Why it’s Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound

What many people do not realize is that the core issue at the center of women’s empowerment is the mother wound.


Difficulty and challenges between mothers and daughters are rampant and widespread but not openly spoken about. The taboo about speaking about the pain of the mother wound is what keeps it in place and keeps it hidden in shadow, festering and out of view.

What exactly is the mother wound?

The mother wound is the pain of being a woman passed down through generations of women in patriarchal cultures. And it includes the dysfunctional coping mechanisms that are used to process that pain.

The mother wound includes the pain of:

  • Comparison: not feeling good enough
  • Shame: consistent background sense that there is something wrong with you
  • Attenuation: Feeling you must remain small in order to be loved
  • Persistent sense of guilt for wanting more than you currently have

The mother wound can manifest as:

  • Not being your full self  because you don’t want to threaten others
  • Having a high tolerance for poor treatment from others
  • Emotional care-taking
  • Feeling competitive with other women
  • Self-sabotage
  • Being overly rigid and dominating
  • Conditions such as eating disorders, depression and addictions

untitled by fatma gultekin

In our patriarchal, male-dominated culture women are conditioned to think of themselves as “less-than” and not deserving or worthy. This feeling of “less-than” has been internalized and passed down through countless generations of women.

The cultural atmosphere of female oppression puts daughters in a “double bind.”

Simply put, if a daughter internalizes her mother’s unconscious beliefs (which is some subtle form of “I’m not good enough”) then she has her mother’s approval but has in some way betrayed herself and her potential.

However, if she doesn’t internalize her mother’s unconscious beliefs in her own limitations but rather affirms her own power and potential, she is aware that her mother may unconsciously see this as a personal rejection.

The daughter doesn’t want to risk losing her mother’s love and approval,  so internalizing these limiting, unconscious beliefs is a form of loyalty and emotional survival for the daughter.

It may feel dangerous for a woman to actualize her full potential because it may mean risking some form of rejection by her mother.

Mother and daughter USA 1956  Photo- Leonard Freed

This is because the daughter may unconsciously sense that her full empowerment may trigger the mother’s sadness or rage at having had to give up parts of herself in her own life. Her compassion for her mother, a desire to please her, and a fear of conflict may cause her to convince herself that it’s safer to shrink and remain small.

A common objection to facing the mother wound is to “Let the past be in the past.” However, we never truly “escape” or bury the past. It lives in the present as the obstacles and challenges that we face every day. If we avoid dealing with the pain associated with one of THE most primary and foundational relationships in our lives, we are missing a pivotal opportunity to discover the truth of who we are and to authentically and joyfully live that truth.

Stereotypes that perpetuate the mother wound:

  • “Look at everything your mother did for you!” (from other people)
  • “My mother sacrificed so much for me. I would be so selfish to do what she could not do. I don’t want to make her feel bad.”
  • “I owe loyalty to my mother no matter what. If I upset her, she will think I don’t value her.”

The daughter may experience fears about fulfilling her potential because she may fear leaving her mother behind. She may fear her mother feeling threatened by her dreams or ambitions. She may fear uncomfortable feelings from her mother such as envy or anger. All of this is usually very unconscious and not openly acknowledged or talked about.

We all have sensed the pain that our mothers carry. And all of us are suspicious to some degree that we are partly to blame for her pain. Therein lies the guilt. This makes sense when considering the limited cognitive development of a child, which sees itself as the cause of all things. If we don’t address this unconscious belief as an adult, we may still be walking around with it and greatly limiting ourselves as a result.

The truth is that no child can save her mother.

No sacrifice a daughter makes  will ever be enough to compensate for the high price her mother may have had to pay or for the losses she has accrued over the years, simply by being a woman and mother in this culture. And yet, this is what many women do for their mothers very early on in childhood: they unconsciously make a decision to not abandon or betray their mothers by becoming “too successful,” “too smart” or “too adventurous.” This decision is made out of love, loyalty and a true need for approval and emotional support from the mother.

Many of us confuse being loyal to our mothers with being loyal to their wounds, and thus, complicit in our own oppression. 

kellie hatcher

These dynamics are very unconscious and they operate on a continuum. Even the most healthy, supportive mother/daughter relationships may have this dynamic to some degree by virtue of simply being women in this society. And for daughters who have mothers with serious issues (addictions, mental illness, etc.) the impact is can be very damaging and insidious.

Mothers must take responsibility and grieve their losses. 

Being a mother in our society is unspeakably difficult. I’ve heard many women say “No one ever tells you how hard it is” and “Nothing prepares you for when you get home with the baby and realize what is being asked of you.” Our culture, especially the U.S., is very hard on mothers, offering little support and many are raising children alone.


 Our society’s unspoken messages to mothers: 

  • If motherhood is difficult then it’s your own fault.
  • Shame on you if you’re not super-human.
  • There are “natural mothers” for whom motherhood is easy. If you are not one of these, there is something deeply wrong with you.
  • You’re supposed to be capable of handling it all with ease: having well-behaved children, being sexually attractive, having a successful career, and a solid marriage.

For mothers who have indeed sacrificed so much to have children in our culture, it can truly feel like a rejection when your child surpasses or exceeds the dreams you thought possible for yourself. There may be a sense of feeling owed, entitled to or needing to be validated by your children, which can be a very subtle but powerful manipulation. This dynamic can cause the next generation of daughters to keep themselves small so that their mothers can continue to feel validated and affirmed in their identity as a mother, an identity that many have sacrificed so much for, but received so little support and recognition for in return.

Mothers may unconsciously project deep rage towards their children in subtle ways. However, the rage really isn’t towards the children. The rage is towards the patriarchal society that requires women to sacrifice and utterly deplete themselves in order to mother a child.

And for a child who needs her mother, sacrificing herself in an effort to somehow ease her mother’s pain is often a subconscious decision made very early in life and not discovered as the cause of underlying issues until much later when she is an adult.

The mother wound exists because there is not a safe place for mothers to process their rage about the sacrifices that society has demanded of them. And because daughters still unconsciously fear rejection for choosing not to make those same sacrifices as previous generations.

In our society, there is no safe place for a mother to vent her rage. And so often it comes out unconsciously to one’s children. A daughter is a very potent target for a mother’s rage because the daughter has not yet had to give up her personhood for motherhood. The young daughter may remind the mother of her un-lived potential. And if the daughter feels worthy enough to reject some of the patriarchal mandates that the mother has had to swallow, then she can easily trigger that underground rage for the mother.

Matt Wisniewski

Of course, most mothers want what is best for their daughters. However, if a mother has not dealt with her own pain or come to terms with the sacrifices she has had to make, than her support for her daughter may be laced with traces of messages that subtly instill shame, guilt or obligation. They can seep out in the most benign situations, usually in some form of criticism or some form of bringing praise back to the mother. It’s not usually the content of the statement, but rather the energy with which it is conveyed that can carry hidden resentment.

The way for a mother to prevent directing her rage to her daughter and passing down the mother wound, is for the mother to fully grieve and mourn her own losses. And to make sure that she is not relying on her daughter as her main source of emotional support.

Mothers must mourn what they had to give up, what they wanted but will never have, what their children can never give them and the injustice of their situation. However, as unjust and unfair as it is, it is not the responsibility of the daughter to make amends for the mother’s losses or to feel obligated to sacrifice herself in the same ways. For mothers, It takes tremendous strength and integrity to do this. And mothers need support in this process.


Mothers liberate their daughters when they consciously process their own pain without making it their daughter’s problem. In this way, mothers free their daughters to pursue their dreams without guilt, shame or a sense of obligation.

When mothers unwittingly cause their daughters to feel responsible for their losses and to share in their pain, it creates a dysfunctional enmeshment, reinforcing the daughter’s view that she is not worthy of her dreams.  And this supports a daughter’s view that her mother’s pain must somehow be her fault. This can cripple her in so many ways.

For daughters growing up in a patriarchal culture, there is a sense of having to choose between being empowered and being loved.

Darian Blake

Most daughters choose to be loved instead of empowered because there is an ominous sense that being fully actualized and empowered may cause a grave loss of love from important people in their lives, specifically their mothers. So women stay small and un-fulfilled, unconsciously passing the mother wound to the next generation.

As a woman, there is a vague but powerful sense that your empowerment will injure your relationships. And women are taught to value relationships over everything else. We cling to the crumbs of our relationships, while our souls may be deeply longing for the fulfillment of our potential. But the truth is that our relationships alone can never adequately substitute for the hunger to live our lives fully.

The power dynamic at the center of the mother/daughter relationship is a taboo subject and the core issue at the center of the mother wound.  

Much of this goes underground because of the many taboos and stereotypes about motherhood in this culture:

  • Mothers are always nurturing and loving
  • Mothers should never feel angry or resentful towards their daughters
  • Mothers and daughters are supposed to be best friends

The stereotype of “All mothers should be loving all the time” strips women of their full humanity. Because women are not given permission to be full human beings, society feels justified in not providing full respect, support and resources to mothers.

The truth is that mothers are human beings and all mothers having un-loving moments. And it’s true that there are mothers who are simply un-loving most of the time, whether because of addiction, mental illness or other struggles. Until we are willing to face these uncomfortable realities the mother wound will be in shadow and continue to be passed through the generations.

We all have patriarchy in us to some degree. We’ve had to ingest it to survive in this culture. When we’re ready to confront it fully in ourselves, we also confront it in others, including our mothers. This can be one of the most heart-wrenching of all situations we must face. But unless we are willing to go there, to address the mother wound, we are paying a very high price for the illusion of peace and empowerment.


What is the cost of not healing the mother wound?

The cost of not healing the mother wound is living your life indefinitely with:

  • A vague, persistent sense that “There’s something wrong with me”
  • Never actualizing your potential out of fear of failure or disapproval
  • Having weak boundaries and an unclear sense of who you are
  • Not feeling worthy or capable of creating what you truly desire
  • Not feeling safe enough to take up space and voice your truth
  • Arranging your life around “not rocking the boat”
  • Self-sabotage when you get close to a breakthrough
  • Unconsciously waiting for mother’s permission or approval before claiming your own life.

What’s the relationship between the mother wound and the divine feminine?

There’s a lot of talk these days about ’embodying the divine feminine’ and being an ‘awakened woman.’ But the reality is that we cannot be a strong container of the power of the divine feminine if we have not yet addressed the places within us where we have felt banished and in exile from the Feminine.

Let’s face it: Our first enounter with the Goddess was with our mothers. Until we have the courage to break the taboo and face the pain we have experienced in relation to our mothers, the divine feminine is another form of a fairy tale, a fantasy of rescue by a mother who is not coming. This keeps us in spiritual immaturity. We have to separate the human mother from the archetype in order to be true carriers of this energy. We have to de-construct the faulty structures within us before we can truly build new structures to hold it. Until we do this we remain stuck in a kind of limbo where our empowerment is short-lived and the only explanation for our predicament that seems to make sense is to blame ourselves.

If we avoid acknowledging the full impact of our mother’s pain on our lives, we still remain to some degree, children.


Coming into full empowerment requires looking at our relationship with our mothers and having the courage to separate out our own individual beliefs, values, thoughts from hers. It requires feeling the grief of having to witness the pain our mothers endured and processing our own legitimate pain that we endured as a result. This is so challenging but it is the beginning of real freedom.

Once we feel the pain it can be transformed and it will cease creating obstacles in our lives.

So what happens when women heal the mother wound?

iza & mary by gosia janik

As we heal the mother wound, the power dynamic is increasingly resolved because women are no longer asking one another to stay small to ease their own pain. The pain of living in patriarchy ceases to be taboo. We don’t have to pretend and hide behind false masks that hide our pain under a facade of effortlessly holding it together. The pain can then be seen as legitimate, embraced, processed and integrated and ultimately transformed into wisdom and power.

Once women increasingly process the pain of the mother wound, we can create safe places for women to express the truth of their pain and receive much needed support. Mothers and daughters can communicate with one another without fear that the truth of their feelings will break their relationship. The pain no longer needs to go underground and into shadow, where it manifests as manipulation, competition and self-hatred. Our pain can be grieved fully so that it can then turn into love, a love that manifests as fierce support of one another and deep self-acceptance, freeing us to be boldly authentic, creative and truly fulfilled.

Via Mariana Suemi Hamaguchi

When we heal the mother wound, we begin to grasp the stunning degree of impact a mother’s well-being has on the life of her child, especially in early childhood when the child and mother are still a single unit. Our mothers form the very basis of who we become: our beliefs start out as her beliefs, our habits start out as her habits. Some of this is so unconscious and fundamental, it is barely perceptible.

The mother wound is ultimately not about your mother. It’s about embracing yourself and your gifts without shame.


We address the mother wound because it is a critical part of self-actualization and saying YES to being the powerful and potent women that we are being called to become. Healing the mother wound is ultimately about acknowledging and honoring the foundation our mothers provided for our lives so that we can then fully focus on creating the unique lives that we authentically desire and know we are capable of creating.

Benefits of healing the mother wound:

  • Being more fluent and skilled in handling your emotions. Seeing them as a source of wisdom and information.
  • Having healthy boundaries that support the actualization of your highest and best self
  • Developing a solid “inner mother” that provides unconditional love, support and comfort to your younger parts.
  • Knowing yourself as competent. Feeling that anything is possible, open to miracles and all good things
  • Being in constant contact with your inner goodness and your ability to bring it into everything you do
  • Deep compassion for yourself and other people
  • Not taking yourself too seriously. No longer needing external validation to feel OK. Not needing to prove yourself to others.
  • Trusting life to bring you what you need
  • Feeling safe in your own skin and a freedom to be yourself.
  • So much more…

As we engage in this healing process, we slowly remove the thick fog of projection that keeps us stuck and can more clearly see, appreciate and love ourselves. We no longer carry the burden of our mother’s pain and keep ourselves small as a result.

We can confidently emerge into our own lives, with the energy and vitality to create what we desire without shame or guilt, but with passion, power, joy, confidence, and love.

When The Rain Comes In Silence by Burçin Esin

For every human being, the very first wound of the heart was at the site of the mother, the feminine. And through the process of healing that wound, our hearts graduate from a compromised state of defensiveness and fear to a whole new level of love and power, which connects us to the divine heart of Life itself. We are from then on connected to the archetypal, collective heart that lives in all beings, and are carriers and transmitters of true compassion and love that the world needs right now. In this way, the mother wound is actually an opportunity and an initiation into the divine feminine. This is why it’s so crucial for women to heal the mother wound: Your personal healing and re-connection to the heart of life, by way of the feminine, affects the whole and supports our collective evolution.

© Bethany Webster 2013-2015

Thank you for reading! I invite you to leave a comment below. What is YOUR experience with the mother wound?

Does this article resonate with you?  Sign up here for a free 30-minute “Healing the Mother Wound Clarity Session” with Bethany to learn about her private coaching on healing the mother wound. 

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 (art credits in order of appearance: Elizabeth Bauman, Fatma Gultekin, Leonard Freed, Kellie Hatcher, stock photo, Matt Wisniewski, sock photo, Darian Blake, stock photo, stock photo, Gosia Janik, Via Mariana Suemi Hamaguchi, stock photo, Burçin Esin)

282 thoughts on “Why it’s Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound

  1. I don´t have a mother wound…nor my daughter! We were talking last night about how lucky we are compared to other mothers and daughters…I guess it is because I didn´t fell compelled to remain small even though my mum had many personal and relationship issues…I just lived my own life without shame and took my own paths. Also when I had a daughter (I was 17 at the time) I never compromised myself to raise her…I never really abandoned me to be a mother and I firmly decided to expose my human sides to her…and speak with honesty about my needs and my weak sides as well as my strengths and potential. We were never competing as we allowed each other to be very different…to express our feminine nature in such a different way. She is 20 now…and I´m always impressed of how mature, great and beautiful woman she is. I have to say I´m grateful! :)

    • Dear Rita, That is wonderful that you and your daughter can appreciate the healthy relationship that you share. It’s true that you are the exception. I encourage you to share with others the ways that you have found to bypass the mother wound and maintain a strong, enduring relationship to yourself and your daughter over time. It is healing for women to know what is possible! Thanks again and blessings to you both! Love, Bethany

    • My relationship with my daughter was perfect too until she turned 33. Last year at 35 she broke away completely. Even though I was always in support of her choices, she couldn’t feel like an adult with me in her life, so she broke away and we haven’t spoken for almost a year. She became abusive and I removed her from my life. I hope it doesn’t happen for you. If you love a thing let it go, if it comes back to you its yours, if it doesn’t return it was never yours.-Robert Lewis Stevens- I guess my daughter was never mine, at least she’s not any more.

