Albie, he seldom cried (at least with me) because we were always in the same room - I had him in college, and we lived in an efficiency apartment, lol. I nursed him for a year, we co-slept, and aside from going to daycare we were always together, since I didn't have a dime to go anywhere.
However, later I got married, and his stepfather was a complete tool and abused both of us, then after I was finally able to leave him, I was so depressed and just...broken...that I wasn't very "present" to him for a year or so.
I really appreciate your insights, though, about it being as if there's a second person inside him, protecting him. It's so hard to know what's going on in his head, because he doesn't show emotions very often. I'll always love him - I don't necessarily need him to love me back, although of course it would be nice. I just want him to be able to be happy, or at least content, and make a living in some way. It would be great if he could find a way to be in relationships with other people, because I can see that he DOES get lonely, he just doesn't know how to interact with us anymore. Like, the rest of us (me, husband, younger son) will be together in the living room, watching a movie, and he will come out with his laptop and headphones and do his internet stuff in the living room, too. He's not "with" us, but he's near us. He's been doing that a lot.