need for “Dad” to sever the Oedipal bonds that the child has naturally developed with his mother. He does this through a process of removal, mentorship and role-modeling. By removal, he encourages a healthy distance between his son and his wife. He then mentors his son in the “mysteries,” such as how to change the oil in a car, how to set up a tent, or how to cast a fishing line. The initiation into these masculine “mysteries” create a shift in the boy’s state of identification. The boy changes from seeing his mother-as-source to seeing his father as the initiator and himself as-source. Unlike Mother, Father is not a source of unconditional emotional resources. The boy is awestruck as to how his dad could possibly know such things and exhibit competency in doing them. Dad is a powerful, mysterious and magical being. Father is the keeper of the mysteries of self-empowerment and independence. The boy recognizes his father has his male-self in-potentia.
My Dad was distant and disinterested in his kids and his wife. As a response to this, my mother romanticized and smothered my brother and me. My dad was jealous of the Oedipal closeness that I had with my mom. He delighted in ridiculing, teasing and humiliating me. My brother was only two years older than me, so when my father teased me, my brother was eager to jump in on the fun. The two of them vented their insecurities out on the runt, momma’s “special favorite,” would be undone, one way or another.
My dad could have simply stepped up and taken on a more proactive role in his household, but that was too much work and would have detracted from his “business” that was going to “take over the world, someday.” To the narcissist, other people don’t really exist, at least not in the way that you and I are accustomed to thinking about it. To the narcissist, other people are more like cartoon characters or those puppet-theater animals that you see in puppet shows. To them, the narcissist is the only real person that thinks, feels and has a verifiable experience. If someone else is suffering, surely, they are the ones that are overreacting. If someone else has a problem with the narcissist’s behavior, clearly they are the ones with the problem. You cannot have been hurt by the narcissist because the narcissist (in their own mind) would never do anything to hurt anybody else. Clearly, you must have missed that!
Oedipal Mothers are self-indulgent, depressive narcissists and neglectful fathers are also narcissists. Water seeks its own level, and thus narcissists are drawn to each other. Often times, the explosive grandiosity of the positive narcissist attracts the quiet, sheepish and sullen nature of the depressive, self-pitiful narcissist. Narcissists are incapable of empathy and therefore are so wrapped up in themselves that they are wholly incapable of genuinely caring for anybody else, including their children. When my mom brags about how “selfless” and “loving” she is, that is only to service her own grandiosity because it makes her feel better about herself. When my mother was actively subverting my development and sabotaging my attempts to date, was she thinking about what was in my best interest or was she trying to service her own emotional vacancies?
Mystification & Double Binds
Let’s talk about growing up as a male. Oedipal mothering when the child is past the age of eight years old is toxic anti-masculine abuse. Mothers who engage in this behavior are abusers. This is narcissistic abuse in the form of emotional incest. Women who actively teach their sons to be feminists and preach female-oriented imperatives to their sons are also abusers. Any boy living under such conditions should be removed from his mother’s insane grasp so that he can be rehabilitated.
Willfully absent fathers (emotionally, physically, mentally, etc.) are guilty of anti-masculine abuse against their sons. Men who put their fantasies and narcissistic impulses ahead of their sons do not deserve to have sons and should not have been fathers in the first place. Sons who grew up under such conditions should consider changing their last names so as to deprive their pitiful fathers of the one source of pride they feel they are entitled to. A father is not entitled to reap the rewards of that which he did not care to sow.
A society that placed any value on the sacred roles of mother and father would do exactly as I outlined above. The fact that our culture encourages such decimation of the family is clear evidence that we are living in a civilization in collapse. Coupled with this is the prevailing sense of permissiveness and outright denial. “He was sissified by his single, feminist mother. So what? What’s wrong with that?”
Many of the men that I have helped in my coaching practice have expressed conflicting thoughts and states of deep despair and confusion. They are attempting to sort out what types of people their parents really were and how bad their childhood really was. Keep in mind that no matter how weird your parents were, it will feel normal to you at first because that is all you knew. There was a time when I felt that my father was a good dad and that my mom was a model citizen and an example of the ideal woman.
