Healing the Mother Wound That Was Inflicted on You as a Child

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I want you to take a moment and think about the kind of relationship you had with your mother.

What did it look like? How did it feel? Do your thoughts drift to the good times, or do they dwell on the bad times?

Our mothers were pivotal players in our development as children and they formed the very foundation of our emotional and psychological growth. To this very day our mothers continue to influence us both through our deeply ingrained perceptions of life and through our feelings towards ourselves and other people.

But although our mothers may have tried their very best to nurture us, our relationships with them may have been laced with undercurrents of shame, guilt and obligation. In fact, we may continue to carry unresolved grief, fear, disappointment and resentment towards our mothers long into our adult lives. This deep pain is usually the result of unhealed core wounds that are passed on from generation to generation.

If you possess the Mother Wound it is vital that you learn how to treat, repair and reconcile those broken parts within you that still yearn for your mother’s love. Healing the Mother Wound within you has the potential to transform your life and improve your relationships tenfold. And today we’ll explore how to do that.

What is the Mother Wound?

I have always had a very strained relationship with my mum. As a child I remember the great fear and reverence I felt towards her; fear because she was the primary disciplinarian in the household, and reverence because she was so self-sacrificing. As an artist she was (and still is) extremely skilled in watercolor and oil paintings, yet she was never able to actualize her dream of becoming a professionally paid artist despite how brilliant she was. These dreams further dimmed as she kept giving birth to children and eventually it became a rare occurrence for her to pick up a pencil or paintbrush. I could always sense this lurking disappointment and resentment bottled up within her. I believe a part of her felt like she was a failure, so the only area she could excel in was child-rearing. This was only amplified by her strict Christian beliefs which traditionally dictate that a woman’s place is the house,not the art studio.

As I got older the admiration and affection which I held towards my mother became tainted with anger, sadness, and even disgust. Although she was extremely generous with her time and effort, her emotional coldness was distressing to me. She made it very clear that I was the child and she was the parent. There was no equality or middle-ground on which we could meet. The only time when I ever felt like my mother’s friend and confidant was when I did everything she wanted me to do, like a perfect little daughter.

These days, I don’t speak with my mother except via text message a handful of times a year. She made it very clear to me that leaving the Christian faith and allowing myself to love Sol was a severe betrayal. Yet despite the animosity between us, she still reminds me that “my family loves me” which in truth a part of me wonders whether such words are written with a Christian agenda in mind, or out of real sincerity.

Our Mother Wounds are traumas that pass down from generation to generation that have a profound impact on our lives. When left unresolved, we pass on the Wounds that our mothers and grandmothers before us failed to heal. These wounds consist of toxic and oppressive beliefs, ideals, perceptions and choices. Finally, our children repeat the cycle, harming their own children, and their children’s children with centuries of unresolved pain. (Please note here that our fathers carry their own wounds, but in this article I want to specifically focus on our mothers.)

If you suffer from the Mother Wound you will experience the following problems:




37 COMMENTS

  1. I was comparing my situation with my son and i to my mother and i and i wasnt connecting with this particular article. Our situation is much different. However, i was hoping to find other relating Mother Daughter, Mother Son articles, more similar to ours and havent come across any as of yet….

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  3. How do you heal a mother wound when she will never let it close? I am the most optimistic person on the planet.i believe there is good in everyone,but when any and almost (I say almost because no one can be one way at all times,such is the rule of the univers.)everything that comes out of their mouth is a negative or a put down. There is no “oh you want to buy a car ,good future planning to build your credit!” There is only you are going to destroy your credit when you miss payments. There is no “how is your job?” There is only the it’s only a matter if time befor you are fired. I do not do drugs ,every job I have had has lasted years. Some wounds seem to go too deep and leave a grown woman trying to defend herself against words the strangers on this site might say. Everything is in such a constant state of defense these days that “the mother wound” is just another in a long line of assaults on our own well being. The only things I can tell you as someone who continually deals with the re-opening of old wounds is that you should be brave. This for me?this comment I am leaving?this is brave for me. You do not have to jump from tall buildings or go wrestle a grizzly bear (Because let’s face it. Bears are not something you want to tango with) it can be something as simple as trying a new restaurant or throwing that one piece of clothing you still have from the 70,s but save just in case. Brave does not have a measurement scale with me. If it was hard for you to do,and you did it? You go little toaster! The second thing I can tell you is that you must ask yourself the hard questions. Why will I not let myself be happy?what am I punishing myself for? On the surface each of us will tell ourselves and the world most of the time that we deserve to be happy. This is true. We do deserve that inner peace and love of self. So why is it that when it comes down to the actual precipice of happiness,we swan dive ourselves in the wrong direction and say things like “it never works out for me” . If you have old or continuing mother wounds I truly hope that you can find a way to slowly close then and minimize the scarring. You are all such beautiful people and I thank the author for such a good read. It is a step in my inner recovery.

