About Bethany Webster

Writer, facilitator and what you could call a midwife of the heart.

Parentified Daughters as Female Leaders: Keys to your Emergence

Night Unlocked by Lucy Campbell

One of the many manifestations of the mother wound is the pattern of the “parentified daughter.”

A simple definition of a parentified daughter is when a daughter plays the role of mother for her own mother; the roles are reversed.

Often a parentified daughter must grow up very fast and loses the chance to be a child, as she is expected to manage the emotional and/or physical needs of her mother and/or father. This kind of dynamic sets up the daughter for low-self-esteem, poor boundaries, a deep sense of shame and co-dependent relationships. Often these daughters grow up to be high-achievers and/or emotional care-takers (among other patterns). Major challenges for these women can be self-care, self-compassion and self-love.

Patriarchal values that support the parentification of female children have been in place for centuries; the belief that female children are particularly adept as care-takers, emotional laborers and the dumping ground for disowned family wounds and secrets. Especially in generations of old, mothers and fathers alike felt a certain entitlment to the daughters; having them play out their own attachment wounds and feed upon their empathy, vulnerability and powerlessness. (Many of these patterns are also true for male children.) Often these women talk about wanting to become “real”, as they were regularly made to feel like dolls or that they had to wear a mask of cheerfulness, politeness and gratefulness amidst abusive and dysfunctional family scenarios.

Journey From Darkness Into Light by Rita Loyd

One of the main challenges parentified daughters can have is the sense that struggle, hypervigialnce and striving are necessary to feel safe. This is often due to early trauma related to abandonment and/or invasion. The pattern of hypervigilance can be ingrained very early if the mother’s behavior was  erratic and unpredictable, causing the child to be on constant alert. Until the early trauma is addressed, this hypervigilance and fear is a constant backdrop to adult life and can get projected onto various other areas of life as a way to unconsciously manage it. For example, trauma-related fears can get misplaced onto relationships in the form of co-dependency; or onto careers in the form of money fears, overwhelm and burnout/depletion.

Finding Peace Amongst Chaos by Jessica Joy

The misplaced trauma-related fears can make it seem like the problem lies in these surface, present-day areas, when in fact, they are really related to the attachment wounds of early life. Once these attachment wounds are sufficiently addressed and worked through, the present-day, surface problems begin to lighten and dissolve with time. 

The fear of this aloneness often lives at the heart of many entrenched fears:

  • Fear of being successful
  • Fear of speaking our truth
  • Fear of receiving
  • Fear of being visible

This can manifest in a feeling of “I just need to find the right partner” Or “I just need to make x amount of money.” The panic and anxiety related to these areas usually is much more intense than the situation calls for, indicating that the panic of attachment wounds are stimulated. It can manifest like “I can relax once I buy that house, finish my PhD, have another child, leave my current marriage,” etc.

In this way, the wounded infant child at our core is looking for mother, looking for that “north star” of safety so that it can relax, and feel ease. For parentified daughters who could not feel supported or safe in the emotional environment of their parental home, struggle was mother. In that gaping void where mother should have been, struggle and striving were the only ways that the child could get traction and a sense of control over her environment.

The Impossible Dream of the ‘Good Mother’ Returning…

The Psychic Development by Sergio Oliveira Eugênio

At the heart of many parentified daughters is a narrative, that one day your “real” mother will come for you and everything will be OK. Or it can be something like “One day when my mother is healed, she will finally be able to be a mother to me” or “One day when I am good enough, mother will be here for me.” This is the dream forged in the heart of the parentified child, that her hard work will pay off one day and her mother will finally “come for her” and she will then be able to rest and finally be a child. The amount of energy and effort expended unconsciously is vast and we usually don’t realize this until afterwards, when we can feel the energy returned to us as it is released from the wound.

The key to Freedom: Giving up the “Impossible Dream” 

The impossible dream is a survival mechanism that helps the child survive an emotionally abusive and barren maternal landscape. In this way it is brilliant and effective, yet this adaptation is a major barrier to our fulfillment as adult women.  Until we address this unconscious, powerful dream at the heart of present struggles, we will continue to exhaust ourselves with hypervigilance and projections onto various areas of our lives. Freedom dawns when we can come directly into the center and address the primary scarcity at the core, the primitive, unmet ‘need for mother’ from our earliest days.

Our inner child must take in that “Mommy is not coming…”

The Calling by Patricia Ariel

Once we have the courage and sufficient tools and support to face this early mother wound, we can feel safe enough to allow ourselves to fully feel the pain and grief that was unsafe for us to feel as children: the profound and primordial grief from early moments of abandonment by our mothers.

Surrounded by safe, loving and professional support, a woman healing this early wound must allow her infant self to take in three things in conjunction:

  • Mommy is not coming.
  • I am loved.
  • I am  safe.

The Rose by Christian Schloe

Through this process, we can eventually put down the existential exhaustion that emanates from that constant waiting and longing for mother. We can finally STOP the struggle and striving that has been driving us from our earliest days, which has been projected and transferred to countless people and situations. We can finally rest in our core and put down the impossible dream. Here is where we claim our lifeforce from the mother wound. Giving up the impossible dream is what makes it possible to truly create the life of your dreams, rather than grasping at things in reaction to the mother wound.

As we heal the mother wound, we must create the inner safety to face two kinds of aloneness:

  1. The original traumatic aloneness of our childhoods
  2. The aloneness that may come up as we evolve and diverge from any dysfunctional norms of our families and culture. (And getting support to face any resulting backlash that may happen from family members (including mother)

The first kind of aloneness is the original traumatic aloneness of our childhoods. Facing this loneliness is essential to getting access to our core, authentic self and cultivate bond of inner safety with the inner child. This inner safety is what allows us to feel unstoppable and deeply grounded in our own truth and power.

This second kind of aloneness is necessary for us to face as leaders, to be able to be bold, to be visible and to bring forth new ideas and solutions that are unprecedented. 

Guardian of the Heart by Vera Atlantia

As we heal the original traumatic aloneness of our early childhoods, we gain greater and greater access to our core, authentic, divine self; that divine intelligence that which wants to express itself through us. When we rise it may trigger those around us, mirroring back to them their own unlived dreams or disowned longings. Things that were never our responsibility, but in their pain they may lash out and try to assert that it is your responsibility. Not taking this backlash personally is critical to continuing to move forward in our lives, which IS our responsibility.

We mother ourselves into mastery

I’ve found that the women who are attracted to this work of healing the mother wound are often women who have done an enormous amount of work on themselves and are bright, accomplished and advanced on many levels. All the prior work done before they get to this work is often preparation for approaching that sacred inner space of claiming the inner infant, and being ready to really claim her as your own, her innocence, purity and wisdom. This step is when your inner infant can more fully realize her goodness, deservingness and freedom through your consistent attention and love.

YOU are the (inner) mother you have been waiting for…

At a recent workshop I led, one of the participants discovered the inner narrative “My mother couldn’t be my real mother, because my real mother wouldn’t abuse me. I believed one day my real mother would come for me.” This woman’s big “a-ha”moment was realizing that SHE, as her adult self, IS the mother that her inner child has been waiting for! After a guided meditation, she reported a huge degree of relief and exhilaration in feeling her inner child really take it in that the waiting is over, that even though her actual mother wasn’t capable of meeting her needs, her adult self IS willing and capable of giving her all the love and nurturing that she needs. The joy exuding from her was palpable and profound.

Integrate by Miles Toland

As we effectively mother ourselves, we can more effectively mother the world

As we embody the inner mother, claim our inner infant and care for her, we can then increasingly be more effective mothers to the world, bringing forward the new ideas and solutions that the world is needing. With each tiny step on the journey, we become more capable of embodying the radically healing, revolutionary powers of the Divine Feminine in a very real way.

