Healing the Mother Wound, Birthing the Self

How can we embody the divine feminine if we have not faced the reality of our relationships with our mothers? If we have not faced our mother wound?

Pain is a messenger indicating that attention is needed. Usually it isn’t until our inner pain becomes intolerable that we become willing to confront the defenses that have been sabotaging us. Pain is an ally that helps us wake up and become aware of unresolved issues that live under the surface of our defenses. As women, it is common to avoid the pain that we experience in relation to our mothers because of its complexity and the unspoken taboo about confronting it. The path of healing the mother wound requires great courage. It is for those who are truly ready to step into their power and embody their truth at the deepest levels.

The mother wound is an initiation into the power of the divine feminine.

   Divine Feminine by Jyotie McKie

Once worked through, the mother wound transforms from a source of pain into a source of wisdom that serves not only ourselves but the world, and life itself.

The mother wound touches all areas of our lives because that relationship was the basis for our relationships to ourselves, to others and to life. Issues of wounding are tied to lost opportunities for dealing with feelings and therefore to our inability to have empathy for others and ourselves. The defenses which once protected us in childhood become barriers in adulthood, preventing us from finding deeper fulfillment and intimacy in our lives.

“We must confront the unspoken commandment of our families and our culture to not look at, to not explore and not know our deeper self.” ~Eleanor D. Payson

To heal the mother wound we must validate and empathize with the true nature of our wounding.

We must break taboos that insist we remain in denial of the truth of our feelings. 

No matter what the events or outer situations of our childhood were that caused the original wounding, the deeper core wound is always the same: the lack of opportunity to deal with our natural, emotional reactions ABOUT painful situations and events. Because we live in a patriarchal culture, it is the cultural norm to deny our emotions, and as children, we may have had no choice but to shut down our feelings. Consequently, as adults, we  are at the mercy of defenses that cut us off from our aliveness, our truth, and our innate wholeness.

It is a paradox that by entering the wound, we discover that which can never be wounded.  

The opportunity within the mother wound is to awaken to our true identity–to realize that we are not the wound–rather, we are the love that has always been there alongside the wound.  There are many names for this love: the Self, the Absolute, the One, God, Goddess, the Divine, etc. One’s true identity can only be realized through direct experience. This self-realization is what dissolves suffering and births you into a new consciousness and new experience of life. New doors open and possibilities come into being that were not available before. You awaken to who you truly are.

If you feel drawn to healing the mother wound, it signifies that you are ready to truly step up at the highest level, to delve into the deepest part of yourself and live your mastery.

I am passionate about working with women in healing the mother wound because I have walked this path myself. I know the full reality of the grief, the pain and also the incomparable sweetness of knowing your true identity, of belonging to yourself and to Life in a way that words cannot describe.

You are pregnant with your divinity. The mother wound is the birth canal for your fully realized Self. 

By healing the mother wound, you are healing the larger human wound of separation–separation from life and from others– and are born into the greater reality of unity.

Life beyond the wound is nothing short of magical! 

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Healing the mother wound cannot be done in isolation and support is essential. That is why I facilitate workshops on this important topic. It is such a joy and honor to serve in this way!

Upcoming Workshop:  June 15th in Barcelona, Spain

If you are interested in learning more, sign up for my mailing list here.

If you would like me to come to your city/town and teach this workshop, contact me at bethany@womboflight.com

 © Bethany Webster 2013

Art credits: Divine Feminine by Jyotie McKie, my own photograph of flowers

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. 

Ways to work with Bethany: 

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

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“La Importancia de la Madre Interna: El Duelo por lo Imperfecto, el Encuentro”

Dear Readers,

I’m excited to announce that I will be leading my workshop “Healing the Mother Wound” in Barcelona on June 15th. (See Events for more info.)

Below is the Spanish version of my article in Elephant Journal “Grieving the Imperfect, Finding the Unconditional: The Importance of the Inner Mother for Women” which is based on my blog post “Transforming the Inner Mother.”

Many thanks to Sophia Style, Mónica Manse and Isabel Villanueva for contacing me and offering to translate this article into Spanish! They will be hosting my workshop in Barcelona and I am so thrilled and grateful to share my work with their community. 

I want to express a huge ‘Thank You!’ to all of my readers who have been reading and commenting on my blog! In only 3 months, the blog has had almost 13,000 views in over 100 countries around the world!

I will soon share my first newsletter with all the people on my mailing list. If you’re not on my list yet, you can sign up here! It will have some new juicy stuff that won’t appear on the blog!

Abundant love and blessings to you!

~Bethany

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La Importancia de la Madre Interna: El Duelo por lo Imperfecto, el Encuentro

(artículo original en ingles publicado en Elephant Journal) 

Si pensamos en nuestro desarrollo personal, la relación con nuestra madre sirve como patrón para la relación con nosotras mismas.

