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Mother Wound

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

What is the mother wound?

A Mother Wound is an attachment trauma that creates a sense of confusion and desolation in the psyche of a child. It instills negative beliefs that lead to feelings of being abandoned, unlovable and unworthy. The wound can be that profound it affects adult relationships and overall mental health.

Both, daughters and sons can experience the mother wound, however, it is typically regarded as a mother-to-daughter wound. Children may experience it if their mother:

  • was overly critical,

  • had suffered with physical or emotional abuse herself,

  • did not process her own trauma and as a consequence was not able to provide love and nurture,

  • did not allow the child to express negative emotions,

  • catered to physical needs of the child but did not give love, security nad care,

  • suffered from untreated mental health problems,

  • expected the child to attend her own emotional or physical needs,

  • was not emotionally available,

  • dealt with addiction.

You might have been hesitant about turning to your mother for comfort or felt frightened and nervous around her. These negative feelings may lead to lack of emotional awareness, poor boundaries, difficulties in relationships, inability to self-soothe.

Without the awareness how to deal with their feelings, children are not able to develop self-soothing behaviours but instead, they search for comfort outside of themselves. This can often include use of drugs and alcohol or self-harm.

How to heal the mother wound?

Acknowledge and express your pain of being ignored, unloved or ridiculed.

Cultivate self-love. The concept of self was based on the way our mother interacted with us. The fact that our mother was not able to build our self image in a positive manner was not our fault. We can recreate our self-image by letting go.

Develop self-awareness. Children with mother wound need to learn how do deal with their emotions. Without mother’s feedback they did not have reinforcement to develop self-awareness.

Forgiveness. Acknowledging our own feelings and grieving over what we never had as children facilitates the emotional space needed to instigate forgiveness. If you can recognise your mother for who she is, rather than who you want her to be, you can move toward understanding and accepting her.

Mother wound. Iremia Counselling

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