Unleash + Surrender: The Mother Wound and Your Mental Health
With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, and Mother's Day coming up, it only makes sense to dive into "The Mother Wound", to reflect on what it is, how it affects your mental health (and energy), and what you can do about it.
I truly believe one of the main reasons women have a hard time sitting with themselves, in silence or otherwise, is because they have an underlying subconscious belief to ignore their own needs, or they simply despise the fact they have needs in the first place. So they try to reject their needs -- by staying busy, or pleasing others instead of themselves, so they don't have to "hear" what their mind, body or soul are asking of them. Insert avoidance. Insert subtle build-up of resentment.
Our subconscious programming comes from many places:
- in the womb + picking up on past generational energy
- who was around us + our early childhood upbringing
- what was around us + the environments we were in
- how others received + responded to our needs
- societal norms + cultural beliefs handed down
...just to name a few.
These situations, people and places have created micro + macro memories that can haunt your mind or your body. Your brain is set up to protect yourself from threat - whether that harm is just a potential, or if it's real - so when you're triggered by the people, places, or situations that come up in your life, your subconscious or implicit patterns come into play.
These subconscious beliefs + memories are stored in your mind + body. They become your baseline for your state of mind, which creates the baseline for your being + your perspectives. The perspective becomes your lifeline and you create your personality around it. This lifeline + your personality can sometimes be really beneficial...until it's not. Your baseline also includes the wounding that occurred during your younger years.
So you end up creating thought patterns and habits out of the wounding that occurred, even if you aren't aware you're doing it.
The wounding we're focusing on today is the Mother Wound. So, exactly what IS a Mother Wound?
A Mother Wound Is..
A subtle set of elements that weren't present within your upbringing. This would be things like the guidance, the support + protection, or the love you needed. These missing elements tend to stem from the practices + lack of support within our environments + external systems.
Because of this, wounds are passed down from one generation to the next -- what was missing in our mother's childhood, she can pass to us. The grief, the fear, the unworthiness. Even pain + trauma from generations past.
Alternatively, I've noticed some mother's will ensure that their child doesn't miss out on XYZ (because they didn't have it, so they want to make sure their kids do), and then they miss another element by focusing so much on the one thing they missed out on.
While it might sound or feel like there's no winning for a mother, we need to touch on the patriarchal systems in place to truly get a deeper sense of why the Mother Wound even exists. But I think that's a whole other blog post.
So I think it's important to focus on the things we can control, like how to create a deeper level of connection with ourselves and within our relationships. Now, I'm not here to point out flaws in motherhood...I'm here to empower you to heal your inner world. By taking accountability for how you can move forward, not looking where to place blame. It's not to say you weren't a victim, or to not hold someone else responsible for the harm they've caused...it's that you can't keep holding yourself back and allow their actions to dictate your life, and how you show up. It's about standing in integrity with who you are at your core, and BEING that person (which ultimately IS who you want to be).
And while we're not perfect, we can benefit from learning more about ourselves, digging in to what makes us tick, and then working through that with intention (and sometimes even with a professional). We do all of this by taking care of ourselves...that typically means learning how to re-parent ourselves, especially in the case of the Mother Wound.
Most Mother Wounds are not intentional, however if we go throughout our lives not looking at these pieces, we can continue to pass the baton or create more chaos within our own lives.
What They Look Like...
Mother Wounds can come out in various ways and can shape people differently.
Some Mother Wounds:
- make you struggle to be around her
- leave you unsure of how to set up clear boundaries (and maintain them) with your mother
- have made you have to cut her out completely
- are just from the absence of her, from the grief of being motherless (maybe you had to say goodbye to soon)
The unchecked Mother Wound can lead to:
- over-giving, over-doing (high achieving), underlying stress + burn out
- self-loathing / feelings of unworthiness + low self-esteem / unlovability
- ignoring our intuition + gut instincts (lack of self-trust)
- holding ourselves back from experiences + not voicing our needs or desires
When looking at this wounding, it's incredibly normal to:
- feel 'bad' -- like you're betraying, questioning or rejecting your mother
- feel guilt -- like you're rejecting who "you've always been", or "your roots"
- feel threatened -- like someone will call you out for not being grateful for what you DID have, especially because 'it's your mother'
The Mother Wound also brings forward the collective sister wound, and witch wound. When we can begin to heal the pieces of us that don't trust other women, the parts of us that want to be mean or make fun of other women, the parts of us that get jealous or rage-ful at other women for going after what they want...that is when we can break the bondage we all have with the sister wound. THAT is a powerful force.
Why You Want to Heal It...