Circle of Light by Sandra Bierman

An announcement…

I’m happy to announce that I’ve been invited to be a plenary speaker at the Global WIN Conference September in Rome. This conference is considered to be the preferred women’s leadership forum. “A world-class pioneering 3+ day leadership learning extravaganza for company executives, managers, entrepreneurs and artists alike. It inspires possibilities, unequalled learning and mindful networking opportunities – all in a global, authentic and feminine way.”

I’m thrilled that the work of healing the mother wound is being recognized as deeply linked with our ability to be transformational leaders. Check out the website to learn more. Registration will be opening soon! 

And an invitation…

I’m feeling called to reach out to female leaders, change agents, and entrepreneurs who would like to make a quantum leap in their leadership. I invite you to apply for my new Year-long VIP Program for Female Leaders on Healing the Mother Wound.

This is for you if…

  • you already have a six-figure business or leadership role
  • you’ve already done a significant degree of inner work and personal growth
  • you would like to make a quantum leap in your business
  • you are aware that the mother wound is limiting your ability to fully step forward powerfully to your next level
  •  you are ready to receive high-level support to transform how you’re BEING in the world to more effectively create and inspire as an empowered feminine leader

This is not for you if….

  • your business is not off the ground yet
  • you’re not sure what your life’s work is yet
  • you’re unclear about how the mother wound is impacting your life
  • you have only recently embarked on a serious path of spiritual growth

How to apply…

Send an email to bethany@womboflight.com to set up an initial consultation with Bethany via phone or Skype. I can’t wait to connect with you!

Imagine…

A world where women leaders everywhere have transformed their mother wounds and are connecting to one another to build new organizations, communities, and businesses that embody cooperation, inclusiveness, and compassion, lifting up all life.

© Bethany Webster 2016

(Art credits in order of appearance: “Night Unlocked” by Lucy Campbell,“Journey from Darkness into Light” by Rita Loyd, “Finding Peace Amongst the Chaos” by Jessica Joy, “The Psychic Development” by Sergio, Oliveira, Eugenic, “The Calling” by Patricia Ariel,The White Rose” by Christian Schloe, “The Guardian of the Heart” by Vera Atlantia, “Integrate” by Miles Toland, “Circle of Light” by Sandra Bierman)

 

Healing ourselves, Healing the World: Why It’s Essential for Women Leaders to Heal the Mother Wound

Auspicious Debut - acrylic by ©Dana Bloede (via FineArtAmerica)

Become a Living Fire of Transformation for yourself, your community and the world in 2016…

Are you a female leader or entrepreneur? Are you ready to make a quantum leap to your next level?

Are you feeling the call to be a world-class leader, to make a massive contribution through your talents and gifts? Do you want to bring your message to millions? Do you want to create an income and lifestyle that abundantly supports you and your family?

If so, I want to get really clear and tell you the undiluted truth…

I’ve been wanting to say this for a while:

I see way too many women entrepreneurs struggling, not because they don’t have the right business training or the right systems in place, but because they haven’t yet addressed the very foundation upon which their success truly rests: They haven’t yet created the inner environment of safety and self-love necessary to truly lead, innovate and be visible on the world stage. Any unaddressed patterns or beliefs associated with our relationship with our mothers show up in the ways that we hold ourselves back, feel shame, guilt and “not good enough.” No amount of business training will address that.

The most urgent issue today in women’s leadership is the necessity for women leaders to heal the “mother wound.” 

Contrary to what you may hear today in the business space, the most direct line to successful leadership is not to focus on creating on external structures including team, training or systems. While all of that is important, it’s “putting the cart before the horse.” The truth is that all of that is relatively easy to create once you have the inner structures in place first. As one of my mentors always says, “Success in business is 90% mindset and 10% action.”

We are limited in our ability to create and sustain a mindset of success if we are stuck in the painful beliefs and patterns of the mother wound.

Beauty's Knowing by Flora Aube

Addressing this core issue creates positive shifts in every area of your life.

The good news is that the process of healing the mother wound addresses the “roots” of ourselves, the bedrock, the very foundation upon which we see ourselves as women. We can transform this template (with it’s limitations) into the divine blueprint that supports us in flourishing as the divine feminine leaders that we’re meant to be.

Our mothers provided our basic templates for ourselves as women. Whatever limiting beliefs or patterns are still operating from that central relationship with our mothers will continue to hold us back until they are finally addressed. This is because the mother wound deals with primary issues of love, safety and belonging; our most basic needs as humans.

We are descendants of women who have been oppressed and we have to recognize and address that oppression within ourselves if we are to truly lead. 

It all comes down to this predicament: How can we step forward to be the powerful, visible, pioneering women we are being called to be—when the patriarchal messages we received from family and culture tell us that we will experience certain loss and rejection if we do? Healing the mother wound is precisely what allows us to detox from these early messages of shame and limitation so that we can fully emerge as unstoppable leaders capable of creating large-scale change for the benefit of all.

The Messenger

Our success will always be limited to the degree that we avoid this core issue in our lives as women. This is because our mothers were our first models, thus they inevitably and unconsciously passed along their own limiting beliefs, often unintentionally and in an effort to keep us safe. The way our mothers treated us becomes internalized as the way we treat ourselves. It’s time for us to see that this avoidance of the mother wound is essentially a way that we postpone stepping into our power.

My story as an entrepreneur…

I spent years avoiding this issue in hopes that it would just go away. I truly believed that if only I filled myself with more credentials, read more books, and received more training then I wouldn’t have to actually look at the painful patterns related to my mother. I avoided the mother wound at all costs. Yet I found out eventually that once I did look closely at challenges in my life, they all eventually traced back to the painful patterns and limiting beliefs that originated in my relationship with my mother. It wasn’t until I gathered the courage and support I needed to face the mother wound directly that everything changed. 

I spent years doing this inner work and really focusing on this issue. I’m not going to candy-coat it, it was really hard. Yet I had an unexpected, miraculous realization along the way: the mother wound is not something we need to avoid or feel shame about, it is a doorway to our full power and potential. You see, there is a deeper wound in the mother wound, a wound with life itself. When this deeper wound is sufficiently healed, your life takes on a whole new harmonious flow, a higher baseline of love, fulfillment and joy. Something bigger is guiding you and moving through you.

Nothing compares to the relief and confidence that comes with having faced your deepest pain. You become truly safe. That is the true ground you can stand on, the structure needed to hold your vastness.

Prayers for Peace by Flora Aube

Through the process of elimination, I found that healing the mother wound is the quality, in-depth work that is necessary to create true, lasting success on every level. In only 9 months after starting my business, I had created a global following, a six-figure income and a fast-growing community of readers that I cherish and serve consistently with quality content. The greatest exhilaration is seeing my core wound transform from a source of pain into a source of wisdom that serves other women.

My healing journey continues, and now, years later, it’s more about being loyal to that luminous core within, that which wants to express itself through me. That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing this message with you: The mother wound holds precisely the gifts, shifts, breakthroughs that propel you into greater service as a feminine leader. I’m so happy to offer you a roadmap to heal the mother wound….to make it much easier a process than it was for me.

Not healing the mother wound is enormously expensive and painful on many levels:

  • Not charging what your worth
  • Feeling stuck, competitive with other women
  • Not feeling safe enough to bring your best work forward
  • Self-sabotage when close to a breakthrough

The greater the outer impact you want to create, the greater the inner shifts that must occur first. If there is one single thing you can do in 2016 to step into your authentic power and leadership, it is to heal the mother wound. Be of service from a place of overflowing abundance, not depletion or deprivation. Let’s be honest; as leaders we have a duty to NOT perpetuate the mother wound in our relations with clients, colleagues and the communities we steward. Taking the step to heal your mother wound is a sacred act of integrity and deeply honoring of those you serve. 

