Healing The Mother Wound

by Bulbul Beri

For many, Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate, honour and cherish the women who have “mothered” us throughout our lives. 

However, this is not the case for all, as not everyone has a supportive and caring mother figure in their lives. For those who have never known their mother, have lost her, or who struggle with a difficult relationship and lack of connection – either physically, mentally or emotionally – Mother’s Day can trigger very painful feelings. 

Even those of us who have a relatively good relationship with our mothers have been imperfectly mothered, just as our mothers and theirs before them have too! We must try to remember that our mothers are humans, who have their own flaws just as we do, and not all mothers are available or capable of loving us the way that we need them to. We each have our own Mother Wound. 

What Is The Mother Wound?

The Mother Wound can be defined as “a loss or lack of mothering” (Gaba. S. 2019). 

Sometimes it can be easy to identify where we have been under mothered, in the case of loss, or lack of mothering, especially in instances of addiction, abuse, illness or emotional instability. On the other hand, even those of us who have been raised by seemingly perfect mothers can still suffer from the mother wound quite deeply. 

Even though a mother can appear very capable and be doing her best, catering for the physical needs of her children and interacting in a positive way, she can still fall short of providing “ the deep love, attention and acceptance that all children require” (Gaba. S. 2019). 

How it Affects Us

Throughout our childhood, some amount of wounding is not only inevitable but is in fact necessary for our growth and development. However, the severity and context of these wounds and how they are dealt with determine whether they lead to strength and wholeness or ongoing trauma. (Moffitt, P. 2011)Those with a mother wound are left to navigate adulthood without the base of confidence and security that enough mothering instills.” (Jacobson, S. 2018).We can spend our entire lives acting from this place of woundedness. As a result, unhealthy behaviour patterns such as people-pleasing, poor self-esteem, self-sabotage, depression, anxiety, lack of boundaries, addictions, anger issues, not feeling good enough and a confused sense of identity, can emerge. These behaviours can hinder us in achieving our full potential and we may also struggle to have loving, secure relationships(Jacobson, S. 2018).

 

We all have the Mother Wound to some extent

Society places pressure on women to be selfless, nurturing mothers who sacrifice their own needs for their children. As children, we want our mothers to give us unconditional love and support throughout our lives. We want them to be who we need them to be and to live up to both our own, and society’s expectation of the perfect mother. In reality, mothers are human beings with their own flaws and issues. Most of the time, they do the best they can with the tools they have. 

 

While all mothers having un-loving moments, it’s also true that there are mothers who are simply un-loving most of the time, because of their own woundedness. The things our mothers’ project on us are often the result of their own inner struggles. The harsh criticisms, the feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness that originated when we were children were never ours to own. (Webster, B. 2020).

“The truth is that no child can save her mother…The mother wound is ultimately not about your mother. It’s about embracing yourself and your gifts without shame.” (Webster, B. 2020).

 

 

Why should we heal the Mother Wound

Until we deal with it, we never really leave the past behind. It will continue to seep into our lives as obstacles and challenges that we face every day. 

To heal the mother wound, we must focus on “acknowledging and honouring the foundation our mothers provided for our lives” so we are free to create the lives we actually desire. (Webster, B. 2020). 

 

 

Healing the Mother Wound

It takes strength, courage and honesty to heal our mother wound. We can start to heal as soon as we set an intention to do so. Some tools that may help to heal the mother wound are listed below:

 

  • Allow yourself to grieve your loss or lack of mothering. 
  • Get to know yourself and pay attention to your emotional experiences. Meditation and journaling are some good ways to do this.
  • Develop self-soothing skills. Observe the many ways in which you are nurtured, and nurture others in the greater community. This way you slowly develop an inner nurturer. 
  • Be kind to yourself, silence your inner critic and talk to yourself as you would talk to your best friend.
  • Learn good boundary setting with others
  • Spend time with people who help you to relax and appreciate you for your authentic qualities.
  • Do inner child work and learn how to reparent yourself, giving yourself the things you never received as a child.
  • Reframe your stories and claim your power. Detaching from the emotion of your stories leads to a state of happiness and peace regardless of what has happened or is happening around you.
  • Focus on forgiveness and letting go, to help reclaim your freedom 
  • Seek support from a therapist or transformational coach

  

When we have a mother wound, it is easy to blame our mothers for everything that is wrong in our lives. However,  if we live our lives from a place of blame, we leave ourselves victimised and take away our personal power to make choices and change. 

At the end of the day, we are in control. If your mothering experience wasn’t all that it could be, know that she was probably a victim of similar behaviour. You have the ability to break this pattern. Your relationships with your children, family, friendships and intimate relationships will be better for it. Moreover, healing your mother wound and finding your inner source of unconditional love can set you free from negative patterns and lead you towards a happier, more fulfilled life.

References

Christmann, A. (2016). 5 Tools for Healing Our Mother Wounds. Retrieved May 8, 2020, from 

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/05/5-tools-for-healing-our-mother-wounds/

 

Cordella Magazine. (2020). Healing the Mother Wound. Retrieved May 9, 2020, from 

https://www.cordella.org/the-mother-wound 

 

Gaba, S. (2019). The Mother Wound. Retrieved May 8, 2020, from 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/addiction-and-recovery/201910/the-mother-wound

 

Grazia Magazine. (2019). The Difficult Reality Of Mother’s Day If You Don’t Get On With Your Mum.
Retrieved May 8, 2020, from
https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/real-life/mothers-day-toxic-mum-parent/

 

Heyn, S. (2016). How to heal the mother wound. Retrieved May 2, 2020, from
https://suzanneheyn.com/healing-the-mother-wound/

 

Jacobson, S. (2018). Reparenting Yourself – How to Heal the Mother Wound. Retrieved May 6, 2020,
from https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/reparenting-yourself-how-to-heal-the-mother-wound.htm

 

Kovanen, M. (2017). Healing the mother wound – Part 2: 10 Steps to healing from emotional absence. 

Retrieved May 6, 2020, from https://www.drmarikovanen.co.uk/healing-mother-wound-healing-emotional-absence/

 

Moffitt, P. (2011). Healing Your Mother (or Father) Wound. Retrieved May 9, 2020, from
https://dharmawisdom.org/teachings/articles/healing-your-mother-or-father-wound

Tyson, B. (2020). When Mother’s Day Hurts – Comforting the “Motherless”. Retrieved May 9, 2020, from 

https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/when-mother-s-day-hurts-comforting-the-motherless

 

Webster, B. (2020). Why it’s Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound. Retrieved May 9, 2020, from 

https://www.bethanywebster.com/why-its-crucial-for-women-to-heal-the-mother-wound/


Wilson, D. D. (Presenter). (2019, May 10). Healing The Mother Wound | WWT 20 [Audio podcast].
Retrieved from
https://www.yestoyoupodcast.com/2019/05/10/healing-the-mother-wound-weekly-wellness-tip-20/