For many women, Mother’s Day is a significant source of stress, shame, guilt, bitterness and anxiety. If you carry a burden of unresolved intergenerational trauma – also known as the mother wound – you may not want to celebrate the holiday with your mother this year, and that’s OK. Here are some tools you can use to start your healing journey.
What Is the Mother Wound?
The mother wound is any mental anguish handed down through the generations of your family’s maternal line. If you have an unhealed mother wound, you can unknowingly bequeath it to your children, especially daughters.
Some women cannot provide their children with unconditional love and support. Instead, they have unrealistic expectations that lead to a lopsided relationship and attachment issues. If you have a mother wound, your mother may have:
- Ignored your boundaries
- Imparted unfair, patriarchal gender role standards
- Disregarded your need to express your feelings
- Failed to provide enough love, care and security
- Avoided affection, such as giving hugs, kisses and cuddles
- Expected you to fulfill her emotional needs or parental responsibilities
- Been overly strict or lenient with her parenting
How to Heal a Mother Wound
As painful as it can be to recognize that you have a mother wound, it can also be a relief to put a name to the tension that has simmered under the surface of your relationship. Now is the time to put the past behind you and start tending to your inner child’s needs. Healing your mother wound means you can be fully present as a parent, without passing intergenerational trauma along to your children.
- Forgive yourself: Recognize the role you played in your relationship with your mother, and that nobody is perfect. Sometimes, you will see your mother’s thoughts or teachings mirrored in the mistakes you make – allow yourself to let those go. You are only human, and it takes patience to unlearn the lessons you internalized in childhood.
- Ask for help: You don’t have to struggle alone. Many resources exist to help you start overcoming intergenerational trauma, including evidence-based therapies like brainspotting and EMDR.
- Practice self-care: By parenting yourself, you can give yourself all the love and support you never received as a child. Take care of your needs with self-care strategies like meditation, exercise and being in nature.
Women’s Mental and Behavioral Health Treatment
Children who lack a healthy outlet for dealing with complex feelings can become emotionally stunted adults who seek to fill the void with numbing activities like self-harm, alcohol and drugs. Rising Roads Recovery Center is a haven where women can find their way and begin living more purposeful, intentional and fulfilling lives. In our care, women will find a sisterhood among people who have had similar challenges and are now on the path to recovery. Our clinical experts understand the unique responsibilities and difficulties women face, and we have developed programming to help you heal every facet of your life. Contact us today to learn about our expertise and specialties.