Many woman feel ambivalent about money and financial success because it brings up issues related to emotional safety, survival, self-worth and the act of receiving. Issues that go back to the original patterns of safety and trust from our early relationship with our mothers.
A woman’s place in a patriarchal society as “less than” men implies scarcity in its very description.
Our mothers were the most powerful person in our lives and often the most powerless as well. Powerful because we needed her for survival and powerless because she was devalued to some degree in society.
Many women feel guilty for their success because their mothers were somehow deprived of it. Some unconsciously sabotage the measure of success they have achieved while others barely allow themselves to desire it. Others speak of feeling their mother’s jealousy in the face of their achievements, leading them to unconsciously hide or stall their success.
A conflation of success and guilt starts at an early age, when we could feel our mothers emotionally deflate in proportion to how we expanded as we grew.
The truth is we never had the power to make our mothers feel small or “less than.”
We had the power to trigger the pain that was already in her that started long before we came into her life. But in our innocence as children, we believed ourselves to be the source of her pain. And we believed our mother if, in her wounded moments, she may have told us that we were the cause of her suffering.
Our commitment to keep ourselves “small” out of loyalty to our depleted mothers is based on a major misconception.
Our mother’s jealousy and sense of deprivation can only be healed and addressed on the level it was originally created, which was within herself and related to her own early wounds. These things have always been outside our control as daughters. The fact is that it is something only SHE can do. Our smallness does not serve. This isn’t being un-compassionate, but respectful of our mother’s inner journey as something that is completely hers and hers alone.
There was never a transgression. Only a projection.
By feeling guilty for our mother’s jealousy we actually become the unknowing purveyors of the very thing that has oppressed her. Because in our willingness to feel guilty, we deprive ourselves of our own potential and will undoubtedly blame it on the next generation when they expand.
Sympathetic oppression with our mothers is not altruism, it’s ignorance. It’s the misunderstanding of a child left unaddressed. It’s a form of unconscious self-harm.
The way to liberate ourselves from this is very simple and very challenging at the same time: The answer is that we grieve.
We grieve for …
- the fact that we were powerless as children and no matter how hard we may have tried, we could not save our mother from her pain
- the fact that our good intentions and huge love for our mothers may have been invisible to her due to her own wounding
- the fact that she may have mistakenly seen us as the cause of her pain and abused us as a result
- the heartbreaking tragedy of watching the suffering of our family members
- the fact of your mother’s lost opportunities, loneliness, isolation or any other things that caused her to suffer when you were growing up
- the fact that you may have spent years blaming yourself for the pain of your family
- the fact that you cannot convince your mother that your success is not intended to be a personal attack on her
As we give ourselves permission to grieve, to accept the loss, and move forward we demonstrate a profound act of self-love. This is the first and most important step in learning to mother ourselves.
Grieving the mother wound makes way for freedom, including financial freedom
The truth is that we must be willing to surpass our mothers if that is where our path leads us. Not just in outer ways, such as how much money we make or what we are able to do in the world, but more importantly, we must be willing to surpass her level of consciousness and continue to evolve into greater awareness and understanding. This is maturation. All else is stagnation and a childlike romance for the wound.
Our mothers may not be able to fully join us in our emerging insights and realizations and we must grieve that as well. We can find other conscious women who DO understand and cultivate authentic, nurturing relationships with them.
As we grieve, we cross the border from struggle into ease
In many families, struggle was conflated with love. If you did not struggle, financial or otherwise, it was somehow seen as a betrayal of the family ethos. As we continue to grieve, we see that we can be financially abundant and it does not have to be equated with an emotional loss of connection. In fact, we can emerge into even stronger and more authentic connections as we allow more abundance into our lives.
Contact with our inner wealth leads to outer wealth
Our true wealth is inner. It is the overflowing connection to our deepest, truest core self. We connect with this divine self as we heal from trauma and access the inner gifts that comprise our higher purpose in this world. By connecting with this overflowing source within, we have a direct experience of our very essence as abundance. We can embrace money as a neutral form of energy that we can use as a tool to carry out our higher purpose. With greater connection to our inner richness, we increasingly welcome outer riches.
I see many coaches of female entrepreneurs addressing lack of financial freedom on the level of symptoms, much how the western medical model addresses human health. Or to use another metaphor, what is needed is to go to the very “root” of the problem and thus, the “branches” automatically become more healthy. The “root” is the mother wound and as we heal it, the “branches” of our lives (such as relationships, career, parenting, etc.) transform automatically as a result. Sustainable, long-term growth happens as we heal this foundation.
As you heal the mother wound you cultivate an inner safety that frees you to flourish as a feminine leader
We break the conflation of success and loss when we grieve what we could not give our mothers. We can then allow ourselves to experience financial abundance easily because it doesn’t trigger cognitive dissonance any longer. It no longer stands in direct opposition to our primary attachment figure. Our primary attachment bond increasingly becomes the mother within and through that inner bond, we have a strong foundation of safety to venture into exciting new territory, to feel ourselves as “unstoppable” and to fully live our dreams.
© Bethany Webster 2015
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