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Mother wounds – what they are and how to heal them

A huge proportion of my clients have needed healing around parental relationships, particularly those classed as mother wounds. Our relationship with our mother (along with how we witness her treating herself), are the biggest influential factors on our own self love and what we believe we deserve or are worthy of. 

In some cases I’ve dealt with clients who have clearly had abusive mothers or have suffered the deepest darkest abuse. In other cases there’s simply been a misunderstanding where, as a child, the client felt they weren’t loved by their mother. The greatest feeling is being able to heal clients of their mother wounds, regardless of their origin or the client’s background, and to free them from mother wounds that have had an impact on them their whole lives.

What is a mother wound?

The term ‘mother wound’ is not a clinical diagnosis, but it is a real psychological issue for many. Our mothers play a pivotal role in our emotional and psychological growth and development. She is the person who usually nurtures, protects and empowers us. Our mother initiates us into adulthood and does the best she can, to fulfil our basic needs. This not only affects how we form an attachment and bond with our own mother, it consciously and subconsciously programs how we build relationships with others, as well as how we act as mothers ourselves, in later life. 

However, if our basic needs aren’t provided, it can cause emotional and psychological wounds – the ones we refer to as mother wounds. Feeling denied, ignored, put down or feeling less than adequate or acceptable in anyway, will cause us to alter our behaviour in response. It causes us to either emotionally detach and withdraw from others, or emotionally depend on them more than we usually would.

These mother wounds will often stay hidden, until you have a child of your own. This then opens them up again, as you see the world through the eyes of a mother.

How mother wounds are caused

Mother wounds aren’t necessarily about being physically abused by our mother, although this is one way a mother wound can be formed. Mother wounds can also be caused by many things, including emotional neglect and distress, mental manipulation and the absence of your birth mother altogether (such as through death, divorce or adoption). 

Due to her own illnesses, addictions, lack of support, emotional traumas and psychological issues, your mother may have been unable to adequately provide the love and support you needed to prosper as a child or an adult. Equally though, an emotionally absent mother, who only showed you affection and love when you pleased her, can be just as painful. 

We want to feel loved, regardless of our mood, thoughts and actions. If we’re unsure of how our mother feels about us, we tend to act differently around her – including acting nervous or anxious, always trying to be happy and ‘good’ in her presence, and feeling unable to go to her with any problems or needs, as well as when we need reassurance or have anything we want to celebrate.

Mother wounds – how they affect us

Having to navigate adulthood without the confidence, backup and support of our mothers can be incredibly wounding. If we don’t deal with these mother wounds, we can feel guilty and angry, anxious and depressed, with no control over ourselves or our lives, and looking for someone to blame. Left to affect us in later life, these mother wounds can manifest as:

  • Having a loud inner critic
  • Fear of judgement
  • Lack of confidence
  • Self sabotage
  • Building unsuitable relationships
  • Inability to understand or express emotions
  • Rebellious choices being made
  • Setting weak (or no) boundaries
  • Need for approval and/or permission from others

Healing these mother wounds can be life changing for us, as they can lead to greater self love, self worth, and greater success in both our life and business. In healing our mother wounds we also prevent passing them onto our own children, once we become mothers ourselves.

Healing the mother wounds

So how do you heal mother wounds? I’ve personally experienced how transforming RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy) can be on healing mother wounds, both as an individual and for the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with. Essentially though, if you want to heal mother wounds, you need to remind yourself of these three key points:

Accept that perfection doesn’t exist 

Mothers aren’t perfect, nor is anyone else, for that matter! There is no such thing as a perfect parent. We each carry our own scars, needs and emotional wounds. Sometimes we have to work late or longer at work.. We may not always be available. Sometimes we may lose our temper and shout and we all experience our own emotional distress – we’re human, after all.

We can (and will!) make mistakes as parents – it is the hardest job in the world! But, as long as we continue to show love, make our children feel good with praise and activities that build their self esteem, and apologise when we do make a mistake, we are being a good enough parent.

None of these things are enough to cause emotional or psychological wounds. These things only impact negatively on our children if they happen to live in a home where there is no love, praise or safety.

Forgive yourself – and your mother

Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Forgive yourself for not always having the answers. Learn to forgive yourself for having feelings of guilt, anger and regret over your childhood, your upbringing, and towards your mother (and father!).

Your parents did the best they could, with the knowledge they had – as you will do for your children. No one is perfect and, for that reason, you need to learn how to forgive everyone. Remember, forgiveness is not about permission seeking or condoning behaviour – it’s about loving yourself enough to not let your past (and those associated feelings) impact on your future.

You are enough

This is at the route of everything – you can’t use this one enough!  You are enough just as you are. You don’t have to be, do or have anything different, to be enough. Learn to love yourself, no matter what you’re feeling, doing or thinking. Give yourself the love and support you need and be responsible for your own happiness. Go outside and stand barefoot on the grass. Ground yourself into Mother Earth and get that feeling of comfort from being supported by a bigger force. 

By accepting your imperfections and loving them anyway, you’ll know that you’re enough. To forgive yourself for how you feel about yourself, your life and your childhood, you’re showing you’re enough – and by knowing that you are enough just as you are, you’re learning how to heal those mother wounds and transform your life, for the better.

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