John Bradshaw called this state of internal confusion “Mystification.” An abused child finds himself in this stupefied state quite frequently. “I’m a boy but my teacher says I should act more like a girl.” Boys become mystified in this state, as if their subconscious bedrock was yanked away from underneath them. Those of us who were raised under feminized influences (single mothers, etc.) are often mystified when women are attracted to bad boys instead of “nice guys” like us.
Coupled with this mystification are double binds. A double bind is an internally contradictory belief system. “Women don’t like nice guys like me, but being a nice guy is the morally correct way to be!” is one such double bind. The nice guy moral code is at odds with the observable reality that is confronting you right in front of your face!
Worse still are internalized states of confusion regarding one’s notion of parental love. Almost everyone’s parents claimed to “love them so much.” Of course, the Oedipal mother does exactly that. The problem is the double bind that she creates. “She claims to love me, but she hates my masculine development and won’t let me grow up!” Or, “my father claims to love me, but he’s never there. He says he’s just busy.” Again, external reality doesn’t line up with the lie that you were led to believe. A deep and profound unconscious level of anxiety sets in – reality is somehow unreliable and untrustworthy.
Men who were the victims of such double binds often doubt their own instincts. I could always “smell” when my woman was in to another guy by the way she would talk about him and the tone of voice that she would use. “But she said she loves me, so that can’t be true – I must be crazy,” is how I would rationalize that away. The mystified man is eager to displace his shaky version reality with whatever nonsense the latest con artist throws at him. Note that it is not your sense of reality that is flawed! Rather, it is how you were conditioned to believe in things that caused you to distrust your own judgements and instincts and how those objective senses were communicating an “unapproved” version of reality back to you.
You will find it incredibly helpful and empowering when you begin to reclaim your own, unequivocal, fact-based observations of reality and what really happened to you. For example, I could continue to mystify and double bind myself by saying, “my mom really loved me, just smothered me a little.” The truth is that my mom wasn’t caring about me when she was violating my privacy and actively sabotaging my independence.
Reclaiming reality version: “My mom didn’t give a damn about me because she was too invested in her own pitiful loneliness and her own childlike wounds.” BETTER. Reality feels nice!
Double bind version: “My dad really loved me deep down, he was just confused and didn’t know what he was doing sometimes, he was neglectful.”
Reclaiming reality version: “My dad was an immature, narcissistic fuck who willfully neglected me and his family. Maybe he’s better now that I’m an adult but he didn’t care about my development or he would have invested more time and attention in me.”
State the facts and grieve the loss. Double binds and mystification are forms of manipulation that abusers use to hypnotize their victims into compliance. This is a form of gaslighting, a well-known weapon in the narcissist’s toolkit. The narcissist did not insult you, maybe you’re just too sensitive and need to toughen up. The narcissist didn’t lie to you, you must be crazy. Your narcissist girlfriend isn’t cheating you, you’re just insecure and possessive. The girl you’re dating is really in to you like she said, maybe she’s just too busy to text. Your dad really loves you, now fuck off so he can skip town for two days. Your mom loves you to death, just promise to never grow up!
Ego and Boundary Development
Imagine a nice piece of artwork in a nice picture frame. The frame of a painting is a perfect analogy for a person’s Ego and their boundaries. “Ego” presumes the presence of a boundary, as my sense of Self implies the arrangement that there is a “me” that operates independently of a “you.”
With this analogy, the content of the painting itself would make up the totality of your life, it is your identity, who you are. The edges of the frame mark the boundaries between you (the painting), and the other paintings that are on the wall. Inside your frame is the content of your personal identity-expression and the content of what makes up your individual life: that being comprised of your feelings, actions, emotions and your physical body.
“Maintaining frame,” simply means that you take ownership of your thoughts, feelings, actions and physical presence in any given situation. That sense of personal ownership and healthy separation between what you think and feel and what another person thinks and feels is what “frame” is. Frame is an expression of boundaries. Ego is you – all of the paint-elements that make up your unique picture, your identity. With this firmly in place, nobody else can tell you what to think, feel, how to act or what to do with your body or your space except you. A person who has internalized this has a strong Ego, and will enjoy better relationships with others, will not struggle to set and enforce boundaries, and will enjoy asserting his desires in the world.
