I first learned about the concept of the Mother Wound in 2018, when a friend and I were planning a women’s circle. It would be several years before I fully understood the concept and the impact it’s had on my life. According to Dr. Mari Kovanen, “The greatest pain of all is the mother wound, the emotional absence of your mother in your early years. The mother wound can be defined as your mother not being emotionally attuned and available to you as a child. She may have been present physically but emotionally absent.”
In an October 2019 article in Psychology Today, “Children who are raised by alcoholics, drug-addicted mothers, or mothers who have mental health conditions, either undiagnosed or untreated, may struggle into their own adulthood. However, there are also children who are raised by mothers who do not have these challenges. These are mothers who may provide for the physical needs of the children, and even interact with the children in a positive way, but simply do not provide the deep love and attention that all children require. They may not have been abusive or neglectful, and they may never have engaged in negativity in their relationships with the children, but they were also always distant and less tuned-into the emotional needs of their children.”
You may have the Mother Wound if:
- Your mother just wasn’t there for you on an emotional level.
- You were reluctant to turn to your mother for comfort or security.
- You doubted you had your mother’s approval, so you were always trying to be perfect.
- You felt nervous and frightened around your mother.
- Your mother expected you to take care of her physically or emotionally.
If the points on the list above resonate with you, what does that mean for you now? There can be long-lasting effects. You, like me, may not even recognize that you have suffered from the Mother Wound your whole life. It can be like a tape running in the background that affects virually every aspect of your life.
- Some of the negative affects are:
- Low self-esteem
- lack of emotional awareness
- Inability to self-soothe
- The feeling that warm and nurturing relationships aren’t in your reach
The Mother Wound can cause a woman to self-sabotage. “These types of feelings throughout childhood reduce self-esteem, feelings of self-worth, and feelings of worthiness to have a positive relationship. Individuals with a mother wound always feel incomplete and lacking in their ability to connect with others, while also having deeply rooted feelings about the need for perfection and control.”
However, it is possible to recover from the Mother Wound. The first step is awareneness. It took me several months after learning about the Mother Wound to realize the extent to which it affected my life. I finally hired a therapist to help me figure it out. Finding a therapist who can help you work through the feelings as they arise is very helpful. I began to develop an awareness of the thoughts and beliefs that I created as a result of the Mother Wound. I began to unravel them and replace them with healthier thoughts and belifes. It takes time and awareness, but you too can overcome the Mother Wound.