The Mother Wound, Part 2 – Healing

My last blog posting was called “The Mother Wound”, which can be found here.

I have been amazed, honored and humbled by the response that I have received.  Women freely came forward to share their own stories, some in detail, some not so much.  What is extremely apparent is that I am not alone in carrying this Mother Wound.  Many women carry this wound.  The question then becomes “how do we heal this wound”?

As I have mentioned previously, I am very introspective; some might say too introspective.  To those some, I would say, everyone is different in how they approach life.  My introspection comes from a deep need to know, to understand.  I have discussed my Mother Wound with a couple of close friends through the years; my husband, whom I assume would prefer not to hear about it anymore, and various therapists throughout my adult life.  I am particularly fond of my current therapist and, since I have now returned home, will most likely talk her ear off at our next appointment.  

With all of this talking, I do know one thing – it does not necessarily heal the wound.  It can, and does, numb the pain for a certain amount of time, but the pain always comes back with any renewed contact or any reminder of what has gone on before.

Some women choose to cut off all contact with her mother; some continue to have some type of relationship, I think, maybe in hopes that things will somehow, someway, improve.  My experience tells me it does not improve.  Sometimes, it worsens.  

However we choose, personally, to deal with it, it just adds to the pain.  If you cut off all contact, there is always someone, somewhere, who will tell you that not only are you wrong, but they will tell you in detail *why* you are wrong, as if they have lived through your experiences.  Sometimes, even if you do maintain contact, there will be those who think they know your life and your experiences better than you do yourself and this is why you should do x, y or z.  

 If we choose to maintain contact, the pain will just continue as you both get older.  Yes, absolutely, we make our own choices in how we live our lives, what type of person we wish to be and no, we should not let things in our past dictate our present or our future.  That being said, for some, maintaining contact while allowing the distant past to fall away,  just brings new opportunities for the hurt to be compounded.  This has been my personal experience.  The things that have been said, done throughout my adult life right up to the present have just added to the hurt, making it even harder to heal from the past.   Then there is always the guilt that accompanies and exacerbates the pain.  My own mother is now in her early 80’s, with a fairly new dementia diagnosis.  Her memory is failing, so having any type of discussion with her about any issues between the two of us would be an exercise in futility.   I am sure that when she passes through the veil, the guilt will be just another part of the story that I will have to deal with.  Each of us has our own continuing story. Each of us makes the decision that is right for us.  No one else has that right.

So, how do we heal?   Can we heal?  As mentioned, there is therapy, just talking it out.  At best, I think that is just a bandaid, if contact is maintained.   Having my own children was somewhat healing; for various reasons, I have never told my son many of the stories surrounding my relationship with my mother; I have told my daughter.  She reinforces for me that mothers and daughters can have strong, healthy relationships.  For me, as I mentioned in the last article,  there is my spirituality.  The Goddess  fills a void left by my living mother.  Meditation is a good way of  dealing with the pain.  As a yoga and meditation teacher, I have found that deep meditation brings out deep, intense feelings.  This is not for everyone, as it means going even deeper, which tends to lead to more emotional pain; even with my love of meditation, there have been times I have shied away from this particular journey  toward healing.  I am also a certified Reiki healer and I have done some extensive chakra work.  These also are good self-healing techniques.  I would also highly recommend a couple of books by Diane Stein – “All Women Are Healers” and “The Women’s Healing Book”.    

The fact is not lost on me, that as I am writing of different techniques for healing ourselves, it is apparent that I have not fully healed.  I get that.  I may never  heal completely, although that will not stop me from trying.  This is what I wish for all women –  and men, too, that may be carrying this wound  from either parent – do your best to heal, know that no matter what has been said to you or done to you, that you are a worthwhile person, and that you are not defined by the Mother Wound that you carry.  You define you.  Blessings and love on the journey.

