May 24, 2024

Waking Up & Overcoming My Mother Wound

We all need a mother, and within us is the deepest desire to feel unconditionally loved by the woman that created us. The connection and safety that comes from this kind of love is how we will measure our sense of worth, our sense of attachment, and our understanding of love throughout our entire life. When our mother feels strong emotions we feel them, whether in utero or as adults. She is the lighthouse that guides our emotional security (or lack thereof). 

If your mother is unwell or operating with a dysregulated nervous system, you will see the world from that lens until you are old or aware enough to identify that you are separate from your mother. Our parents parent us from the same spectrum of emotions that their parents taught them, meaning that if your parent is unwell, they will act in a similar way as their parents did if and when they were feeling dysregulated. Generational trauma is so ingrained that it becomes subconsciously woven into the fabric of our family crest. We wear it proudly and declare it “our way” until we decide to look inward and heal.  

As a child, I had been taught to handle myself and be perfect, that love was not to be trusted and that asking for help was unacceptable. If I was pleasant, funny, quiet, happy, and kept my issues to myself and helped others with problems I would be out of the line of fire. I was taught love was something you had to seek and work for, not something that you were given unconditionally. Living in a home with depression and narcissism put my successes, needs, and problems on the backburner, so I never felt safe or grounded. This kind of upbringing put me at a major disadvantage. I wanted to love Carl, my late husband, with everything I had. I wanted him to be happy, and I wanted to give him every part of the family that I did not have. But, while I was doing that, I was still operating as that little girl who never felt good enough, who didn’t know how to ask for help or how to set a boundary. 

To this day, my heart is full of gratitude for Carl. When we got married, I carried all of my childhood wounds and subconscious beliefs into our relationship. Despite that, Carl loved me and enabled me to feel safe for the first time. He allowed me to be and loved me for whatever version I was, not who he wanted me to be. When Carl got diagnosed with cancer, my “perfect” self slowly began to crumble from the inside out. Hospitals, chemo, radiation, surgery after surgery, hospice, a funeral, suicidal thoughts…I was at a breaking point and had no survival patterns to lean on because all of my coping mechanisms weren’t working anymore. My fear and grief ripped away my ability to hide and tell everyone I was fine. When Carl died, I could no longer perform to make myself “lovable.” But rather, I had to wake up so I could be both parents for my grieving children. 

Lack of autonomy is the cause of all of our suffering and is the reason we feel a deep sense of loneliness. It’s also why we constantly seek change and improvement and are unable to live in the moment. When Carl died, my entire worldview was shattered. Through that loss, I realized that no matter how hard I tried, I would die if I kept living an inauthentic life. 

I started by simply putting one foot in front of the other. I had to feel my pain and acknowledge that I was alone, which was always one of my greatest fears. In fact, I became my greatest fear – a single mom with two grieving babies whose love had left her. But, through my own strength, I overcame that fear, for myself and my children. I realized that I had to love and protect myself, which meant clearing out the me everyone wanted (and needed) me to be and becoming the person I always was deep down. I was no longer performing. Loss upon loss followed. Friends left me. I shut friends out. My world became very small. 

This shrinking of my world gave me space to look inside and hear the voice of truth that lives in my body. I heard the little girl inside of me screaming to help her find peace and safety. Soon, every choice I made was to help that little girl and my two children. The more I listened to my younger self, the more I healed. If something was not providing us peace or safety, I was out. It was from this perspective that I began to rebuild my life. I began to recognize I was becoming me, the me before all the depression, the pain, and childhood trauma. I began to realize that caring for others at the cost of my own peace was not true love – love doesn't have to hurt so bad. But rather, love is peace and safety. And, while I lost many people along my journey to authenticity, there were many who stuck by me and loved me throughout my entire transformation. Slowly, my world became filled with love and peace despite my losses and my grief. Instead of fearing being alone, I began to create the life I wanted. It was the most powerful unveiling. 

Introspection is like a salve for the burns that our inner child wounds open. It is the difference between living and acting from a state of consciousness vs. subconsciousness. Introspection is the awareness that this wound (or wounds) was never meant for you to carry and that you can set it down at any point. What if authenticity through introspection is the key to higher consciousness and living a life full of peace and love? What if the loss you feel when releasing the identities created by childhood wounds forces you on a path to slow down and go even deeper inside yourself? The fear of losing our former self and our generational trauma bond can feel like a death. But that death allows us to peel off all the false layers of existence we have been carrying throughout our entire lives. Often, our families tell us exactly who to be in order to be loved. We then imprinted this into our very being as a guidebook for our lives or a feedback loop of thoughts that kept us safe. Ironically, in these situations, real love can only be found through death – death of your old life, your false self and your past. 

Now, I believe that you do not need to have this much shattering and pain to get to this place of full authenticity. You just have to be brave enough to go inside and do the work. You have to define what love, safety, and peace mean to you and fight for that every single day with every choice you make. You have to feel deeply, listen to your body, and commit to staying awake. The path back to you is not easy, but once you get there, you won’t regret it. You may have an entirely different life when you look outside from healing the inside, but you will never want to go back because you will have the life you have been deeply yearning for since before you knew it was possible.

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