You may have a mother wound if –
- Your mother was emotionally/physically abusive.
- She focused on your flaws and compared you to others.
- If you were unable or scared to turn to your mother for support.
- You felt like she wanted to compete with you.
- You only got attention and love through performing.
- You had to excessively try to earn your worth.
- When you expressed yourself you felt misunderstood.
- You had to protect or care for your mother.
- Her addiction overlooked your relationships.
- She withheld expressions of affection when you did not comply with her orders.
- Guilt tripped often, keeping you in a self-doubting position.
The mother wound is created when unresolved emotional wounds, pain and trauma are unintentionally passed down to her child. The mother wound shows up differently in men and woman.
Manifestations of the mother wound :
- You have a harsh internal dialogue. You frequently judge and criticise yourself.
- You struggle with trusting the intentions of others.
- Shrinking yourself to be likeable and accepted.
- You make life decisions to please/impress/get love from your mother.
- A persistent sense of guilt for wanting more than you currently have.
- Lack of self-trust.
- You feel lost without passion or purpose.
At the root of the mother, wound is the core belief “I am not good enough.”The mother internalised this belief from her mother – then the child unconsciously takes this on. The child adopts behaviours to be seen as ‘good enough to the mother in an attempt to get her approval and affection. The child develops a ‘false sense’ to cope, this false self is an adaptation to avoid abandonment. The child becomes so attuned to her that we know what behaviour she will reward us for and what behaviour makes her angry and makes her retreat from us. It’s not uncommon for those with a mother wound to have experienced the guilt-tripping ‘when I die’ ‘you’ll be sorry when’ card.
Healing the mother wound is a process. No one tells us that healing is often more painful than the original wound itself. Also, it is not linear. We have to allow ourselves to grieve what we didn’t have. We have to allow ourselves to see our mothers as human. Humans with their own wounding and unresolved pain, who did what she felt best at her level of awareness. We also need to see the child part of ourselves that wants to be seen, heard and loved. That part of ourselves that was emotionally abandoned and that left us confused about our own needs. We are fearful to set boundaries. It has also left us with unhealthy coping mechanisms that can be unlearned.
We need to be our own loving mother, so how do we do that.
- Become conscious of how often you seek your mother’s approval and validation and how this impacts your adult life.
- Allow yourself to see your mother as a human being who was only able to love and emotionally connect to you in a way she knew how.
- Practice boundaries – start to become aware of your own limits around your time and energy.
- Begin to speak to yourself as a wise, loving mother you wish you had. (especially important when you are feeling afraid, triggered or defensive.)
- Prioritise self-care – Our mothers didn’t know how to meet their own needs, which means we need to begin to learn how to meet our own needs.
- Write a list of the qualities and characteristics that make you unique, or that you love about yourself. Save it somewhere and read it daily.
- Connect with people who make you feel like you’re authentic, true self.
- Write a letter to your inner child acknowledging how you wish you were loved, seen and heard by your mother.
- Know that it’s okay to not love your mother and have conflicted or bad thoughts about her. This is not betrayal.
- Remember the path to healing is not linear. Trust the process and keep the faith. Sit with it, instead of drinking it away, eating it away or running from it. Sit with it. Healing happens through feelings.