Narcissistic abuse and enmeshment acts to blur the boundaries between the pictures, such that there are no frames. The paint is smeared across he wall, spilling from one painting into the other. Narcissistic abuse is much like that – it stomps all over boundaries. Worse still, if done to a child, it prevents a proper sense of boundaries from being developed at all.
Men who have been victims of anti-masculine abuse have trouble distinguishing their own thoughts and feelings with those of their abusers. As was the case with my mother, her emotions were bleeding over directly in to mine. I often told my therapist that my mother and I had a “shared emotional life.” Her thoughts were expected to be my thoughts, and her feelings were expected to be adopted by me. My mom cried and I was expected to cry. My mom smiled and I was expected to smile.
This is not how you raise a son to develop an Ego with healthy boundaries. Rather, it is how you prevent boundaries from forming so as to raise him into a “good little emotional caretaker for mom.” I literally had to learn what boundaries were and how to enforce them from my licensed therapist. I believed that I was a “bad person” if I did not buy in to a woman’s emotional displays and attempts at emotional manipulation and control.
Rollo Tomassi stresses the importance of “maintaining frame” and coming from “your own mental point of origin.” This point will be confusing to men with a poor sense of Ego-identity and nonexistent boundary control. Tomassi is trying to teach his readers what proper boundaries look like on a mental level. Ask yourself how you feel about what is going on and what you think about what is happening. As yourself what you want and look after that as priority-one. Men with poor boundary control may know what they want and what they think, but will put that aside in favor of caretaking their woman and caving in to her needs first.
Many of my clients in my one-on-one coaching practice experience confusion when it comes to enforcing boundaries with others. I tell them that I used to experience the same confusion. I didn’t know what constituted a “boundary violation,” and what did not. I took an objective, rational stance regarding boundary violations, rather than a subjective and personal one. There is no “rulebook of boundaries” in which we could use to say that one action would constitute a boundary violation, while another would not. For example, I couldn’t say that “a kiss on the cheek” would be a boundary violation in all instances. It might be a perfectly welcome display of affection if my girlfriend were to give me such a kiss, but might feel creepy or weird if my aunt were to do it excessively.
Boundaries are felt, rather than thought. Men have trouble feeling the boundary violation because they have been conditioned to permit the intrusion. A boy who is to service as his father’s punching bag or his Oedipal mother’s emotional toilet must be groomed to fulfill the role! My therapist called this difficulty to sense boundary intrusions “the abnormally long fuse.”
I think this is a great way to put it. Some people have short fuses and explode in anger at the slightest thing. Some of us have fuses that are too long. You can do just about anything to us and we never get mad. The intrusion of the boundary should provoke a spark of anger or “shot of adrenaline,” (my therapist’s words) as your Ego wishes to enforce the edges of its boundaries against the intrusion.
The reason why the concept of drawing boundaries is confusing to many, is because these men have repressed their own Ego-identities, such that they do not even know how they feel or what they think about the way that other people treat them. This problem, therefore, is the result of a confused Ego-identity, which is the horrible price that we pay for having suffered narcissistic abuse.
In order for the Oedipal mother to commit her acts of enmeshment and narcissistic abuse on her son, she must work actively to ensure that her son does not foster any forbidden emotions or thoughts that might cause him to become independent and leave her in the nest all by herself. She has to “get away with it.” The Oedipal Mother achieves this by subtly convincing her son that she is infinitely “wise, all-knowing and good,” and is therefore qualified to do all of his thinking and all of his feeling for him. In this way, she actively works to sabotage his independence, his Ego development, such that he relies on her for mental and emotional sustenance for the rest of his life.
A victim of this kind of narcissistic, emotional abuse, will not have developed his own sense-of-self to the point where he feels comfortable in his own internal reality. “Did that person just insult me?” He asks himself. “I can’t really tell whether to get upset about it or not, should I be offended,” they often ask, or “did I overreact?” When a man knows who he is, and has internalized himself within his own frame, then it is very easy, unconscious and natural for him to enforce the boundaries of his own frame. In stark contrast to this, we have the enmeshed codependent, who surrenders his own frame (as if on autopilot) and adopts the attitudes as well as the mental-emotional realities of whoever he engages with.
