Healing the Mother Wound Returns us to Belonging

by | Apr 14, 2024 | Mother Wound | 0 comments

There are many reasons why women contort themselves to try to please others.

We might be conditioned by culture to be nice, good, and agreeable.

We might be conditioned by religion to be perfect and pure.

We might be conditioned by our educational system to be externally oriented and hang our hat on the gold stars of approval.

But a primary reason why women silence their voice and learn to pretzel themselves to meet others’ expectations is when they’re suffering from a mother wound.

As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes in Women Who Run with the Wolves in reference to the story of The Ugly Duckling:

“What if you, being a swan, had to pretend you were a mouse? What if you had to pretend to be gray and furry and tiny?… What if you tried to talk like a mouse, but instead out came a honk every time? Wouldn’t you be the most miserable creature in the world?

“The answer is an unequivocal yes. So why, if this is all so and too true, do women keep trying to bend and fold themselves into shapes that are not theirs? I must say, from years of clinical observations of this problem, that most of the time it is not because of deep-seat masochism or a malignant dedication to self-destruction or anything of that nature. More often it is because the woman simply doesn’t know any better. She is unmothered.”

She is unmothered.

By “unmothered” I don’t think Estes means literally “without mother.” I think she means that the young daughter/swan didn’t receive the attuned mothering that she needed and instead was raised by a mother whose own lack of mothering led to a narcissistic wound that bound her daughter up in her own expectations. The young girl learned that her needs, her voice, her interests, her body’s yearnings (not to mention shape) are subsumed beneath the consumptive force of her mother’s needs.

The Silenced Daughter

A daughter raised by a mother who is unable to attune to her needs loses her voice.

She learns that she cannot say no, for a no will lead to rejection.

She learns that she cannot express anger, for anger leads to banishment.

She learns that she cannot follow her own interests, for to do might incite icy wrath.

She learns that she cannot love another mother figure, or even have close friends, for fear of unleashing her mother’s jealousy.

She lives in fear of her mother’s rage, which can erupt without warning as a volcanic downpour of words or as terrifying withdraw.

The daughter learns, in short, that it is not safe to be herself, so she contorts herself to be who she thinks her mother wants her to be.

This pattern does not end when childhood ends unless the grown daughter learns how to assert her voice and set boundaries, which requires grieving the loss of the mother that she needed.

Healing the Mother Wound

Estes writes that an unmothered daughter is “a woman in exile.”

An unmothered daughter is a woman in exile… until she finds her voice and her tribe. And part of find herself within the sticky web of the mother wound depends on finding her tribe, which is why I only lead Healing the Mother Wound as a live course. A significant part of the healing element in this course is being in the company of other grown daughters who share your exact wound, and being able to hear their stories through the group gatherings and on the moderated forum.

The mother wound is healable. There is a roadmap to help you reclaim your voice that depends on grieving what you never received, learning how to set appropriate boundaries, and opening to other loving mothers who are all around you. When we heal this wound, we reclaim a true power that has been waiting a lifetime to be reclaimed. And when we heal, we halt the intergenerational relay that has handed the wound down from mother to daughter for centuries.

Are you ready to come home? Are you ready to return to yourself and discover the map that will help you heal your mother wound so that you can find your true voice and your place of belonging? Come join us. The grove awaits. The next round of Healing the Mother Wound: A 40-day course for daughters will begin on Saturday, May 4, 2024. We very much look forward to meeting you there.

The three group calls will be held on:

Call 1: Tuesday May 7th at 4pm ET
Call 2: Tuesday May 21st at 11am ET
Call 3: Tuesday June 11 at 4pm ET

All calls will be recorded.



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