Boys Will Be Men: Thoughts on the Mother Complex

We want our sons to grow into conscious men. As women, how we nurture conscious masculinity through an awareness of the Mother Complex is important.

My son turned thirteen yesterday, and as a mother I find that I need to consciously acclimate to his growth and increased maturity – it’s not necessarily natural for me to do that. 

For example, sometimes I’m checking up on him in a habitual way and he’ll just let me know, “Hey, you don’t need to do that anymore.” He gets older, has reached another milestone or level of consciousness, and I seem to catch on after the fact. I imagine I’m not the only mother to experience this. 

The ideal is to allow his growth and individuation into Self to guide his journey – and NOT to interrupt that with my own complexes about what I might want him to be, notions of “you’re growing up too fast,” or any limitation that I might subconsciously place on him as he becomes a man. 

I want to talk here about certain responsibilities that mothers have to their sons that are far less talked about, and sometimes less easy to spot unless you’re being super self-aware. 

We want our sons to grow into conscious men. We want them to respect women, honor the elders, think for themselves, be leaders, own their emotions, be balanced, ask to help, etc. 

We want those things of our next generation of men, and yet, as women, how we nurture those things is extraordinarily important. 

There are things that are invisible to him that I absolutely need to be conscious to not perpetuate and project onto him. For example, the frustration I feel for his father not modeling more respect toward me, and how when he reminds me of his father, I need to not react with all my baggage attached. 

If I want to help raise a new generation of men, and I do, then it’s my responsibility to see him differently. To allow him to become something different. 

And the number one way that women and mothers unintentionally block their sons from truly becoming who they are, and becoming the next generation of men, is to project old experiences of other men onto our sons. 

To hold what their fathers or our fathers did over our son. To be so identified with our wounding that we don’t even notice that our disdain for another man is coming through the tone or words we point at our growing child. 

I’d like to think I’m pretty good at this. I studied adolescent development in my education career, working primarily with adolescents and specifically with male adolescents for many years. The development of the male psyche fascinated me and still does. I know that a man’s relationship with his mother affects all subsequent relationships with women and the feminine for his entire life. 

But am I still a woman who is diligently shedding layer by layer of old programming about “men” and “women” myself? I sure am. I’m not perfect. And sometimes I get mad at him when he reminds me of his father. What I try to do is catch it, breathe with it, separate the two, ask questions, clarify intention, and heal my own emotions that are still able to get triggered where his father is concerned. Or other men, for that matter. I am a woman who has encountered a lot of various unhealthy dynamics with men, as we all have, and yet it is my responsibility to not be a victim to that. If I am a victim to that, my son would feel it and actually begin to take it on as his responsibility.

When I carry any victim energy regarding any men, I’ll unconsciously project that onto my son. Am I sharing this to make myself look bad? No, I’m sharing it to own it so that we can normalize that it happens if we’re not careful, and that women, we can and should do something about preventing it.

As a mother, it is not my son’s job to ensure that my emotional needs are met. 

As a mother, it is my job to keep my emotions about personal disappointments with previous men OFF of my son. 

I recently had an opportunity to hold myself accountable. I was going through a layer of healing around the masculine – as per usual on my life path where I intend to integrate feminine and masculine as consciously as possible – and I recognized a feeling of frustration when my son was with me that I couldn’t put my finger on. 

I had to “live into” the question of what this was for a few days, and we both actually had energy healing sessions with a very powerful healer during this time period. After the sessions, I could see an emotional pattern where I was actually worried about my son’s approval and acceptance of me. Which, of course, had nothing to do with my son, and everything to do with how my subconscious was projecting onto this growing boy a shadow behavior that I have also pointed toward men in the past. (We can most often see the behavioral or energetic pattern when it is most ready to heal. And so in me becoming aware of it, it was also ready to heal overall, not just with my son.)

In other words, in putting a lot of effort out (as mothers and women do), I then wanted to be appreciated and recognized for that effort by this young masculine creature that is my son. Same thing I’ve done with men in the past, which is why I didn’t like the way I was feeling. As he was getting older, I was just subconsciously starting to behave in a shadow-pattern with him.

I wanted the assurance of the masculine, but that pattern wasn’t even who I am anymore. It was “coming up to heal” so that I could see it and stop it.

The truth is, my son does respect me. He does want to hang out with me, still, even though he’s now officially a teenager. He shares his authentic feelings with me. He loves his father and I equally. There’s actually not a problem with my son accepting me. I do NOT need to put that on him and make it his emotional responsibility to make me feel accepted.

This is now your opportunity to begin to self reflect on how you might do similar things. What do you want your son to prove to you that you’ve wanted men to prove to you?

When I get right with my internal relationship with the masculine, it improves my relationship with my son. I’m conscious AF and it still happens that I find myself projecting onto him sometimes – it’s tricky. 

If we want a new generation of masculine men who honor women, then let’s do our part to mitigate the Mother Complex in them, okay moms? Heal your masculine wounding. Get clear on what you want from the masculine and do the work to heal and integrate this. The answer wasn’t ever in a man, and it’s certainly not in your son. The answer is actually in YOUR right relationship to the masculine beginning with you. And, in how healed your inner feminine is of its own wounding.

As I know the masculine energy in my life and as I heal the wounds of the past due to unconscious masculine and feminine interaction, I become more conscious, more whole, more solid. And as I do that, I actually give my son more space to be him, to grow into who he is becoming, with hopefully very little baggage from me. If I handle my own baggage, he has less to carry with him into adulthood.

Where are you asking your sons to carry what is not theirs? Where are you passing on a wounded inheritance to him of ideas like, “Mom is mad at men” or “I have to be super sensitive around mom because other men have disappointed her?” 

They will be good men. They are more equipped to be so when we allow them to become, rather than expecting them to atone for the generations that came before them. 

This is conscious feminine leadership in right motherhood, women, and it’s ours to do.

Schedule a consultation with me if I can be of support to you in your conscious feminine leadership / motherhood journey.

Recommended Reading: Mothers, Sons, & Lovers by Michael Gurian.

Caption: I am a mother first. My soul chose to raise this boy and I am so grateful that I get to travel this Earth with him. He is my greatest teacher and joy. I even enthusiastically wear Harry Potter t-shirts because it’s his jam. 😉

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