I quarantined with my mother.
That's right.. ok, so not in the same apartment but she lives right next door and that's close enough. I see her daily, we cook together, we chat, we chat a lot about food and light subjects that won't set the place on fire (no pun intended). Something is breaking down that wall I built around my heart against her, almost since I can remember. For someone who runs an accessory business that counts on days like Mother's day, it would make more sense to sugar coat my relationship with her and how she was there for me through thick and thin and try to sell it, but that would be a lie.
My heart was often heavy over this day because I somehow did not have the connection hallmark was telling me I needed to have with my mother. On the contrary, the dynamics of this relationship curbed my life..and it spilt over into my personal life, going from one relationship to another in search of stability until I spiralled out of control and said enough was enough. As I began to unravel everything inside me I started to realise this invisible thread we all carry tying us to our mother, father & our ancestors. It was instinctual for me to realise parts of my pain were wounds passed on to me unknowingly. In my life, the mother wound was the deepest. It wasn't a coined term then but people are talking about it more and I want to talk about the elephant in my room. It's OK to admit, it's not all sunshine and roses with your mother, in fact, I would venture to say a lot of mother-daughter relationships are strained. You are not alone.
What is a Mother Wound:
In my understanding, the Mother Wound is the pain of being a woman passed down through generations of women in many cultures but I would venture to say much more apparent in patriarchal cultures. And it includes the limiting beliefs and dysfunctional coping mechanisms that are used to process that pain.
Let’s face it, the mother-daughter relationship is complicated. The amount of pain that daughters who are raised in a patriarchal society and sometimes even by mothers lacking in the kindnesses required to nurture a child properly are immeasurable and often time swept under the rug. Society has for centuries refused to acknowledge difficulties in the mother-daughter relationship as something real that can be addressed and healed. As a result, daughters who sum up the courage to confront this pain are often silenced with stereotypes that seek to make her seem ungrateful. And oftentimes it is this nature of silencing victims using stereotypes that keep the mother wound festering.
The Mother Wound exists because there is not a safe place for mothers to process their rage about the sacrifices that society has demanded of them. And because daughters still unconsciously fear rejection for choosing not to make those same sacrifices as previous generations.
Mothers liberate their daughters when they consciously process their own pain without making it their daughter’s problem. In this way, mothers free their daughters to pursue their dreams without guilt, shame, or a sense of obligation.
Most daughters choose to be loved instead of empowered because there is an ominous sense that being fully actualized and empowered may cause a grave loss of love from important people in their lives, specifically their mothers. So women stay small and un-fulfilled, unconsciously passing the Mother Wound to the next generation.
The power dynamic at the centre of the mother/daughter relationship is a taboo subject and the core issue at the centre of the Mother Wound.
Much of this goes underground because of the many taboos and stereotypes about motherhood in this culture:
- Mothers are always nurturing and loving.
- Mothers should never feel angry or resentful towards their daughters.
- Mothers and daughters are supposed to be best friends.
The stereotype of “All mothers should be loving all the time” strips women of their full humanity. Because women are not given permission to be full human beings, society feels justified in not providing full respect, support, and resources to mothers.
The truth is that mothers are human beings and all mothers having unloving moments. And it’s true that there are mothers who are simply unloving most of the time, whether because of addiction, mental illness or other struggles. Until we are willing to face these uncomfortable realities the Mother Wound will be in shadow and continue to be passed through the generations.
We all have patriarchy in us to some degree. We’ve had to ingest it to survive in this culture. When we’re ready to confront it fully in ourselves, we also confront it in others, including our mothers. This can be one of the most heart-wrenching of all situations we must face. But unless we are willing to go there, to address the Mother Wound, we are paying a very high price for the illusion of peace and empowerment.
What is the cost of not healing the Mother Wound?
The cost of not healing the Mother Wound is living your life indefinitely with:
- A vague, persistent sense that “There’s something wrong with me”.
- Never actualizing your potential out of fear of failure or disapproval.
- Having weak boundaries and an unclear sense of who you are.
- Not feeling worthy or capable of creating what you truly desire.
- Not feeling safe enough to take up space and voice your truth.
- Arranging your life around “not rocking the boat”.
- Self-sabotage when you get close to a breakthrough.