%22Rapture of the Heart%22 Flora Aube

How can healing the mother wound enhance your life and business?

  • Ability to take emotional risks, being open and radically honest
  • Owning one’s physical presence with confidence and power
  • A greater capacity to experience pleasure and welcome good things
  • The ability to hold space for others to know their deeper truths
  • Inner safety necessary to truly innovate and bring forward new ideas and information
  • Ability to be imperfect without self-recrimination
  • Easily make decisions from a place of inner alignment
  • Ability to experience abundance as part of your own nature, not something outside of you
  • Confidently set boundaries that support your highest self
  • Break the illusory link between your mother’s suffering and your success
  • Really take in that your greatest service to others is living your best life possible
  • Cease care-taking and over-functioning for others, creating space for yourself to flourish at the highest level and space for others to own their own journey.
  • Create an inner mother within you who unconditionally supports you
  • Feel that it’s truly safe to succeed and flourish on every level
  • Bring forth a whole new level of depth and power to your clients and those you serve

Create the Inner Foundation necessary for you to reach extraordinary heights as a female leader! 

The truth is that the world needs you…

The rise of the divine feminine in our world is not going to emerge because we have more women in leadership positions. That alone is not enough. It will be because we have the caliber of women in leadership who have done the work necessary to lead from a place where they radiate authentically from within, women who have sufficiently broken the patriarchal chains within them, women who are living the new paradigm NOW.

This work is not for female leaders who…

  • are looking for a quick fix
  • want to make money as fast as possible
  • unwilling to look at their stuff
  • unwilling to walk their talk
  • unwilling to be uncomfortable for the sake of their own transformation
  • unwilling to invest time and space in their lives for inner work
  • not interested in investing in themselves to create long-term success
  • are primarily concerned with image and appearance

This work is for you if you are a female leader who…

  • holds integrity as paramount. You’re deeply committed to lead from a place of authenticity, presence, truth and empowerment in the ways that you interact with clients, colleagues and your community.
  • is done with the “push” of the patriarchal ideals of hard work, struggle and striving and ready to step into ease, flow and magnetic abundance.
  • have seen the same patterns replicate themselves over and over again in your life and business related to beliefs that “I’m not good enough” and “there’s something wrong with me.”
  • have already created some degree of success with your business and are ready to step into your next level and know that there is some deep inner work needed in order to vibrate at that higher level.
  • is dogged and determined in your pursuit of truth and tenacious in your commitment to embody your truth

Does this resonate with you? If so, join me! 

I’m offering a brand-new, free webinar on Wednesday, January 13th on ‘The Importance of Healing the Mother Wound for Female Entrepreneurs.”

Click here to sign up and receive a free download of “12 Ways the Mother Wound shows up for Female Entrepreneurs and 12 Benefits to Healing it.”

WY2_8171-v2

During this 75-minute call I’ll be covering the following:

• What the “mother wound” is on the personal, cultural and spiritual levels
• Why the mother wound the single biggest obstacle for female entrepreneurs
• The #1 thing that determines success that can only come through healing the mother wound
• Why the mother wound has been such a taboo in women’s leadership
• Myths related to the mother wound that keep women leaders stuck
• Tools that you can use immediately after the call to begin addressing the mother wound and clear the way for your success

I’ll also be introducing my new Group Coaching Program on Healing the Mother Wound and VIP Program for Female Leaders.

You don’t want to miss this!  Sign up today. Make 2016 your most transformational and successful year yet. Flourish as a Feminine Leader in 2016! 

Art credits in order of appearance: “Auspicious Debut” by Dana Bloede, “Beauty’s Knowing” by Flora Aube, “The Messenger” by Flora Aube, “Prayers for Peace” by Flora Aube, “Rapture of the Heart” by Flora Aube, Photo of Bethany by Wendy Yalom

The Power of Owning Your “Bigness”

Moving Into Light by Kate Bedell

Throughout history we have been given the message that an acceptable woman is a “small” woman. In response, we’ve been trying to squeeze ourselves into a smaller and smaller forms to appear attractive and palatable to the male cultural gaze.

It’s important to de-bunk this myth. There’s no payoff for being small.

Throughout time we have been asked to be “small” in so many ways:

  • In our physical bodies: wearing corsets, binding our feet, wearing high heels, trying to be physically “slim” and lean at all costs.
  • In our personalities: to be quiet, to be polite, to say what people want to hear, to “look the part,” to be tolerant of poor treatment, to carry the burdens of others.
  • In our behaviors: to perpetuate the comfortable illusions of others at our own expense, to display the behaviors and traits that don’t threaten the insecurities of those around us.

It is precisely the tension arising from “trying to be other than we are” that creates deep suffering and perpetuates the female “pain body.” Our oppression lies in the splitting within ourselves; the inner rejections, and the ways we’ve let this tension control how we view ourselves.

The Spark of Hope by Katie Hoffman

The oppression of falseness and the hunger for the real

The “myth of smallness” is that if we could only become small enough, then we will finally get the love, approval and support that we deserve. We pour all this energy in meeting impossible standards of appearance and behavior. The truth is that we will never be “small” enough for those that protest our “largeness.” The reason why is because their need for smallness has nothing to do with us personally; It is a projection of the limitations they fear within themselves.

Largeness doesn’t necessarily translate to being more extraverted. It means different things to different people. It simply means being more authentic and allowing the full spectrum of yourself to be revealed, even when it bumps up against cultural norms.

We must refuse to believe the lie that we are most loveable in our attenuated, abbreviated forms. 

Chrysalis by Erica Art

The danger represented by the “largeness” of the female form is a symbol for something much deeper than our body size or the volume of our voices.

This largeness represents something inherently powerful in us as women…

  • our large capacity for expression
  • our large capacity to bring change
  • our large capacity to be powerful
  • our large capacity to love
  • our large capacity to heal and transform
  • our large capacity to give birth and give death
  • our large capacity to feel our emotions and extract wisdom from them
  • our large capacity for connection to our bodies and the inner messages

See all external attempts to keep you small for what they really are…

  • a fear of your power
  • a fear of change
  • a fear of the unknown
  • a fear of abandonment
  • a fear of their own powerlessness
  • ignorance of their own possibilities and potential

These fears are not something we need to fight, judge or fix in other people, but simply something to accept as their responsibility to heal while we go on embodying the full truth of who we are. Their ignorance is not our responsibility to fix.

Clouds Print by Michael Creese

Being your full, un-attenuated self is a form of holding space for others to step into their own “bigness” as well.

Many of us grew up watching our mothers wither under the myth of smallness, perhaps teaching us to be small too, in an effort to help us survive.  We may have watched our mother’s failed attempts to be seen as valuable and worthy under the myth of smallness. This can be heartbreaking to witness.

Many of us have felt enormous compassion for the ways our mothers’ value was unseen by the larger culture and society. We may have felt that we owe our mothers somehow for their invisibility. This feeling of “owing” is seductive because it feels like it will “put flesh on our mother’s bones” but the tragedy is that it simply cannot. Our mothers have to do their own inner work to become healed and empowered. No matter how much we love other people, the responsibility for their own healing lies within them.

Many of us stayed small because we didn’t want to get approval from the culture that has hurt our mothers so much. 

The Dollmaker by Katie Hoffman

In de-bunking the “myth of smallness” and breaking the inter-generational enmeshment that inner deprivation fosters, there emerges a new tension; the tension of needing to not over-function for our mothers. There arises the necessary betrayal of refusing to be our mother’s primary source of nourishment. Healing the mother wound addresses this “emotional cannibalism” that patriarchy creates between mothers and daughters. We can’t heal them by refusing to own our own lives. This realization opens up the luminous possibility that adult daughters and mothers can become peers, equals or “sisters” on the path of conscious awakening.

