I want you to take a moment and think about the kind of relationship you had with your mother.
What did it look like? How did it feel? Do your thoughts drift to the good times, or do they dwell on the bad times?
Our mothers were pivotal players in our development as children and they formed the very foundation of our emotional and psychological growth. To this very day our mothers continue to influence us both through our deeply ingrained perceptions of life and through our feelings towards ourselves and other people.
But although our mothers may have tried their very best to nurture us, our relationships with them may have been laced with undercurrents of shame, guilt and obligation. In fact, we may continue to carry unresolved grief, fear, disappointment and resentment towards our mothers long into our adult lives. This deep pain is usually the result of unhealed core wounds that are passed on from generation to generation.
If you possess the Mother Wound it is vital that you learn how to treat, repair and reconcile those broken parts within you that still yearn for your mother’s love. Healing the Mother Wound within you has the potential to transform your life and improve your relationships tenfold. And today we’ll explore how to do that.
What is the Mother Wound?
I have always had a very strained relationship with my mum. As a child I remember the great fear and reverence I felt towards her; fear because she was the primary disciplinarian in the household, and reverence because she was so self-sacrificing. As an artist, she was (and still is) extremely skilled in watercolor and oil paintings, yet she was never able to actualize her dream of becoming a professionally paid artist despite how brilliant she was. These dreams further dimmed as she kept giving birth to children and eventually it became a rare occurrence for her to pick up a pencil or paintbrush. I could always sense this lurking disappointment and resentment bottled up within her. I believe a part of her felt like she was a failure, so the only area she could excel in was child-rearing. This was only amplified by her strict Christian beliefs which traditionally dictate that a woman’s place is the house, not the art studio.
As I got older the admiration and affection which I held towards my mother became tainted with anger, sadness, and even disgust. Although she was extremely generous with her time and effort, her emotional coldness was distressing to me. She made it very clear that I was the child and she was the parent. There was no equality or middle-ground on which we could meet. The only time when I ever felt like my mother’s friend and confidant was when I did everything she wanted me to do, like a perfect little daughter.
These days, I don’t speak with my mother except via text message a handful of times a year. She made it very clear to me that leaving the Christian faith and allowing myself to love Mateo was a severe betrayal. Yet despite the animosity between us, she still reminds me that “my family loves me” which in truth a part of me wonders whether such words are written with a Christian agenda in mind, or out of real sincerity.
Our Mother Wounds are traumas that pass down from generation to generation that have a profound impact on our lives. When left unresolved, we pass on the Wounds that our mothers and grandmothers before us failed to heal. These wounds consist of toxic and oppressive beliefs, ideals, perceptions, and choices. Finally, our children repeat the cycle, harming their own children, and their children’s children with centuries of unresolved pain. (Please note here that our fathers carry their own wounds, but in this article I want to specifically focus on our mothers.)
If you suffer from the Mother Wound you will experience the following problems:
- (For females) constantly comparing yourself with, and competing against, other females
- Sabotaging yourself when you experience happiness or success
- Possessing weak boundaries and an inability to say “no”
- Self-blaming and low self-esteem that manifests itself as the core belief: “There is something wrong with me”
- Co-dependency in relationships
- Minimizing yourself to be likable and accepted
- The inability to speak up authentically and express your emotions fully
- Sacrificing your dreams and desires for other people unnecessarily
- Waiting for your mother’s permission on an unconscious level to truly live life
Mother Wounds are developed at a young age and are bound by the belief that “I was responsible for my mother’s pain,” and “I can make my mother happy if I’m a good girl/boy.” The truth is that we weren’t and still aren’t responsible for our mother’s pain – only she is. We also can’t make our mothers happy unless they truly decide to be happy. Yet unfortunately, as children we were not aware of this and on a subconscious level many of us still believe that we are the culprits of our mother’s angst.
Where Does the Mother Wound Come From?
Women have lived under patriarchal reign for centuries. Religion and society in particular have been instrumental in perpetuating the myths that women should:
- Stay at home and give up their ambitions as child-bearers
- Be the primary caretakers of the household
- Constantly serve others and their needs, while giving up their own
- Hold it all together 100% of the time because that’s what “good mothers” do
- Utterly deplete themselves in order to support their families and raise children
As a result of these intense and super-human standards, women abandon their dreams, lock away their desires and smother their needs in favor of meeting the cultural ideal of what motherhood “should” be. This pressure is suffocating for most women, breeding rage, depression and anxiety, which is then passed on to their children through subtle – or even aggressive – forms of emotional abandonment and manipulation (such as shame, guilt and obligation). This forms the Mother Wound.
But it is important that we understand how much our mothers have gone through in the face of these oppressive ideals and expectations. It is important that we realize that no mother can be perfect, no matter how hard they try, and use this knowledge to generate forgiveness.
Finally, it’s important that we learn to humanize our mothers in a society that strips them of their humanity. No mother can act in a loving way 100% of the time. The sooner we embrace this reality, the better.
Healing the Mother Wound – 3 Steps
Many women these days speak about embracing the divine feminine which sounds nice in theory, but without confronting and healing the Mother Wound, this is nothing but another fuzzy ideal and form of spiritual bypassing.
As a woman who carries a very deep Mother Wound, I have experienced just how lonely and saddening it can be to feel the emotional and psychological absence of your mother. Although I still have space to improve, I want to share with you three tips that will help you on your healing path:
1. Learn to separate the human from the archetype
We briefly explored the archetypal mother above; that of the selfless, giving, completely nurturing woman who diminishes her own needs in favor of her children’s needs. In reality, mothers are human beings with flaws and issues. The more we expect them to live up to society’s expectations of the “perfect woman,” the more we deprive them of their humanity.
