The relationship between mother and child is so important in the formative years of a child of either sex. The relationship between a mother and a daughter is different to a relationship between a mother and a son. Dysfunctional relationships can occur in both these relationships for a variety of reasons, and most of this dysfunction starts in the early formative years of the child.
A baby needs to be cared for in every respect. A baby is vulnerable and dependent. It does not really matter if the baby is cared for by the real mother or if the baby is cared for by a male guardian, the baby needs a constant, secure contact with someone who is catering for the baby's needs.
As a baby grows it learns by example. If the main carer is a mother and father it will learn from both these people, it will bond with them and feel secure that they are loved. The problem begins if there is a difficulty in bonding as the child grows and when the child is made to feel, by the parent's behaviour, insecure.
There have been many studies done in child development which have shown how baby's at around nine months show signs of distress when separated from the mother in particular, or main carer. These are attachment issues and research has also found that the attachment issues are exacerbated if the carer/parent has had their own attachment issues as children.
Mother's who have experienced attachment issues as a child may not be able to feel close with their own child, and may not find it easy to relate to their male child especially, if they have experienced abandonment from their father. On the other hand, some mothers overcompensated the deep loss of being abandoned as a child and are over protective with their child.
This can have drastic effects on both sex children but when the child is a boy, a very dysfunctional relationship can develop. Where the father of the child is not present, the mother may associate all her time and love on this male, serving him his every whim, creating a very dependent child, who in the mother's subconscious mind means that the son will never have to leave his mum since he is finding everything he wants at home.
Another scenario is when the boy has been abandoned at an age where he can remember, for example, between seven and twelve. The child is still young enough to want his mum and also old enough to feel rejected and start feeling that they have done something wrong to be rejected by his mum.
In adulthood the feelings of been rejected will be replayed in all other relationships with women and if the women they get involved with leave them the deep ingrained feelings of abandonment will be felt. If there is an awareness that this stems from the relationship between the mother and themselves then there can be healing. If there is no awareness or there is denial, then the future partners of this man will be experiencing the pain and confusion of the mother's rejection.
There is evidence to suggest that many psychopathic personalities and sociopaths could have attachment issues due to being abandoned in childhood by their mothers. This can be very difficult to see especially if the man has a good relationship with the mother in adulthood. The pain of being rejected again, may have created a deep seated need to keep the mother happy no matter what. The man may always put his mother first especially when he has a relationship with a partner. He may be blind to his mother's manipulative ways, he may paint a picture she is perfect and every other woman cannot compare to her.
Unfortunately, even if the son is aware of what is happening and understands, through counselling, that his behaviour is due to his dysfunctional relationship with his mother, it is very difficult to change the inbred meaning of what a mother means and we all carry this with us. If the mother has had her own attachment issues as a child and not faced them, then unfortunately they will be played out in her relationships with partners and her son if there is no partner.