We must internally bless our bigness, even when others reject it…

Any woman who desires to be whole and healed may very easily be labeled as “too much” “too intense” or “too big” in this culture. You are probably “too big” for most people. It’s OK. Own it! Not in a defensive, oppositional way, but in simply BEING who you are without apology, without shame and without guilt. Find every opportunity to occupy every cell of who you truly are with joy and love. 

Heart Chakra by Marcia Snedecor

We must see the connection between our “largeness” and the largeness of possibilities for all beings. 

There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not “too big” or “too much.” All those labels were given to us. They never originated with us.

Labels are reflections of the limits of those creating them. Those labels only reflect the limitations of society, not the flaws in human women. They are attempts to control and distract us from the source of our power that lies within us, a source of nourishment that once discovered and owned, makes us unstoppable.

Realizing our complicity in the myth of smallness is essential to vanquishing it

To really give ourselves permission to fully “occupy our largeness” we must be willing to forego the payoffs of our culture that rewards us for being small and non-threatening. Let us praise authenticity wherever we see it, in ourselves and in each other. For example, let’s refrain from praising each other for when we lose weight in an effort to meet the standard of beauty, but instead praise each other when we look happy, healthy, and vibrant. Let’s stop rewarding our silences, our superficial niceties and exhausting standards. Let’s instead praise heartfelt vulnerability, the bold risk to be real, and the courage to risk rejection for the sake of what is true.

Revelation by Cindy Elsharouni

As pioneers we must bear the tension of being ourselves in a world that may not be ready to accept us in moments. That’s OK. We can find support in men and women who do “get it” and are actively on the path of living as their real selves.

Our imperfections are interpreted as an assault only by those who haven’t done the necessary inner work to begin to love themselves. Your “imperfections” are expressions of the very things that make you REAL and therefore loveable, reachable, connect-able. Your imperfections are treasures.

You are an abundant, complex, multi-faceted being. Consciously owning this inner abundance is a joy unlike any other. This is wealth. 

The Hummingbird by Clancy Cavnar

We all want to be loved for who we really are, not for the mask that the culture says we should wear. The love we receive in exchange for wearing false masks is an empty transaction; a hollow sentiment that never truly nourishes us. It perpetuates the inner deprivation women have been living with for centuries.

We must risk being seen for who we truly are because the love we receive for being real is the only kind of love that truly is truly nourishing.

The more fiercely we love and approve of ourselves, the more we give the message to others that their real self is welcomed and safe to be seen as well. As we do this we can directly recognize the abundance of space there is for ALL of us to flourish! 

We realize this by claiming it, not by waiting for others to give it to us. Our fierce claiming of our right to take up space is what creates the space. This space is waiting for each of us to claim it. WE get to decide who and what we are, no one else.

Casting the Net by Joyce Huntington

© Bethany Webster 2015

(Art credits in order of appearance: “Moving into Light” by Kate Bedell, “The Spark of Hope” by Katie Hoffman, “Chrysalis” by EricA Art, “Clouds” by Michael Creese, “The Dollmaker” by Katie Hoffman, “Heart Chakra” by Marcia Snedecor, “Revelation” by Cindy Elsharouni, “The Hummingbird” by Clancy Cavnar,” “Casting the Net” by Joyce Huntington)

If you’d like to receive my personal support in moving beyond the mother wound and into your full potential and success, please click here to sign up for a free, 30-minute Clarity session where I can help you get clear on how the mother wound is impacting you and create a roadmap to get you to the other side. I look forward to connecting with you!  ~Bethany

Ways to Work with me: 

Click here to download my FREE e-book on “Transforming the Inner Mother” and sign up for my newsletter.

 

 

 

Navigating “No-Contact”: When Estrangement from Your Mother is the Healthiest Choice

Suhair Sibai

The decision to go no-contact with a family member is a deeply personal one.

For some of us, healing the mother wound is possible while staying connected to your mother. In this scenario the healing actually creates a new, deeper connection between mother and daughter, which is a beautiful thing to witness. I’ve seen it happen and it’s truly inspiring.

But for some of us, it’s impossible to heal ourselves and remain in connection with our mothers. 

It’s still considered taboo to be estranged from one’s family; especially to be estranged from one’s mother. Sometimes the distance can be brief and short-term. For others, the estrangement can be permanent. It takes enormous strength and fortitude to follow through with this.

Clarity By Katie Hoffman

What can lead to estrangement?

There are so many reasons why people make this choice. But a core theme leading to estrangement is realizing that your mother’s dysfunctional behavior has demanded an enormous cost to your mental/emotional well-being and you’re simply no longer willing to pay that cost.

I believe that this isn’t something chosen in a flippant, cavalier way, but rather it is often a choice made after years of trying every other possible avenue to preserve the connection and see it evolve to a higher level. At a certain point, you may reach a crossroads where the cost is too much and you have to make a choice.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do in your entire life. And it may be the single most empowering thing as well.  

Duino by Katie Hoffman

Families are complicated systems. When one person stops playing their usual role in the family, the system will usually experience some degree of disequilibrium or chaos. Conflict can serve to transform the system to a higher level, if the family members are willing and open to grow and learn. Unfortunately, sometimes, in an attempt to resist change, the family attacks the person who is wanting to grow. That person has the choice to stay and suffer the toxicity or to heal and leave the unhealthy system. The choice to terminate contact is often made when it’s clear that it’s impossible to heal while remaining in that family system.

Daughters often play the roles of family mediator, scapegoat, keeper of secrets, or emotional caretaker, etc. If a daughter on a path of growth and wishes to evolve beyond her typical role in the family, (perhaps by being more empowered, having firmer boundaries, being less tolerant of poor treatment, etc.)  the degree of chaos that ensues is indicative of how dysfunctional the family system is as a whole.

If the family members are each relatively healthy, stable and open, the family may be able to find a new equilibrium without much chaos. However, if the family members are deeply wounded or traumatized themselves, a daughter’s evolution can be perceived as deeply threatening to the family system.  This chaos can be deeply unsettling and extremely hard to navigate. Support is essential. 

In my Cocoon Again by Pegi Smith

In an unconscious attempt to maintain equilibrium and resist change, family members may launch attacks against the daughter. A common and virulent form of backlash is “Pathologizing” the daughter: Seeing the conflict as a result of some form of pathology in the daughter. The message is “Your unwillingness to continue in the family system in your established role indicates that there is something deeply wrong with you.” This shame-based narrative abdicates the mother and other family members from honestly examining their own behavior and taking responsibility. The daughter’s level of mental stability, her sexual activity, her past mistakes, everything about her may be openly questioned, that is, except the role of the mother in the conflict. 

It’s amazing how vehemently people resist looking at their stuff and the lengths they will go to remain in denial of it, including ostracizing their own child. This is actually an unconscious attempt to resist change by projecting all the conflict or “badness” onto the person initiating transformation of the family system. Ultimately, this is not personal at all. This is what happens when people who have not been dealing with their inner life become confronted with their disowned pain through a catalyzing event, like a woman in the family growing beyond the predominant dynamics that have kept the family in a stable state for generations.

We can’t save our mothers. We can’t save our families. We can only save ourselves. 

Katie Hoffman

You don’t need your mother (or other family members) to understand you in order to fully heal.