      • Hi Deborah, have faith… over time wisdom is gained… and I support the clarity of your feelings right now… blessings and love

      • Perhaps there is something that happened that you aren’t realizing. My mother and I have had a massive falling out but she just doesn’t see what she could possibly have done.

      • I can relate to your story. My daughter and I were close and then she cut me off when she was about 25. I hung in there and gave it time and did some personal work. During my therapy, my therapist said “She’s not your daughter anymore”. Accepting that freed me up a lot and helped me to let go. It took about 7 years and now we are very close again. I try to stay conscious and not slip back into previous patterns. We are close now and it was worth the work and the wait.

  2. Bethany,

    You so beautifully articulate what I have been consciously healing with for the past 25 years. My daughters have clearly benefitted from my working on my mother wound. And I pray they continue the work to be free from deep patriarchal generational beliefs. Thank you for being a beacon of light bringing light to our shadows. Thank you for your brilliant work in this world. Bless you!


    Sent from my iPad

    • Hi Marybeth! Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience of how healing the mother wound has had a positive impact your daughters! I feel it’s so important for women like you to be heard. You are doing the deep work necessary to free the next generation. Thank you for your courage and for showing that this CAN Be done! Lots of love, Bethany

  3. Beautiful, insightful and true as ever. I have a deep mother wound which I am gradually processing now, it manifests currently as an infamiliarity with contentment, joy, ease and fuller intimacy with my partner. His love confuses me, it makes me feel I don’t love him enough. As I could never love Her enough to fill her well and ease her pain. I’m sharing this far and wide, all of us need to hear and heal this primal, most important issue. <3 <3 <3 Amelia

      • I also have a deep wound regarding my Mum and I agree with Amelia it does effect intimacy with my husband as I don’t feel like I deserve love since my Mother admitted she didn’t love me and I think she did reject me because I don’t need her as much anymore she wants a daughter who is co-dependent but then at the same time she gets angry and tells me I’m “floundering” and criticises everything I do even when I was studying a post graduate diploma! I remember when I was aged 18 (I’m 36 now) I’d tell her my ambition was to be a research scientist and she said to me “Why do you come up with such unachievable ideas?” It really did discourage me from achieving my goal. I felt like nothing was good enough for her and was always trying to please her and in the end I gave up my studies in health research just recently because I became really depressed with the issues I was having with my Mum and twin sister they are both very jealous and envious because I am married and they are not. I know I was just trying to seek my Mum’s approval and love by studying in the first place. Now I see I am trying to stay small in order to not upset my mother and avoid her anger. It’s really unhealthy and I think I really do need to let my inner mother take over now.

  4. I can definitely associate with this, the mother wound. I grew up feeling guilty, what was wrong with me?,feeling small. In 2008 during my 2nd marriage, I had a complete breakdown and have been working on these long term issues with good success. I was thoroughly surprised to see this article, it is wonderful.

  5. I will be turning 40 this year and there are situations in my life and decisions that I have made that have confused me utterly. I have made a link to the relationship that I have with my mother because she always seems to ‘come up’, whenever I assess those situations, but reading this has made me do a double take. I feel as though this applies to me and I never knew exactly what ‘it’ is about until now. Thanks for the revelation!

    • Dear Dianne, So happy to hear of your revelation! How powerful. Understanding how our current challenges relate to our relationships with our mothers is a discovery that some women never make. And it is a life-changing one. Thank you for sharing your discovery today! ~Bethany

  6. I think it’s odd you don’t address sexual jealousy between mother and daughter, or even sexual issues in general. Mothers often are jealous of their daughters as they mature sexually, not to mention that mothers also tend to project their sexual fears onto their daughters, setting them up for developing sexual problems of their own. If this isn’t a huge effect of our patriarchal culture, I don’t know what is.

    • Hi Susy,
      You bring up a great point! Yes, sexuality is just one of many areas in a woman’s life where patterns of jealousy, fear and manipulation can play out with her mother. However, it IS a very big issue because our culture focuses so much on appearance and a woman’s sexual attractiveness is the primary way that a woman feels valuable and relevant in this culture. This makes sex and sexual attractiveness an area fertile for mother/daughter conflict. There is so much to say about this topic. This blog post was already so long, I had to stop myself from making it even longer. I appreciate you bringing this up. Thank you! ~Bethany

      • I think generational sex abuse plays a huge part too in difficulties between mother and daughter. Familial or a history of rape or both, as they can tend to go together.

      • Susy,Thank you of this reminder. So true. An area that needs much healing indeed. The role of sex abuse and rape can add a whole new dimension to mother/daughter conflict. An important thing to consider.

  7. This is exactly what I am healing in my life and I had no idea it was so common, or even that there was a name for it. So grateful to know none of us are alone…

  8. Thanks for that loving article. I have a teen aged daughter who suffered a major depressive disorder last year, for which she was hospitalised. Stereotypes about mothers are pervasive within psychiatry. I felt like I was perceived as the cause of my daughters illness, and not part of the solution. It was devastating and deeply painful, and also detrimental to my daughter’s recovery.

    At present, the adolescent mental health service have excluded me from planning to help my daughter. Fortunately my daughter rejects their premise, and we continue to have a close relationship despite it.

    I believe this mother blaming within psychiatry contributes to the stigma around mental illness, as many mothers feel a deep sense of shame at having failed their children if they become mentally unwell.

    This when the emerging evidence on mental illness is increasingly pointing to neurological factors, including genetic, and environment causes for mental illness such as exposure to viruses, toxins etc.

    I believe the mother blaming within our culture is really a closeted form of misogyny and sexism.

    • Excellent point. I have a friend with a son who has very severe schizophrenia. She has had to call the police more than once as he has regularly been a danger to himself, to her and others. She told me recently about one time when the police and mental health workers arrived and wanted to take HER to the hospital, rather than her son, because she was so upset that she couldn’t get any real and tangible help for him. Our country is beyond crazy in dealing with mental health in our families and citizens.

    • Yes I think so to. The trouble also is that woman often unknowingly keep partriarchy going and often don’t realize the dark forces at work with patriarchy. Woman don’t want to be labeled anti-male and fathers often control mothers and daughters to keep their position at all cost. The men are protecting their “power” but are often unaware of it themselves. How can woman heal the mother wound if daughters are not educated about patriarchy and there are unrecognized forces to keep it going through manipulative male energies on all fronts?Having said that it is not the men’s fault either because they are born into this heritage through generations of warrior dominance and control over the feminine based on fear. Heaven help us, I pray to break these strongholds!

    • Thank you so much for this comment as this happened to me to a lesser degree within family counseling. The blame was pointed at me with the recognition that is perpetuated by the patriarchy. It is deeply painful the blame you must have faced, but am grateful for the wisdom of your daughter. Blessings to you both in the journey towards healing.

      • Thank you for these comments. My daughter and I have a great relationship, as I also, have never accepted that women are ‘less’. She has been raised to have self-belief and confidence in herself as the wonderful person she is, and in her own abilities. However, she suffered from depression after being very badly bullied in education. Feeling she needed assistance in rebuilding her confidence, which had been badly affected, she attended at Psychoanalyst. Sadly, the only thing this person was interested in, was delving into her relationship with me, suggesting my daughter’s problems might be somehow ‘mother’ related. There was a total refusal to listen to my daughter regarding the real issues of being at the hands of bullies who had repeatedly and without recourse, done the same to several others. Outraged, she told the Psychoanalyst that perhaps this was a case of ‘Physician, heal thyself’. She arrived home and told me that she was concerned for all the other patients who might listen to the views of such a damaged person. That was the day I began to see my daughter returning to her former, empowered self. But how sad and dangerous it is that people with so much power over others continue to perpetuate the damage already done by so many years of patriarchy.

  9. This is such a beautiful article. I just passed through this experience – healing the mother wound – within the last 8 months. My digestion went totally out of whack and I knew it was a sign I had to get to work. I broke the cycle with my daughter (I am 52 and she is 23) so I have a trusting and love-filled and easy relationship with my daughter, but that took work. Work on myself, for which I am grateful. I knew I had to work on healing the mother wound so that I could contain all the power I had to do more things in my life that I want to accomplish. Also hard work because I am the youngest of 3 brothers (no sisters) and a very controlling, narcissistic, and egoist father. So, very gratefully I am moving through this stuff and am feeling more grounded daily and moving into projects that having been hovering around in my life until I was ready to pursue them. And! today was the first day I spent w/my mother in months and actually enjoyed it because I could handle it.
    Thank you for letting me tell my story. All the best,
    p.s I have been following Eastern medicine for about 30 years and practicing T’ai Chi for about 3, and have to say that I am certain the lessons in the practice helped me enormously to move through all of this.

  10. I`m so grateful to have read this article and comments from all you wise & empowered women. I have been persistently, yet subtly rejected by my own mother and feel obligated to keep going back for more. My own daughter rejected me 7 years ago and refuses to respond to any tentative advances I have made to her. My mother and my daughter have a close relationship from which I am excluded. I feel totally powerless … my life and my coping strategies are falling apart … now I have a name for it … a glimmer of hope … a start … ?

    Thank you x

    • Hi Jude, a challenging situation, indeed. I encourage you to examine the ways that you have felt subtly rejected by your own mother. Try to identify what they are and how that has impacted your life. Why do you feel obligated to go back for more? What are your fears around making new choices in regards to your mother? Also, how has your dynamic with your mother impacted your daughter? Just some questions to ponder. Thinking of you and wishing you the best. Love, Bethany

  11. hello ! I wish that you would do a course in UK !!!!!
    can you recommend any other way to do this .. ? do you do skype sessions I can see all the things you are speaking about here and so want to avoid any more repeating patterns with my daughter …

    • Hi Caroline! Hopefully I will be coming to the UK in the near future. In the meantime, I am preparing a new format to work with me personally on healing the mother wound. If you email me directly at bethany@womboflight.com I will be sure to reach out directly to you when this is ready to launch. Another way to stay connected is to subscribe to my newsletter and follow the blog. (You can subscribe to the newsletter by following a link at the bottom of any blog post.) Thank you for your interest and look forward to being in touch!~ Bethany

      • Hello Bethany, I too live in the UK and much appreciate what you write, which resonates perfectly with the psycho-spiritual path I’m on, and the realisation that the mother-daughter wound is still my heaviest ‘baggage’ (though melting slowly)… I will email you as I’d be most interested in attending a workshop in the UK.

  12. What a good read this article is… needs so much to be articulated.

    The child mother bond, as mandated by our biology is crucial to developing self empathy and with that empathy for others. It is also critical in terms of optimal health in the long term.

    When this bonding process is disrupted by socially and institutionally created situations, then both mother and child are harmed.

    The psychology of any given family, community or society is both revealed and perpetuated in how that family. community or society relates to and treats the children (and the other vulnerable people). Change that and you can change everything.,

    The mother wound is also for the boys, the men – we are all born of woman.

    The current push for the dual working parents who can afford a mortgage (which concentrates wealth in the hands of a few, and also is a form of economic entrapment) is designed to disrupt the child-mother bonding processes as well as generate economic benefits for banks, land developers and land owners.

    A society that allows this disruption in favour of power and wealth is very, very unhealthy indeed.

    • Though when it is not about power or wealth? Would you see a place for more fathering and pairing of male and female where either can be the primary caretaker versus provider? If a woman is driven to doing something outside her family could we not see more men taking on the role at home?

  13. Hi Bethany, I have just discovered your blog and it all resonates very fully with me ! Would you be able to send me an email address where I can contact you directly with a couple of questions? I can’t find the ‘contact’ section of your site. Thank so much, love Hollie

  14. Pingback: When You Have a Mother Who is Mentally Ill…. PART II | Hellos From The Homestead

  15. POWERFUL, Namasté…was myself consciously working towards wholeness unaware of the case made here so articulately and intelligently about the mother wound. It is a process. THANK YOU.
    I am sharing this with everyone :)

  16. There is so much in this, some that I don’t necessarily agree with, but so much that strikes such a deep chord I feel I have to leave it and come back. Wow. Wow. Wow. Very powerful and insightful…

  17. I understand my mother much more, since reading this article. Unfortunately she passed on just 2 months ago, at 90, so we are not able to discuss it. Back in 1975, she changed, when I went off to college, and afterwards, we could not talk as well, and I was never able to have good discussions where I disagreed with her. She was a brilliant woman, high school valedictorian, never able to go to college, and was just starting to go back to college, 35 years after her HS graduation, when I left. Something happened, not sure what, that made her stop going to college, and became much more defensive about her views. I always knew she was sad that she could not go on to college, but did not understand the reason for our changed relationship until now.

    • HI Karrma, So sorry to hear of your very recent loss of your mother, only two months ago. Your story really speaks to the struggles of women of older generations that were really limited in what they could accomplish outside of the home. That’s really amazing that she went back to college 35 years after her HS graduation. I’m holding both you and your Mom in my heart tonight. Thank you for sharing. Love, Bethany

      • “The mother wound is ultimately not about your mother. It’s about embracing yourself and your gifts without shame.”

        I was lucky to have a strong father figure in my life, in the 1970s. Trying to help guide my own daughter in 2000s, she and I read not only ” Mean Girls” but another called “Alpha Girls” by Dan Kindlon, in which he described strong young women, and the active role that their fathers played in this. I am realizing my father’s own role in helping me develop my gifts (he actively encouraged me to go on to college and med school). Possibly a present, active father role helps us as young girls embrace our own gifts.

        But there was a downside. I did reject my mother for a while, not her, but the role she took. Only later, with reading “Women Who Run with the Wolves” was I able to start accepting and understanding the feminine part of me, and still working on this many years later.

  18. Interesting read, I feel I have a wound like this but not from my own mother rather societies mothers. My own mother and I have a strong relationship and very open communication. She made every effort to keep me from all the things you listed but I feel like it was all the other men and women around me I was trying desperately to please and fit in with that I have to heal from. I emerged from my childhood into womanhood lost as to why more women did not think like me and as a teen did so much harm to make myself more acceptable to the outside no matter what my mother tried to give me the world was too much. Now as an adult I am at odds with many mothers because I am simply not programmed the way I am “supposed” to be. My mother-in-law digs into me deeper to the point I chose not to communicate with her. In a world of so many possibilities I think somehow within this idea of making women small it is because we do not dream in color. It is not just back and white or even gray scale…. woman can be so many things as individuals and the labels fired from all directions limit us. Letting PEOPLE be what they dream and not limiting them. Be the dreamer, the doctor, the teacher, the inventor, the homemaker, the engineer, the artist, the lawyer, heck be the unicorn! Why so many women give up on passions anyway? It is not always about greed or selfishness versus sacrifice and devotion to children – why do we even call it “having it all” or make girls hurry up and reach their dreams before it is time to mother and let these dreams go? The arguments are getting us nowhere. I have to think of generations ago when we lived in tribes when we all played a role based on what we were actually good at for the survival of the group not because of expectations. We can not heal or change if we just keep doing the same over and over.

