Exploring the Hidden Trauma of Maternal Relationships
As Mother’s Day approaches, many of you will be reflecting on your relationships with your moms. This mother’s day will be my first since my mom passed away. I don’t believe I have spent any mother’s days with her my entire adult life and I’m not sure how to feel about that. Maybe one when she lived with us? Why can’t I remember it? We didn’t share mother's day together because we simply lived too far apart.
Our relationships with our mothers can get quite complicated. As you can see above, my relationship with my mother was complicated. If you don’t feel this way, consider yourself fortunate even if your mother has passed away. For those of you who have mostly positive memories, I know you miss your mom, but I also hope you have gratitude for the time together and for all the ways she nurtured you.
This message is for the woman (or man) out there who didn’t feel nurtured, protected, or valued. As you know, these are the traits portrayed by the media and our society of what a “good mother” does or is. Don’t we wrestle with the belief, that If our mother doesn’t love us, who can? Does this matter if your mother is compromised mentally or physically and doesn’t know how? It may matter for us logically but not emotionally.
Symptoms of mother wounds
The symptoms of mother wounds can vary greatly from person to person, but they often include feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, dysregulated emotions, and isolation. What are your symptoms?
Impact of mother wounds
Mother wounds can be complex or complicated. They refer to the emotional injuries that you may have experienced due to negative interactions with your mother during childhood. These wounds can have lasting effects on your mental health and relationships. You may find it difficult to form healthy attachments and feeling distrustful. Having poor boundaries and fearing abandonment creates a significant impact until you know how to heal.
It is important to note that mother wounds do not necessarily mean there was intentional harm inflicted by your mother. Of course, it is quite possible that it was intentional, and I need you to know that you didn’t deserve that. You deserved to be nurtured and to feel both loved and secure. Sometimes, moms could not be available during crucial developmental stages. I see this happen when single moms don’t have enough support or when a mom has a significant trauma history and is suffering from severe mental illness.
Healing from mother wounds
Many researches and therapists will tell you that healing from our wounds is long and arduous. But what happens if you decide to not let it be? What if you decide you are not responsible for the broken or damaged bond with your mother? What if you decide that your healing will be easy? I can’t say it will be, but I do think that our inherent value is based on who you are and not on how you were treated. Yes, you may have emotional scars and that makes sense. But what if you decide to be proud of the healing you have done and continue to do?
When will you be good enough? Stop hiding? I encourage you to be visible, ask for what you want and truly believe you have value just by being you. A huge step to healing is speaking your needs and practicing true self-care (click here to see an example of items for yourself care kit). Other research proven ideas to heal yourself include: journaling, meditation, and yoga. Another step to healing that you can do on your own is to change how you think and talk to yourself. This leads me to my gift for you so that you may thrive this Mother’s Day and everyday.
I would be remiss if I didn’t share that seeking professional help through therapy or support groups is also crucial. Please consider joining our supportive community. We have a free Facebook group as well as a paid membership. Ultimately, recovery and healing from your mother wounds can lead to a more fulfilling life where you can break free from both negative thoughts and behavioral cycles and start to live the life you deserve.
If I can do anything to better serve you, please email me at email@example.com
Heal, Thrive, and Dream,
Thank you for sharing this, Karen. I'm sorry you lost your mother this year.
I had what you refer to as "mother wounds" well into my 30s. Then I began changing my life and reframing experiences that were not serving me. My mother and I healed our relationship over time, and during her last few years of life we finally understood one another and respected the choices we had each made.
Placing the paperback copy of my first book into her hands was a joyous experience, and the story I tell most often when someone asks me about my mother. She finally understood what I was doing on the computer each day, and it would be the last physical gift I would share with her while she was still alive.
~ Connie Ragen Green
Thank you for your sharing your experience Connie! It is my belief that it may help another woman as she considers healing her wounds. I'm sure your mom was proud of your accomplishments, especially that first book! I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day and get to connect with your family in Finland. Big hugs.