A heartbreaking thing that happens is realizing that your mother/family are simply unable or unwilling to understand you. No matter how much you explain or how many attempts to convince them of where you’re coming from, it goes nowhere. It’s like you’re speaking two different languages. They may be unconsciously invested in NOT understanding you, because it poses too much of a threat to their deeply held beliefs and values. Understanding you may cause a seismic shift to the very foundation upon which they’ve built their identities and worldview. It’s a painful thing to realize and yet it helps to create a singularity of spirit within you. It becomes clear that your own understanding of yourself must be enough. Your validation of yourself becomes primary. You realize you can be OK even if others do not understand you.

After you go no contact, your life may begin to improve in many areas. I’ve seen chronic illnesses clear up, neurotic fears vanish and life-long patterns dissolve. In fact, sometimes the challenge then becomes enduring the pleasure of your own life. With each new level of increased prosperity, increased intimacy, joy, freedom, you are reminded that your family is not there to share it with you. It’s particularly at these horizons where we may experience the turbulence of grief. There’s nothing to do but feel the grief that comes with that and allow yourself to move forward.

Immortal Age by Akiane Kramarik

The grief doesn’t mean you’ve made the wrong choice. It’s actually a sign of health and healing. 

Keep yourself grounded in the new paradigm that gave you the strength to leave the toxic connection. If you don’t, you could get pulled back through guilt or shame. It’s so important to get lots of support and give yourself time and space to process all the emotions that come with this choice. Ground yourself in exactly why you’re doing this and use it as an opportunity to to birth you into a new paradigm in your life.

Estrangement as launch pad to Empowerment

You may discover something deeply profound that many people never do: You realize that you can survive your mother’s rejection of you. This can birth a level of freedom and determination within you that may initiate quantum leaps in your life. It can spur a fierce commitment to truth and carve out a radical integrity that extends to other areas of your life. It stokes a fire of truth within you that has always been there, but now it can blaze fully. You feel your own source within.

Forgotten Songs by Katie Hoffman

Grief, grief and more grief gives way to ….. FREEDOM

Grief may arise every time you go to a new, higher level that my mother/family have never been. It may feel like a bone-deep grief, almost tribal or ancestral, a grief of having to go forward without them. And it gets easier and easier with time. I find the more we lovingly allow ourselves to grieve, the more space is created for magic, beauty and joy in our lives. There is something deeply sacred about the grief that comes from making this choice. It can serve as an opportunity to deeply connect to your truth and to embodying it at the deepest level. We must make meaning from this loss and use it to enhance our lives in new ways. That’s the key to long-term healing.

Darlene Jones

Your integrity becomes the solid foundation for the rest of your life.

“You cannot get poor enough to help poor people thrive or get sick enough to help sick people get well. You can only uplift from a position of strength and clarity and alignment.”~Abraham 

It’s OK to walk away from toxic people in your life, including toxic people in your family.

Healing inter-generational wounds can be a lonely path. But with the space created, soulful connections will come into your life. Our attachment needs are the most powerful need we have as humans. To face this level of estrangement is to confront the depth of your pain, of your humanity, and to claim the full the value of your own life. Our greatest fear is that we will be alone. But the aloneness that we fear already happened in the trauma of our families. I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone and you will find your soul family in time, people who are capable of seeing and valuing you for who you are.

Estranged daughters are spiritual warriors

In a world where women are predominantly expected to stay silent, to cater to the needs of others and where the darker side of mothers is not acknowledged, the experience of estrangement can be an initiation into a new level of awareness that many people never get the opportunity to experience. A space is cleared to allow your light to shine at full radiance. What will you do with this light blazing within you? 

Estranged daughters are finding each other, creating a new mother line; a connection of authenticity, realness and truth in each other that supports the arising consciousness in all. I’ve seen instant camaraderie between women who have walked this path. There’s more of us out there than many people  realize. You’re not alone!

Wish by Christian Schloe

You have to do what is right for you. Trust yourself.

Estrangement doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t love your family. It doesn’t mean you’re not grateful for the good things they gave you. It just means you need space to live your own life the way you want to live it. Women who feel no choice but to go no-contact with their dysfunctional mothers create the break because it’s the only way to send the powerful message that: “Mother, your life is your own responsibility as my life is mine. I refuse to be sacrificed on the altar of your pain. I refuse to be a casualty of your war. Even if you are incapable of understanding me, I must go my own way. I must choose to truly live.”

Healing the Mother Wound is the Process of Being Initiated into your own Sovereignty as a Woman

Our patriarchal culture fosters a dysfunctional enmeshment between mothers and daughters. Our culture does not offer women a ritual for the natural developmental step of separating from their mothers and being initiated into their own lives. (This doesn’t exist for men either.) Healing the Mother Wound is the process that provides that necessary initiation, whether you are still in contact with your mother or not. My dream is that someday in the future, the mother wound will be very rare as more women detox from the patriarchal messages of “less than” and both mothers and daughters feel permission to own their full power and potential, connected in the heart while being free, separate individuals. The daughter’s individuality won’t pose a threat to the mother, because she’ll have love and appreciation for her herself as much as for her daughter.

As you heal the mother wound, you create a new world for yourself, for the women of the future and for the earth itself. 

Between Two Worlds by Vian Sora

© Bethany Webster 2015

Art credits in order of appearance: “Under Syrian Skies” by Suhair Sibai, Clarity by Katie Hoffman, “Duino” by Katie Hoffman, “In my Cocoon Again” by Pegi Smith, Title Unknown by Katie Hoffman, Immortal Age by Akiane Kramarik “Forgotten Songs” by Katie Hoffman, Title Unknown by Darlene Jones, “Wish” by Christian Schloe, “Between Worlds” by Vian Sora

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If you’d like to receive my personal support in moving beyond the mother wound and into your full potential and success, please click here to sign up for a free, 30-minute Clarity session where I can help you get clear on how the mother wound is impacting you and create a roadmap to get you to the other side. I look forward to connecting with you!  ~Bethany

Ways to Work with me: 

Click here to download my FREE e-book on “Transforming the Inner Mother” and sign up for my newsletter.

Raw, Open and Real: Moving From Traumatic Aloneness to Universal Oneness

In Another Dimension by Christine Von Lossberg

As humans, we have two primary needs; the need for attachment and the need for authenticity, according to physician and author, Gabor Maté. In dysfunctional families, a child will typically suppress his or her authenticity needs to preserve the attachment with the primary caregiver, typically the mother.

The primary human need is attachment. Left unaddressed, our attachment wounds will persist into our adult lives and may cause us to unconsciously arrange our lives around not triggering the emotional memory of traumatic aloneness. This is what can keep us stuck in relationships, jobs or situations that we need to move on from.

The need to suppress authenticity to preserve attachment creates an “either/or” mindset that can stay with us and get projected onto other parts of our lives. The healing comes from mending this split so that both authenticity needs AND attachment needs can be abundantly met within oneself, and subsequently in our relationships. This is precisely the work that I do with helping people to heal the mother wound, transforming the “either/or” into a “both/and” that births you into a new way of Being.

Reconnection by Michelle Oravitz

This reunion in the self opens us up to the possibility of perceiving an even larger “and;” the larger bond of love and belonging that pervades all life. 

Authenticity needs: The experience of having our real selves being seen, accepted and validated, including our…

  • flaws and limitations
  • failures and mistakes
  • quirks and idiosyncrasies
  • gifts and talents
  • greatness and uniqueness

Attachment needs: The needs for love, safety and belonging including…

  • being seen and responded to with kindness
  • being emotionally held
  • feeling of belonging to a dyad and larger groups
  • physical touch and affection
  • being supported and understood
  • feeling emotionally safe

Andrei Remnev

We don’t have many models for what it looks like to persevere on this healing journey and many stop prematurely. A crucial piece is the willingness to be present with our own pain. As humans it’s natural to want to avoid pain, but usually it’s the avoidance of pain that is more painful than the actual pain. That’s why support is so essential. The wound begins in relationship and the ultimate healing occurs in relationship as well.