You may like to ask yourself, “What damaging beliefs and expectations do I have about my mother which cause me pain?” Common beliefs and expectations include, for instance, “my mother should always be emotionally available,” “my mother should be my best friend,” “my mother should never get angry at me,” and so forth.
2. Give up the dream that your mother will be who you want her to be someday
Stop waiting around to receive the love, support and validation of your mother. Remember that you can never change who she is and nor do you have the right to – that is her responsibility. As you slowly learn to relinquish your hope that she will be everything you ever wanted her to be, you can allow yourself to grieve her absence. Experiencing grief is a vital part of the healing process and in my experience it can last for years. But allow it to happen. It is ultimately good for you.
3. Find your inner source of unconditional love
While you may not have received unconditional love from your mother, you can find it within yourself. A big part of my own healing process has been learning how to re-parent my inner child. Learning how to love myself has revealed to me a deep well of endless love that supports, cherishes and wants the very best for me. This very same source of love is within you as well. As you slowly dissolve the limiting beliefs and perceptions you have about yourself and the world, you will find it easy to transform your desire for outer support to inner acceptance.
The Final Product …
Healing the Mother Wound within you will transform your life. You will be able to set better boundaries, establish healthier relationships, take care of your needs better, develop empathy for others, trust life more, and feel more comfortable in your skin.
So share with me below: what was life like with your mother? Do you still carry unresolved pain from your childhood, or are you in the process of healing the Mother Wound?
I really enjoyed reading all of your articles in the entirety. And I would like to know does this apply to men as well? I feel the same way. My dad took me from mom when I was 5. So I was raised by my stepmother who has since passed. I loved her dearly and she never once said a negative thing about my bio mom. In fact when I was 15 you encourage me to go see her and gave me money to catch the bus to go see her.. I would meet her at my auntie house. But she never appear. I’m rambling so bare with please… my stepmothers sister and my bio mom were good friends so she’s always knew my whereabouts and how I was doing so I can’t see what excuse can she use not see her first born child that sh.. hurts to the core my stomach. I’m 53 now and I feel that this has affected my social life And life as whole, I’m a single handsome dad.oh this funny… I have three daughters and a son. My girls are all daddy girls yes sir….. lol I love them unconditionally. They say I… Read more »
This article deeply resonates for me, thank you. I have kind of the same pattern with my mother. She has awesome artistic skills that she used to practice before being a mother, and that she progressively gave up years after years of motherhood. Early childhood I could feel her frustration and almost anger regarding the fact that somehow at somepoint she resigned herself to give up on her dreams. For many years I felt sad for her and tried to relieve her from the pain she carries that I could feel so intensely. But then she became more and more closed, manipulative, and cold toward me and I began to develop a deep wound of injustice, sadness, and despair. I’ve spent then my life unconsciously trying to be the perfect daughter so that she could be proud of me and love me. But I was never enough for her. And it wounded me more and more. Until I sacrificed myself so much that I just burnt completely out, feeling just dead inside unable to enjoy anything in life. That lead me to a spiritual awakening, the call of my soul to change the direction of my life and let her… Read more »
thank you so much i aprecciate this so much
Hi Guys Email (Robinsonbucler gmail) com, for any relationship problems
GREETING……. I must say Robinson Buckler really worked for me and I am proud to testify also. I saw a post on how a lady got her ex boyfriend back through the help of Robinson Buckle and I decided to try him because my marriage was crashing and my husband was asking for a divorce. Robinson Buckle helped me and my marriage is now perfect just as he promised my husband now treats me like a queen even when he had told me before he doesn’t love me anymore. well, I can not say much but if you are passing through difficulties in your relationship or marriage, contact today via Robinsonbucler (gmail) com and you will know what i am talking about…..
Healing the mother wound, the life impacting article! Reading these articles, taking the quizzes, connecting to the stories; this website has helped me learn to live. Truly.
It sounds like I’m in the process of “expressing” that I’m shedding the title of Wounded Mother for myself, and the reactions from others are… shockingly extreme. And the more I am “objectively calm” the more pronounced it gets…
I can see why “non-violence” doesn’t “seem to work”…
Hi i love your very much i read most of your articles and practiced mostly the mirror work part.
Regarding this topic(mother wound),i dont have a good relationship with my mother she makes me angry and she still does at the moment.my resolution is to seek therapy and heal myself.
I appriciate your work soo much.
Hi Luna, I am based in Perth as well. I let go of my mother just recently at age 40. I cut all contact. I don’t have anything to do with her now. It took me a long time to realise I needed to cut contact. I removed the source to deal with the extensive damage so to speak. It was heart breaking to say the least. I was a parentified child and on top of that my mother’s spouse. Along with that came severe neglect and abandonment. There was physical abuse, emotional abuse and manipulation, abandonment and neglect. At age 12 my mother told me in front of my father that he didn’t love me. My father was abusing me as well from a young age. He forgot that I was with him at a shop one day and left me there to return home without me. He would leave me places and tell my mother lies about what really happened. By the time I would find my way home, she would be waiting with the belt. They left me sitting at home at 14 years of age on Christmas Eve as they were ashamed of me and I… Read more »
About mothers i had a verbaly abusive one weekly telling me no one wanted me took me to the ophange twice and said the worst thing in her life was when she meet my father and said nothing good ever came out of it . She also hide me from my dad and said see your dad doesnt want you i will never be better then her and she only helped my three brothers they matter more . I was doing fine then she had to move in and it started again one day she asked my grandson mommy what did the idiot make today for dinner just one of her sweet talk to me i helped her move three times helped her sell her house what did she do owing me $20,000 she gave my brother money nothing to me. I sorry to say i dont miss her now i need to get this negitive out of me and get a hold on being a empath.
I NEED TO GROUND thank you i am a great person and very caring i want to stop crying so much