"He's a Mama's Boy"
"My mother is not the center of my life, but I can understand why Sue thinks so," admitted Bill, 52. "Mom's the type of person who won't take no for an answer from anybody, least of all me. And Dad's in the same boat, so he's the last person who'd support me and tell her to back off.
"I'll admit that I downplay Mom's intrusiveness and tell Sue she's overreacting. But Sue is a dirty fighter, and she shares some of the blame for our problems. I hate it when she berates me, calls me a mama's boy, and rejects me sexually. Her behavior brings out my quiet and passive side, which just makes her angrier and confirms her view of me as weak.
"I've always been close to my parents, but my mom and I developed an especially tight bond because Dad, an officer in the Navy, was often at sea on training deployments. Mom couldn't have any more kids after me, so I was lavished with attention and gifts, a pattern that continues to this day. The downside is that they still treat me like a child. Dad isn't domineering the way Mom is, but he smothers me, too. When I ran into trouble fixing up our house, I wanted him simply to answer my questions. But instead he took over -- and I let him, because that's just how it is with us.
"I never had a girlfriend until I was in my early 20s, and I was crushed when she dumped me after six months. I didn't date much after that. My life revolved around my job in the parks department, bowling, and my parents, whom I saw every day. I moved into the garden-floor apartment of their townhouse and stayed because it was rent free, large, and close to work. In retrospect, that was probably a bad idea -- though we didn't eat or vacation together at the time."