    • Hi Katina, thanks for sharing! I agree that we cannot change if we keep doing the same things over and over. That is precisely why we have to bring into the light that patterns and beliefs that we have inherited and the specific beliefs that cause us to re-enact them, as a way to be loyal or a way to be safe, etc. We also have to look at the payoffs we get for replaying those patterns and be willing to give up them up. So much to this topic! Thank you again! Love, Bethany

  19. thanks so much for this beautiful article. I will read this over and over, ’cause each paragraph holds a insight on it’s own and put together it contains a total process of liberation and empowerment ~so I will take this one step at a time to find the path

    Being adopted I feel I have to ‘work with two motherwounds’. The first wounded mother kind of liberated me when she gave me up, but then I ‘trapped in’ the next wound of the mother who had to give up herself to the struggle between a demanding husband and a difficult adopted daughter who she couldn’t understand.

    Then I became back in contact with my birthmother. She never healed herself… Nor did my adoptivemother. So… there is two wounds to liberate myself from… Pffff… ;-)

    Hope I will find the path one time

    Anyway. This helps a lot. Thanks!

    • Hi there Caroline. Wow, two mothers in your life. Thank you for sharing about that. Yes, adoptive daughters who have had contact with birth mother have a unique situation, indeed. I am happy the article resonated with you. THank you so much for sharing. With love, Bethany

      • tnx Bethany, for your reply. I guess you did a lot of reading to form your thinking which you bring us by writing your piece. Are there any books you would recommend me to read. On loyalty, perhaps… or dynamics between mothers and daughters?

        Thanks so much!

    • I have heard the word “entrust” used in reference to birth mothers offering their children the possibility of a better life through adoption than they feel they can provide their children at the time they give birth. Perhaps if you envisioned your birth mother entrusting you to a better future, it would help heal wounds more than the concept of “giving up.” Blessings on your path, sister…

    • Thank you so much for writing this, it comes at a much needed moment in my life. I am about to become a mother to a beautiful girl and I am processing, healing and releasing a great deal of trauma from the relationship with my own mother. Blessed be dear sister :)

  20. My mother has narcissistic personality disorder. She has been brutal and abusive, especially the last 8 years. I no longer speak to her and with her went the rest of my family. I have no one… just my 3 daughters. I do struggle a lot emotionally with the impact her relationship with me has had. I am very conscious of not passing on the negative relationship models my mother left me. I would love to attend one of your seminars to learn more on healing this wound but I am UK based. Do you offer anything this way?

    • Hi Molly, I highly recommend the following books: 1) “Mothers Who Can’t Love” by Susan Forward and 2) Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Ann Lawson. I hope to come to the UK, that is in the plans! Subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll be up to date on my next locations. Much love to you! And thanks for your comment!

    • Molly, my mother is also narcissistic and I am getting some help from the book “Will I ever be Good Enough? – Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” by Dr. Karyl McBride. I found her on facebook and her website also offers a virtual workshop you can buy with videos, assignments and journalling prompts to help recover from the wounds. Website is http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com. I have struggled with my relationship with my mother my whole life and once it started impacting my children negatively I decided to drastically limit contact, which is a major challenge in itself, and losing the rest of the family also really hurts. I feel your pain. You are definitely not alone in this. I hope you get some support so you don’t have to cope with the pain alone.

  21. I inhaled your words as if I were still the 16 year old girl who was raped by her nurturer father while her mother (crippled with arthritis and terribly wounded herself) lay in their bedroom.
    That 16 year old girl is now 72 and has spent the years from 38 to the present working on and releasing the guilt and pain I grew up with. It has also been necessary to give up (for the most part) the pain I have caused my daughters. My gift to them has been my working hard with counselors to release my past and love and accept myself now. The work goes on. My girls still suffer the effects, but the fact is your message is there for them to take if they will grasp it.
    Thank you for your lovely message.

    • Dear Lelats2, I honor your journey and what you have been through; how you have suffered and the courage you have to do the hard work it takes to release the guilt, love yourself and to the best of your ability, free your daughters. Thank you for your comment and for sharing your voice here. With love, Bethany

      • Thank you, thank you for the work you are doing. Young women are so fortunate that there is help like yours out there for them today.

  22. This is wonderful so so magical!
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us all (:

    If your ever in melbourne please have a work shop.
    It would be so amazing if you could <3
    Your wonderful
    Many Fairy Blessings <3

    • Hi Tay! I am really happy to share this information with you! Especially because it is largely based on my own journey of healing the mother wound! It is possible! I would love to offer a workshop in Mebourne! That would really be amazing! Thanks! Love, Bethany

  23. In my own personal work I actually had more shame and low self esteem due to the relationship with my father. When I cleared it my relationship with him improved so much that after 35 years of real pain he is now one of the major sources of support in my life. I am not sure that the wound you are talking about is specific to mothers only. It is the pain of being human and having imperfect, ‘unresolved’ parents who are unconscious. My mother has been a source of pain too, and the themes for both parents even if not identical have been somewhat similar. Reducing your pain to your relationship with your mother seems unnecessarily one sided, we are so much more than the sum total of just one parental relationship. It’s like treating just the left leg when the arthritis is in both. After 20 years of engaging with my subconscious and working with trauma I feel that at the end of the day it matters not who the source was. Concentrating on any specific person is only a way to avoid the pain, to find a fitting source of projection so we have someone to blame, to try to understand why it happened to us. The true understanding comes as a result of opening to our pain, not figuring out first who or what the source of the pain is, not reducing it to a specific relationship. I didn’t know all this 20 years ago and I would have saved myself a lot of time had I known.

    • Hi Aleksandra, Thanks for your comment. I agree that the wound with our fathers is similar but different. You are absolutely right: ultimately the healing comes from opening to our own pain and feeling it all the way through. BUT that is a last stop on a very long journey. We cannot heal what we do not have the courage to face. And in the beginning we must face uncomfortable truths about the facts of where pain originated from, how it came to be and who else was involved. And for women, one of the primary relationships is mother. This is not for the purpose of assigning blame or projecting pain onto others. It’s part of taking responsibility for our pain and dealing with our history. We cannot authentically come to the realization that it’s not ultimately about our mothers or our fathers, until we have first seen the ways in which the pain was indeed related to them. Shying away from those realities keeps us stuck. True compassion and forgiveness are the products of authentic transformation, which often involve first dealing with challenging feelings like rage, fear, anger. Otherwise, it’s not real and does little to change our lives in meaningful ways. Healing the mother wound is NOT about reducing all your pain down to just one relationship, but rather seeing how that realtionship has shaped your realtionship with yourself. It is actually a way of honoring that relationship. Healing the mother wound leads to authentic compassion for your mother and for yourself if you have the courage to feel the feelings all the way through. It does not lead to blame, unless you are unwilling to take full responsiblity and get stuck in a place of victimhood. But feeling like a victim also has its temporary place in the process of healing. In order for women and mothers to truly claim their power, we must reckon with our ability to create harm, whether directly or indirectly. That is part of being powerful. If we deny our capacity for darknesss, it comes out in unconscious ways. We cannot change what we refuse to acknowledge. This is about bringing the dark into the light, not just for our own well-being, but for all lines of women, past and future. And for the planet itself. It is personal and collective.

  24. As a grandmother of a 1 year old grandson I am amazed at the relentless messages my daughter receives regarding her mothering. Our culture is simply an extremely unhealthy environment for both the mother and the baby. The advice and questions are unending (and usually unsought) – such as put the baby in separate bedroom from day one; don’t let the baby manipulate you; the more touching you give the baby the more he will want; don’t co-sleep as you will suffocate the baby; is the baby sleeping through the night; is the baby a good baby (whatever that means) etc etc Most questions and advice puts my daughter very much on the defensive. I raised children in the 1980’s and I now cringe at some of the things I did as a mother! However I did what I knew at the time! To continue as we do with mother blaming is simply pointless and,taking one thread out of a very rich tapestry in a baby’s/child’s life. My society/culture urgently requires a long hard look at a baby’s need for successful attachment to his parents and family members. Until there are successful outcomes for a baby’s need for attachment, the same problems, issues and conversations will repeat themselves over future generations. And by the way – how much encouragement and support is there for the mother to trust and rely on her own intuition when nurturing a new baby?

  25. This is something I think about all the time. Unfortunately my experience has been to run away from my mother as it´s been the only way I´ve been able to express myself fully and pursue my career. Being as far away from her as possible has made me feel more fulfilled than ever. As I was growing up my writing was my rock and she´d always tell me there was ´something more important to be doing.´ She stifled my talent at every turn, instead doing everything she could to get me into horseriding, something I hated but funnily enough the thing that HER mother wouldn´t let her have when she was a child. Writing was the only thing I could have as a teenager that was ´mine´ and she hated it. My girlfriend is my emotional support and from her I get the validation and self-esteem I never got from my mother. What wildly different women they are. My relationship with my mother has eroded to the point that I never want children myself, aware of the way in which misery is passed down the motherline. Is this running away from the problem rather than dealing with it? Quite probably but my worst fear would be to give a daughter the same constant bombardment of guilt (you should be doing this, not what you´re good at) bashing of self-esteem and sense that ´you just can´t have X in life´ that I had while being raised by a single mother. No happy ending to this story folks, but without my mother´s stifling presence in my life, despite the constant blackmail I get via mutual friends, as a young adult I feel finally ´free.´

    • Hi Luthylou, Sometimes distance is necessary for a daughter to separate from her mother and gain her own freedom, identity and confidence. So I’m glad you’re feeling relief in that. However, distance in itself is not healing unless we are doing the inner work to free ourselves from the dysfunctional dynamics with our mothers. Otherwise, without doing that work, the dynamics will continue to get played out and projected onto other people and situations in our lives. I encourage you to make the best use of time and distance you have from your mother to really look at the dynamics that have caused you so much pain and allow yourself to explore that, feel the feelings that come up and get the support you need. That is great you managed to have something that was truly “yours” with your writing. And it’s great that you are a young adult, use the time you have now to re-claim yourself in the most powerful way possible. I wish you all the best on your journey. Thanks for your comment. Love, Bethany

  26. I loved this post! I am pregnant with my first child and the ultrasound tech is pretty sure that she is a girl. I am thrilled about it and so is my partner, but today that I came across your post I realized that I have some healing to do before I meet her. I am lucky enough to have a mother who did all she could to empower me and help me reach my full potential. However, being a psychologist herself, she probably pushed it a bit to the other end of the scale and I felt pressured to succeed, in order not to disappoint her or my father. The last two years I made a radical change in my career, which took a lot of courage to do, and I was constantly worried that choosing a more laid back lifestyle wouldn’t be approved by my parents. However, they are very supportive :) I admire my mother for the way she brought me up. But there is one little thing that I would do differently: I would try to be both supportive and loving and nurturing. My mother loves me a ton but she was never the touchy-feely type and it is still awkward when we hug each other. I was not aware of that until I met my husband’s family, who are far more emotional. I wonder if a balance between the two is easy to achieve. I would also try and make it clear to my daughter that she does not need degrees and four foreign language certificates to be happy and a fulfilled human being, but at the same time, I want to try and encourage her to pursue her interests. Aaaah… motherhood is tough, isn’t it? :)

    • Hi Alexia! Congratulations on your pregnancy, and a girl! How wonderful! And congratulations on your recent career change, which took great courage. It sounds like your parents pushed you to achieve, which you did, and then took a step back later to honor yourself and what you really wanted to do. That will be a great model for your daughter to honor herself! Thanks for your comment, Love Bethany

  27. Male children can also inherit the mother wound. As Alexsandra above says, “It is the pain of being human and having imperfect, ‘unresolved’ parents who are unconscious.”

    • Hi Sam, Yes, absolutely, male children inherit the mother wound. I just happen to focus on women, being a woman myself. And I think there is a unique dimension to the impact of same gender parent on a child because they are models for how that gender moves and acts in the world. And yet, having said that, everyone’s situation is different and there are always exceptions to the rule. I would love to hear from more men on how the mother wound has impacted their lives. Thank you for sharing! ~Bethany

  28. Bethany: A powerful thesis, well articulated; however, this just lays it at the feet of women and this gets soooo exhausting for us. It adds yet another major task to our already overloaded “To-Do” List. Healing “the mother wound” cannot happen in a vacuum! It cannot totally be healed without healing “the father wound.” Otherwise, it is just planting a healthy sapling in a sick forest and expecting it to thrive. This is a patriarchal society issue. Men are also profoundly impacted by it. My energies have been far better expended raising my son to embrace both his masculinity and femininity and he is a wonderful, hands-on husband and father to his daughters. The hardest work I have ever done is to help him feel comfortable in his own skin even though I didn’t feel that way about my own self. My mother is so deeply entrenched in her anger and active alcoholism it simply is too toxic for me to keep drinking from that same well. I can do my recovery work and healing in other ways but NOT in revisiting that nightmare world. I am grateful for CASA and my other recovery tools but my mother is not in that tool box. My adopted mom – now that’s another story and I am blessed to have her in my life.

    • Hi Deena! Thanks for your comment! Healing the Mother Wound may not be for everyone. It is for women who are really ready to stop dealing with the symptoms and surface problems, but go straight to the underlying, core issue from which their most foundational beliefs and self-concepts originated. Not to re-visit a nightmare of the past, but rather to address the ways the nightmare is showing up in daily life now, for the sake of finally moving through it, for the sake of the next generation. Healing the mother wound does not ask that we exclusively deal only with the mother/daughter relationship, but all that springs from it, including the realtionship with fathers. Issues of patriarchal society can only be addressed from within ourselves first. We cannot wait for others to heal themselves first before we do the work we need to do. I really encourage women to make this a priority because it affects every area of your life. I can’t think of a more important priority than addressing the deep, fundamental beliefs and patterns that cause you inner suffering. I also want to add that healing the mother wound does not mean that you end up having a harmonious, understanding realtionship with your mother. There are no guarantees. As you illustrate in your own life, sometimes healing means more distance, rather than more closeness. I commend you for the courage to distance yourself from your mother and for your determination to give your son the things you did not get. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts here! Much love ~Bethany

  29. This article touched my heart deeply. I totally got what you are talking about because I experienced that first hand without a doubt. Wow. I didn’t know that it was a wounding until a few years ago, I just thought I had anger management issues. And a big disconnect from myself. It took many years to get me to the place I am at today which is just now on the cusp of loving the woman who my mother was, warts and all, and forgiving her. And loving myself. Loving myself has been the greatest challenge but with much persistence and nurturing of myself, I finally allowed it to be. I so appreciate you bringing it out into the light as you have, I think this will help many women. It certainly is something I will keep referring to as I continue my work on self love.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Melissa! Thanks for sharing a bit about your journey. You mention being on cusp of forgiving your mother and loving yourself. As very very young children, we need our mothers to be more powerful, more smart, more nurturing than us because we are children. When our mothers can’t be these things for us, we make an unconscious decision that we are bad, that it’s our fault, that it could never be that our mothers were at fault in any way. Because to admit that, could mean emotional devastation for a child that has very limited cognitive abilities and such powerful emotional and physical needs. That’s why we have these very very old beliefs about ourselves that we must be somehow bad. It’s a survival mechanism for a child. And as adults we don’t realize this but find it so hard to love ourselves. I would caution you not to rush to forgive your mother because you feel you SHOULD forgive her. I believe that authentic forgiveness is an automatic response when one has fully empathized enough with your own suffering as a child that genuine empathy for your mother naturally follows. I say don’t rush it because when we rush forgiveness there is no transformation and our suffering continues. I am so happy you have shared here on my blog. Thank you so much! So great to hear that you are persistently nurturing yourself. Awesome.

      • This is such a beautiful reply it has deeply touched me. I too am working on healing the mother wound, and had a huge insight recently (at age 43 and after over a year of deep therapeutic work with a homeopathic healer) that it is still hard for me that something was wrong with my parents instead of there being something wrong with me. I am working on self love and kindness, while at the same time writing and teaching this to my clients as a life coach. Your message is SO needed! Thank you.

