If he wanted to leave, he could've. I don't believe people can change until I see it. Nothing you can do. Can't force a guy to grow a pair. He's a grown man. His life is his fault, not his mother's.
I don't even feel sorry for the wife. She knew what she was getting into. Not sure why anybody would marry a guy who doesn't have the stones to leave his mom's basement. Good grief.
Where does the 'wife' stay? With him at his mom's? At her own place?
Tell your 'friend' to grow up, then cut him loose. He's more likely to drag you down than you are to rescue him. That goes double if you're actually the 'wife', rather than just a 'friend'.
I have to agree with Jack on this. You can't drag someone out of a situation they don't want to be in or can't see the exit for. I had a friend who refused to get over being shy to find a job. He got done with college, coasted for 2 years before his college fund ran out and went home to mom. We tried and tried to get him a job. Even when a mutual friend would have been the manager he refused to put in an application.
The best way I know to cut the strings is to move at least 6 hours away but even then not all strings will be cut. Regardless this is an action that the couple will have do decide to do.
What is your relationship to him?
How do you know this? Did he tell you? If so, then he already knows. Might trying active listening: drawing him out to talk more.
I don't think you should give up on him. Nobody is irredeemable. However, "helping someone realize" something is pretty invasive, and people tend to resist.
He may want to become a man. What old boy wouldn't? A community of men might help him do that, by example and by (his) desire.
You are asking an impossible question. How do you help a guy to do something that he has to do by himself without help.
If you are his friend, I'd follow Jack's advice. Tell him to grow up and find better friends.
If you are his wife, I have no idea what to tell you. You chose to marry a guy who won't even admit he married you to his mother and is too much of a loser to be a man. I think you should forget about his issues for a bit and worry about your own.
Ergo, my suggestions are:
* Listen to him
* Invite him to things w/ company of men. My two big venues are ManKind Project (which is all about men becoming stronger), and a fraternal order, where they're pretty un-self-consciously what they are. When you're among those who aren't too screwed up and they expect you to be the same, it can help a lot
* Tell him, w/o harsh judgment or pressure, that you know he's unhappy, and there is a more excellent way, and it's well established: men move out. If he's at all sympathetic to Christian or Jewish perspective, there's that thing about leaving the parents and joining the wife. Of course, he's pretty locked into the mother or he'd have never gotten in this situation. But knowing there's another option... he's human. Part of him must want to be free.
Be careful. You, despite your good intentions, might be viewed by either this man or his wife as meddling. And they would be right to think this since you are.
The two of them have some serious issues. Him with his inability to grow up and take his role as a man, and her with agreeing to marry him before he made such a change. This might not end well. And if that happens (or even if it continues in the unhealthy situation its in now) you might find one of them shifting the blame onto you, the meddler.
I know my opinion sounds harsh or selfish. But that's because it is. This is an issue between a married couple. It is one thing to wish them well and be supportive when help is sought but it is another to try to help when not asked. You would be better off distancing yourself from this issue. The fact you are here seeking help in solving it tells me you are already too close (which is why I assumed you were the wife in question). You are meddling in someone else's marriage and that sort of thing never ends well. You are not the one still afraid to grow up nor are you the one who married a childman, surely there are things in your own life that you would be better off devoting your time to?
The only one with testicles who could help this guy, other than himself, would be his father. And his help would come in the form of a swift kick in the ass out the door.
But the fact he knows his son is married but has not told his own wife (the mother) tells me he's either not living with the mother (and the son) or if he is then the fact he hid it from his own wife tells me he's a much of a child as his son is.
It does not take testicles, if he want to be free he needs to find a job away from his current location and move. Or simply tell his father to write and move out and not give his mom the phone number.
"And what can anyone do to help him realize his relationship with his controlling....."
I am assuming you've told him to 'man-up' and move out of his mother's house. Between he and his wife they should have enough $ to get a small apartment somewhere, anywhere so that's no excuse. It sounds almost as though there is a bilateral Edipal complex going on between him and his mother; especially if he is the one buying whatever she wants instead of his father doing it.
So what, other than telling him that he's being his mother's 'boyfriend' there's NOTHING you can do to get him out of the house. It's his life and if he insists on living it a certain way that you don't agree with then too bad; if you don't like it don't hang out with him.
If his wife was any type of wife then she'd be the one bitching at him constantly to move out and move in with her. I, personally, don't know of any woman who would put up with such behavior in their husband and most would tell the mother off in a heart beat.