Healing the Mother Wound

Emotional Neglect

It is possible to heal from the pain of having an emotionally absent mother and/ or self-absorbed mother.

Acknowledge that emotional absence was not your fault. Your mother (I say mother cause it was my mother who neglected/abused me. It could very well be a Father). Was not emotionally available because of something in your childhood. I think I looked like someone my mother was abused by or disliked. It was not because you were not good enough or unlovable. If your mother was emotionally absent and/or critical of you you are/were nor responsible for her behavior. She was the responsible adult. You deserved love and being cared for as a child and also as an adult.

See your mother as she is, not as the person you would like her to be.

It is very painful to come to accept and let go of the hope that one day your mother may change and be the loving and cuddly mother you always hoped for. This wish may keep you in a very anxious and depressed place, as your wish is never fulfilled and you continue to hope for a change but continue to experience emotional absence by your mother.

When you learn to accept that your mother is only able to give you as much as she can, your healing can start and you can have a relationship with her.

Sometimes a relationship isn’t possible. In my case I had had the emotional abuse as well as some physical abuse. Even as I accepted the way she was I never trusted her and you cannot have a relationship if you don’t have trust. Sure If she needed anything I would do it for her, but that’s as far as it went. I never let my own children be alone with her for any length of time. I talked to her but it was as strangers would talk not as mother and daughter.

You have to decide what kind of relationship though would like to have with her (if any) have with her-Reflect on the emotional impact of both having a relationship with her and not having her in her life.

Allow yourself to grief the absence of an emotionally engaged mother. Let yourself feel pain of feeling unloved as a child. Express the pain by talking, painting, writing, or in any way that comes naturally to you. It’s okay to have mixed feelings about your mother for wanting her attention and love (this is our survival instinct as children) while feeling angry towards her and hurt for her being able to prioritize your emotional needs as a child. Acknowledge all you feelings.

Get to know yourself, you may struggle to understand what you want or need , and often seek guidance from other people to the extent that it is very confusing for you.

What are you emotional, physical, safety, self-development, spiritual, and social needs. Pay attention to your emotional experiences. You may struggle to understand your feelings and they are vital for you to understand who you are and what you need.

Stop and listen to your body, what is the emotion you experience and how does it feel in your body? Learn to name your feelings but slowing down and taking time to reflect on them.

Develop self-soothing skills, when our caregivers (mothers) didn’t provide us with soothing as children and we experienced emotional absence we can learn these skills as an adult. We have an innate ability within our body to regulate ourselves. For example, spending time in nature and fully immersing yourself in yourself in your experience can teach you about self-soothing and regulation. Use all your senses to take in soothing experiences offered by nature.

Take a mindful walk in nature focusing on your sensory experiences. Practice deep breathing focusing on your exhale aiming to inhale it for as long as you can counting up to 9 or even 11 seconds when exhaling.

Mindfulness and guided visualization/ meditation surround yourself with beautiful pictures, objects, and scents that help you relax. Listen to music that makes you slow down and relaxes you. Watch funny things that make you laugh.

Be kind to yourself, you may be very critical of yourself and blame yourself for things that either go wrong or even for things that are not to do with you.

Self-compassion, be your own best friend, what would you say to a dear friend in a given situation? Acknowledge that suffering is universal, you are not alone with your pain. Be mindful of your feelings, acknowledge them but do not over identify and get stuck with them.

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