Yes he is mother enmeshed, in a fairly complicated way:
His mother never compliments her children. Whenever they do something great or have a good idea she assumes that is was someone else's idea and tells them that. WH never speaks up for himself in that either. Often I would correct her(in a friendly way) or pre-empt her and say it was WH idea.
She's also very passive aggressive AND wouldn't let him express any negative feelings as a child. Anger etc = bad. So he compartmentalized instead and became disney child at home and a different person away from them. He both hates and loves her. So it's easy to see why he craves female approval.
But he also projected her onto me, especially after the children were born. But I'm someone who compliments and encourages, I didn't quite fit. So he unconsciously used all kinds of passive aggressive techniques to frustrate me and help me to be more critical (if only I'd realised!) to fulfil his projection.
Not of course, that he admits that any more. He did in the brief month he tried to R. But he's rewritten history again and now in his head, I'm even more like his mum.
He can't even speak to her about it because she's now got advanced dementia. She's now so horrible to be around, so outspokenly negative saying awful things. And that's where he's living right now. Big mess.
Anyway, I'm not bottling up my emotions or accepting his projections. Until this week a big part of me thought I must be such a horrible person. He was so lovely, I must be so horrible to drive him to it. I knew in my head that wasn't true, but it's only now starting to hit my inner me.
A friend suggested that I write a list of who I am as a person, a positive list. This is mine and I'm holding onto it when I feel shaky:
I am loyal
I am generous
I am hard working
I am intelligent
I am capable
I like making people smile
I don't give up easily
I am helpful
I am creative
I have integrity
What are yours?