If you spent your childhood longing for a present, stable, supportive mother, and perhaps are still longing for one, you might need some healing around what is often referred to as, the Mother Wound.
The Mother Wound is a psychological and emotional injury that can stem from growing up with a mother (or mother-figure) who was not emotionally attuned or available to you. This can include a mother-figure who was physically present but emotionally checked out.
If this resonates with you, there is inner healing work that you can do that will honor your childhood experiences and mitigate the repercussions in your adult relationships.
In this week’s episode, I’m breaking down the Mother Wound and how you can begin the healing process through conscious self-parenting.
Mother Wounds come in all different shapes and sizes, but the commonality is it can feel like a primal rejection which can leave a lasting impact on how worthy we feel and how we show up in the world.
Over the past 2 decades of my therapy practice and empowerment coaching/programs, I have seen so many women suffering in their relationship with their mother and others as a direct result of what attention and care they did or did not receive in childhood.
There is shame or guilt associated with a Mother Wound partly because we live in a mother worship culture that glorifies motherhood on one hand and on the other, underestimates what it actually means to be a good mother.
So what are the qualities of a good mother? A good mother is warm, supportive, present, providing consistent love and compassion. Perhaps most importantly, healthy mothering means having the ability to functionally regulate and manage emotions so that the child feels safe.
If you didn’t experience that feeling of safety as a child or have a caregiver who was emotionally attuned to you, it can have a negative ripple effect on your self-esteem, your identity, and the ways in which you relate to others.
Here are some behavioral indications of carrying the Mother Wound:
> feeling shame or guilt around your relationship with your mother
> self-deprecating behavior such as diminishing your own accomplishments
> disordered eating
> people-pleasing (the “Disease to Please”)
> inability to trust yourself
> feeling like you’re not good enough no matter what you do
> unhealthy relationships (both romantic and other)
> weak boundaries, repeated dysfunctional behavior patterns
> chronic imposter syndrome
> feeling resentful in your own role as a mother if you have children
> feeling inherently unlovable
> constant approval-seeking or need for external validation
This list is by no means exhaustive, but if any of these resonate with you, there might be healing to be done around the Mother Wound. One of the most effective practices is to learn how to self-parent.
Self-parenting means taking care of and treating yourself with all of the gentle, loving kindness that you did not receive as a child. It means stepping into your own ability to tenderly protect and cherish the little person that is still inside of you in so many ways. Self-parenting has the potential to become a sacred, daily practice, where you ask the child that is at the core of you:
What do you need, dear one?
What do you want, my love?
And then nourish and satisfy what comes to you from inside. As a child, you needed to rely on others to meet your needs, but now as an adult, you can take stewardship of mothering yourself. It’s a radical act of self-care that when practiced consistently, begins to build and develop deep feelings of security, self-esteem, and self-love.
In this week’s downloadable guide, there are journal prompts to help you acknowledge and understand the truth of your own experience so you can get a clear picture of what was and better understand exactly what you can do to meet your needs now. Make sure to grab it here now.
Part of processing your experience for YOU is making the generous and compassionate assumption that everyone (your mother-figure included) did the best they could with the consciousness they had at the time.
All parents, just like all human beings, have limitations. These limitations might be a result of mental health issues, dysfunctional relationship issues, addiction, or lack of emotional maturity or bandwidth which can all negatively impact healthy parenting.
Letting go of the blame is part of the healing. It doesn’t help to blame your childhood caregiver for what she couldn’t or didn’t give you. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need to take an honest look at what you experienced. Your pain is real and your disappointment, longing, sadness, or anger is valid.
Inside the guide, I’m giving you other practical steps you can take to heal the Mother Wound. You CAN heal from this experience. Download your guide here now.
I so appreciate you caring about your mental health and being willing to do the work to transform. If you liked this episode, please share it with your people and connect with me on Instagram @terricolelcsw and let me know your takeaways!
Have an amazing week and as always take care of you.