- Unconsciously waiting for your mother’s permission or approval before claiming your own life.
There’s a lot of talks these days about ’embodying the divine feminine’ and being an ‘awakened woman.’ But the reality is that we cannot be a strong container of the power of the divine feminine if we have not yet addressed the places within us where we have felt banished and in exile from the Feminine. Our first encounter with the Goddess was with our mothers. Until we have the courage to break the taboo and face the pain we have experienced in relation to our mothers, the divine feminine is another form of a fairy tale, a fantasy of rescue by a mother who is not coming. This keeps us in spiritual immaturity. We have to separate the human mother from the archetype in order to be true carriers of this energy. We have to de-construct the faulty structures within us before we can truly build new structures to hold them. Until we do this we remain stuck in a kind of limbo where our empowerment is short-lived and the only explanation for our predicament that seems to make sense is to blame ourselves.
If we avoid acknowledging the full impact of our mother’s pain on our lives, we still remain to some degree, children.
Coming into full empowerment requires looking at our relationship with our mothers and having the courage to separate out our own individual beliefs, values, thoughts from hers. It requires feeling the grief of having to witness the pain our mothers endured and processing our own legitimate pain that we endured as a result. This is so challenging, but it is the beginning of real freedom.
Once we feel the pain it can be transformed, and it will cease creating obstacles in our lives.
When we heal the Mother Wound, the power dynamic is increasingly resolved.
Once women increasingly process the pain of the Mother Wound, we can create safe places for women to express the truth of their pain and receive much-needed support. Mothers and daughters can communicate with one another without fear that the truth of their feelings will break their relationship. The pain no longer needs to go underground and into shadow, where it manifests as manipulation, competition, and self-hatred. Our pain can be grieved fully so that it can then turn into love, a love that manifests as fierce support of one another and deep self-acceptance, freeing us to be boldly authentic, creative and truly fulfilled.
When we heal the Mother Wound, we begin to grasp the stunning degree of impact a mother’s well-being has on the life of her child, especially in early childhood when the child and mother are still a single unit. Our mothers form the very basis of who we become: our beliefs start out as her beliefs; our habits start out as her habits. Some of this is so unconscious and fundamental, it is barely perceptible.
The Mother Wound is ultimately not about your mother. It’s about embracing yourself and your gifts without shame.
We address the Mother Wound because it is a critical part of self-actualization and saying YES to being the powerful and potent women that we are being called to become. Healing the Mother Wound is ultimately about acknowledging and honouring the foundation our mothers provided for our lives so that we can then fully focus on creating the unique lives that we authentically desire and know we are capable of creating.
Benefits of healing the Mother Wound:
- Being more fluent and skilled in handling your emotions. Seeing them as a source of wisdom and information.
- Having healthy boundaries that support the actualization of your highest and best self.
- Developing a solid “inner mother” that provides unconditional love, support and comfort to your younger parts.
- Knowing yourself as competent. Feeling that anything is possible, open to miracles and all good things.
- Being in constant contact with your inner goodness and your ability to bring it into everything you do.
- Deep compassion for yourself and other people.
- Not taking yourself too seriously. No longer needing external validation to feel OK. Not needing to prove yourself to others.
- Trusting life to bring you what you need.
- Feeling safe in your own skin and a freedom to be yourself.
- So much more…
We can confidently emerge into our own lives, with the energy and vitality to create what we desire without shame or guilt, but with passion, power, joy, confidence, and love.
For every human being, the very first wound of the heart was at the site of the mother, the feminine. And through the process of healing that wound, our hearts graduate from a compromised state of defensiveness and fear to a whole new level of love and power, which connects us to the divine heart of Life itself. We are from then on connected to the archetypal, collective heart that lives in all beings, and are carriers and transmitters of true compassion and love that the world needs right now. In this way, the Mother Wound is actually an opportunity and an initiation into the divine feminine. This is why it’s so crucial for women to heal the Mother Wound: Your personal healing and re-connection to the heart of life, by way of the feminine, affects the whole and supports our collective evolution.
excerpts from : Why its Crucial for woman to heal the mother would by Bethany Webster.
The Personal Mother Wound and how it shows up in daughters by Moshitadi Lehlomela