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What causes Mommy Issues in men? Psychology, Meaning & Signs

October 9, 2023

6 min read

Author : United We Care
What causes Mommy Issues in men? Psychology, Meaning & Signs

What is Mommy Issues?

The role of the mother is crucial in a child’s life. A mother-child relationship is precious, but it can be marred with complications. Mothers play a key role in the development of a child. Mommy issues in men often arise from toxic relationships with mothers. It typically stems from overprotective parenting [1].

People experiencing mommy issues often have to suffer from its manifestations into adulthood.

Suffering from the after-effects of this kind of parenting, men with mommy issues face difficulties in their romantic relationships.

Overprotective mothers often indulge in pleasing behaviours toward their children. Men with mommy issues often look for a partner that matches the criteria based on what their mothers inculcated in them as to how an ideal woman should be. There are many theories proposed by psychologists to make sense of mommy issues.

Must read- How Do You Know If You Have Mommy Issues

Matters of the womb: Roots of mommy issues in men

To understand the psychology of mommy issues, let’s understand a famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud’s concepts of Oedipus and Electra complex described in psychosexual stages of development.

Oedipus complex:

Oedipus complex [2] simply means that a young male child unconsciously develops a desire for his mother, and he considers his father as a competition to gain his mother’s love.

Electra complex:

It is similar to the Oedipus complex. In the Electra complex, a female child competes with her mother to gain maximum love and affection from her father. This complex is linked with daddy issues.

According to Freud, Oedipus and Electra complexes occur during the phallic stage of psychosexual development around the age of 3 to 5 years. The roots of mommy issues are found in one’s childhood. However, these complexes resolve over time, and the child lives a normal life. But in the case of men with mommy issues, these complexes may never get resolved and interfere with their ability to form healthy intimate relationships as an adult.

John Bowlby’s attachment theory can also help us understand the psychology behind mommy issues in men. The studies suggest mommy issues may be linked with insecure attachment styles.

  1. Fearful-Avoidant Attachment Style [3]: Becoming distant and detached in a romantic relationship are primary characteristics of a fearful-avoidant attachment style. Men with this attachment style frequently have commitment issues.
  2. Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment Style: Clingy and overly demanding behaviours are common in the anxious-preoccupied attachment style. Those who experienced this type of attachment style typically have separation anxiety.
  3. Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment Style: Avoiding intimate relationships and the inability to establish deep connections are signs of a dismissive-avoidant attachment style. Men with this type of attachment style face difficulty in expressing emotions.

Mommy Issues Meaning: What are Mommy Issues?

Mommy issues in men are commonly associated with the term “Mama’s boy.” Mommy issues hinder men’s ability to form deep and intimate relationships due to the toxic-maternal relationship dynamics.

Mommy issues can occur due to,

  1. Overprotective parents, especially mothers
  2. Manipulative parents
  3. Emotionally abusive parents
  4. Detached parents

What are the signs of men with mommy issues?

Mommy issues are more common than we expect. Here are some of the most common signs of mommy issues in men.

signs of mommy issues


  1. Difficulty establishing intimate relationships
  2. Difficulty trusting others
  3. Fearful towards commitment in relationships
  4. Always in need of a mother’s help when it comes to relationships
  5. Seeking approval and affection
  6. Discomfort in forming intimate relationships
  7. Anxious about relationships
  8. Look for a partner who shares similarities with his mother
  9. Sensitivity towards criticism
  10. Insecure and constantly suspicious
  11. Does everything as mother says
  12. Feels that he will be cheated
  13. Maybe disrespectful towards women, as he has an ideal interpretation of how a woman should be
  14. He feels that he deserves special treatment
  15. His ‘mother’ is the most important person to him

Mommy issues in relationships?

Mommy issues commonly affect men’s relationships with their romantic partners. Usually unaware, men with mommy issues have unhealthy patterns in their relationships such as,

  1. Trust issues
  2. Feeling jealousy
  3. A constant need for validation
  4. Damaged self-esteem
  5. Separation anxiety or fear of being abandoned
  6. The unjust and unequal power balance in the relationship
  7. Lack of healthy communication
  8. Tendency to look for a partner who is similar to his mother
  9. Prefer an older partner to him

What to do if you suffer from mommy issues?

Some studies suggest taking certain steps can help when someone has mommy issues.

  1. Being aware: Mommy issue is a common example of intergenerational trauma and abuse. To stop this vicious cycle, one must build awareness and carefully review patterns in childhood and adolescence. Recognizing the abuse is the first step towards breaking unhealthy emotional patterns.
  2. Get The emotional support: Men who have been in abusive and manipulative relationships with their mothers need emotional support. Creating a network of people to gain emotional support can help them break the cycle.
  3. Learn to develop healthy boundaries: Setting up healthy boundaries is essential, especially in the case of men with mommy issues. Healthy boundaries can promote better self-esteem and help with lack of vulnerability and trust issues.
  4. Consider therapy: Therapy can be very useful to recover from the unhealthy effects of mommy issues. Therapy helps identify abusive patterns in life and offers strategies to deal with ongoing issues. It also provides mechanisms to prevent mommy issues from affecting your life. Therapy also plays an important role in dealing with issues such as anxiety, fear of abandonment, and toxic shame. The therapist helps to develop skills to form healthy relationships.

Useful Article: The Truth About The Psychology Of Men With Mommy Issues


Mommy issues are common. But instead of putting them under the carpet, seek support to end toxic patterns that impact your romantic life. Get to the bottom of mommy issues by understanding potential causes related to attachment styles. It is normal to love your mother and make her a part of your life. But it is critical to forget that your life is yours.

Consider talking to a therapist to build healthy relationships and promote mental health.

If you think mommy issues are interfering with your life, seek an appointment with expert mental health professionals at United We Care. It is an online mental health platform that offers a safe and convenient way to seek support from experts.

Talk to Our Mental Health Experts


[1] D. W. Winnicott, “Mirror-role of mother and family in child development 1” in Parent-Infant Psychodynamics, Routledge, 2018, pp. 18–24.

[2] S. Mcleod, “Oedipus Complex,” Simplypsychology.org, 03-Sep-2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.simplypsychology.org/oedipal-complex.html. [Accessed: 16-June-2023].

[3] C. Vinney, “What Is Fearful Avoidant Attachment?” Verywell Mind. [Online]. Available: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-fearful-avoidant-attachment-5207986. [Accessed: 02-May-2023].

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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