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A covert marital issue

I feel ganged up on!
I feel ganged up on!
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Have you ever heard the phrase “needs to cut the umbilical cord” or “apron strings?” Have you ever felt like your argument is not just with your spouse but with mom too? This kind of scenario could be about an unhealthy connection that your spouse has with that parent. Most of the time this presents its self as a subtle, but awkward, connection between a mother and her son.

But believe that this relationship can cause a lot of friction in a marriage. We have all heard of the infamous mom that seems to always rescue their baby boy, even if he is an adult. You find yourself feeling ganged up on, only to also feel like you’re the crazy one and begin to question yourself.

Some wonder if this doesn’t happen when mom is left with her toddler son, leaving them feeling as if she has no one to lean on or nothing to focus on but this child. They tend become so emotionally and spiritually dependent on each other. As a married adult this becomes an issue when those exact emotions are not transferred to the spouse, at a healthy level of course.

This can create feelings of watching your marriage from the sidelines. We’ve all heard of the mother that insists on handling her son’s laundry or fixing dinner for him. I have heard of the son who spends more time out with mom or on the phone with her than in conversation with his wife. This could be a great example of a symbiotic relationship.

That’s an unhealthy relationship that can leave a spouse feeling like a third wheel in their own marriage. Another issue is that it’s hard to argue. How selfish does it sound when your argument is “I hate when you and your mom get along and how much time you two spend together”. Trying to convey this to family and friends can leave you sounding crazy. You might sound like the controlling, jealous spouse. That’s why it can be a covert silent marriage killer.

Here is an expert’s take on it. “A symbiotic relationship is one in which one individual, usually a parent, and usually the mother fuses her identity with another's; usually a child. The results are extremely detrimental to the functioning of all parties involved."

"This ego fusion usually occurs when the child is very small, earlier than age two, according to psychology textbooks on the subject, and leaves the child in a lifelong servitude of sorts to the involved parent, who is usually the mother." Dr. Harrison says 70 percent of these cases occur in women. "Men are usually symbiotically attached to their work," he explains, "whereas women become attached to their children."

The whole system is based on an elaborate quid pro quo that is unspoken but clearly understood. As the child grows older, it usually takes the form of the parent implying to the child, 'If you do things that reflect well on me and make me look good, I will give you love. But if you ever screw up, forget it.

He also says "Symbiotic relationships, according to Dr. Harrison, are usually trans-generational, or passed on from one generation to the next. When people become parents, they tend to repeat the parenting style in which they themselves grew up." "Thus, if a man or woman was raised by an overly involved mother, he or she, in turn, is likely to become overly involved with her own children." (

Psychiatry- a relationship between two people in which each person is dependent upon and receives reinforcement, whether beneficial or detrimental, from the other. Psychoanalysis- The relationship between a child and its mother in which the child is dependent on the mother both physically and emotionally. Maybe, just maybe, this information can help mend your marriage and provide some understanding for resolving the stress.

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