      • Hi Lisa, Thank you so much for your comment. It is really a big insight–that there was something wrong with your parents; there was nothing wrong with you. Often, what is found there is a huge well of grief. And in being willing to feel that grief (and get the support you need), you can get to the other side where there is so much love, vitality, creativity, and compassion! You are doing amazing work by going through this process and by sharing your wisdom with your clients. So happy to hear from you. Love and blessings, Bethany

  30. Very insightful . I started reading and could stop until I finished it. This artcle was recommended to me by my daughter .
    Now, I am trying to digest the content of the material and figure out how does it fit In my relationship with my daughter.
    You hit on a string.

    • Hi Nathera! That is really powerful that your daughter passed this information to you. And it is even more powerful that you are digesting it and contemplating how it impacts your relationship with your daughter. I heard from many women that they felt disloyal for sharing this article, or even feeling the resonance with the information. I think it’s a great sign that your daughter is sharing this with you and that you are open and willing to move forward with this new information. Bravo! And blessings to you both! Love, Bethany

  31. I have for so long chosen not to have children for the fear of having a daughter and recreating the same mother wound has passed from my grandmother to my mother and to me (despite a deep want to be a mother). i don’t think i could bear passing on an affliction that has caused me so much uncertainty and shame, but also so much personal growth. thank you for such a beautiful article openly addressing this taboo issue, and for illuminating the guilt most of us feel about our relationships with ourselves in regards to our mothers. i will share this article with every one of my close friends, each of whom has their own mother wound to heal.

    • Hi Candice! I think so many women can relate to your fears of having a daughter for fear of passing along the wounding. But you do NOT have to pass it on. You can do the work it takes to free yourself from the wound and in doing so, free the next generation as well. The work of healing is not easy but it’s worth it. YOU are worth it. Thank you for your comment and thanks so much for sharing with other women! Love to you, Bethany

  32. This article really helps outline some of the unconscious shadows operating within us… I am sharing it to help others save some time and pain. I had come to some of the same conclusions on my own … but your precise analysis really helps me to see the source and the larger perspective!

  33. Pingback: Why it’s Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound | Artistic Rite

  34. I have been struggling with this issue for 57 years and the wreckage of my “family”. As we speak I am seeing two psychologists because for the past 3 years I have struggled to stay alive. Therapy is slow going but absolutely necessary. My greatest fear now is that my life will be over before I’ve come to grips with my “mother” issues. What you have written is my exact experience with my mother. I knew by the age of 6 that I could not beat her…. I have no idea of who I really am because she is so enmeshed with me. I will buy your home course in a heartbeat.

    • Dear Debbie, You are not alone. I started my work at the age off 38…I am now almost 72. It took years of hard work. I still struggle at times, but there are women who will support you on your journey. Places like this site are available now. People and ideas will come to you. I have more peace in my life than I could ever have expected.. Take care and know the work will be worth it.

  35. I just turned 32, thinking that since I have put to rest the anger, rage, and resentment towards people in my childhood (including a healing to help with my mother), I’d be in a place where I could avoid the biggest work that I need to do: mourning the fact that I never had a mother. She is very much alive, but is a vault I was never able to open, nor was she willing (maybe she couldn’t) open herself. Now, at this age, where I’m planning to be a mother, I have noticed the behaviors I have absorbed from her and how it is such a disservice to me even though I have accomplished and surpassed my mother in so many ways. I wanted to talk to her since we are now WOMEN, but I’ve recently realized it’s just not going to happen. I’m never going to know my mother on any level. This hurts me so deeply, grieving for a mother who has closed herself off to a point beyond return. I’ve come to accept that part of healing my mother wound is mostly going to be a time of grieving something I never had, while changing sabotaging behaviors inherited from her that mistakenly made me think I was closer to her by doing them.

    • Raquel, there is so much insight and clarity in what you have written here. It’s true: A huge part of healing the mother wound involves grieving. Once we get the clarity, we can then grieve and in doing so, make way for a whole new way of being, of loving ourselves and being creative and powerful in the world. You make a potent connection between sabotaging behaviors you’ve inherited from your mother and how you mistakenly thought they were bringing you closer to her. Yes! Congrats on all the powerful work you are doing! With love and blessings, Bethany

    • Dear Rachel: I have the same issue with my mother. It is just not open for discussion. My only consolation is that other women have periodically stepped into a mothering role, so I do know what it feels like to have a caring, compassionate person that accepts me unconditionally and is my biggest cheer leader. Hope you can find someone like this. I have realized we just have to do the mourning and then release them with love. I have chosen to release my mother from my life, because I realized she just wasn’t kind to me or my child. Anyway, I am with you in spirit.


  36. Pingback: Key Words: Empowerment, Helicopter + (Profound Self) Trust | Karen C.L. Anderson

  37. a lot of this is equally true for sons of mothers. why the exclusivity here? a lot of it is just true for people… being human today

    • Hi Sam, yes much of this could be said for sons as well and for humans in general as we are all born of women. However, the purpose of the article is to focus on the depth and complexity of how it manifests in generations of women. There are many dynamics that do not manifest between mothers and sons. This is because the fact that mothers and daughters share the same gender brings a particular dimension to the wound that is specific and can have really deleterious effects on the lives of adult women. Being a woman myself, I am intimately aware of these dynamics, having been walking the path of healing the mother wound myself for about 15 years. I really encourage you and other men to write and speak about the mother wound from YOUR perspective. I think that would be so valuable and healing for so many men!

  38. My daughter has just crossed over into womanhood with her first menstrual cycle (age almost 13), and as I read your beautiful post, I kept thinking about her journey and mine and my mother’s and her mother’s…. Your essay touched me in a profound way, and I know I will reread it many many times, and think about what you’ve written and how it applies in my life and my daughter’s life, and share it with my friends who are mothers of girls. Thank you!

    • Dear Lisa, thank you so much for your comment! And thanks for sharing the article with other women who you think may benefit! It’s beautiful to imagine you and all the women in your female line as you described. Sending love! ~Bethany

  39. This came to me at a perfect time. I was with a very experienced Chinese Medicine Doctor today, and she perceived in my pulses that I have a mother wound I’ve been carrying. I am being treated for cancer and have been searching for the one block that I have not been able to figure out through all my work the past few years at healing this holistically. When she said this to me, I knew. This deep, dark bit of pain inside me is my Mother Wound! How I have held my Mother’s pain, disappointments, fears and insecurities my whole life, I am 47 now and realize it is time to grow up and let go of the early over identification with my mother’s sorrow and grief and pain at her life not being what she truly wanted. It feels like such a big task. Yet knowing that this is the piece I have been missing in my healing, I am committed to healing this and hoping to establish a truly healthy relationship with my Mom before she passes. Thank you for a perfectly timed piece!

    • Hi Kala Joy! Wow, your story is so poignant and inspiring. This is amazing that you discovered today that the thing that you need to do is to heal the mother wound. Yes, it is time to put down the weight of your mother’s pain so that you can truly heal and thrive! I love your picture, there is so much light radiating from you. I will soon be announcing new offerings in which women can work with me in healing the mother wound. Please stay tuned for that and let me know if there is any way I can further support you. I am so excited for you! Love and blessings to you! ~Bethany

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  41. This spoke so strongly to me! I have really been waking up to this issue over the past few years and working to heal myself and spread healing. Do you anticipate ever doing a class/workshop in the Philadelphia area? Yours is a voice I want to hear more of!

    • Hi Eiren! I would love to come to Philly and do a workshop. That would be great! So happy that you are resonating with the info here on my blog. I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter and stay tuned for new offerings I’ll be announcing on how I can support you in your healing process. Thanks for your comment! With love, Bethany

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  44. I feel this issue touches me deeply. I really admired my mother as a child, I became disappointed with her in my teens and only at 30 I started finally bit by bit to live my life according to my own experiences and feelings. Much of my rage against her came from having blindly or loyally followed her rules of life and her beliefs of what is possible and what is not. I guess she took it as a rejection that I changed the path not following her anymore. it’s also no so simple, that I don’t follow her, let’s say i try not to. I try to be open and present and receive life without all this preconditioning. So many times I’ve been shocked to realize that the truth is not the Truth or even my truth, but her her truth that i’ve accepted as absolute. And yes, there is this tendency that the more happier I m with my self, the more I live my life according to me, the bigger the distance between us. There is the feeling of rejection on both sides and of non-understanding and of being separate/different. The way my mother has put it is “That you cannot live the way you want because you have to consider others”. So there has been this conflict always within me of choosing between myself or others and feeling like one of us would have to be sacrificed. I’m deeply grateful for this article as it has given my insight into the issue and also inspires me greatly to go on :) thank you and love, Eva

    • Eva, thank you so much for your sharing here. I understand what you mean about that sense of having to choose and one has to be “sacrificed” and also the more you appreciate yourself, the more distance between you. It seems you are in the process of separating out your own feelings, needs and beliefs from those of your mother’s. Very important work you are doing. Glad that the article has provided more insight. You are on the right track. Hang in there and keep going! Love, Bethany

  45. This has touched me to my core. Your words beautifully articulated my own life and my relationship with my mother. Though I’ve always been seem as “the strong, independent one” (I have a younger sister), I still secretly feel like I need my mother’s approval to move forward on anything. I can’t count the times I gave up on something like singing or acting lessons because my mother didn’t give me the approval or push I needed/wanted from her. Even now as a 38 year old woman, wife and mother of 2, I still feel it and I have come to despise it. Thank you so much for writing this…it has give me great comfort. For years I wondered what was wrong with me? Why can’t I go forward towards the light that is in me, towards my true gifts and calling? Why??? Why do I stop when I get so close? Why am I so afraid? This blog has given me so much insight and wisdom to move forward and break out of this wound. It is my mission to be genuine with my daughter and to stop this mother’s wound in it’s tracks before I pass it along to her. She deserves to be her true self and do and be whatever SHE wants. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Dear Renee, thanks so much for your comment. You name what I think so many of us have felt, an unnamed reluctance to move into our power and calling. Making then connection between that reluctance and needing approval is so important. While your mother cannot give you the approval that your inner child has been longing for, the one that can give you that approval is yourself. It’s a process and it is possible! Bravo for the work you are doing and the insight you have to bring to your relationship with your daughter! Love, Bethany

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  47. Wow. I have just begun to explore this concept myself, and just today wrote that letting go of the desire for approval from the ones we love the most (thinking of my mom) is the hardest form of letting go I know. Thank you for sharing this and I will continue to process – and heal!

  48. This really validates my struggle as a very young girl. Feeling the competition with my mom and at the same time seeking validation. I always knew it wasn’t my fault but i carried the guilt anyway because that is what I “should” do. I feel a soft spot inside for choosing to end my relationship with my mother 15 years ago and choosing to not have children. This is what I needed to do to end the heavy legacy. I feel grateful for my nieces that I get to be a pioneer for.
    Thanks for this. Very healing for me

  49. Hi there, thank you for this …. I spent much time with my parents when my father was given 6 mths to live. I was totally committed that he would die knowing he was loved, inspite of the profoundly troubled relationship I had with him. In the last days and following his death I saw the most amazing thing …. How my mothers fear of invisibility had created my relationship with my father. He was afraid of her insecurities and so he managed his relationship with me (in his own weakness) accordingly. When I saw my mothers jealousy I also instantaneously got the impact …. For all of us, men and women. I have two brothers. One of the questions with them was ‘why were the girls kept small?’. It was shocking, real, sad and a huge relief to see … All at once. I had to stay away from my mother until the anger transmuted and it was a journey I will never forget. I have an identical twin sister who had 4 girls … While I had none …. And it is still a subject I cannot breach with her. My fathers fear of being seen to love us meant that he only did so in private …. I never understood why he was two different people …. Until he died. I think you can see the picture. How complicated we can make our lives! I am so moved inside by all this … And thank you for posting, thank you.

  50. Need healing myself no connection with my oldest daughter. I’m staying away as the pain has been too great in the past. Sooooo enjoyed reading all comments, much to learn

  51. I think this is also true for sons, particularly those who are really close to their mothers (because of ‘subconsciously’ rejecting their fathers). My fiancee has been following his mother’s demands ever since he was made aware of how ‘abusive’ and ‘non-caring’ his father is. He’s the first child, so he has to stand strong for his siblings. His mother went abroad, and he’s left to take care of his brothers. And whatever it is that his mother wants him to do, (such as to go to Nursing school because it pays well, and was even told to not get married yet with me because he needs to have enough money to have a house and nurture children), he seems obligated to do it. So he’s basically stuck.
    Last year, when he found out that he can’t go abroad to work as a Nurse, he got so depressed. Because he has risked and used up all the years of going to college and taking a lot of exams – just for nothing. And he did that, because of what his mother told him.
    His mom was a college grad, but his father’s family was totally rich that the grandpa (father of my fiancee’s father) even promised her to nurture the kids and the company will answer all the bills and fees their family needs.
    Unfortunately, father is abusive and freely has a concubine – which is even supported by the grandpa. So it seemed that the world became: his mother VERSUS the whole world.
    If I were her, I would definitely feel senseless and small.
    They didn’t have any daughters, so the only person that she can count on was their first child, my fiancee.

    I still see how difficult it is for him to still be okay with her and try to please her in any way he can. Which somehow makes it difficult for me, because he doesn’t allow me to be weak at all. He sees women who does not have a family and has chosen career as really low and weak. He wants me to be the epitome and be a better person than her mother.

    But all I wanted was to travel the world. And to do that means that I should not really keep myself in the house and care for children.

    I’m sorry if what I wrote here might sound gibberish. But it’s so hard.

    I don’t want to be confined with the society’s perception that EVERY WOMAN should have a family, and if they do, they should be placed on the pedestal. And women who do not have any children and families are something we can almost compare to old hags and witches.

    Perhaps it’s not the mother’s wound that I’m trying to heal here. But it’s me making at peace with my choice of not having a relationship with the patriarchal society and just go with my life.

    I really like what you’ve written here. This speaks to every child who has been clinged by their mother’s for emotional support – not just only of daughters.

    • Polly, it sounds like your fiancé has quite a lot to work out with his own mother wound. I would say focus on what it is you want in your life and see if it is compatible with the direction your fiancé is moving in. He may have a lot more to work through before he is ready to fully commit to you in the ways you are longing for. The most important thing to do is to be really honest with yourself. Wishing you the best of luck!

  52. Wonderful article. I found the mother wound through reading the heroine’s journey as a research for my writing. I was lucky that I inherit my mom sense of accomplishment and I managed to let go of her, and daddy an early age. I do hope I don’t find any remnants if I’m blessed with a girl but as off know I feel such a sense of love and respect for my mother without crippling myself. Is really liberating. I wish every woman in the world experiences this.
    Great post!

