January 24, 2020

Codependency, Un-Mothered Wounds & the Honesty of Healing.

During a healing retreat, I was doing some breathwork and touched this place of rage inside my body.

Along with the rage, came images of my family and a deep, deep realization that I’d never been allowed to be angry with them. Subsequently, I never let myself be angry about it either.

The truth of my experience was (and has never been) acknowledged, only denied…along with a thorough awareness of our trauma history and all we have been through and survived.

I allowed myself to move through this deep rage. And how deeply conflicted I feel now about allowing myself to experience how I truly felt then. I breathed through this, allowed the rage of the conflict to move through me, to let the grief and anger come up.

It was like an exorcism. That energy could be free and no longer turned inward, on myself.

The truth really does liberate us.

I think part of why we fear the truth so much is that we fear grief, emotions, change, and the death that comes when we name things as they were, and are.

When our nervous system registers some of those feelings as unsafe, however, we need a place to reprogram ourselves so that the truth and our feelings are actually healing, safe, and self-loving.

Healing the trauma of being un-mothered invites us into shaky territory. Where we may find ourselves going back and forth between what is true for our hearts, and the conditioning we have received about what is okay and not okay to name.

It’s difficult to heal anything that we cannot be honest about.

Not naming what is, or has been true for us in our life experience pushes a lot of unresolved emotions under the rug into a corner of the psyche, and a lot of energy goes into repressing it. Yet, these are the things that come out sideways when we act out in shame or perpetually find ourselves in the same kind of relationships, patterns, or experiences in life over and over again.

It is taboo to talk about the shadow side of the mother and father. It is cultural.

We have this mechanism in our psyche to protect us from these truths. As children, it is too overwhelming to acknowledge that the people we rely on for survival are scary or overwhelming or distant. It’s a strategy for coping with trauma to understand them, energetically match them, and then try to change ourselves or do whatever we need to in order to survive.

When we allow this mechanism to run things, we can have so much compassion and psychological understanding for what happened and why they did what they did, but it bypasses processing how these experiences impacted us.

Bypassing what was true, or not honoring ourselves with compassion, only creates a state of false compassion for those who are hurting (and hurting others). It is not really compassion if we are not also honoring ourselves.

It’s a survival mechanism that rapidly becomes codependency. We develop excuses for those we love who are in destructive patterns and stay, thus staying in a destructive pattern ourselves.

True compassion comes from working it through to the roots, and extending our innermost selves the same understanding and compassion we so readily give to those we wish to protect from our feelings.

Every time we repeat a pattern or find we are with the same person or the same experience again, it is that very wound that is trying to make itself known to you.

Acknowledging the truth of being un-mothered doesn’t make you a victim and it isn’t blaming the mother. This isn’t about bashing our parents. It is about acknowledging the impact of events and how they informed our psyche and nervous system.

Being able to name the truth of the experience that lives in your heart allows these things to get pulled out from under the rug so they can be metabolized.

Honesty is healing. Revealing the impact of our lives and how it informs our inner parental structure, gives us an opportunity to free ourselves, and offers us exactly the love that we need to thrive and fully be who we are meant to be in our lives.

In that freedom, we find that our compassion for others takes on a different dimension; one that is free of unconscious contract or obligations to love as pain or suffering. But instead to love with forgiveness and boundaries—set not from fear or protection, but from love and compassion.

So, both can be true. We can have un-mothered hearts, have experienced trauma and pain directly from our mothers, be honest about it in order to heal its impact on us, and still have compassion for them. It’s not either-or.

Wholeness is both/and.


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