Without accompanying resistance of mental storyline, emotional pain can be deeply cleansing, clarifying and liberating. 

When the pain of that original aloneness of childhood is contacted and felt, there’s arises a powerful sense of ground. When we can stand conscious and not turn away from our own emotional pain, we are standing on the firm ground of self. There is immense relief in realizing that you are feeling the deep pain of the core wound and you are alive! The emotional pain which you thought may destroy you has only birthed you into the realization of your vastness, in seeing that you are larger than any painful emotion.

Child with Orange by Vincent van Gogh

Do you remember your little child self? The one who conversed with bees, flowers and butterflies? By facing the pain within you, you re-claim the little child waiting for you within. Your presence in the pain opens a door, where her innocence, vitality, playfulness, creativity, laughter and wisdom can flow into your life again.

In that moment of staying conscious in the face of your own pain, it’s possible to glimpse a larger you, the you that is part of all things. And to sense it’s mind-shattering compassion that has always already loved you in every nook and cranny of your life.  You can see that nothing has ever been separate from it’s love.

Lyudmila Romanova

The attachment wound (or mother wound) can be a portal to realizing a deeper, indestructible “attachment” bond that interconnects all life.

By being willing to stay conscious in the pain of it, a veil is lifted.

Every bit of emotional pain that you courageously face births you into a more robust expression of The Real. 

Over time, we realize that the ultimate security does not come from what the mind tells us, but from living from that raw, open, real core of presence within us; that core “ground” that is revealed in the center of our own pain. Over time, perhaps a lifetime, we become increasingly accepting that safety does not come from struggle or mental activity, but from a raw, open, not-knowing that can only guide us moment to moment. In this way, we become more child-like, with the surrender of a child but with the depth and wisdom that is carved out by the radical integrity that comes with facing our own pain.

The Flame of my Heart's Passion by Carol Bridges

This radical integrity is the foundation from where we build our lives of authenticity and service to the whole. 

It’s a paradox that by entering our deepest aloneness; the traumatic aloneness of childhood, we have the chance to see that we’ve never been separated from the Divine. The whole world then becomes our secure base for exploration. This safety is so vast, this embrace is eternal. You realize that you are free.

Life becomes a series of infinite sheddings down to the Real. 

Metabolizing your own pain makes you capable of embodying a more potent level of truth. As you embody this, you are serving those around you in a profound way.

Tamara Tavenier

Your deep authenticity, your originality, your eccentricity, is the most potent and exhilarating expression of the Divine. Ironically, the very things that we had to suppress as children become the very vehicles that the Divine seeks to express itself through us.

The truth is that your own presence is one with the presence of the Divine. 

You don’t have to do or be anything in particular for this to be true. You already are and always have been infinitely accepted and thoroughly loved by the divine. This becomes self-evident in your direct experience over time. At first it’s in glimpses, but those glimpses begin to expand until it becomes your primary mode of being.

Feeling safe in your originality and owning your sovereignty

The painful emotions of the mother wound serve to help you shed the layers of dysfunctional adaptations from your childhood and to reach the living core of fire within you…and to increasingly walk in the world as the light that frees.

Just Dare by Shiloh Sophia McCloud

In this way, the mother wound is a teacher. As we heal it, it transforms from a source of pain into a source of wisdom. Facing the pain doesn’t annihilate us as the ego would purport, but instead births us into a new relationship with life, from separation to oneness. That presence within us, the “Inner Beloved,” is inviting us in each moment into deeper communion with it, to hand over our masks, our false-ness, our reliance on the mind, our defenses and live life from an un-defended intimacy. 

When a new level of pain presents itself to be processed, we can increasingly see it as the “Inner Beloved” beckoning to us to merge with it in the fire of truth, to shed down yet another layer into oneness with the all, to realize the vast embrace where absolutely nothing is left out.

On a deeper level, the mother wound is a wound with life itself. And as we heal it on the personal level, we step into something universal. As we detox from the cultural and familial messages, a space is created within us to radiate powerful energies that benefit all life.

Night Nest by Robin Urton

How do we live this every day? 

The truth is shattering to the ego. It is counter to everything that our culture has taught us. In fact, our culture is designed to distract us from the very investigations that are necessary to realize this in our direct experience. It takes courage and radical integrity to really LIVE this. But there is nothing more nourishing or exhilarating.

From the Real, our most powerful place is one of the un-glamorous facing of our feelings in each moment. 

  • Facing our pain, taking the time to process, investigate and gain insight
  • Seeing our adaptive defenses and choosing to remain open
  • Embracing our places of shame and actively practicing self-love
  • In terms of productivity, act only when inspired, otherwise rest
  • Scrutinizing our moments of falseness and choosing to be real
  • Working each moment to not flee into concepts of “final, done, destination”

The flute Print by Yuliya Glavnaya

Reliance on the Real

  • Overflowing feelings of love and compassion for oneself and others
  • Becoming increasingly comfortable with not-knowing and finding your home in each moment
  • Exhilaration of being alive and in the mystery of life
  • Magical occurrences and synchronicities
  • An astounding level of clarity and aliveness
  • A profound sense of wonder and awe
  • Periodic arising of “traumatic residues” that come up to be felt and dissolve into presence.

When inner safety is firmly established, within the self and the Self, that’s when a wall comes down between the inner and the outer. (Just noticed a synchronicity that I’m writing this while in Berlin, a city in which a wall that separated the city into two parts came down.)

The mother wound is a potent access point to discover the deeper truth of who we are. And our willingness to be present with the pain of the mother wound is our biggest ally on the healing journey. The pain can be a portal into the bliss of self-realization.

Moon Woman Three by DagmarB

© Bethany Webster 2015

Art credits in order of appearance: “In Another Dimension” by Christine von Lossberg, “Reconnection” by Michelle Oravitz, title unknown by Anfrei Remnev, “Child with Orange” by Vincent van Gogh, title unknown by Lyudmila Romaneva, “The Flame of my Heart’s Passion” by Carol Bridges, unknown title by Tamara Tavenier, “Just Dare” by Shiloh Sophia McCloud, “Night Nest” by Robin Urton, “The Flute” by Yuliya Glavnaya, “Moon Woman 3” by Dagmarb

Related articles: 

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If you’d like to receive my personal support in moving beyond the mother wound and into your full potential and success, please click here to sign up for a free, 30-minute Clarity session where I can help you get clear on how the mother wound is impacting you and create a roadmap to get you to the other side. I look forward to connecting with you!  ~Bethany

Ways to Work with me: 

Click here to download my FREE e-book on “Transforming the Inner Mother” and sign up for my newsletter.

Women and Emotional Labor: Putting Down the Weight

The Sacred Art of Self Love by Katherine Skaggs

I’m increasingly convinced that the world will be healed by women’s ability to feel the full scope of OUR OWN feelings. 

The paradox is that feeling the truth of our own feelings involves refusing to feel the feelings of others for them. In other words, it involves refraining from over-functioning and taking responsibility for those who are unwilling to do their own inner work.

It’s up to us to see the ways that we emotionally over-function and refrain from doing so.

Traditionally, women’s work has not only been the cooking, cleaning and caring for children. Traditional women’s work has also involved bearing the emotional labor of relationships; cleaning up emotional messes, starting the uncomfortable conversations, feeling the burden of silences, living with things unsaid, burying unspoken needs, being the projection screen of disowned pain, wading through passive-aggressive slights silently, etc. The problem is that men have been traditionally taught to devalue and see emotional labor as purely women’s work, when in reality emotional intelligence and communication skills are things that both partners must shoulder equal responsibility for.