  53. Reblogged this on Flowering of eternity and commented:
    It is a blessing to find this article. My whole journey into spirituality was at its core about finding love for my own mother and resolve the rage going on between both sides. By and by through persistent work I’ve come to understand that the anger in our relationship was not as personal as we thought it was.
    This reblogged article arrives very synchronously. I was talking to a friend very recently about the rage and abuse inflicted upon her by her mother-in-law and her husband remaining silent in the face of that out of the guilt-based thought – “My mother has done so much for us so I cannot tell her anything”. She eventually had to give up on the marriage working out in the presence of her mother-in-law. As we spoke, she shared her mother in law’s history – she came from a rich family but because of a tiny health issue, she was married off to someone who was less wealthy. Subsequently she had to work from the ground up to prove her worth which she eventually did with a flourishing business of her own. But the wound of having had to compromise her sense of self to fit into a family who was poorer than her natural one, seemed to have left a mark. My friend also came from a family more well off than her spouse’s family. She had never had to cook in her life. However, after getting married she was constantly belittled on the fact that she cannot cook. Even as she started to learn, at one point she had to give up her career to save her marriage by learning to cook and keep a good house. At one point, her mother in law pointedly told her that she would make sure that her wings are cut off. This is a sordid reflection of what must have happened to her, or her interpretation of the circumstances of her own marriage. This is not the story of an uneducated, poor class of people. My friend and her husband are both engineers who have their independent corporate careers. This is the story of an educated middle class.
    And this is just one out of many wounds.
    Another friend of mine was constantly blaming herself for all the tension in the house brought on by her mother. She was constantly disturbed by the verbal abuse her mother inflicted on her father. She tried innumerable therapies to resolve this but could never come to peace with the way things were. I often sensed the immense guilt and sense of responsibility she carried on her shoulders to somehow make the family alright and bring them peace. Though the silver lining is that she has with determination pursued exercises to bring her peace, she has not been able to forgive herself for not making things right. Through this family drama, she has got sucked into the belief that she has betrayed her family somehow which makes her go very hard on herself. Today she is a soon-to-be mother. I genuinely pray that by reading this article she finds the kindness within her to absolve herself of the crime she thinks she has made. She was never meant to get her parents’ marriage working. It wasn’t her job.
    Lastly, I struggled for years to understand and free myself of this pain of a marriage going sour. I still find traces of this. Though I have found immense forgiveness and compassion for my mother, I am still hesitant to act out on some of my desires out of fear that I will break her expectation of me or that I will outdo her expectations in some way. Apparently the two extremities do go together. I am still searching within me to find the courage to speak for myself and acknowledge that I have been a good daughter. A part of me seems to never allow me to do so. It is incidental that the time I write this, I feel called to take care of her as she is undergoing health issues. I question myself often, “Am I doing this out of duty? Am I doing this out of guilt? Or obligation? Or simply because I want to win the title of a “good daughter” and finally feel guilt-free?” These are tough questions. But the answers are the only way to allow myself to realise my full potential.
    Thankfully, by and by emotions have been coming up and leaving. The answers are not coming in terms of words but are coming in through feelings of gratitude and appreciation of who I am. I don’t have to be a good daughter. It is okay to be loving, even from a distance.
    I sincerely hope you read the article below even if it is long, and share it with your girlfriends, mothers and MILs. Invite them to voice their history, their agony of never being allowed to be who they are. It might just save a generation from carrying the same wound.

  54. I lost my mother when I was three years old but I know that I have been living with some of the wounds that you mention. I am sure i would have passed on some unconsciously to my daughter as well. i have been working with myself for a long time and your article comes at a time when the content puts many things in a perspective. thank you for a wonderful article.

    • Hi Sharbori! Wow, losing your mother at three years old, so very young. Happy to hear that you have been on this path for a long time and that the article comes at a good time for you. Thank you so much for leaving a comment here. Much love! ~Bethany

  55. Reblogged this on Pluranian RamBull!ngs and commented:
    This post was shared with me via a FaceBook group I’m a part of. Wow! Very, very descriptive of my Big G that I’ve been discussing in my last few posts and with Ursula from her blog “An UpTurned Soul and Debra at “Emerging from the Dark”.

  56. Reblogged this on benoisy and commented:
    What this woman has to say about Mother/Daughter relationships. It left me with fear about confronting my mother, but just remember that she would also read this as a daughter. This really brought to light the depth of hurt women have experienced. It was also interesting that I identified the struggles a mother feels as something I recognized in my mother, but didn’t identify identify with the struggles a daughter experiences as my own. Definetly an interesting read I intend to have a fully indepth talk with my mother.

    It is a shame that I haven’t been able to find one for father son relationships, a lot of communication needs to be made there as well that I feel isn’t being made because it’s not deemed ‘manly’.

  57. Really good to read this Bethany – you have characterised an experience that feels deeply personal and also that I understand is largely universal. The mother wounds characterisation that you state could sum me up and my inner sense of self to a tee. Until I faced a major challenge in life and realised I had to look after myself as number one I would have read this article and not recognised myself in the writing at all. A deep sense of self denial was a bound up with holding me in that pattern. I am coming through towards the characteristics of the healing side now. A long and huge journey. Thanks for you writing – it was a really good time for me to read it and reflect on my relationship with my mother. I can see it is providing a lot of healing and I hope that for many the self denial is not so deep that they can see the patterns sooner rather than later.

    • Erin, so great to hear from you. Thank you for the feedback. Glad to hear that you are moving now to the healing side after a long journey with this. You are right about the denial, it can be very deep and take a long time to work through. But it is so worth it. Lots of love to you! ~Bethany

  58. I enjoyed reading your article. I am very aware of this issue, and have been working on it since before I became pregnant (my daughter is now 27) and found myself in the middle of my mother’s fears, low self-esteem, powerlessness, etc and wanting to heal that in myself so as not to pass it on to my daughter. In the process, I have seen how that imprint is sent down thru the mother’s lineage and emotional, physical, relationship issues are similar. How I have been able to identify these in myself and consciously work on them, which I still am. You say they can healed when grieved and mourned ‘enough’.. I would love to hear what you have to say about how to do that. I see my mother carrying that on and on, a very old tape of pain and suffering, and regret. I am working to stay clear and free of these imprints, and have encouraged my daughter to be free and empowered. I got a lot out of Dr. Northrup’s work as well. A few years ago, I ‘came close to’ giving Mother-Daughter Healing workshops with my daughter, it is such a passion for me… (perhaps some self-sabotage still at work, Yikes!)
    Thank you for your contribution in this area. I’m so glad women of all ages are becoming aware and doing this crucial work, Like you said it is for all women and for the planet! Blessings. Judy

    • Hi Judy G. Great to hear from you! Wow, that’s awesome 27 years of healing the mother wound. Bravo for sticking with it! The point of having grieved “Enough” is a different point for everyone. The grieving process is a natural, organic process with it’s own timeline. Some people can get stuck at certain points, perhaps feeling that ending the grieving process is a form of betrayal. Some people start to get payoffs for being stuck and don’t want to give those up. It can be a way of avoiding other issues. Lots of possibilities. But if one just flows with it, let’s it run its course, stays present and aware, it will lighten and over time one reaches acceptance. Wonderful that you are considering doing workshops with your daughter! Many thanks for your comment! Love, Bethany

  59. Thank you for your thorough and insightful text. I can recogize the process I have been in for years and feel like sharing some of it.
    My mother is one of those not-motherly types. She actually said, when she turned 50 (13 years ago), that “Maybe now I would be ready to become a mother” – well, good for you, I thought, just about 30 years too late for me. We only lived together until I ws 9, because my parents divorced and they decided I should live with my father (and my sister with her). The healing proces in me has included showing my anger at her after realizing what she had done; actually a deep rage towards how she used me as a girlfriend to go out in town with.
    We would travel and get drunk together (when I was 16-17), meet guys and even go to bed with each of our one-night-stands in the same apartment. She bought me booze and arranged parties and invited all kinds of men in. Once I was almost raped on a beach, totally drunk of my mothers bottles, when she had left the party with her guy. She sew me pretty clothes since I was small – and when we got out, so she could proudly show me off: “MY daughter – isn’t she beautiful!!”. All she ever appreciated in me was my looks.

    When she was depressive, she became a total victim and once threathened with suicide when I set my boundaries and did not play in her game. I never shared my inner life with her. For 15-17 years ago I totally rejected her for about 2 years (no contact), after saying firmly NO to her attempts to manipulate me and to impose her lifestyle on me, which was not enough.
    She was a teenager. I had to be the grown-up and stand for myself. I even moved to another country – and now my sister has also done it.

    After the cut I felt I could breathe more freely. It was such a relief. I did a lot of inner work, therapy, healing and meeting my pain deeply and gradually confronted the most painful insight: Me and my mother remind each other. She was a shameful shadow figure in my inner, growingly spiritual, life and value-set. For a long time I did not want to see her traits in me, but I could not escape it: I had her depressions, her sexuality, her vanity, her victim-smallness and manipulating tendencies in me… I also reflected on her past, her relations with her parents (a tyrannical father and very dominated servant-like mother) and slowly felt some understanding.

    For many years, after I accepted having some contact with her again, I always felt the rage arising in me in her company. It is as if nothing was changing in her; the same old stories kept repeating and I felt manipulated, not seen or heard as who I am. I only said yes to meet her once a year for a couple of hours.

    Two years ago something beautiful happened: my heart opened very spontaneously towards her and said: Mother, I just wish that you would be happy. Tears run down on my face, healing tears, as if compassion and forgiveness had won over the rage. Last summer she visited me and I did not feel the rage anymore, just tiredness and a little sadness about how lost she still is.

    I sang her the songs that I have written to/about her in my proces, one is called “Rootless women” about the pain in mother-daughter relations. She was crying already before I started singing. It was a magical moment for us both, mostly for me, to really stand strong as who I am, to show it to her – and to be seen by her. Since then we keep a little more contact through e-mail and skype and there is a sense of calmness and mutual acceptance growing.

    I feel that I am witnessing a miracle happening inside my own heart: so much love and peace is flowing through me, where there used to be self-hatred, jealosy, envy, shame and pain. I really feel that I have become the loving mother to myself, the mother I always yearned for – and that she could not be. And the wounded little girl inside my heart has been healed by many hours alone with her and she has revealed so much unconditional love. I still need to be careful to let it mostly flow inwards, but when there is abundance it wants to be shared with others.

    Oh – this became a lot longer sharing than I intended :-) Thank you for reading. I enjoyed reading all your stories and mirroring our common wound. And the most important thing: WE CAN HEAL IT! And what a journey it is – the most beautiful! Keep walking, sisters!

    • Dear Naja, You have been on quite a journey! It is so wonderful to hear of the miracle in your own heart, finding the mother you have always yearned for within yourself! Thank you for sharing! Love, Bethany

  60. I feel like I have discovered some of these truths on my own journey, but it brought a lot of clarity to read your articulate, organized thoughts. As young women, a friend of mine and I used to talk for hours about the angst of feeling like we were “too much” and “not enough”. So, too emotional, but not pretty enough. Or, too cold and guarded, but not modest enough. Too sexy, not skinny enough. The list goes on and on. I recently have been struggling to own my own power and confidence in the midst of some huge life changes and challenges. Thanks for helping to “legitimize the pain of patriarchy” so that I can embrace, process, integrate, and transform my pain and confusion into wisdom and power.

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  62. OMG…..I have been searching my whole life as to why I sacrificed my life for my mum. I think you nailed the reasons why, but now how do I mend?…..rose

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  64. Thanks for sharing this. Very well written. I suggest its a must read for everyone of all genders. Very poignant and moving. It helps me to appreciate, not only the women in my life and in the external world but those internalized ladies and girls as well. I feel reconciled somehow internally to all my feminine parts even just for the reading of it. Ultimately, I can see and feel now more viscerally how healing the mother wound in my life does indeed affect my relationship with the divine feminine AND informs and facilitates the father wound. Your expression here articulates parallels I’ve experienced as a boy and man growing up, encountering and confronting my own mother/father wound issues. Im really now more aware that there must be an internalized parent wound as wel; how the mother and father as a wounding couple is internalized and extant as well. Thank you Betheny.

    • Dear David, thank you so much for your comment. It’s wonderful to hear that the article help illuminate things for you as a boy and a man. It’s also great to hear your feedback that it parallels your experience. Love and thanks, Bethany

  65. Reblogged this on Magic in Life and commented:
    They say that every other relationship throughout our lives is affected by the initial, first of our parents. This is an amazing read on how your mother could have affected you in ways you’ve never though off. Many aha moments in this one. Also increased compassion for women everywhere <3

  66. Reblogged this on The Presence of Caterpillars and commented:
    Mama, do you love me?

    Yes I do, Dear One.

    How much?

    I love you more than the raven loves his treasure, more than the dog loves his tail, more than the whale loves his spout.
    What if I turned into a polar bear, and I was the meanest bear you ever saw and I had sharp, shiny teeth, and I chased you into your tent and you cried?

    Then I would be very surprised and very scared. But still, inside the bear, you would be you, and I would love you.

  67. Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been meaning to read it since it went live and just last night had a difficult conversation with my mother which reminded me to read it. My question is: can you recommend some helpful reading about what steps to take to resolve this “mother wound”? I went onto Amazon and there are so many books on mother/daughter relationships. Some seemed helpful, while others – even though they were highly rated – seemed to demonize “narcissistic” or “difficult” mothers. While I’d classify my own mother as difficult, I want to maintain as healthy a relationship with her as possible with, of course, some strong boundaries in place. So again, just wondering if you have a bibliography or some reading you might be willing to share with us readers who are ready for next steps. Thank you!

  68. I am having a hard time with this article. I don’t believe ALL women fall into this concept. My mother always encouraged me to be more…more than she was allowed to be, allowed to accomplish, and to question and confront anyone who threatened that idea. I learned to see the world with brutal honesty and learned just how many others out there could not see that honesty for what it was. It made them uncomfortable, it scared them, and so they lashed out. I taught both of my daughters and my granddaughter that same philosophy. They are strong, vibrant, well educated women and do not take crap from anybody – including me. They have been given the space to be painfully honest with me without the fear of losing or hurting me. Yes, sometimes we roar with fierce feminine emotion, but we also love each other with that same fierceness. There is no room for socially or politically correct in our world – that is a noose around the neck of every woman who has been brainwashed into living that way.

    This also applies to the men in our lives. I have five brothers that turned out to be amazing, gentle husbands and fathers. We were raised by our very strong mother only – our father was absent. They were never taught to ‘man up’ or stifle their feelings, and yes, sometimes there were intense moments growing up, but it always resulted, maybe not instantly, in a deeper understanding of themselves and the other person. My sons, who have a father present, are also being raised this way. It doesn’t always bode well in school or other social settings, but I reinforce listening to their own truth in those moments. They show their emotions – ALL of them. My daughters show their emotions – ALL of them. We live in a very colorful and passionate world of personal truth.

    I wish all men and women could take off their personal noose of socially correct behavior and join those of us who already have, and be truly alive.

  69. Thank you Bethany for this wonderful article. I am working through trauma from being sexually abused by my father while my mother (who died when I was 18) did nothing to stop it, and this is such a valuable piece of the puzzle for me. Also in terms of working out why women (as a rule) continue to be subordinate in almost every area of social life, even after ‘feminism is over and equality has been achieved’. I think it is very important to acknowledge these psychological/familial aspects of patriarchy that perpetuate inequality, as well as the institutional, legal and cultural aspects. They are perhaps the most insidious mechanisms for the preservation of the status quo. Thanks again.