Como hijas, absorbimos de nuestra madre información sobre lo que sentía hacía ella misma, lo que sentía hacia nosotras, y lo que sentía hacia el mundo.

Aprendimos a tratarnos de la misma manera que nuestra madre se trató a ella misma.

Nuestra tarea como mujeres conscientes radica en transformar la madre interna dentro de nuestra psique creada a partir de nuestra madre biológica con sus limitaciones humanas en la madre que siempre necesitábamos y queríamos.

Podemos convertirnos en la madre que siempre queríamos –hacia nosotras mismas.

De esta manera, somos capaces de aceptar las limitaciones de nuestra madre externa, porque nuestra madre interna se convierte en la madre primaria con la que podemos contar, de formas en que quizás nunca hemos podido contar con nuestra madre externa.

Nuestra madre solo podía amarnos de la manera que podía amarse a ella misma.

En un momento dado, debemos enfrentar el hecho de que nuestra madre no pudo y no va a poder satisfacer nuestras necesidades de la manera que necesitábamos y queríamos. Esto significa pasar por un proceso de duelo. Un duelo por la forma en que tuvimos de compensar y sufrir la herida materna.

En el proceso de duelo, tenemos la oportunidad de darnos cuenta del hecho de que si nos sentimos amadas o abandonadas no fue por nuestra culpa. Sólo entonces podemos abandonar la lucha para demostrar nuestra valía en el mundo. En el proceso de duelo, también podemos tener compasión por nuestra madre y la carga que llevaba.

Al sanar tu madre interna, transformas tu vida más allá de lo que puedas imaginar.

Al confrontar este dolor, podemos darnos cuenta de que lo que pensábamos que era nuestro dolor es en realidad parte del dolor de nuestra madre que nosotras hemos llevado por amor. Ahora podemos elegir dejar esta carga. De esta manera, en lugar de atenuar nuestro sentimiento de culpa, podremos sentir la confianza en nuestros cuerpos y en nuestros corazones para así desarrollar un sentido de auténtica plenitud y amor propio.

Al convertirnos en la madre “suficientemente buena” para nosotras mismas, nos liberamos no sólo a nosotras mismas, sino también a todos aquellos que conforman nuestra vida.

Es un reto reconocer ante nosotras de que manera no fuimos amadas en nuestra relación con nuestra madre. Al recordar y ver lo cargada y abrumada que estaba pudimos pensar que éramos la fuente de su dolor. Esta “hija culpable” puede mantenernos estancadas. Una forma de liberar nuestra culpa es reconociendo la inocencia y legitimidad de nuestras necesidades infantiles. Es una forma de liberarnos de la vergüenza y bautizarnos a nosotras mismas en nuestra bondad y divinidad.

Una vez hemos atravesado el duelo por nosotras mismas, entonces podemos comenzar el duelo por nuestras madres y por todas las mujeres.

El duelo nos repone y nos fortalece.

Como mujeres, podemos sanar y darnos lo que nuestras madres no nos podían dar. Podemos convertirnos en nuestra propia fuente. El “dolor corporal” del colectivo femenino es sanado una a una. Y a medida que el dolor corporal femenino se cura, lo mismo ocurre con el dolor de la comunidad humana. Nuestra propia sanación no es sólo un regalo para nosotras mismas, también lo es para el mundo.

La herida de la madre es una gran oportunidad.

Conforme nos permitimos contactar con lo que se siente como un hambre antigua, inagotable para una madre inagotable, nos damos a luz a nosotras mismas en nuestra verdadera identidad – la matriz de luz- una fuente inagotable, desbordante de amor y abundancia que no depende de las circunstancias o condiciones. Entonces podemos vivir al servicio de lo que realmente somos- el amor mismo.

 

Bethany Webster es escritora y facilitadora y vive en el oeste deMassachusetts. Actualmente está trabajando en su primer libro, La matriz de luz: El poder de la Menstruación consciente. Facilita en colaboración un taller llamado “Sanando la herida de la madre” puedes visitar sus blogs en:http://womboflight.com y http://embraceofbeing.com.

Traducción al español por: Sophia Style, Mónica Manso e Isabel Villanueva

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. 

Ways to work with Bethany: 

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

Bringing the Dark Mother Into the Light

Our world has yet to fully acknowledge the archetype of the dark mother. As we bring her out into the light of our awareness, we free ourselves to become authentic and to show up powerfully in our lives and in the world.

Psychoanalyst, Carl G. Jung described archetypes as universal energy inherent in the human psyche. All archetypes have both a positive and a negative pole. If one is being expressed, the other exists as potential. In terms of the mother archetype, our society only addresses the positive pole–the angelic, all-knowing, always-loving mother.