Women have historically been the “cleaning ladies” of the culture, the proverbial of trash bin of unwanted emotions: expected to feel them for others and then blamed for expressing the very emotions that others refuse to feel. It’s time to put down this role. We are clogging ourselves with material that blocks us from our own power and clarity. And we are protecting people from their own painful truths; the very truths that will free them.

Eyes of Blues by Pegi Smith

I recently came across this powerful article that defines the concept of Emotional Labor and the ways it impacts women’s lives. I’ve also re-visited Audre Lorde’s powerful essay “The Erotic as Power” which explores how women are “psychically milked” in this culture, because our capacity for feeling is used in ways that benefit those in power (usually men) but denigrated when we own it for ourselves. (I highly recommend checking these out.)

It’s time to dismantle the false ethics of patriarchy that keeps women stuck in the role of emotional laborers.

For women, patriarchy conflates emotional labor with a false sense of ethics. It’s this false ethics that causes us to perpetuate our own internalized oppression. We are taught in various ways that emotional labor is an innate skill of women and if we don’t do it, the implication is that we’re not a “good person” or a “proper woman.” This leads us to feeling suspicious of ourselves if we feel fed up with it. There is a tendency to feel shame when we approach our thresholds for carrying the emotional weight for others.

Painting the Tao- Paradoxical Unity by Kay Kemp

You’re not being a “bad person” when you refuse to carry the emotional weight for others.

We’ve been taught to pride ourselves on the levels of our endurance to bear the responsibility for the emotional aspects of our relationships.  The willingness to put up with it is rooted in a sense of scarcity; the notion that the crumbs we’re receiving are the best we can get. In many ways healing the mother wound is about the fundamental movement from scarcity to abundance.

Often our most potent resistance is to dropping the emotional labor we do for our mothers. 

One of the most heartbreaking conversations I frequently have is when women tell me that they’re completely exhausted by feeling responsible for their mothers’ happiness. And when they consider ceasing to play that role, they question their value as a person, they feel “bad” for even acknowledging their exhaustion from it. Playing this role grinds you down to the core. (Nothing you do for your mother will be enough because what she is seeking is impossible to get from anywhere except from within herself. It’s a dead end.) Refuse to absorb the guilt. Your impulse to throw off this weight is a trustworthy impulse. The weight was never yours to carry in the first place.

We are usually trained for emotional labor by our mothers. Usually either through cleaning up our mother’s emotional messes or through observing her carry out emotional labor for others.

A starry night sky. (Ali Jardine/Caters News)

A starry night sky. (Ali Jardine/Caters News)

Recently I was speaking to a client and she summed up her relationship with her mother this way: “I protect her from herself and I end up paying the biggest price.” I hear variations from this theme all the time. For those of us who had mothers who were emotionally absent, many of us have swung the other way, becoming emotional caretakers, giving to others what we desperately needed from our own mothers.

Examples of ways we may protect our mothers from themselves:

  • Showing her a mask; displaying only the emotions she would prefer
  • Not confronting her when her behavior is insulting, demeaning or manipulative
  • Allowing her to use you as a dumping ground for toxic negativity
  • Absorbing her projections without speaking out (walking on eggshells)
  • Molding yourself to cater to her insecurities and appear non-threatening
  • Not setting boundaries with “mother tantrums” that arise when you express your individuality

Ways this harms us:

  • Reinforces the idea that our rightful place is one of emotional dumping ground
  • Fosters feelings of shame for our own separate, legitimate opinions, thoughts, observations
  • Keeps our inner child stuck in unconscious patterns that reflect childhood fears and beliefs
  • How we attenuate ourselves around our mothers will also show up in other contexts and relationships

Healing the mother wound is essential to detoxing from the role of emotional laborer. It dissolves the dysfunctional enmeshment with our mothers and creates the necessary emotional separation for us to feel our power as individuals. This emotional separation comes in the form of setting healthy boundaries that honor our personal sovereignty.

Blue Throat by Alessia Ianetti

The women of the future will not do the “feeling” function for others.

When we hand back our mothers their responsibility to process their own pain, it creates the space for us to take responsibility for our own. The two go together. Carrying your mother’s pain and taking responsibility for her happiness may appear kind and altruistic on the surface, but we must see it for what it really is: Avoidance of our own power.

Know that whatever you deprive yourself of in the name of your mother is a “check” that you will present to someone else to pay back to you in the future, whether it be your partner, your child or female friends. That imbalance will seek to right itself eventually. Don’t perpetuate the debt in your mother line to the next generation. Claim your own life now! Free yourself and the generations to come.

No relationship is worth losing yourself for, including the relationship with our mothers. If your mother (or anyone else) refuses to interact with you unless you play the role of “emotional caretaker” or “emotional dumping ground”, you are not being loved; you are being used. Facing this can be really hard, but face it we must if we want to truly claim our lives as our own.

Solace by Veronique Oodian

It’s possible to love and be loved from a place of fullness, not deprivation.

As we learn to mother ourselves, over time, we become our own primary source of love. As we do this, our outer relationships begin to reflect the inner safety we’ve already created in ourselves. It has to happen on this inside first, then it happens on the outside.

There is nothing like being loved by someone who is already “full from within,” who has no agenda and nothing to extract from you to “feed” themselves.

This is the kind of love that, ideally, children would receive from their mothers so that they can develop a strong sense of self and belonging in their bodies and in the world. But our world hasn’t yet permitted women to develop that kind of self-love. This permission will never be granted. It’s something we must claim as our own now.

My World by Artisalma

There comes a point on that healing journey when the love of our “adult self” exceeds the needs of our “child self.” Our romantic relationships then take on a new tone of maturity and freedom. We become capable of loving and being loved without need. Of course, we will experience grief if the relationship dissolves but the dissolution of any relationship no longer mirrors that original loss of mother. You’ve created an unshakeable core of love that no relationship can disturb. You feel all your feelings fully without fear of loss.

I think the following quote sums it up perfectly…

“As long as we are looking to our partners to fulfill those functions that were not offered to us as young children, it will be difficult to come into a fulfilling, loving relationship that is not riddled by the pain of projection. Your partner is there to help you, to support you, but not to take care of or parent you. They were not put on this planet to do your work for you, but to skillfully support you as you turn toward, meet, and metabolize what has been knocking at the door of your heart for so long.” ~ Matt Licata

True Beauty comes from Inside by Artisalma

In addition to speaking out in ways that we’ve been silent, we also have to remain silent now in ways where we’ve spoken that gave our power away. We have to be able to endure that silence and hold our tongues where we used to fill the empty space for others who refuse to do their own work, speak their own voices and process their own pain.

This is some of the greatest service we can offer to others in our lives, even if their personalities rail against it.

When we refuse to toil emotionally for others and when we cease to ask others to emotionally labor for us, we are correcting an ancient imbalance.  This imbalance is responsible for so much human suffering.

I invite you to courageously see yourself as a pioneer in righting an imbalance that women have been living with for centuries. Take the long-term view and honor yourself as a powerful piece in the collective puzzle of a new era of women’s empowerment.  You are helping to build a new “mother line” not just for your lineage, but for all women. Don’t underestimate how small actions you take every day to honor yourself contribute to opening up new ways of being for all.

