As I write this, I am sitting in sunny Florida, 1500 miles from my home in cold Massachusetts. For those who would say how lucky I am to be here, instead of there, I would respond with the fact that I wish to go home.
**The Mother Wound**
I’m here to take care of my 83 year old mother, touch base with her doctor and set up services for her with Medicaid, which took me seven months to get her approved for. She is not in good shape physically and it’s my guess that it won’t be long until she is completely immobile. She has a new diagnosis of early dementia and I see the deterioration in her mind and memory. I take my responsibilities very seriously and, so , here I am.
I have always believed in my heart that the mother/daughter bond should be a strong one, so when it is not, it is painful, an experience that I know I am not alone in feeling. Through the years I have always had people who know my mother and then meet me say, “your mother is so wonderful!”. It’s hard not to respond with “yes, but she is not your mother”.
Do I know how awful this sounds to one’s ears? Yes, I most certainly do. However, at best, she was neglectful and had a tendency to abandon me; well, maybe abandon is a harsh word, but that is how I have always seen it. When something happens to you as a child, you see through the eyes of a child and, sometimes, you always see it through the eyes of the child you once were. I was given to my grandmother to raise at birth; to me, she was my mother and when she passed through the veil when I was 6-7, I was devastated and here I am so many years later, still wishing she were here. My mother always told me that my grandmother *took* me; in my heart, I knew better then and had it confirmed recently that she just really wanted to live her own life unencumbered. Upon my grandmother’s death, I did, finally, go to live with my mother, who was separated from my father. Unbeknownst to me at the time, she was gay (never ever an issue), and we went to live with her partner. If there were time off from school, I was sent away – this aunt and uncle, then to that aunt, and then to the aunt who took me in for every school vacation for the next six years. Apparently this aunt knew exactly what was happening and was quite aware that if I were not with her, I would be alone. I don’t know how my cousins felt about my being plopped into their lives for 4 months each year; I was young enough to never think to ask; I hope it was not too burdensome for them. My mother and her partner traveled, partied, lived their lives. If they had a party, I was to be not seen (after saying hello politely) and definitely not heard. This was my life. I was a quiet, shy, introverted child. I was to never misbehave or speak out of turn. I will not share some of the things that I could as they are personal and extremely painful.
For decades now, I have been a daughter of the Goddess; I so love that phrase. I practice a Goddess based spirituality and honor Her in Her aspects as Maiden, Mother and Crone. While I am now Crone myself and identify with Her in that form, I still revere Her mostly as Mother. As I tend to be fairly introspective normally, this visit to my mother has made me even more so. It has been a difficult visit, which in and of itself is a complete understatement.
My thoughts have run to whether or not I am so drawn to the Goddess as Mother because I have not truly had a mother figure in my life since my grandmother passed.
My observation has been that many adult women have difficult relationships with their mothers and I wonder why that is. Is it because of some weird competition for some mothers? Is there some deeper psychological meaning behind it, or is it that some women just should not have children at all? I am at a loss to define it. I find it doubly difficult because I do have this type of relationship with my own daughter. We are mother-daughter, but we are also friends.
Through the years, when I have spoken to other women who have damaged relationships with their mothers, some severely, I have always thought of this as “the Mother Wound”. Children, in general, suffer tremendously when they have less-than-perfect relationships with either parent; however, I find that the mother daughter bond, when broken, leaves behind a much deeper hurt, one that is difficult, if not impossible, to overcome later in life. As the girl-child gets older and more fully realizes the damage that has been done, it can leave a resentment and bitterness that will never leave her. If she continues to have some type of relationship with the mother, it often remains difficult. If the adult daughter tries to confront and discuss the past, she may find herself rebuffed or downright disbelieved. I have found this to be true for other women who have shared their stories with me and I know it is true with me; my mother has always been the queen of spin.
The Mother Wound strikes deep, and it strikes hard. Fortunate is the woman who does not let it affect her relations with her own children, if she has them. Lucky is the woman who realizes where the damage comes from and attempts to heal her damaged heart and spirit.
This, I believe, is why I, personally, turn to the Goddess as Mother in times of grief and troubled times, why I go to Her for comfort. Unlike my mother-on-earth, the Goddess is always there for me, for guidance, help and direction. All I need do is open my heart and listen to what she has to say to me. I have never known Her to let me down.
First Force of all Creation, To You I Bow Divine Force Everywhere, To You I Bow Creative Force, Primal Force, To You I Bow Rising Up, Divine Mother, To You I Bow ~~ Nirinjan Kaur, “Adi Shakti”
Thoughts and comments are welcome.