There's many reasons to heal a Mother Wound. Aside from not wanting to feel the emotions that come up when a wound is activated + present, healing a Mother Wound gives you a sense of empowerment. It's less about avoiding the feelings and characteristics associated with the wounds themselves, and more about tuning into who YOU can truly be. Once you begin to heal your wounds, you will:
- nurture yourself
- guide yourself + trust your intuition more than ever before
- have a deeper love toward yourself (a loyalty like you've not felt before will bloom)
- show up as fully in yourself as possible (related to the chakra system which has an affect on our mental, emotional, physical, spiritual states)
Understanding + healing this wound can help lead you to:
- higher energy levels
- managing your stress with ease
- building discernment between avoidance vs boundary-setting
- voicing, setting + maintaining your boundaries
- stronger, deeper, more vulnerable relationships
- generally, a stronger sense of who you are
You May Be Willing to See the Truth of Your Upbringing, But Someone Else Exclaims: "BUT IT'S YOUR MOTHER"
This topic is taboo because so many of us are walking around with these wounds. Like I mentioned earlier, it can be difficult to look at this becaue we don't want to betray her. Others may say things to you out of fear, and likely, their own Mother Wound coming to play (ex: abandonment from their mother, or they needed to support their mother growing up so the need to protect her = the need to protect other mothers for the sake of 'being good'). There's so much nuance and cobwebs here.
And listen, looking at this wounding does not equate to the answer or 'healing' path to mean you have to cut ties. It can be for some, as not all of us have the Lorelai + Rory "best friend" relationship with our moms. In fact, I'd like to argue that majority of us don't, but we hide it from others because it's taboo to not have a pretty-packaged relationship with our moms.
And it's not to say those that DO have that relationship, shouldn't feel joy that they do. Absolutely feel that. Allow your kindness + love toward each other be a beacon for others that there is hope.
And just a friendly reminder, Mother Wounds:
- don't all look the same
- not all wounds are intentional
- some come from an unhealed protection mechanism on her part
- some wounds are intentional
- can exist if you have a great relationship with your mother
- can be healed, even if you have a scattered, broken, or distanced relationship with your mother
- are patterns that come through based on society structure (patriarchal systems in place), culture, past-generational trauma
- are implicit, which means they are stored in the body
Reminder: I am not putting blame or shame on your mother, they did what they could with the emotional intelligence and support systems that they had.
How to Heal It...
OK this all sounds great, right? You might be wondering "great, how the hell do I even begin"? I've got a few ways you can help yourself move through it to begin the processing through your mind, body and soul:
- learning how to mother yourself (nurture, protect and guide yourself daily)
- "playing" and getting back into doing the things you love(d)
- moving your body in the ways you weren't "allowed", or were told "weren't lady-like"
- cradle yourself with blankets and pillows and soft lighting
- begin to remove the expectation that she will take accountability, apologize, or change...I know, it can be difficult (this is where looking at receiving external support can come into play, especially if there is trauma involved)
Of course, this all depends on your the type of wounding you have.
As an example: someone who grew up without guidance, may have a hard time keeping themselves structured (getting tasks done/going to bed at a decent hour, etc). They may want to focus on parenting themselves to a more structured routine, because their tendency may be to allow their inner child take over + not want to keep up with responsibilities.
Whereas someone who didn't receive love or affection, may have a hard time receiving from friends, or a partner without the need to give back (words of affection/compliments, gifts, quality time, true unconditional love may feel icky). These women may want to focus on defining or redefining their worth. Can they feel valued without pleasing others, over-working, or "fitting in"...even if their mother rejected them?
If you're unsure on how to take the next steps in your healing journey, join in my upcoming Mother Wound Healing Session, "Unleash + Surrender" which is being held over Zoom on Saturday, May 13th, 2023 from 10:30am - 12pm EST.
I'm collaborating with Vania Sukola, a registered feminist psychotherapist, to help you heal your relationship to the maternal systems you had growing up (or lack thereof), so that you can liberate yourself from the subconscious bind that's holding you back.
A replay will be available, so even if you can't make it live you can still benefit from the session later, or come back to it any time you need a refresher.
If you're reading this after the session date, you can still join in because of the replay. Snag your spot HERE.
Some of what you can expect from me as a co-host for this healing session:
- channeled meditation
- journaling prompts
- group reiki
This session truly is for anyone, but I'd love to have you there.
It's important to feel supported when moving through this type of work, and trust me when I say I am so grateful if you choose to allow us to be there for you in circle.
Wherever you are with healing your own wounds (or generational ones), know that you don't have to be alone.
...nothin' but heart chakra love,