What is a Mother Wound? This is a question I found myself asking a few years ago. I had been reflecting on my own Mother Wound in the midst of a break-up with someone who would end up being the worst relationship partner I have ever had, and yet, the best growth experience ever.
During this experience with him, I discovered my Mother Wound. At that time, I had no idea that it was called “Mother Wound”, but I became hip to the fact that I was repeating my mother’s footsteps, in fact, in some ways, I felt like I was repeating her life. I was 31 years old, and in a situationship with a man that was already spoken for; an engaged man. For the first couple of months, I had no idea that he had a girlfriend and by the time I learned about this, I was already head over heels for him and fighting for our “love”. I would later end up with him, after he broke off his engagement to be with me, and realizing that my relationship with him was all a facade. I do not like to label people by a diagnostic picture, but this guy was a classic, textbook narcissist.
So how did I, a therapist and self-acclaimed bullshit detector end up in a relationship with a narcissistic, emotionally and mentally abusive partner? Well, it was my Mother Wound (and a combination of my Father Wound and other traumatic experiences) that contributed to me being in a relationship like this.
A Mother Wound is the pains of being a woman, passed down through generations of women in your lineage. It’s also a collective pain of women in a patriarchal society. Often times, definitions will expound on the pains between mother and daughter in relation to their interpersonal relationship with each other, but I’d like to think that is a piece of the Mother Wound, and a part of the many ways it manifests. Mother Wound happens to all of us, no one person is left unscathed because we are human, having painful human experiences and carrying that pain in our DNA, which can then be passed down. Men carry Mother Wound too. The Mother Wound is actually rather convoluted, so I felt best not to re-explain this to you and instead include this article and this article to best describe it. These articles have great introductory explanations, that you can read to catch you up to speed, and then you can come back here to continue reading.
Now that you have all that information, you can likely see how Mother Wound applies in your life. In my life, my Mother Wound is tied to the macro-level collective wound, and the loss of my mother when I was 10 years old. I also like to believe that some of my mother’s pains were passed down to me during her pregnancy with me. At that time, my mother was 28 years old and in a situationship, much like the one I had found myself in. Nonetheless, she was pregnant and I can only imagine the pains she felt while she was pregnant with me. It’s very plausible that it was all passed down to my cells during her pregnancy and the early years of my life. I have very little memory of my early years but I do remember my mother working several jobs to provide for my sister and me and so she wasn’t around much. She spoke little English, always wore red lipstick, and laughed a lot. Behind that laughter, I often caught glimpses of pain. Perhaps the pain of being a single mother, of not self-actualizing, assimilating to the US post emigration, financial burdens and a health condition that would later take her life. When I was 8, her condition worsened and a week after my 10th birthday she passed away from Cancer.
Today, my Mother Wound manifests as fears of abandonment, imposter syndrome, not feeling good enough, being a bit of a control freak (although that has gotten tremendously better lol), making myself small and a few other things I am sure you can relate to. That unhealthy relationship I found myself in was the catalyst for bringing my Mother Wound to the surface, and later my pursuit in entrepreneurship also brought my Mother Wound to the surface. With the realization of what a Mother Wound is, how it shows up in my life personally, and making a commitment to healing it, I found myself challenging and shedding much of it.
Mother Wound comes up in my sessions with the people that I serve, and I imagine that if we understood it better, reflected on how it shows up in our lives and choosing to do the healing work that is involved, we could show up in life differently. In fact, by healing our Mother Wound we give future generations less of our pain and create a different path for them.
As always stay tuned to my IG page for an IGTV episode on Mother Wound and tips for healing it.