  70. “But, but you will be so strange and diffrent, like… like an alien. You will abandone us. Why?” – these words are what I’ve heard from my mother, when I cheerful told her about my dreams and discoveries about living an alternative life. I was 17 or 18. At this very moment I felt like a traitor. From one side I’ve always get support to educate myself in many ways – art courses, martial arts – what made me strong and skilled. But at the same time in my soul was a whinnig gelly crying for a hug for free.
    I had no plans to abandone my famliy and relatives – my mother simply was afaraid of what she tought I would became and how it would be jugged by “the rest”. It took me long time, to realised, she herself was affraid to be rejected by family/society/others because of me. Her fear wasn’t her own. It was traveling by generations – my mother, my grandma…
    I’m still struggling with this fear. For me and for my own daughter, now 5. Gathering family stories was very helpful. In the time of pregnancy it was like a “story shower” – about pain, loneliness, unjustice, violence and at the same time about being stubborn and fighting for own way, for dignity and respect. I get the stories like an initiation for a woman hard fate of being a mother.
    It’s like step by step, sometimes two or more made not by one lonely person. It’s like step of generation. Every women in my family had her own fight, won something , get wounded and was afraid of lost something. Everyone was rejected by her mother in some way because of this fight.
    I know it’s important to deal with this rejection and now, thanks to you, I know it’s common and it’s called mother wound. I’m “an alien” a little less for myself. Thank you once again.
    P.S. – sorry for my english ;)

  71. Dearest Sisters – Thank you, thank you for writing with such clarity and from the heart. I sit here, in tears, knowing that I am diving deep into the pain of this but, so obviously, not alone. My suffering has shown up most around my women friends. I feel so guarded around them and yet long to be seen in my vulnerability. I don’t quite know how to ask for this and not scare them away. If I reach out and don’t receive a response I am utterly devastated. I can’t maintain friendships with women and depression has been the result. I would love to hear how others feel your relationships with women friends are affected by this wound. Thank you

    • Hi Amie! The relationships with women were for a long time diffucult for me. I couldn’t find common ways of spending time and I was affraid of rejection and same time I underestimated “typicall” feminine behaviours – make up, fancy dress, flirting – it was silly and meanigless for me. I was G.I.Jane type – and so were my two friends. We were glad we can spend time together “serious” and interesting way, with aiming goals and developing independece (I’m not sure it’s the right word but I can’t find better now). Of course we spend hours on talking, not by coffe, rather by campfire – and we have found few things very similar in our lives – we were raised by demanding but rather cold mothers who weren’t happy with our live choices but we all were supported by fathers – emotionally too.
      I’m not sure about meaning word “friend” to you. In polish you call a friend a person, who you can totally relay on. My first and basic problem with women was I had a feeling I need to be “usefull” to start a relation but they were doing “nothing”. It took me years of work to find joy just in a present of another women. To feel comfortable with someone who does’nt need my skills or help. To feel comfortable with myself as me – not specialist, not adventurer – just me as I am a woman. My friends had similar problems and we were researching it together so it was much easier. One of them is a psychologist now :) But the basic problem for all of us was an underestimation of the feminine part of ourselves as a protection from “being not good enough girl to get a hug from mom”. I still feel silly on girls parties – tee, cookies, nail polishing etc – but I see how funny it’s for them to meet 34old who needs to learn make up and how glad they are they can teach me something. It’s no problem for any woman I’ve met to hear “my mother never teached me, she told it’s not important and only silly girls are interested in make up” or “I wish I had better realtionship with my mother, we don’t understand each other well”. But serious talking about wound – only with friends or during workshops – for me it is too close, to personal.
      I hope, there is an answer for your question in all that crap I’ve wrote above ;)
      Be good for yourself.

  72. Thank you for the article! It is so helpful! The taboos that you discuss hère are of such vital importance. I just have a question: you say that the relationship with moms will improve once we process our mother wound. How can it improve if, in my case, my mom truely believes that it’s my fault we have bad relationship? The only thing that bothers me after I have being processing my mother wound for quite a while by now is that she is very envious of me, basially, I acknowledge that I am living her dream life she never had. Therefore, even if I totally get rid of mother wound myself, we will never have honest and open relationship with her. And my sister has the same problem, we can not share anything with her, all our problems and sacrifices seem small to her. Is there any advice on this matter?

    • Hi Vera, there is no absolutely no guarantee that your relationship with your mother will improve once you process the mother wound. (The vision at the end of the article is a hopeful one, that in the future, when enough women have healed the mother wound, it will not be seen as a threat to the mother/daughter relationship.) Part of healing the mother wound is giving up the attachment to our mother changing into the mother we need her to be and instead cultivate an inner mother within ourselves that can fill those needs. And we have to grieve our mother’s limitations and see that it is not about us. This helps us to accept the situation and to dissolve the efforts to convince her of our worth. And this frees up so much energy that goes into trying to fix the relationship. I would say to you to continue to focus on your own healing journey and act in ways that demonstrate your belief in your own worth. You cannot control your mother’s reactions or behaviors, only how you respond to them. Be compassionate with yourself and get support as you grieve the fact that your mother cannot give you what you need. This will help you to move on and create the space for you to experience more self-love and fulfillment in your life. Sending a hug, Bethany

  73. Hi Bethany, Wow, your blog about the Mother Wound is the most insightful and succinct and spot-on (for me at least) about the challenges of this delicate relationship. I would love to know about any online work you might do. As I’m in Australia.
    Reading your blog softens the harsher and harder-to-swallow realization of having a possibly (I still can’t comprehend so I say ‘possibly’ still) jealous mother who doesn’t want you to succeed in love or life as it mirrors back to her her own missed opportunities in life and unhappiness. My mother unconsciously has projected her insecurities, unfulfilled life, jealousies etc about self-worth and love (particularly romantic love) on to me, as I continue to not believe it when I am loved by a man. This has crippled me. Is it possible to change such a core belief? My mother is past 70 so I doubt I can really break through this with her. I feel I need to do this alone.
    Thanks again Bethany. I wish you were coming to Australia! I’m about to do Family Constellations workshop to help the process.

  74. Bethany, I just read your reply to Vera about how to deal with the likelihood of not actually achieving an improvement of a relationship with one’s mother during the Mother wound healing. And to focus on the Self and finding the inner mother. Thank you. One fear that I have is the confrontation with my mother.
    My question is HOW to heal yourself of the Mother wound? I try to love myself (not sure how) and know it’s paralysing my happiness and ability to love and mostly receive love, as I think I’m undeserving of love, but to put it into practice and feel this right to the core, the cells of the body – this is a challenge in itself. Any advice? So far it’s helping a bit just understanding the Mother Wound and understanding it’s not about me, but about my mum.
    This is why I hope you do an online course! Please!
    love and light,

    • Hi Jenny! There’s so much I’d like to say in response to your question but I think it would exceed the capacity of this comment box! ;-)
      What I will say for now, is don’t rush into confronting your mother at this moment. There is a certain approach and timing that is most healing that I explain in my course.
      In a nutshell, it’s important not to approach it with the energy of trying to convince her of something or with the intention of getting her to change. It’s important for you to do your own
      work independently well in advance of this. For now, it seems that what may be most fruitful for you is to ask yourself some questions: What have been the predominant patterns between you and your mother? How have those patterns influenced your life to this point? What new, different beliefs do you want to replace the beliefs you inherited from your mother? What’s at risk for you to act on those new beliefs? What would it mean for you to give up all hope of your mother changing? How can you support yourself through this process? These are just some of the questions that may be helpful for you right now. Excited to possibly have you in the soon-to-be-released online course. I’d love to support you on this powerful healing journey. Sending love and hugs!

  75. Hi Bethany! Wow, thank you so incredibly much for your reply. Such powerful questions you’ve asked – they help tremendously and I will commit to work on them one at a time. As I read them and contemplate them, already gives me confidence in the How to begin the healing process. I’ve got homework already. Thank you!
    I look forward to the online course! Love and Light ~ Jenny.

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  78. This quote from am Ingmar Bergman movie Autumn Sonata, always stayed with me, it’s still makes me cry, as I find it beautiful and so true, a moving and emotional moment in this great film, when Liv Ullman says to her mama:
    A mother and a daughter, what a terrible combination of feelings and confusion and destruction.
    Everything is possible and is done in the name of love and solitude. The mother’s injuries are to be handed down to the daughter, the mother’s failures are to be paid for by the daughter, the mother’s unhapiness is to be the daughter;s unhapiness.
    It’s like the umbilical cord had never been cut.
    It is so? Is the daughter’s misfortune, the mother’s triumph?
    Mama…It’s my grief your secret pleasure?

    Thanks for this article, blessings to all mothers and daughters…peace…

  79. This quote from am Ingmar Bergman movie Autumn Sonata, always stayed with me, it’s still makes me cry, as I find it beautiful and so true, a moving and emotional moment in this great film, when Liv Ullman says to her mama:

    A mother and a daughter, what a terrible combination of feelings and confusion and destruction.
    Everything is possible and is done in the name of love and solitude. The mother’s injuries are to be handed down to the daughter, the mother’s failures are to be paid for by the daughter, the mother’s unhapiness is to be the daughter;s unhapiness.
    It’s like the umbilical cord had never been cut.
    Is it so? Is the daughter’s misfortune, the mother’s triumph?
    Mama…It’s my grief your secret pleasure?

    Thanks for this article, blessings to all mothers and daughters…peace…

  80. Thank you for this post. I remember being about 10 or 12 or so and wondering about life and what I may become in it… and sensing that there is this choice to be made as a girl between wit and beauty. Now reading you I understand a lot more deeply that “wit” was rather standing for competence and empowerment as having a strong self and following it, and “beauty” stood for accomodating others (even with my looks) to get “love” and other compensation for it, like a respected place in society (of wounded women).
    Feel more compassion now for my (certainly abusive) mother… and my son whom I raise as a single mom for a long while now.

  81. What about the mothers of sons? My parents died when I was 19. I had never been what they expected me to be when they were living. I was always breaking the rules and doing what I needed to do. I wasn’t a bad kid but I did my own thing from the start. I felt guilt after they died (my mother died of cancer over almost a decade) but more, I felt abandonment. I made myself a very interesting life, on my own, no family direction. I had twin boys at age 39 and raised them mostly alone. My question is, whatever wounds I carry, I wanted my sons to come out as clean as possible. They’ve inherited my (and my mother’s ) anxiety/depression but are fine young men and working their ways through their separate lives, in their twenties. The 3 of us live on 3 different continents so I am sad at times that we all live apart. How can the mother wound affect our sons?

  82. Thank you very much for this eye-opening and insightful article. Not only can I see how the mother wound has manifested in my sister and myself, but also how my mother carries her own mother wound. I have recently become aware of a certain co-dependency and responsibility I have felt towards my mom, how I have been making decisions based on what I thought she would approve of. I have started to break away from that in the past year….your article has explained to me what it is I’ve been trying to heal. Thank you. I have sent it to my mom, I hope it will help her heal too.

  83. Thank you for this article… I read it a few months again and now have come across it again. I know I have inherited a lot of things from my mother – her wisdom and her baggage – because there have been synchronicities of things that have happened to me, which happened to her at the same age. Except I am not able to check this with her, because she passed away when I was 11. So I am actually wondering how it would work to look at the mother wound when the experiences are buried in the past and there is wound of loss also… just wondering, and hoping you could shed some light… thanks…

    • Hello Dear Manasi, Even though your mother has passed, and you are unable to communicate with her, you would still be able to heal the mother wound. You may just have to work through the grief that comes with her physical absence, which is a process in itself. However, the focus of the work of healing the mother wound is on you and your own healing. You have what it takes now. The first step of the process is to reflect and arrive at some clarity on what her presence AND her absence has shaped your life. What patterns were set in place? What beliefs do you hold as a result of that relationship, about yourself, about life? As you continue reflecting, you can work with the insight that arises to more clearly articulate what it is that you want to believe and to embody. And also mourn and process the emotions that come up in that process. Above all, be gentle and compassionate with yourself! Thanks for your comment! Much love, Bethany

      • Dear Bethany,

        Thank you so much for taking the time to write back – means so much to me :) I can’t believe I didn’t realise you’d done so until today! I am really valuing your suggeations – especially looking at what her presence and her absence BOTH mean in terms of how my life has shaped up… I think I am sort of doing that on many levels, but not very consciously. Honestly, when I focus on her absence consciously, a part of me starts to shut down – it is a challenge, perhaps because it’s pain I haven’t looked at…? Which is also why I love the clarity of your suggestions… I’m not sure how exactly I am going to do this, but perhaps I can start with taking it to my supporters in my journey..

        Thank you so much again. Not everyone has answers or even suggestions (and I think a lot of people are fearful to make suggestions as well!) and so this was very meaningful for me…

        With love and hugs

  84. Thank you for this article… I read it a few months again and now have come across it again. I know I have inherited a lot of things from my mother – her wisdom and her baggage – because there have been synchronicities of things that have happened to me, which happened to her at the same age. Except I am not able to check this with her, because she passed away when I was 11. So I am actually wondering how it would work to look at the mother wound when the experiences are buried in the past and there is wound of loss also… just wondering, and hoping you could shed some light… thanks…

  85. this is a fantastic article and im so lucky not to be able to associate this with my daughters and our relationships, as a young mum when i had her at 20, abroad, i never gave up myself to be just a mum i still ran a nightclub and it was her and me for a very long time and we fought and we loved we laughed we cried but at all times we remained open and honest and accepting of each others choices, even if we didnt agree with them we both accepted them as nothing personal and with no resentment. Im very proud of the confident and mature and free woman she has become and actively back her choices as its her life to live, after all thats why i gave birth to her to live her own life. x

  86. My daughter sent this article to me and I am so happy that she did. She is 40. I am 66 and my mother her grandmother is 86. The Mother Wound is very apparent in our 3 generations. We love each other deeply.That being said I related to every paragraph in the article as did she I am sure! Believe me at 66 I am so ready to heal the Mother Wound. My mother is failing mentally and I have been panicked at the thought of how morbid I felt when I remembered how my mother blossomed after her mother died ! She adored her mother but thought there were so many things she couldn’t do as well as or because of her mother’s abilities and skills. Things as simple as making a good pie crust! She never made one until after grandma died! I look at my self and the things I enjoy doing. and I remember a poem I gave to her to read my hands trembling as I handed it to her. Needed her approval so bad! So many poems in boxes in closets never having seen the light of day. Fearing they would hurt her because they were so full of pain and sadness!
    I don’t want to blossom after she dies! How sad. My own daughter spent her childhood with a sad mother trying to make Mothers pain go away! At 40 and 66 it is time to heal and both finally live a fulfilling, creative life without fear of hurting our mothers! Yes I get it and I want it! I’m tired of getting up and falling down. Enough already! I am willing to heal the wound. I choose to heal the wound. God help me heal the wound. Amen

    • wow, thank you so much for your clarity and declaring your willingness to heal. As I read your words my own declaration was acknowledged. I have found in my own journey that this willingness is all that is really needed. This willingness to open and be still. what is needed will show itself most certainly. What grace to have this opportunity! x

      • Amie, Thank you for your comment to me. Being still was the hard part for me. I didn’t want to admit my mother hurt me. I ran from this for my entire adult life! I kept having nightmares about her and my grandmothers and aunts! I must begin because I just must! My granddaughter can not carry this wound into her life! I feel my grandmothers and aunts will be guiding me through healing process. My mother is failing fast into dementia so that is why I cracked wide open when I read Why We Must Heal The Mother Wound. So much confusion and conflict in side of myself needs release into the universe to bring healing. This is my purpose now. God Bless.

    • Dear Betty, Your words, your energy, your story are very moving. Upon completion of reading your comment, my eyes filled with tears and I had goosebumps from head to toe. Your expression of your pain and the deep desire to heal is inspirational and profound. And I believe you speak for many women in what you say…so many longing to let go of this wound and emerge into greater wholeness, connection and authentic self-expression. Many, many thanks for sharing. With deep love and gratitude, Bethany

      • All my life even as a little girl I had such pain inside my heart for my mother, grandmother and great grandmothes and aunts.. I sat alone in the woods and wept for them and told God I only wanted to make them happy. I looked around corners and saw my mother weeping and witnessed her anger and rage. I stood up out of a wash tub at age three and screamed at my grandfather to stop hurting my grandmother. I woke up at night and and saw my uncle shove my aunt down as he screamed at her. When I asked what happened to Aunt Irenes arm I was told Uncle Jack shot it off. When I asked where is your mother grandma I was told she was put in a mental asylum after the birth of her last baby and left there until she died. My mother, grandmothers and aunts were abused by their fathers and husbands. This became my heritage and my life also at age l7. I have been trying to work my way up and out of it my entire life, but I felt guilty to do so. As if I were leaving them behind. It made me angry. I wanted their story to be told! I was terrified of making other family members angry at me for telling family secrets.I have felt the weight of this for so long I feel I can not carry this on my back anylonger. I feared writing the book. Now with the work I am going to do to heal the Mother Wound for myself, my daughter and my granddaughter the load will be lifted! My female ancestors will be smiling and laughing and dancing with me for they are at last seen and heard! I do not want my daughter and granddaughter to carry this generational sadness and pain on their backs! I must begin. Thank You for your kind words.,Betty

      • Dear Betty, Thank you for sharing. I can relate to your position. I feel it is such important work for us to do, as women, mothers and especially as crones. We have the courage to face things that we could not earlier in life. It is something I too have felt on a more subconscious level since a girl, and with the birth of my own daughter became more aware of and almost feel it is ‘my purpose’ in life to work on and share and assist others in. Now caring for my elderly Mom, I am seeing so much of the painful patterns that were passed down. We can do this work, we can heal and make way for the new earth in beauty and balance. I pray for you and for all women to heal this generational wound. Write the book. Stand in your own knowing. Blessings of Love & Truth to you, Judy G.