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4 thoughts on “The Mother Wound, Part 2 – Healing

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  1. Profound Part II! You speak deeply and eloquently of this Mother Wound, that I believe we all have on some level. I blame Patriarchy. My mom was 19 when I was born and only married for one year. We literally grew up together, me and my parents. Then 4 other sibs came along, mom stayed at home and dad worked. I was her “right hand”; cooking, cleaning, taking care of the other babies. Yes, I felt love, but at some point the “competition” began. I am the one who takes care of my parents out of us 5 kids and numerous grandkids who live close by, and yet my mom continues to judge me, and try to come between me and my dad. I can sense it, feel it and know it to be true. I KNOW she is jealous of how independent I am, how out spoken and assured I am, and she could never be that way. No, I was not abused, I was not neglected, but I felt that on some level, I never measured up and still don’t. (I really fell off the pedestal when I left the Christian church…. she loved telling her church friends that her daughter had gone to seminary and was a lay pastor…forgetting that I was a social worker for 33 years and that was my claim to fame.) I guess what I am saying is that if women were really honest, we all carry this would. The patriarchal society puts us in competition with other women from the time we are born. Our mothers see us as that competition and we see our moms as that. I am not sure we ever heal completely. We just find a way to decorate the wounds with our own Divine Knowledge that we are amazing, wonderful, enough and worthy! It is us telling ourselves that we are all broken vessels, some more than others, and we are all doing the best we can in the moment. For some, there has to be no contact, for others we choose to treat our mothers, take care of our mothers as they didn’t do for us. Maybe that in itself will be the ultimate healing. I sure hope so! Love you sister!

    1. Thank you, my beautiful Sunshine. We all have our stories. Some of us choose to acknowledge the wound and continue on our journey. Some choose to deny their is a wound; and if that it is, indeed, their story, then they are blessed and I hope they are grateful for it. Many women were put in a position such as yours, where you became the parent to yourself, and to your siblings. I have always been so proud of your independence and your outspokenness. I believe those are virtues. The Christian church did way too much damage to so many of us, and continues to do so unabated. Love you back!!

  2. Thank you ShaktiWarrior for this healing gift. My mother is a passive aggressive, narcissist. I have endured a lot of emotional abuse from our relationship. I have tried to heal our relationship but found it only created further distance between us. I have went to counseling and tried various healing modalities, however the “Mother Wound” is deeply ingrained in the psyche so it is hard to heal. I finally made a decision to not talk or visit my mother any more because I could not allow the emotional abuse to continue. It was a very hard decision for me to make, it took courage being society at large does not support my decision because most have been taught the biblical verse to “honor our fathers and our mothers” but there is more to that verse it speaks on to say “do not provoke your children.”

    If any of us were to tell our story of the emotional abuse we have suffered but left out that it was our mother, most of society would identify the relationship as being abusive and give the advice to leave. Now tell that same story but include the relationship is with your mother and society is appalled if you chose to end the abusive cycle. Because of this confusing message it makes it very hard for some to empower themselves and not allow the abuse to continue. Abuse is abuse and to stop the madness we must not allow anyone to take our power; not even our mothers or fathers.

    I have been blessed with three children, one being a wonderful daughter. I have told her many times throughout her life that she was a gift to me, for if I did not have my daughter I would not know what a healthy mother-daughter relationship could be. Our relationship is full of possibilities. We learn from each other, we support each other, and when we don’t agree it allows us to expand our own limited perceptions to allow room to honor each other for being individuals and having different opinions.

    I have very few fond memories of interactions with my mother, they are a gift to me. I treasure these memories and will always be grateful to the Goddess for allowing me to experience and recognize them. As Mother’s Day has always been very difficult time for me I find this article to be a beautiful healing gift from the Goddess as well. Thank you Shakti Warrior for allowing the Divine Goddess to speak though you to bring healing to the “Mother Wound.”

    1. Kathy, thank you so much for writing and sharing your story with me. This has touched such a spot within so many women. You are so right in saying that society looks at us in disgust when we have the courage to speak our feelings about our mothers. It’s sad that a relationship that is supposed to be so cherished and sacrosanct, that for some of us, brings hurt and sadness. I applaud your courage in ending your own relationship with your mother. I have not done that as I am an only child, she is in the just-past-beginning dementia stage and is all alone. As much as I would like to, I just cannot right now. I, too, have a daughter that is my joy (I also have a son who is also a joy but in a different way). We have the same type of relationship that you described with your daughter. We learn from our own mothers how NOT to mother and are gifted. My mother has gone after my own daughter, but since I have been as honest as possible with her, she is able to mostly ignore her. She has seen through the years how my mother has treated me. I also have almost no memories of my mother as I was growing up. I send her a card for Mother’s Day and then focus on my own children, of whom I have so many wonderful memories of when they were children. May the Goddess bless all mothers on Mother’s Day but especially those of us who carry the Mother Wound. ❤ )O(

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