    • Jessica–It seems that unfortunately I’m in the same boat as you in many ways, and I have the same question (how to heal a mother wound when she won’t stop creating it!) MY mother constantly hurts me emotionally by ignoring, invalidating, judging, or otherwise hurting me. She never acknowledges or encourages any of the good things I do, but is quick to criticize what I’m NOT doing. I’ve TOLD her so, and that it hurts me, but it never changes. I couldn’t tell you the last time she said “that’s great!” or “I’m proud of you!” I’m 39 years old and STILL struggling to accept that she will NEVER be willing (although I don’t believe she isn’t ABLE!) to be the nurturing, accepting, kind, supportive mother I so desperately need and want. She is very rarely emotionally supportive, but the fact that once in a great while she WILL be seems to fuck with my heart more than if she NEVER was, because that shows me she COULD be if she wanted to. I actually think she’s a narcissist and borderline sociopath (because she seems to lack any empathy for others.) Most recent example: I’m struggling to recover from anorexia, and have finally gained a little weight and been able to eat more normally in the past month or two (after 10 months of losing more and more weight.) I surrendered by scale to my therapist, as I was compulsively weighing myself countless times a day, and it was having dangerous consequences. My mom KNEW this, yet she went out and bought her OWN scale since she couldn’t use mine anymore. Even though I asked her repeatedly BEFORE she got it NOT to, and if she did, NOT to tell me and to HIDE the damn thing. She not only has it out in the bathroom, but REFUSES to even take a few seconds to put it in the cabinet so it’s out of my line of sight. And she nearly buried me years ago because of how close to dying I got from anorexia. Worst of all, SHE had an eating disorder severe enough to require long-term hospitalization when I was about 12 years old, so she SHOULD be more understanding of how HARD it is for me to have a scale readily accessible to me at home. And she DEFINITELY should know how dangerous. But she cares more about the fact that it’s HER house and she wants it out–PERIOD. (Which is her RIGHT, as I’m an adult living in her home for now as I recover. But I just CAN’T understand her lack of compassion or her unwillingness to help me in such a simple, easy way. Also wanted to tell you that I love your view on bravery, and totally agree. If it was hard for you and you did it, that’s kick ass! I hope like me you’re finding little by little how to love, take care of, and have compassion for yourself. Hugs, Jessica 🙂

      • I think…sometimes we need to really separate ourselves from the wounder / mother so that we can heal our wounds and recover without them constantly being re-opened by being in close proximity to them. I dont know how you are coping being under the same roof. Forgive me please if you feel i speak out of turn. Your mother has her own unresolved issues and will continue to be the way she is. It seems that if you are to recover you need to get away from her to recover your self.
        I did that myself…I broke contact…for a few years… then just cards… then telephone calls…and then after ten years a visit…then another…then hurt straight to my heart! Again!
        The difference was that when I was not having contact, I learned to let go, became forgiving, was living in the present, enjoying life and I became well and recovered from what was a constant state of emotional unwellness. Life, not all roses at all, but so so so much better.
        Unfortunately, I really dont know how I would cope with being under the same roof – I dont think I could do it and believe over time I would probably become unwell again. The wounds are deep and their never was a boundary and I tend to be very psychic anyway etc.

        What Im saying is that, I despite so much effort and growth and facing up and healing and grieving and tears – can cope with life so much better by being separate with only little or managed or controlled contact with my mother. It is better that way. Any contact I have, I always feel some kind of pain, so I have little contact.

        I feel for you, that as you are unwell and staying with your mum while you try to recover is not helping you at all. I feel you need to get away, live separately, significantly reduce contact, and focus on your own self love and healing.
        Love and good luck to you. I hope you find your way. Please try http://www.freemeditation.com and follow these meditations daily and strengthen yourself that way until you feel stronger. Love and light your way.

      • Ohhh gee Lisa, I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. It must be so tough to be living like that with your mum being that way. I hope you can somehow find a way to begin anew somewhere else, in safety. I hope a good therapist or a good friend can help you to safety and security. Sometimes there are charities or women’s refuge’s that can help get one on their feet. I suggest if you do or are planning to get out that you can keep it to yourself, a well gaurded secret, until you are safely in peace and some comfort.
        Take care xxx

  4. Excellent article. Thank you.

    I too have spent my adult life Healing my Mother Wound.

    Her childhood was filled with pain, confusion, lies & deseption.

    Her Mothering skills left a lot to be desired. I left her at the age of 22. Not returning until 40. When my Father passed.

    I'm 54 now. Mum recently told me she was a 'Bitch' & life is like a school yard…

    This has helped me greatly. Helping me to understand 'why' she is so nasty to me. It also allowed me to heal the pain of her hatred toward me as a young child. Giving me the understanding necessary to let it go.

    I have a lot of compassion for her, but have strong boundaries and take no nonsense. I feel no obligation for her happiness. It's up to her.

    I wish her well but realize that it's her journey, not mine. And ultimately her choice. I can only offer love and encouragement – up to her to receive.

    Thankyou again for your article.

    Great when real issues get brought to the fore ground.

  5. Wow! My mom was the same way. Friends and acquaintances all thought mom was great. Fun, outgoing, etc… But we knew the real her. Confusing, indeed. I am trying SO HARD to forgive her and let go of my expectations. It's really the expectation of her becoming the mom I needed growing up that has me stuck…

  6. I was lucky in experiencing unconditional love from my mother. That doesn't mean I don't experience some of the problems you cite as symptoms of wounding or that I regard my mother as the template for myself. We were connected but different in many ways. She may have been concerned about my social or emotional well-being because I am introverted and eccentric, but she accepted that there are many ways to find happiness and fulfillment and supported all three of her children's attempts. She was an admirable, loving and giving person who chose home economics over art, and never really regretted her choice. I learned so much about relating to people (and a great deal else!) from her and never doubted her love. I also loved sharing my mom with many wounded children who needed nurturing. When the time came when mother needed the help from her daughters, we were there to learn more lessons about how love works and what's really important. I wish all of those who are struggling with wounded and wounding mothers and trying to become your best "you" the chance to know that you are loved, valued and perfect in your wholeness. The whole universe can be your mother.