We can’t have the light mother without the dark mother. The mother archetype contains both. 

Annelie 2012

In the western world, the dark mother has become taboo–“dark,” meaning the capacity for mothers to frustrate, neglect or harm their children. Women are expected to deny their capacity for darkness and children are expected to remain silent about any negative experiences with their mothers. Anger at mother that cannot be expressed openly and processed safely will go underground and be projected onto other women, turned inward towards oneself or be projected onto the earth.

“Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event.” C.G. Jung

We need to address this split within the collective human psyche, which starts within ourselves as women. We can’t be fully empowered in our capacity for light if we have not fully acknowledged our capacity for the dark. It can become a negative spiral–we deny our negative feelings, and we project them onto others in dysfunctional ways, which can create more shame. Our negative emotions are natural and part of our power. They are integral to the human experience. If we deny them, we cut ourselves off from our innate wholeness.

Children have a developmental need to idealize their mothers. But as adults we must recognize that mothers are human beings–with the capacity for good AND bad. 

Society puts enormous pressure on mothers to not only look fabulous, make all the right decisions, have a successful career and all without complaining or straining. We have to acknowledge women are human, complex beings with the ability to have the full range of emotions and experiences. By acknowledging that, there would be less pressure to make mothers into caricatures, reducing them to functional, idealized roles, rather than real people.

“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole”C.G. Jung

R. Savino --Across the Divide

Acknowledging our capacity for the dark actually supports women in being better mothers and happier human beings, because it takes away the pressure to lie and be inauthentic about the reality of our experiences. It frees us to be real. It allows us to be truly available to ourselves and our loved ones in authentic, balanced ways. It models self-love to our children.

Idealization is a form of dismissal

While on the surface it appears that idealization benefits mothers and boosts their place in society, idealizing mothers actually keeps women feeling guilty and disempowered.  Everyday challenges, mistakes and setbacks become sources of deep shame. We have the expectation that mothers should never be angry or jealous. Asking for help or feeling overwhelmed are seen as symptoms of failure. As mothers, we have to give ourselves what society cannot give us–radical permission to love ourselves completely–mistakes and all. 

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”― C.G. Jung

There is a payoff for the idealization: We may believe we don’t have to be accountable for our actions. It may become a cop-out, a shield against criticism. We have to forego the payoff of oppression in order to be free.

As long as women internalize the idealization and societal pressure to be perfect,  their children will likely feel shame and guilt about themselves on some level.  We can’t give our children what we don’t have within ourselves.  As a daughter, to attempt to discuss challenges or difficult emotions with your mother may mean taking the risk of her seeing your negative feelings as a betrayal or rejection of her. Some children feel shame about admitting any negative feelings about their mothers. Many mothers quickly cut off such conversations with their children saying “I tried the best I could.” Overall, this dynamic keeps women stuck.

The archetype of the dark mother does not go away, the energy just goes underground and comes out in dysfunctional ways. For example, as mothers, we may say something sweet to our children, yet there could be unspoken, darker messages underneath, messages like: “You owe me”, “Poor me” and “Take care of me.” When we start to believe that we are only the light mother, and deny our capacity for darkness, we become less and less authentic. We may think others are responsible to make us happy. We may not respect the boundaries of others. Our pent-up, unacknowledged darkness becomes toxic–to ourselves and others.

Acknowledging the dark mother archetype is key to acknowledging the full  power of women. 

The taboo of the dark mother is a symptom of the larger societal taboo on vulnerability. Society says that it is unsafe to admit our true feelings, especially the negative ones like anger, sadness, disappointment, jealousy, etc. We have to admit to ourselves the full scope of our own feelings and learn to feel attuned to both the creator and destroyer within.

Owning the dark mother that lives in us is a critical step in embracing our humanity. And the more we embrace our humanity, the more we fully embody our divinity. They go hand-in-hand. 

Without the pressure to be perfect and to feel shame for our human mistakes, conflict is not seen as the end of the world, it’s seen as an opportunity to grow! An opportunity to know ourselves and others better, more intimately, more truly, more respectfully. We can learn to see and consequently love and be loved more accurately–for who we really are–light and dark. When we hold the balance of the opposites, we embody our innate wholeness; our original, unique selves. Conflict and negative emotions can be seen as doorways to greater intimacy and aliveness. These fruits can only flourish on the ground of radical self-honesty. The more we allow ourselves to be human and imperfect, to explore our inner selves without shame, the more healed and integrated our world will become. It all starts with us.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”― C.G. Jung

© Bethany Webster 2013

Art Credits in order of appearance: Annelie Solis, “Across the Divide” by Bob Savino,

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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. 

Ways to work with Bethany: 

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