the Mother Wound?

Let me ask you…every year when Mother’s Day comes around, do you spend
hours looking at cards but end up frustrated and kind of sad because none of
them actually fit the relationship you have with your mom?

Deep down, do you feel ashamed that the relationship you have (or had) with
your mother is nowhere near picture-perfect?

If this resonates with you, I invite you to keep reading. This week’s episode is Part One of a two-part series on mother/child
relationships and how this foundational dynamic could still be affecting you
today.

Throughout more than 2 decades of my therapy practice, 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.
This pain negatively impacts how they relate day to day with the world, and
most importantly, how they perceive themselves.

In the video below, I’ll help you learn how to identify if you’re suffering
from “The Mother Wound” as well as give you some steps you can take to begin
to heal.

   
In most cases, the first person anyone has a relationship with is their
mother. It is from those very early experiences that our sense of self
develops.

That’s because our first internal representation of ourselves comes from how
our mother or primary caregiver interacted with us when we were infants. If
there was neglect, ambivalence or abuse, the result can be an inconsistency in
your relationship with yourself…and that wound can last a lifetime unless
you do something about it.

So what exactly is the Mother Wound?

There are two schools of thought on this. The first is a bit more esoteric
and existential, but I believe it to be true:

The Mother Wound can be thought of in a broad sense as the collective
injury from being a female in our society.

It is unintentionally passed down from generation to generation of women to
their daughters. It can include the pain of ancestral experiences such as
abuse, neglect, trauma, and marginalization.
I’ve included resources for further reading on this in the cheatsheet,
and you can download it right here.

For our purposes, I am interested in diving more deeply into the wounds of
any psychological injuries that have been sustained during this lifetime. This
psychological view of the Mother Wound is the result of mothers who cannot and
did not treat their children with unconditional love and compassion.

If your mother did not or could not meet your needs when you were a child, if
you did not have a caregiver that was emotionally attuned to you, it can cause
inconsistencies in your relationship with your self-identity. How you see
yourself has so much to do with your attachment style, which affects how you
relate to others and the world.

Attachment theory, originated by psychoanalyst John Bowlby,
asserts that our earliest caregiver relationship can impact our romantic
relationships later in life. The theory identifies two main results from
having this type of primary caregiver.
Ambivalent attachment happens because you have learned from your early experience that intimacy
and connectedness are not safe, so you’re never fully invested; and
avoidant attachment, meaning that because you find relationships so stressful, you simply take
yourself out of the running – often ending a relationship yourself rather
than risk being rejected.

I’ve created a guide for you to help you see if and how the mother wound
might be showing up in your adult relationships,
so download it here now and spend some time exploring the questions.  

Symptoms of an unresolved mother wound can range from unhealthy attachment
styles to low self-confidence and lack of self-esteem, from an inability to
trust yourself or anyone else to a deep sense of never feeling like you’ll
ever be good enough. It can manifest in perfectionism, chronic imposter
syndrome or always undermining your own success.  

If your deepest, darkest fear is that you are unworthy of love, attention,
and affection, you will find that experience everywhere.

You might find that you are unable to set boundaries because there’s so much
fear of rejection, abandonment and being left alone, which might mirror the
way you felt in your childhood.

The “Disease to Please” or chronic overfunctioning sometimes is rooted in an
adaptive response in which a child learns to focus on their mother’s feelings
instead of their own, in order to survive. This can be so painful and have
lasting effects because if you were raised to only be dialed into your
caregiver’s wants and needs, you become an expert at ignoring your own.
 

Another common symptom of the mother wound is emotional transference, that
is,  reacting in real time to a situation, but transferring the emotions
from unresolved injuries or wounds from the past onto what you’re experiencing
in the present.

I walk you through real-life examples of what this all can look like in the
video, so be sure to watch and then get the little cheat sheet I created for
you to take a self-inventory that can help reveal how an unresolved mother
wound could be playing out in your life.

It can be challenging to create and sustain healthy love until you uncover
the mother wound itself and start to take steps to heal. If from a very early
age you felt invalidated as a human being, it can be difficult to trust the
motives of other people, especially in romantic relationships. This might look
like needing the other person to prove time and time again that their feelings
are genuine or repeatedly choosing relationships where your deepest fear of
being unworthy gets played out over and over again.

Consciously acknowledging what you experienced with your mother growing up is
the beginning of transforming the negative impact of the mother wound.

I hope that this helps you in some way and inspires you to raise your
awareness and take some steps to further understand yourself. Next week I’m
taking on Part 2 of the mother wound series, so make sure to tune in to learn
the actual strategies and things you can do to start to get yourself on the
path to healing because you so deserve that.

Don’t forget that The Terri Cole Show is starting this month on April 18th,
at 9 PM EDT! It’s a live Q+A with me, it’s all happening on my YouTube
channel, and I want to see you there!
Click here to subscribe to my Youtube channel so that you get notified
for our big debut!

If you liked this episode and it added value for you, please share it on
your social media platforms. That is the best way for you to help me do what
I want to do in this world, which is to empower as many people as possible
to live the best lives they can. I super appreciate you and thank you for
watching, for listening, and for sharing.

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  1. I’m 36 years old and I’ve only recently started seeing the truth about my Mother and her connection to my lack of boundaries and people pleasing. I’ve had all of these questions swimming around in my head with no idea how to find the answers and then I stumbled onto your YouTube channel. I’ve already learned so much from the videos I’ve watched and am anxious to learn more, about myself and my relationships! I cannot thank you enough for what you do!!!

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