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Psychotherapist Ashley “Ley” Pointer concluded from her experience with Black male clients that Black men struggle in romantic relationships because of their unhealthy and out-of-the-norm connection with their mothers.

In a clip posted on her Instagram page, the founder and lead therapist at Infinity Noire delved into how Black mothers’ reliance on their sons for the emotional support they lack from romantic partners potentially harms their offspring’s future romantic relationships.

“Men struggle in romantic relationships because they’re still in one with their mothers,” Pointer stated. “Because Black women often– we settle as being single or with someone who does not meet our emotional needs, we end up training our sons to be a companion, and we compliment him for all the ways in which he’s meeting our needs.”

Pointer continued, “Like, ‘you shole take care of your mama. You shole love your mama.’ And so we end up psychologically training our sons to be in emotional relationships with us.”

Pointer said that while a mother-son relationship is one of the most vital relationships in a man’s life, that unhealthy emotional connection between the mother and son becomes the “byproduct” of “black male rape culture.”

“We are teaching our sons how to ‘service you’ and to ‘be a man,’ and he’s 8.”

What Pointer is describing is called enmeshment or “emotional incest” and can impact a child’s adult life when they begin to experience romantic relationships. According to Psych Central, child victims of enmeshment will ultimately either experience an avoidance of intimacy or the need to rush intimacy in the child’s adult life.

There are various ways a mother forms enmeshment with her son, from giving him unnecessary details about her love life (who she is having sex with or what’s happening sexually) to speaking ill of the child’s father and placing the financial responsibility on the son (under 18) and not the boyfriend or father.

This abnormal attachment ultimately can lead to sexual abuse in some cases. Reports and statistics don’t provide an accurate picture of how many Black men are sexually abused because many of them don’t go reported.

Some Black men aren’t aware of the sexual abuse they endured until they get into a romantic relationship. But they continue to remain silent on being violated into adulthood, leaving them with psychological scars they left untended.

“In many homes and social circles, the topic is still avoided — it’s taboo,” Robin D. Stone, a licensed mental health counselor in New York City and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, said, according to Counseling Today. “In some cases, men haven’t shared with anyone that they’ve had this experience, that they have this history.”

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