      • Dear Judy, Thank you for your comment. I feel it’s really powerful to hear the perspective of the older women, (the “crones”) on this issue because you who were brought up at a time when patriarchy was even more entrenched than it is today. I commend your courage in speaking out and stepping forward! Thank you for modeling such strength. It is truly work of the soul. With love, Bethany

      • Judy, Thank you for your words of encouragement to press on with my hearts desire to heal these wounds in the femine history of my family. I can see all of them ,as I write this, smiling at me and saying ok, lets get going! I’m beginning now. My fingers and hands are saying yes! At last! We are tapping at the keyboard! Telling their stories! Thats what my fingers have been aching to do! Ha!

  87. Up to today I didn’t really understand the strange and strained relationship I have with my mother. I just figured that so much has happened that has torn the bond that I had with her, on reading this article it gave light to an issue that I have been trying to understand. My mother had my sister and I when she was really young. She’s also uneducated and didnt know much about raising children. I also know that my grandmother (mother’s mother) didn’t really mother her children much. So here we had a young, uneducated mother, who herself was not mothered raising two daughters. My mother was not a warm and fuzzy mother. My memories of her are that she was really strict, sometimes extremely so and very distant and closed off. She didn’t show much affection to us and I have to admit that I was scared of her. I was so scared of her that even asking for food when I was hungry was a very scary thing to do. My mother also suffered from depression and was admitted to hospital for this disease at one point. I battled to really ever form a real connection with my mother and she also made it extremely difficult for one to be made. So the relationship I had with her was always very tense and fragile. Then she left us, my sister, me and my younger brother, who was only five years old at the time, to fulfill her calling to the ancestors and become a traditional healer. To say that her leaving all but obliterated the bit of relationship I had with her would be an understatement. So fast forward the clock to me now as a 25 year old young woman, and to this day I battle to understand why she chose to leave us. Also I haven’t really heard an apology for her leaving either, which infuriates me. So it’s safe to say that I have a huge gaping Mother Wound. I don’t have much of a relationship with my mother at present. It’s very difficult to understand, I think the best way I can describe it is that I feel indifferent to her. I know I love her and I recognise that she is my mother, but I don’t know if I could ever have a real relationship with her or if I really want one as well. I know that I want to be a mother one day and I know that I don’t want to be like my mother, but I fear that because I was mothered by a woman who wasn’t motherered and therefore didn’t know how to mother, I might inflict some mother wounds on my own daughters, if i have any one day. Some of the issues that you mentioned in this article have shed light on things that I battle with at present. In reading this I know that a lot of work needs to be done to heal the mother wound, but when I look at how things are with my mother at present I wouldn’t even know where to begin. From my side I know there is so much hurt, pain and anger directed at my mother, and I have been holding onto the rage for many years. I know that intellectually I need to let go and to start forgiving her, but on an emotional level I feel that letting go of the hurt, anger and betrayal would be saying that what happened is ok.

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    • Dara, I have had this horrible year with my 86 year old mother fighting cancer, falling, getting a broken wrist, shoulder and a serious head injury on top of being told she has dementia. On the surface we have a loving wonderful relationship, yet I had all these repressed feelings of anger and abondment issues towards her. I was so confused. How could I live on this earth without her and at the same time be so angry with her? She is so fragil and I was so angry! I felt like such an evil horrible human being. I felt like I was losing my mind! I realized I was living my day every day for my entire life to win her approval. Everyday was pass or fail. I had her voice in my head 24/7. This is a good woman! As soon as I read about the Mother Wound I got it. Then I started thinking about my daughter and my granddaughter! I have just started to stand in my own power. I am 66. I told my daugheter, not you! Not my grandbaby!! Enough. This stops here. Old patterns must end. Also I feel like I have been let out of prison!!!!! I think now I am going to enjoy these last few years I have left with my mother. After all I now realize she is ,as the song says,” Only Human”.

      • Betty,
        Thank you so much for sharing. I’m actually only now seeing your message for the first time as I haven’t been keeping up with responses to my posts.
        I really appreciate you taking the time and energy to share. I too have these challenges and have been looking at my relationship with my daughter and intentionally making strides to break the cycle(s).
        Thank you again.

  89. Dear Bethany, I enjoyed learning about the mother wound…thank you so much for your insight. I am a 37-year old man and I’ve experienced the same feelings as what you describe for women. I fee like “I” have a mother wound. Is that possible? Can the mother wound apply to a mother-son relationship? Is there such thing as a father wound?

    • Dear Jimmy, Yes, it is possible for men to have a mother wound as well. It manifests a bit differently for men because there is not the gender identification that is present for women and because mothers tend to encourage their sons to separate from them more than they do with daughters. (But that is just generally speaking and there is always an exception to the rule.) Yes, there is such a thing as a father wound, but it is different than the mother wound. The mother wound has a particular intensity to it because we all start out as one being with our mothers and for that reason her influence is central and profound to our development on every level; moreso than with our fathers. I hope these brief answers help illuminate this a bit for you! Thanks for your comments! Wishing you lots of love, Bethany

  90. What an enlightening read! Thank you much:) My name is also Bethany, go figure. This weekend was my birthday and I spent it getting in touch with myself. I’ve had lots of epiphanies lately. Discovering many interesting studies, theories, etc. Realizing facts about my life. I’ve always thought my mother was the one in her family to break the cycle. She was born in the forties but also a very powerful female. She was the only one in her family to attend college and paid for it herself through scholarships and work and loans. She enjoyed an amazing 20 year career. She supported me, her only child, but I also went and got the scholarships in college and exceeded in all. I suffered in other aspects, took me awhile to trust men, etc. I did enjoy your article and thank you for exposing me to something I’d never heard of.

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  92. Reblogged this on 365daystoforty and commented:
    This feels like a truly powerful piece for me this year. At this precise moment I am watching this mother wound play out in the three generations of women within my family. It’s time for us to be free, empowered and embodied in all our glory.

  93. Dear Bethany, thank you so much for writing so clearly and thoroughly on this subject! Spot on!
    An so needed! I’ve been struggling myself for years and years, trying to cut myself loose from my mother, dealing with such deep guilt and fear in the process. Now, after I turned 50, I decided to really take the step to love and support myself and let her go. Although I feel myself grow in my work and sense this deep, new freedom from time to time, the guilt is still with me like a hidden anchor…Love to work on this with you. xxEsther

  94. I enjoyed very much reading your article. I very much agree with everything you say. I always felt that I have a mother wound not resolved, I always felt ashamed to have my own opinions, to have strong arguments, to be be myself in one word. My mother is a very determined woman and has a very strong personality and I was always in her shadow. I always felt that she raised me like her own project, she never listened to my own spiritual needs….But how can we actually heal this mother wound? Therapy, spirituality; what is your suggestion? Or everyone needs to find his/her way? Thanks so much. All the best from Paris.

    • For me it’s crucial to heal my mother wound, before becoming a mother myself. I wouldn’t like to pass over to my children the same wounds that I have inherited from my mother…

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  101. Reblogged this on aitoo2014's Blog and commented:
    I’m reblogging this for a couple of reasons. So that I don’t lose it. And because the content of that particular blog entry resonates with me in a way I need to explore… Bit deep for this late on a Sunday night!

  102. Pingback: Healing My Fibroids: The Mother Wound | Torri J's Blog

  103. Beautiful article, and so timely for me, I have been on this journey subconsciously for a while, and now I can put my finger on it I can continue to move forward confidently

  104. I honestly believe this should be included into the DSM-V; not only are many women are suffering with this painful plague but the society we live in forces us to believe that we should be happy all of the time regardless of what life throws at us and if we don’t fit the schedule of “normal”, then we’re written off as chronic depressive, neurotic, weak person. The mind breaks when it works too hard at trying to appear something other than what it is by overthinking. We need to feel more and accept those feelings and learn to heal from the mother wound. Thank you Bethany for sharing! I’ve posed your work on my blog in WordPress and my Twitter account and women all over the world are asking me about this. I’ve directed them to you site.

  105. Pingback: This band-aid isn’t big enough to cover the Mother-Wound | Rock-It

  106. Hi, When I was reading this, I hade a phone call from a highly aggressive woman, that I don’t want to be in my life, but she is. And she is going to be there, and she is going to be aggressive until I have dealt with how my mother treated me as a child. Aggressive! I have to feel the fear and terror of having to grow up in that dysfunctional family.

    Thank you for your article!

    This is a great book for understanding the family dynamics – Silently Seduced by Kenneth M Adams


  107. Thanks for taking time to write this. It’s obvious to me, from the comments here, that this is a topic we need to speak to more. Like others, it is timely for myself. I have recently become aware of an underlying anger that often impacts how I engage in life and relationships. My husband in particular. I feel that much of this stems from my relationship/wounds with my mother and childhood. I’ve also been wondering where to go from here.
    Do you have a list of books/articles that have shaped your learnings/understandings of this that you could share? I saw someone else ask but didn’t notice any resources. Anything around how to engage in a healing would be great. I do see a therapist and have been wondering about how to engage in my understanding that anger and moving on to healing, so i’m not doing this on my own. But other resources are always very welcome.

  108. This article comes at the right time as in the last few months I have been experiencing hot flashes which I consider premature at the age of 43. Anyway I have a deep feeling that they are much related to my mother and the deep feeling I have been always having that my mother unconsciously was not ready to have me. During her pregnancy she had two threatened abortions and after one year of my birth her uterus was removed.

  109. Hi Teresa, I am a marriage and family therapist in practice for over 18 years. Over time and after counseling so may women, I have seen over and over that ages 42-43 are typically the age that a woman begins to experience the initial signs of perimenapause. Usually their doctors/gynecologists dismiss it and say it isn’t so for various reasons, but my practice is full of women coming in for the first time thinking something is really wrong with them at this exact age.

    Bethany ,in regards to the mother wound, I thank you for your amazing work and insight. My mother died in 2012 and the next morning I woke up knowing that now there would be more room for me in my life. I definitely carried my mom’s emotional pain and was the little counselor as long as I can remember. I have been aware of this and have done my best to heal and stay aware along the way. Now this reality is returning afresh as I am having to launch my own daughter of 18 (my youngest child and only girl). As I prayed for guidance as to enormous feelings of sorrow and agitation I have been feeling, I was reminded of the generational curse of mother wounds and enmeshment that has influenced my life. I therefore searched the internet to re-remind myself of what is true and healthy and found your site. I am determined to enter this new year prepared to let my daughter go with love and freedom, and let myself enter this phase of life with love and freedom also. Thank you

  110. I grew up with a wounded mother. Guilt trips and undercurrents of disapproval have left me crippled as an adult and a mother myself. I struggle to unravel the damage to my soul. I am glad I will not be passing it on to any daughters.

  111. Pingback: All About My Mother – Green Healing Beauty

  112. Hi. It’s so timely to find this article, thank goddess, so understanding and well put, thank you. I’m a person-centered psychotherapist in training here in Glasgow UK, who’s been having problems both with my personal process and coursework/ theory. I’ve realized that it’s because this issue, which I now see to be at the heart of my own wound and so many of my clients’ (I work with people affected by perinatal depression) is rarely addressed on any level – perhaps because it is so painful and pertinent to women (academic theory being male dominated until fairly recently.)

    I’ve come to see that my conditions of worth, set out by the gals in my family (in accordance to patriarchal social control and their religious beliefs) left me with very little room to grow – I was even slut shamed aged four, for being sexually assaulted, because this casual rape culture we live in always blames the victim. It would mean standing up to so much – easier to see me as a sinner even at that young age!

    I saw my mother’s upset reaction to my assault (by older child neighbors) and worry about hiding it from my father, as me hurting her/threatening her love for me and I have harbored this shame and feeling of responsibility for too long. She failed to protect me and didn’t know how to support me emotionally (I had trauma symptoms/hysteria/panic attacks) so wrote me off as a bad seed like my father, who she later divorced (again I took on much responsibility for that yet was told I was cold and selfish.) Both she and my grandmother demonized any loyalty I had to him, so that I felt confused and insecure, barely tolerated at times, but well aware of my desperate dependence on their care.

    It’s hard to say I’m hurt and angry and needed more than being clothed and fed, as I loved my mum and gran dearly and saw their struggles, but I now see what we were all dealing with. I am learning to fill in the missing nurture myself – quite hard still, as when my mother died she became even more powerful – I saw her as an all seeing, avenging Goddess ready to punish any transgressions. It’s been really hard to own my body, will power, truth.

    Doing really well with my own daughter however! She’s so smart and feminist – I think the Internet helps – she’s figuring it all out for herself and I back up her discoveries or learn from them myself. I can’t completely hide my own pain and struggles but I gently explain them, then take full responsibility for trying to work them out and I listen to her needs equally. We have warmth, acceptance and a shared sick sense of humor! Hope and strength to all on this journey xxx

    • Hi Judith, I can relate to a lot in your post.
      It is important to feel the rage one have towards mother and grandmother too. And it is not possible to forgive parents until one feels the grief and hurt they have caused us. And of course they had a hard upbringing themselves, but that does not help me to get into my own hurt that they have caused me. Not blaming!
      Judith, I feel that your mother is still around you in the spirit world. She does not want you to deal with the damage she has done to you, she does not even want you to feel it and be aware of it.
      Take Care

  113. She’s been foiled again then! Her dastardly plan is blown! But seriously, I don’t think she was mature enough to take much on board and she died very young – not evil, just not very bright maybe and whatever and where ever she is now…I’m in charge. x

  114. What a wonderful article ! I , too have gone through self – healing from a mother who kept me as an appendage of herself, was emotionally void and crossed the boundaries at every turn. I am proud to say that I have been working through the demons and am able to feel secure within myself and understand that I am a valuable member of society and am empowered to
    reconnect with my daughter in a meaningful and mutual way. Thank you for enlightening me on the mother – daughter relationship !

  115. Throughout my life my mother and I never really had a good relationship. Just 2 years ago my parents divorced and I decided to live with my dad. And just like that she disowns me, because I’m leaving her for my dad. After I left her, for probably months after, I would always have bad dreams of her. Always hurting me, trying to kill me, always screaming and fighting and crying and I never knew why it happened…. We are 7 siblings total, 5 adults and 2 kids under the age 10 at the time. 3 of us adults left her to live with my dad and she disowned all 3 of us. Lots of parents divorce, the family splits, we have to make a choice. I chose to live with my dad because he took care of us most, bought us what we needed, and fed us. I felt most comfortable with him. I don’t know how any mother could disown her child… if she can make a decision to divorce, I don’t see how we cant make a decision to choose which parent to live with. I don’t know what to do anymore. She doesn’t want anything to do with me…

  116. Hello
    I found this article made a lot of sense. I’ve had mother issues for most of my life but never had the strength to break away. She has dumped on me in a big way & is highly emotionally codependent, out of touch with her feelings (thinks there’s absolutely nothing wrong with her) & had it not been for a beautiful boyfriend I had at 34, I would not have had the strength to move out of her house as she had clipped my wings…I feel a lot of anger with this but have compassion for her at the same time. I also feel she has this jealousy or competitive thing with me. Plus she has no boundaries & her motto is: I’m your mother, therefore I can….& has often violated my boundaries .
    Now at 44, l want to move away from the area finally to get away from her. She’s a complicated person but not a bad person. I’v often felt tested to my limit with despair with her obsession with me & as a result, since I’ve moved, I’ve had nightmare psychotic “women” as neighbours who have made my life hell (I’ve moved about 5-6 times & the same similar scenario!). Also, some other similar women unbeknown to me who have I’m in the process of moving again & pray it won’t follow. Funnily, with the current situation I’m in, I saw an Australian busy flower therapist & started taking some Pink Mulla Mulla & had a dream where a clairvoyant told me: all this is happening because of your mother issues…at first, it made no sense but now I can see glimpses of why; especially about: ” having a high tolerance for poor treatment”.
    I’ve suggested to her some ways to heal herself but she thinks there’s nothing wrong with her. Since I’ve distanced myself from her to some extent but find her company extremely irritating & also hate myself for the way I treat her. I think I should just pray for her. & focus on healing my own life.

