It is a common belief that we should love and respect our mothers purely for the reason that they put us on this earth.
I don’t buy into that belief.
Becoming a mother is something that most women are capable of, but it is everything that happens after the birth takes place that makes a mom.
The news is littered with stories of mothers who have been physically, mentally, or sexually abusive to their children. Is it fitting that these parents, too, should have love and respect from their damaged children just because they gave them life?
While this article is not targeted at such extremes of abuse per se, I wanted to convey that a mother does not have an automatic right to love and respect just because she conceived us.
Once we allow ourselves to acknowledge a damaged relationship, and the feelings of sadness, anger, or disappointment, we can begin to process those feelings, instead of tucking them away.
One of the hardest things about my experience of being a mother is trying not to emanate the negative mothering experiences I had when I was growing up.
For the most part, I am different from my own mother, but now and then I hear the echo of her voice inside my own, and it hits a tender spot in my heart that I sometimes forget is there.
This spot is the damage created by the mother wound.
When I lose my temper with my children, I know it comes from the deep reserve of anger that I don’t realize is there until it bursts out now and then. This reserve of anger is the mother wound that I still carry.
In an ideal world, we would be able to sit down with our mothers over cups of tea and rationally discuss our issues. In the real world, however, we are too emotionally linked to be able to hear harsh truths without reacting. Part of our conscious evolution is to heal ourselves, and that may mean upsetting the balance for others.
I addressed these deep issues with my own mother on more than one occasion—painful experiences that had cultivated me into a damaged adult. It wasn’t pretty, and we went long periods of time without speaking. However, in the silence, realization grows. It may feel counterproductive to bring all the pain to the surface, but this is the path to healing.
Things inevitably settled down; they always do. My mother and I started speaking again, with just a grain of difference in awareness within our interactions. This was progress. We went through this process another few times over the years, each time gaining another grain of understanding, and there will probably be more to come before our lives are out. It’s a work in progress to find the middle ground, to find the peace within the painful bits.
At times, I resent being the spiritually aware female whose shoulders it rests on to heal the damaged divine feminine that has passed down through my ancestry. But I will.
I encourage my own daughter to be herself; I will not make her fit into what is comfortable for me. My actions let her know that it is safe for her to have her own opinions, even if they differ from mine. My daughter is fiery and headstrong, and I will never dampen that.
This change is one step toward healing the mother wound.
I acknowledge my jealousy of people who describe their mother as their best friend, because I cannot imagine how this could be. I only know the strained mother-daughter relationship, connected by a damaged umbilical cord that produced an undernourished adult. I use this feeling as ammunition to enforce a good relationship with my own children.
I refuse to exist forever as a broken child. I use the force of those negative emotions to piece myself together in strength as a consciously aware adult. I allow myself to feel the anger and let it burn away the debris of who I once was. I let my brain filter out the useful parts of this experience. I make it my goal to respond, instead of reacting from a place of pain. I don’t always get it right, but every time I try, I rewire my brain, and I heal just a little more.
I breathe. I gain a new perspective and realize it is a blessing to be able to handle these hardships and change the patterns once and for all.
It is my responsibility and my choice not to wound my children with pieces of the past—however ingrained into my psyche they are. Within each generation, we heal a little piece of the pain. We realize that our mothers did their best with the knowledge they had, and we in turn are doing the best with the knowledge we have.
One day, we will look back in quiet celebration at the evolved person we have become. Maybe we succeeded at repairing some of the damage between ourselves and our mothers, or maybe we just had to find the acceptance and peace in our hearts and minds with regard to our wounding.
Whatever the outcome, we always have the choice not to repeat past patterns, to acknowledge the scars we bear, and heed the knowledge we gained from them.