The Passage I by Sandra Bierman

Bethany Webster  © 2015

Art credits in order of appearance: The Sacred Art of Self-Love by Katherine Skaggs, “Eyes of Blue” by Pegi Smith, “Painting the Tao Paradoxical Unity” by Kay Kemp, “Starry Night” by Ali Jardine, “Blue Throat” by Alessia Ianetti, “Solace” by Veronique Oodian, “My World” by Artisalma, “True Beauty Comes From Inside” by Artisalma, “The Passage” by Sandra Bierman

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If you’d like to receive my personal support in moving beyond the mother wound and into your full potential and success, please click here to sign up for a free, 30-minute Clarity session where I can help you get clear on how the mother wound is impacting you and create a roadmap to get you to the other side. I look forward to connecting with you!  ~Bethany

Ways to Work with me: 

Click here to download my FREE e-book on “Transforming the Inner Mother” and sign up for my newsletter.

Leisure time, Motherhood and the Mother Wound

Just one Kiss by Alessia Iannetti

The choice of whether or not to have children can be strongly connected with the mother wound. 

There’s a lot of talk these days about women who choose not to have children and whether they are selfish or not. The fact that this question is so ubiquitous says so much about our culture.

I recently saw a clip of a male news anchor calling child-less women selfish, decadent and gratuitous. He sarcastically asked what child-less women do all day; go to spin classes, sip smoothies or daydream? I thought to myself, so what if a woman wants to spend her days taking spin classes, sipping smoothies or daydreaming?

Weeds by Khoa Le

It seems that those who express this view feel an undercurrent of anger. They are typically either those that benefit from women’s exploitation or those that have bought into the lie that female survival comes from our willingness to be exploited.

For those espousing the viewpoints of patriarchy, nothing is more enraging than a woman who doesn’t feel indebted or self-deprecating…

Jenna Lyons by Ellie Skrzat

Nothing is more offensive than the woman whose presence unapologetically states:

  • I don’t owe you a child.
  • I don’t owe you a fuck.
  • I don’t owe you my approval.
  • I don’t owe you ego-stroking.
  • I don’t owe you explanations.
  • I don’t owe you my attention.
  • I don’t owe you anything.

I am enough as I am. 

Why does that make them angry?

Because the age-old lie of patriarchy to men is that they are entitled to the control of women. The lie to women is that we are “less-than” and deserve to be controlled.

When it comes down to it, the anger comes from a perceived loss of power when women can no longer be used as a buffer between their ego and the places where they’ve felt abandoned, abused and humiliated.

We must refuse to be instruments of self-avoidance in others, whether our partners, our mothers or others. This is the depth of integrity we are being called to bring to our daily lives.

Celestial Soul Ka by Katherine Skaggs

One of the most powerful things we can embody is:

“I don’t owe you a version of me that distracts you from your responsibility to face your own pain.”

The many women I speak to around the world about the mother wound tell me of mothers who display disturbing behavior that reflects the patriarchal mindset; intolerance for differing views, contempt for autonomy, demands “her way or the high way,” mocking and cruelty for expressing feelings, etc. These mothers are typically women who have been brutally wounded by patriarchy and who are threatened by women who don’t buy into it.

India Bliss by Matt Jones

The truth is that a woman shouldn’t have to justify her existence with what she does for others. In fact, I would say that as women, it’s critical for us to create time and space for ourselves to simply BE without the pressure of giving, providing, fixing, etc.

Let’s stop defining ourselves by who we take care of, by how hard we work, and by how extreme we’re willing to deprive ourselves.

As a collective, we women are longing to rest.

Our lives are so full but we have to find ways to have some unstructured time in our lives to simply BE.

For many there is such a short distance from feeling our feelings to feeling guilty. We have to de-couple the two. The fact that we equate feeling sadness about our childhoods to blaming our mothers shows just how unworthy we feel.

Ali Mabuha (Ali Rahamad)

Feeling our worth regardless of how others respond is equivalent to being independently wealthy. When the knowledge of our worth is de-coupled from the behavior of others, we are untouchable. That is the threat that women’s leisure time has presented to a patriarchal society and partly the reason child-less women are still viewed with suspicion.

We have to face the uncomfortable truth that women have been systematically distracted from ourselves, from our truth, from our power in so many ways and motherhood can be one of those distractions. I recently saw a post on Facebook where a mother duck is in the bathroom with her baby duck. She says, “I used to be a smart person that did interesting things, but now I teach kids how to wipe.” Motherhood that is chosen and desired, inherently brings a degree of loss; loss of free time, a shift in identity, etc. The loss is even more devastating  for women who perhaps didn’t really want to be mothers, or used motherhood to fill a void, or who did it because that was what society/family wanted of them. And since there’s no place in our culture for women to safely express rage, it usually gets taken out on the next generation.

The notion of obligatory motherhood perpetuates the mother wound. 

Motherhood must be consciously chosen if we are to be truly powerful. And mothers need support, WAY more than our society has been willing to give. This intersects with so many other issues. Consciously chosen motherhood is good for moms and dads and it’s good for children. By chosen, I mean not pressured by family and society, not “backed into a corner financially” motherhood. And also not allowing ourselves to be pulled into it unconsciously.

Someone recently said to me, being wealthy is being able to choose what you want to eat and choosing when and for how long you get to rest. That rang true for me. Those of us in low socio-economic conditions do not get to choose the quality of food we eat or when we get to rest. It also struck me that this is true for choosing when and how you want to have children. These things should not be considered a luxury for the wealthy but a human right for all.

Lotus Nature Print by Sue Halstenberg

Leisure time is important for creativity and reflection.

Freedom is unstructured time. Child-less women with time on their hands represent a threat to patriarchy. I think the world needs more child-less women. 

In my situation, I always thought I would have children. In my most un-healed moments, I longed for a child. But for me, the desire to have a child dropped away the more I had some time to get to know myself and what it is I really wanted. Having free time to do what I wanted started to sound way more fun than having children. I realized the gravity of the situation. Being a mother would require me to pour enormous amounts of my inner resources into a child. But there dawned upon me other possibilities for my inner resources besides being a mother. It felt like a new world opening to me, one I didn’t even know was possible. 

Women who choose not to have children play a vital role in society and can be immense support to women who do. Women with children can be supported by child-less women so that they can have the leisure time to create, write, nap, paint, meditate, etc.. It takes a village and we can build that village now.

Bubbling Up of New Desire by Debbie Arnold

The world needs the collective NO from women.

We’re seeing the push-back now. Sandra Bland was pulled over by a cop for making an improper lane change. Not long after, she was found dead in her cell. It reminds me of something Marion Woodman said: our modern day equivalent of the crucifixion is a raped woman. My belief is that one woman saying No is not enough. We have to say NO together. 

I believe that women of the past did not have the fortitude, tools or resources to say NO to the force of patriarchy. To do so meant death. And today it can mean death too. Those of us in the position of being able to speak out and make new choices must do so. We’re doing it not only for ourselves but for others who are more severely trapped by patriarchal confines related to race or class.  More of us are seeing through the lie of female compliance and feeling pregnant with a new earth that is possible, a new earth that can only be born through us.

At Rest by Helena Wierzbicki

© 2015 Bethany Webster

See Related article: “Self care is not Selfish”

Huffington post article: “270 Reasons Women Choose Not to Have Children”

Art credits in order of appearance: “Just One Kiss” by Alessia Ianetti, “Weeds” by Khoa Le, “Jenny Lyons” by Ellie Skrzat, “Celestial Soul Ka” by Katherine Skaggs, “India Bliss” by Matt Jones, title unknown by Ali Mabuha (Ali Rahamad), “Lotus Nature” by Sue Halstenberg, “Bubbling Up of New Desire” by Debbie Arnold, “At Rest” by Helena Wierzbicki

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If you’d like to receive my personal support in moving beyond the mother wound and into your full potential and success, please click here to sign up for a free, 30-minute Clarity session where I can help you get clear on how the mother wound is impacting you and create a roadmap to get you to the other side. I look forward to connecting with you!  ~Bethany

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