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  118. Pingback: Why it's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound by Bethany Webster - Healing Mother's Heart

  119. Reblogged this on Legions of Angels and commented:
    Happy Mother’s Day Earth Angels!

    “Benefits of healing the mother wound:
    ◾Being more fluent and skilled in handling your emotions. Seeing them as a source of wisdom and information.
    ◾Having healthy boundaries that support the actualization of your highest and best self
    ◾Developing a solid “inner mother” that provides unconditional love, support and comfort to your younger parts.
    ◾Knowing yourself as competent. Feeling that anything is possible, open to miracles and all good things
    ◾Being in constant contact with your inner goodness and your ability to bring it into everything you do
    ◾Deep compassion for yourself and other people
    ◾Not taking yourself too seriously. No longer needing external validation to feel OK. Not needing to prove yourself to others.
    ◾Trusting life to bring you what you need
    ◾Feeling safe in your own skin and a freedom to be yourself.
    ◾So much more…”

  120. This article is genius! There are 4 or 5 statements that just resound with me and are so very deep. I’ve never heard it put quite so succinctly before. Thank you for sharing what some of us have to live through in silence due to the whole taboo thing. And all too often, like the comment on the top, people immediately jump in to disagree and invalidate your pain with their happiness, as if they are related. You have a great relationship with your kid, great for you. Not really that relevant in a conversation about broken relationships. It feels as though the forceful slapping of the happy face sticker over the empty gas gauge is an attempt to muzzle the conversation.

  121. Pingback: The Spiral of Silence: What Mother’s Day Feels Like as the Bipolar Daughter of a Narcissistic Parent | Dancing On Planet Trillaphon

  122. Unless I missed it, there is nothing in here that speaks to those of us who grew up without a mother. Some of us had mothers that died at a young age, others had mothers who were still alive but totally absent. While I appreciate this article, I find that it is skewed toward one direction. I know you can’t be all things to all people, but it would be nice to acknowledge those of us who have literally had a hole punched in their lives due to the absence of “the mother”.

    Thanks for the write-up though

  123. Pingback: Why it’s Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound by Bethany Webster | Andrea Avari Stevens

  124. When my daughter was born I had a nagging voice in my head tellingly that I needed to speak to someone about the power issues in mine and my mums relationship. I made myself small as a child because of mys needs relating toy dad (absent emotionally as a husband). I feared hurting her so much, that I felt I could never establish a life for myself. It took me untily daughter was 4 to seek help and support. The result of which was an open conversation with mum about my feelings. She expressed her feelings in a letter, which with the help of my partner, I was able to see her immaturity – a characteristic I never perceived in her before. I felt able to hold her outside of myself for the first time in my whole life. I now see her in more vulnerable, rather than powerful ways, and as such have gained more authority in my own mothering abilities. This article has brought me to tears ( in a good way) and I would like my story to empower other struggling mothers to get the help they so deserve. Thank you. Gemma

  125. This information is one of the missing pieces I’ve been searching for to heal my life, my wounds from my parents, and my relationship with my estranged son whom I brought up alone. I knew my mother was deeply wounded in many ways. She was angry, jealous and rejecting towards me for most of my life. She was still going into rages and humiliating me in front of other people in the last few years before she died, when I was in my 50s. I knew that when I hit puberty, she changed toward me in drastic ways, from a somewhat warm and tender mother to a hostile, blaming, raging mother. I used to cry often during adolescence, wanting my real mother back. I knew that she should have gone to college because she was extremely bright, but only her one oldest brother had that privilege because the family was poor, and she felt he wasted the opportunity and resented her loss. I got to college and gradually flunked out; I never could figure out why because I started out doing excellent work there. I just seemed to go unconscious and become unable to function at school. I never could follow my dreams in life. I always returned to office work after sabotaging my attempts to do what I loved. (Mom did office work.) I’m 67, and I feel I have wasted most of my life, and the mother wound is much of the reason, combined with the results of abusive, controlling, rejecting parents. I was half-aware of this wound, but not aware enough to work on healing it. I needed more conceptual tools to help me bring it into full consciousness. I needed validation that this wound is real. You have given me all that.

    I also wonder if I have transferred some of this wound to my son. I think that boys, especially if they are an only child of a single mother, may suffer from aspects of this wound.

    Thank you from my heart for sharing these insights. I will use them to heal.

  126. Wow this was a great article. Spot on and direct and clear. This pin-points exactly what I see and have been seeing what has been, and is in, occurrence with my sister and mother. And this article nails-it-on-the-head. Thanks so much for posting – I feel so much more compassion for having read and digested this crucial information.

  127. Your article perfectly describes what has ailed me all my life. I have worked so hard at letting go of all the hurt, resentment, blame and rage I feel towards both my mother and my daughter. Whenever those feelings well up to the point where I have to verbalise them, I still, at age 60, feel ashamed I haven’t fully processed and overcome them yet. This, I now realise, is largely due to the response of the person I open up to their also being women perpetuating the mother wound. This can be a life long battle.

  128. Great article. I ha d two brothers. One older, one younger. My mother had only sisters. She only wanted sons. I was emotionally abused my whole life. Eventually my younger brother committed suicide from my mother terrible advice on his divorce. I left home at 17 to get married to the boy next door, and next month we have been blissfully married for 40 years. I have NO CONTACT with an 80 year old mother. She has made my older brother and his wife give up their jobs to come and live with her in her decrepid home to LOOK AFTER HER, and I believe they fight all the time. She treats him like a ten year old, and has told him if he leaves she will kill herself. ( Emotional blackmail.) My daughter, my youngest child of 33, ( I have two sons of 38) has moved to the USA with her American husband. We live in South Africa. I’ve done almost everything opposite with her to the way I was brought up, and we’ve had our tough times, as I’ve tried to over compensate, and she has been very spoiled. But are in touch in a minimal way via e-mail. We plan on visiting her in America when she is settled. I adore her. We are at least in touch. My mother has left deep scars on my soul, and my husband has lovingly kissed every one. My mother let her figure go in her 30’s and I at 57 have a models figure. She always made sarcastic comments about how thin I am?? I work at looking like I do. I’ve just let her go. She was too much maintenance, wanted power over everything. But I’ve grown up from that 17 year old. She’s no longer got me in her life. I have my beautiful own family.

  129. Good advice for some… may not be applicable to all… very complex subject! Nevertheless very interesting… thank you for sharing!

  130. I found so much of this makes sense, and i am still in the prossess of healing the mother wound. I at present have a very simple and functional relationship with my mum, but avoiding conflict is always hard. There are meany reasons why these facts are true that i found embodied in this article, and its wonderful to see it written with such clarity and understanding by someone else.

    Its also nice to know my path to move away from the pain she bestowed onto me in many forms, was a right choice.
    i think with time we will be able to become closer again, but i feel unsure how to corrilate her own exceptance with mine, and almost dont want her too as so much about her repulses me.
    Regadless of this, I adore so much about her and feel i do understand her.
    Thank you for creating such a great article and for reading all of my comment! <3 x

  131. I am 68 years old and finally realized why I cannot state my needs in relationships. All of my relationships were with men who were not in touch with there feelings. When I tried to state what I wanted, it was taken as being foolishness or just ignored. I just didnt bring it up again. Resentment followed then anger and then the end of the relationship. I did some soul searching and discovered that my Mom would never let me speak up. It was her way or the highway. My Dad was very passive. I would go in her room when I was angry and cut up clothes in her dresser. I guess she never used them because it was never mentioned to me or my sister. I recently wanted to know why I did that. I am suspecting it was my way to stand up for myself.

    After the end of the last relationship, (three months ago) I realized this and wrote a letter to my Mother (deceased) stating how I felt when she would not listen and that she loved my Sister more than me. I cried so hard I didnt think the tears would stop. I am healing very slowly. So sad I did not discover this sooner.

  132. Pingback: Mother Wounds | Writing My Wrongs

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  134. Hi. I had a very large, terrible mother wound myself. For 30 years it shaped every single decision I made. I took things to the opposite extreme from what she did, but a lot of times to my own detriment. I can identify with every single Cost of the Mother Wound, but not really with much else in the article. Mother is her very own brand of special. I’ve healed though and we’re able to have a relationship somewhat. What I mean is, now I know how to set boundaries and that I’m worth having boundaries. Thank you steps 4,5,8 and 9 :) thanks for the article!

  135. What a tremendous article. I will be re-reading it. I definitely believe I’ve got some mother wound suffering going on. I’ve experienced and continue to experience feelings of not being good enough, fear that I wouldn’t be able to handle actual success in certain areas of my life, and a shrinking mentality: if I just keep quiet and fully embrace my small life (not that I have a bad life–I don’t –but I consciously limit myself ), I will at some point find inner fulfillment. Anger at my mother STILL over a difficult upbringing despite saying over and over that I forgive her. It never occurred to me how our patriarchal society has affected her, or her own mother. But now that I read the article, I see some disturbing patterns between her grandmother’s, her mother’s, her own and my behavior. And I think we exhibited (and still do) these behaviors as a coping mechanism. I think the hardest part for me is this mentality that has been ingrained into me of not wanting to be a victim. Wanting to be strong and not complain and simply BE the empowered woman to show my daughter a good example, while also nurturing her. I feel weak and like a victim when I delve into my own pain and suffering. But I suspect you are correct that if we do not process the pain…if we just try to gloss over it or pretend it doesn’t exist…we cannot really heal those areas and move forward. So then, by avoidance, we subconsciously perpetuate the mother wound.

  136. Thank you for this essay! It reinforces so much I’ve experienced, am experiencing, am working to do.
    My mother said she loved my energy and exuberance from the time I was born and, at the same time, she did all she could to quash them and me. I spent untold thousands in therapy and finally was able to cut the last fibers of the cord that connected me to her in unhealthy (for me and her) ways. They did all the things to me (and her I suspect) that you cite in your essay – self-doubt, self-sabotage, keeping a foot constantly on the brakes so as not to fly too high.
    Although we lived on opposite sides of the country eventually, I could feel how connected we were in the ways that are eternal and pure, too. I think it’s one reason she didn’t die (at 98) until I had found a way to love her without letting her hurt me any more, to hear her run the same old nasty tapes and stay centered in my awareness of who I am and how separate we are. She didn’t heal her wounds but I’ve been in the process for decades of healing the ones I carry from/for her and myself, and for/from the hundreds of generations of women who came before us. I’ll continue in that work as long as I need to.
    My relationship with my own daughter has always been close and mostly free of those toxins. As we learn and grow, we’ve become more and more skillful and naming/ acknowledging and processing ourselves together. through the ones that did affect us both
    We have the gift at the moment of being able to live together as she and I are both on the cusp of new stages of our lives with many decisions to make and paths to forge. Being able to communicate openly and be vulnerable, to show each other new facets of ourselves we haven’t revealed to each other before (or fully realized in ourselves), and to support each other as we move forward is a gift beyond precious.
    Your ability to identify and communicate so clearly and in such detail exactly what that journey is and needs to be is also a great gift to us both.
    Thank you again!


  137. Thank you, Bethany, for a deeply insightful and loving article. You are a gift to all women, AND men. As a boy in the 40’s and 50’s I watched my mother sacrifice herself in all the ways you described and turn her life over to my father. It is clear to me now I felt her pain (it was a “happy” family), and when I looked for the perpetrator, all I could find was my father. As a young boy beginning to identify myself as male, and seing my father as male, I believed it was maleness that caused my mother’s pain and self-abondonment.

    My belief: Males hurt females. As a masculine rescuer, I wanted to save my mother from….maleness. Oops, I was maleness. I was impotent to rescue my mother from myself. As I began my life of dating and relationships and sexuality and one marriage, it was mostly about that rescuing– and continued to be for a very long time.

    Finally I became a professional rescuer, and have been in the healing arts for 25 years…and somewhere along the way I got it! I’m not responsible for the Mother Wound, AND I can take responsiblity for my relationships to make very sure I don’t perpetuate it in women.

    Beloved females, you don’t need rescuing. It sets me free to also grow and reach for my stars and not hold my masculine self back, afraid to hurt wounded females. And, now I get to share these truths with both men and women. Men, we don’t have to pretend to be impotent anymore than women need to pretend to be small. I get to hold a beautiful space of love and acceptance for all of us. Perfect. Let’s ALL dance in joy with this beautiful life. And so it is.

  138. Bethany, thank you so much for this. It addresses the deepest reasons why I , at fifty seven years of age, have never really done much with my life, why my current dreams to change that never get off the starting blocks, and why, with the soul of an adventurer I have had so few adventures. My mother died when I was nineteen and left our difficult, both close and distant, relationship unresolved. I follow a spiritual path that incorporates the divine feminine, as our Inner Mother, and it is She I feel that led me to your page today. The most amazing thing to come from this is, I realised as I read this, I am a gifted writer who has never made much of her work, kept retreading old ground instead of writing new things, and if I work in longhand, as I often do because I cannot think on a computer, I struggle to read my I own handwriting – one very good way of stopping myself succeeding! I was taking notes from the article and my handwriting actually changed, it varies a lot anyway, but it got looser, freer and much easier to read! There is a sense, now, of something very deep that needed addressing having been spoken to, there is light in places that have long been in darkness. Thank you.

  139. Pingback: What makes us explode? Parenting Triggers and the Mother's Wound - Lulastic and the HippyshakeLulastic and the Hippyshake

  140. Little by little, I am learning to develop my inner mother and exploring my mother wound. My mother is in her 80’s. She has never said the words “I love you”. She has felt cold, distant and emotionally unavailable all of my life. Since I left home at age 18, my mother said that she had done her duty to me, never enjoyed being a wife or mother (my dad is/was a severe alcoholic), and that our relationship was over and I need never return home or ask her for anything. “Don’t ever ask for anything” and “make yourself as small and invisible as possible”, “you are a burden” were the main messages I received from her. She has never invited me to her home nor has she ever accepted an invitation to visit me. I think the trauma of being married to my dad and not ever having any kind of support from her own family of origen, hardened her. I don’t feel that she and I ever bonded. She seems incapable of intimacy, closeness, affection. Needless to say, this has had a profound effect on my relationships.I would very much like to have a consultaion with you.

  141. Pingback: The Mother Wound | MoonLightMonologues

  142. Wow quite an article, deeply agree with the benefits of doing the work however I don’t think we can blame the patriarchy entirely. Also I would like to balance the darkness and heaviness of this truth with the other truth that now in our day and age we have many choices and living fully in our power is one of them. As scary as it is, we are responsible for our own lives, mother wound or not, and for our own fulfillment.

  143. I really can’t thank you enough for this article, Bethany- it has confirmed what I’ve known for a while, that I have a lot of work to do on my mother wounds. You have such a gift for writing as well.

    Thank you again- xx

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