The Mother Wound
10/03/2018 at 5:06 pm #7847
I haven’t read the eBook that this article is from, so can’t vouch for that, but I’ve shared this article on my page and Q&A group in the past because I hope that it’s both validating and clarifying for so many mothers, especially daughter of narcissistic mothers. And probably at least some parts of it that most people can relate to. And also helpful as parents to do that checking in with ourselves with vulnerable honesty about the ways that we may be, at least subtly, projecting our unmet emotional needs onto our children.
From the web page attached: “Our society’s unspoken messages to mothers:
“If motherhood is difficult then it’s your own fault.”
“Shame on you if you’re not super-human.”
“There are ‘natural mothers’ for whom motherhood is easy. If you are not one of these, there is something deeply wrong with you.”
“You’re supposed to be capable of handling it all with ease: having well-behaved children, being sexually attractive, having a successful career, and a solid marriage.”
For mothers who have indeed sacrificed so much to have children in our culture, it can truly feel like a rejection when your child surpasses or exceeds the dreams you thought possible for yourself. There may be a sense of feeling owed, entitled to or needing to be validated by your children, which can be a very subtle but powerful manipulation. This dynamic can cause the next generation of daughters to keep themselves small so that their mothers can continue to feel validated and affirmed in their identity as a mother, an identity that many have sacrificed so much for, but received so little support and recognition for in return.
Mothers may unconsciously project deep rage towards their children in subtle ways. However, the rage really isn’t towards the children. The rage is towards the patriarchal society that requires women to sacrifice and utterly deplete themselves in order to mother a child.”
I haven’t read the eBook so can’t vouch for that, but I’ve shared this article on my page and Q&A group in the past because I hope that it’s both validating and clarifying for so many mothers, especially daughter of narcissistic mothers. And probably at least some parts of it that most people can relate to. And also helpful as parents to do that checking in with ourselves with vulnerable honesty about the ways that we may be, at least subtly, projecting our unmet emotional needs onto our children.
10/03/2018 at 7:13 pm #7855
This article shares some of the signs and symptoms of having a narcissistic mother. It’s specific to the relationship between mother and daughter, which is not to discount the emotional impacts on sons or the impacts of having a narcissistic father, but it can be helpful to read about some of the classic traits of narcissistic mothers in their treatment of their daughters.
10/03/2018 at 7:16 pm #7856
Psychotherapist Terri Cole talks about the classic roles of the golden child and the scapegoat that the narcissistic parents assign to different children.
03/11/2020 at 12:30 pm #10924Victoria MausParticipant
I think I first read about mothers with NPD about five years ago and it was like my relationship with my mother suddenly made sense. I’ve always been aware that my relationship with my mom was very different to that of my friends and their moms, but I could never figure out why. What was I doing wrong? Since I was a teenager (when our relationship definitely shifted) I’ve questioned myself, I’ve thought I was the problem.
This video was so enlightening, it was like listening to someone who really understands me… the gaslighting, the emotional abuse, depression, anger… all of it. It’s not something I’m comfortable talking to anyone but my husband about because I feel shame; everyone else has this “normal” relationship whilst I don’t. I need to read more about NPD to fully understand and process what I’ve been through.
20/11/2020 at 2:24 pm #10955
Toria, I’m so pleased that the video was so insightful for you! And I so hear and get what you say about how big it was to have the feeling of being understood, and how satisfying it is when someone can express that which describes our inner world and those complex dynamics. And yes in having a parent who scores high on those narcissistic personality disorder spectrum is so incredibly difficult and painful! Having the emotional abuse and gaslighting laid out and explained is often a huge turning point for so many.
Having a narcissistic parent creates very complex and confusing dynamics, by the very nature of all the gaslighting it becomes very difficult to see the wood from the trees and hold on to your own goodness and hard to validate your own feelings and needs. But it’s exactly this journey of identifying and validating our feelings and needs that plays a big part in the journey of recovery and healing! And by the sounds of it you’re very much on and committed to that journey, which is a very beautiful thing! Thank you for sharing your thoughts even thought this has been one of those no go subjects for you. I hear you and get it and want to honour you for your courage to voice that this been the dynamic with your mother.
25/11/2020 at 6:41 am #10972Victoria MausParticipant
Thank you Genevieve. I appreciate having this space to explore these feelings, even though it’s something I have tried to avoid in the past. I found our conversation about this so helpful and comforting.
18/03/2021 at 9:04 pm #11254Tawnie KeleherParticipant
Hello Genevieve! I wanted to thank you for starting this thread and for the links you have shared about this topic. As you know, I have a very deep mother wound which I became acutely aware of once I became a mother myself and reflected on my childhood. When I read Toria’s comment above where she said that she feels shame regarding her relationship with her mother, my heart went out to her. Toria – I want you to know that you are not alone in this feeling. I too feel a great deal of shame around my relationship with my mother, especially when so many other women I know seem to have such a loving and nurturing relationship with their mothers.
I have had a lot of therapy regarding my relationship with my mother and have read quite a few books and taken some courses that have helped me. I thought I would share these resources here in the hopes that they will help others who are wanting to heal their mother wound. The books that have helped me include:
• Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing The Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride (she has an online course of the same name)
• The Emotionally Absent Mother by Jasmin Cori
• Discovering The Inner Mother: A Guide to Healing the Mother Wound and Claiming Your Personal Power by Bethany Webster (also has an online course about healing the mother wound)
• Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay Gibson (an absolute life-changer! So incredibly validating!)
Let me know if you have any questions and please share the resources you have found about this topic that has helped you!! Thank you, Tawnie 🙂
21/03/2021 at 4:05 pm #11279
Hi Tawnie, thank you so much for sharing these resources on healing and making sense of childhood trauma! I’m making note and I’m sure they’ll be helpful for others.
I’m so glad you’ve found your way to this thread and have found it helpful. What a journey you’ve been on, and yes I’ve spoken to so many mothers who have been confronted with the mother wounds relating to their emotionally cold and unavailable mother when they became a parent. It’s a painful enough journey to work through without feeling so alone with it all. It can be so very validating to read other people’s experiences that are somewhat similar, and to read or listen to descriptions that validate your own inner experience that have been so very confused and hard to make sense of.
So much of the self-healing journey is about being able to now as an adult make more sense of that which we had no ability at all to make sense of as a child. Children just take it all on without being able to filter. A line from a poem I wrote in my early twenties when deep on the journey of wading through unpacking my childhood goes something like this (from memory); Years of swallowing guilt I didn’t earn, years of aching for the love I did yearn.
Giving to the hurt child now that which was needed as a child thankfully really does heal those deep wounds and also creates new pathways in the brain. Core beliefs change from “there’s something very wrong with me” to “now I understand how my parent’s inability to meet my needs and inability to manage their own pain caused me to feel a, b and c.”
It’s big work to be exploring and reframing and healing childhood wounds, but in doing so, you’re changing the tragectory to a better healthier direction for the sake of your children and to give yourself more of the peace of mind and heart and happiness that you deserve. <3
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