Recovery from the Oedipus Complex
This is a varied and complex subject, however in nutshell a man will recover from Oedipal abuse in four distinct stages:
- Conscious awareness & acceptance
- Rage against women, mom & dad
- Repowering, Refocusing & self-investment
- Ego development
None of these stages can be accomplished overnight. The guidance of a male-positive therapist is highly advised for anybody who has suffered at the hands of Oedipal narcissistic abuse. A man can easily dedicate years to his recovery in each stage. Backsliding and retracing back to previous stages are commonplace. I am encouraged to see the plethora of “red pill” content and personalities that are regularly addressing men’s issues on YouTube and other platforms. Your regular engagement with these materials are likely to hasten your ability to improve in these areas.
The first step, “Conscious awareness & acceptance” is the most difficult as it involves that you give up your blue-pill reality concerning your family, your upbringing and your double binds. Men who cling to a sense of “moral superiority” for being feminist men, nice guys or blue-pillers will not be able to take the necessary steps of recovery. The victims of Oedipal abuse must recognize that their own “dear sweet mothers” were abusers and narcissists. They must come to terms with the reality that their fathers have failed them and that their childhood was toxic and unhealthy.
The second step, “Rage against women, mom & dad” is a necessary step in Ego development and the development of frame. Your frame comes roaring back with a vengeance. Rest assured, it will have a bone to pick with quite a few people. It is better to allow yourself to experience these emotions on your own rather than lash out at others once the deed has already been done. This step is necessary but dangerous in that it is easy to get stuck here and not progress beyond it. Anger, keep in mind, is still proof that the wound is present and that it has not yet healed. Confident men laugh things off instead of bursting out of their sockets in rage at every little thing. A lot of women act like stupid little girls, but it is much better to laugh at their antics then get mad at them. When someone can poke the bear, it encourages them to do so.
The third step, “Repowering, Refocusing & self-investment” is perhaps the first true healing step. You could also call this the “just do it” step. Getting angry at your ex or your mother is, in essence, still allowing yourself to be controlled by women. Doing what you want and not caring what other people say is the only true, divergent choice. In other words, if you live for your mother or against your mother, your life is still defined by your mother. If you live for your wife or against your wife, your life is wholly defined by her, either way. It’s two sides of the same coin.
If you want to buy or do something, do it anyway. Don’t explain, don’t give notice and don’t ask. This is what is meant by “repowering,” you are taking your power back by “just doing it” and not inviting objection or debate.
Fear of getting caught
What a ridiculous thought
Disapproval from the lord
You are a grown man!
Chains of steel
Shortchanged you feel
What she holds back from you, you steal
You are a grown man!
Seabound, Grown Man (lyrics)
For my fortieth birthday I bought myself a two-week vacation to Thailand. My mother called me the weekend before I left. Do you think I told her where I was going? I know her game – she is nothing but negative and tries to discourage me from doing anything by worrying about it and asking me “but have you thought about this,” and “is that really safe?” It’s simple – people who do these things to me simply lose the right to know! I changed the voicemail on my phone, “I have left the country for two weeks, I’ll get back to you when I return.” I then turned my phone off, switched to my travel phone and let her deal with it while I had the time of my life in Thailand. Sure, she was angry and worried but that’s her choice to be that way. Part of recovery is refusing to take personal responsibility for other people’s bullshit. Dramatics on the part of other people does not necessitate a response from you.
The fourth step is Ego Development. It relates to the price, attitude and unbridled self-confidence that comes only from you knowing your true self. You feel confident and laugh at all of the idiots that hopelessly try to control you. This stage is the most healing because you feel how good it feels to feel your own emotions and live your own life. You’ve gotten over any false guilt about having been your own person. This stage is the most healing of all of the stages because instead of feeling anger at your abusers, you pity them. You see the truth for what it is, in that only deeply wounded and troubled people would ever abuse a child in the way that they did to you.
Excellent….You have a stunning and impressive understanding of this very real and prominent condition with young (and old) men in our culture. I have written to you before and then lost touch…would like to reconnect. Thank you for your insight!!
Hey there Dr. Hayden, thank you so much! Would you like do do a youtube/podcast episode with me on the subject?