My husband grew up in a single parent family. His mother was his only caregiver. The problem is that she was also in need of someone to give her emotional comfort and turned her son into her submissive husband. He was easy to control, as his very existence depended on her. He was very young when she began leaning on him and using him to meet her needs. His food, shelter, affection, and education came from her. His view of himself and the world came largely from her.

My husband is now in his forties, but he is still largely dependent on her. In addition, when she is displeased with him, she still uses the same tactics of threatening to withdraw her support, which when he was a child threatened his very existence. These tactics still work, because he still responds to them with fear and eventual compliance.

He is largely in denial that she has control over him. On the rare occasions when he does admit it, he says he feel powerless to do anything differently. He says that he is unable to meet his own needs and therefore is stuck remaining in this intolerable situation of dependence on people who hurt him.

He is so fearful of allowing anyone authority over him, that he has rarely had a job, because if he were employed, he would have to have a boss. In fact, it has been over ten years since he has even attempted to find a job.

He has substance abuse issues and health issues as well. His physical health is deteriorating in front of my eyes and I am powerless to help him. There are many things he can do differently to fight the diseases that are literally killing him, but he refuses. When asked about this, he responds by saying that he should have never been created and if he does not actively participate in getting closer to death on a daily basis, he feels even more hopeless and powerless.

He contributes to his worsening health on a daily basis by:
*smoking 3-4 packs of cigarettes a day
*indulging in his substance to kill the pain
*refusing to take the medication necessary to control a disease he has
*refusing to go to doctors or to participate in diagnostic exams that could refine & improve current recommendations to better health.
*refusing to get any exercise
*eating harmful foods consisitently

Generally, on the days he has his substance of choice, he is just passively suicidal by doing the things listed above.

It is when he runs out of substance that he talks of a swifter method of suicide. This is also when he becomes enraged at the condition of his life. It is then when I sometimes become afraid of him. This pattern has become very predictible.

His mother continues to supply him with the money necessary to purchase the substance and cigarettes. This is necessary to keep him addicted, so that he must come back to her. She supplies him with other things too, like a car and a pager. The car serves her purposes in that he can run her errands for her. The pager is so she can have 24/7 access to him.

She hates me and has sucessfully turned his entire family against me. They know nothing of her abuse or control over him. That being the case, I can not count on any of them to help me help him.

She is a prominent member of the community where we live and has a very healthy income. She is seen by the family and others in the community as a loving, compassionate woman who had the unfortunate experience to have a "good for nothing" son. The perception is that she has sacrificed for years to take care of him, as any good mother would. He, in turn, has taken advantage of her good nature and misused her support. This is how outsiders see it, because this is what she has wanted them to see.

So this is the situation:

She abuses him which causes him to act in ways that any injured person would.

Then she uses his behavior against him to "prove" that he is worthless.

She must continue controlling him so she then gives him money and other financial support. After all, if she didn't give him anything, what would have to threaten him with? She can't withdraw what hse doesn't offer.

Because of the financial support she offers him, she receives the admiration and emotional support from her family and friends for being so generous!

Her plan works brilliantly! She gets to control him and to be admired and respected by others in the process.

I hate what she is doing to him, but I must admit, she does it well.

I hate it that he allows her to continue to do it. I hate that he spends most of his time in denial.

He is the most intelligent person I have ever met. (Not the wisest, but the most intelligent.) He is articulate, funny, insightful (except when it comes to mother), loving and truly has a compassionate heart. He is too beautiful to be destroyed by this evil woman and her selfish ploys to meet her own needs.

How can I help him? What can I do to help free him from his fears and to help him believe that the beauty I see in him is real? That he really can survive with out her? How can I help him to see that he does not have to continue to be humiliated by her? How can I help him to believe in himself enough to step out, away from the fear and begin to do things for himself? How can I help him to trust himself?

If she can successfully enable him to hurt himself, why can't I find a way to enable him to help himself? Please help me to help him.

It breaks my heart to see him hurting. I know that I can not know the pain he feels. I also know that I can not make his choices for him. I love him more than I have ever loved anyone. There must be a way to help him. Please help me find it. For every evil thing people can do to each other, doesn't there have to a loving kind act or method to counteract it?

Please help me help him. ANY responses will be welcome.

Should I just quietly love him? Should I confront him more often? Should I confront her? Should I just keep affirming the good I see in him? Should I point out when I see her schemes, so he is aware of them, or should I just keep quiet about them? When he wants to be in denial, he gets angry with me for pointing out her manipulations. Which is kinder: making him angry becaue he doesn't want to see the truth or giving him the room to be in denial as long as he needs to be?

If she can enable him to be harmful to himself, can't I enable him to be healthier?

Obviously, SA is a terrible thing. I believe that many of the issues he is dealing with not only have to do with SA, but with the tremendous role a mother has in anyone's life. If any of you have successfully dealt with this kind of total betrayal and twisting of your whole world, PLEASE tell me what you needed, what you wish your loved one(s) would have done differently. Tell me how you got out of the deception and into the safety. Tell me how you found the courage to trust you.

Again, any and all responses are welcome.

The opposite of fear is faith. Faith is necessary to love. Move away from the fear toward the love.