The Mother Wound & Re-parenting

The entire month of August has existed in the depths of the Otherworld. One thing after another has been coming to the surface for me and I’ve been facing them one after another. It has only been in the past 4 days that I finally feel like I have been able to take a breath and rest.

I am talking about my mother wound a lot right now because it’s the last set of chains I need to break free from. I am the survivor of childhood sexual abuse via my dad, and my mother, knowing what he did to me, chose to take all her anger and jealousy out on me starting from when I was between the ages of 3 and 4. I grew up always questioning what I was doing wrong, why didn’t my mother love me, and why did my other siblings get affection but I never got any?

This wound bled the entirety of my known and remembered childhood. I knew by the time I was a young adult that she would never ever have my back. I also knew that if I ever wanted children of my own, I had better get to fucking work healing that gaping, bleeding wound. So while my peers enjoyed their close relationships with their mothers, I buckled down and focused on what it meant to mother myself. If I couldn’t mother myself, then how was I going to be a mother?

I think when my oldest came along, I had really only uncovered bits and pieces of what it meant to parent/mother myself. Nothing truly replaces the warmth of a mother’s arms, or the compassion and kindness a mother has for her child. However, I’m not really sure what those things feel like. The majority of my childhood was focused on merely surviving. If I could survive the day, then I could survive tomorrow. I’m really really damn good at being strong. But having my own children and watching their vulnerability and need for me has broken my heart more times than I can count.

I see my younger self reflected in their eyes and feel my younger self’s sobs of loneliness and pain. Reconnecting that shattered piece of my younger self with my current self has helped me give love to her and hold her as a mother would. I have learned how to give myself love and compassion as I do with my children. I am still learning to read myself when I start getting extremely anxious and want to lash out. When that happens I know my younger self is triggered and whatever happened has ripped open a barely healed wound.

The Lady from my Druid Craft Tarot Deck – I feel like this is Anu’s card.

I have chosen The Morrigan and Her three faces as my deity and She has chosen me. I personally feel like She doesn’t fully embody the whole Maiden-Mother-Crone persona, She is so much more than either of those. Badb, who I talked about before, has given me many tools for ripping away the ick and healing the wounds. She not only gives me the tools, but sits with me and comforts me and weeps and mourns with me as I hold what I’ve lost and reclaim love and kindness for my younger self and current self. Anu though, I haven’t talked much about Her. She most embodies the Mother archetype, and She has been closest this past month. Her immense kindness and eagerness to sit by me and be my mother is felt so deeply.

Mothering and re-parenting myself while parenting and mothering my two children is far from easy. I know that when I get frustrated with them, I am reacting to something unresolved with in myself. When my children just want to be near me, it’s difficult for me to sit with them. That echoes the feelings of abandonment and betrayal I felt from my own mother. Because when I sit down with my youngest and he crawls into my lap, I am not only comforting him, but comforting myself and holding my younger self close in my arms too. I have to remind myself that my children do not have to know the strength I had to have as a child. They have me. They have a mother pouring love and care and compassion and kindness over and into them without a second thought.

I reached the darkest and deepest part of this latest dive into the Otherworld on Wednesday this past week. I could feel the chains breaking, but I also felt that I wasn’t really sure I wanted to keep living. The fight within me to live was not there. I strangely wasn’t suicidal, but I felt so weary and ready to give up. Even though I could see the light, I knew this was the last push, I knew I had to only go through this one more battle before breaking through to the sunny heights. It is truly darkest before dawn.

I fell asleep on Tuesday night crying for a mother’s arms. Anu sat with me and held me and wiped away my tears as I was finally able to drift to sleep.

Through my own children’s unconditional love for me, I have been able to give unconditional love to myself. I have broken down those shameful things my mother said and gave to me. Through the presence of Anu and Badb, I’ve been able to refill my well of strength. I am not alone, even when I feel like it.

I am my own mother. I am my children’s present and in the moment mother. I am re-parenting myself and holding space for myself to be emotionally unstable and sit with myself to try to pinpoint the trigger. I am committed furthering the healing and closing of my mother wound. The woman who gave birth to me was never and has never been my mother. I have been my own mother since I was a child. I am strong because I’ve had to be. But I am also gentle and compassionate because my children have shown me the precious vulnerability of a child’s unquestioning of their mother being there. I am their safe space, but can I be my own safe space? I’m sure as hell going to try.

Mothers Who Can’t Love

Content Warning: sexual abuse, rape, incest, emotional abuse

Three and a half years ago, I published a book about my childhood, deconstruction from Christianity, and how I had begun transitioning into the mystic. Barely a year later, I was hit with a massive wrecking ball – memories of having been raped as a child by my own father returned.

I know I’ve had another book sitting in me and waiting to be written. I am two years from those memories returning, and I know it is now time. For the past week I have been starting to slowly re-piece together my story in book form. By doing so, I have realized just how much I wrote about having been sexually abused but not consciously being aware of the truth. I used to hold the believe that my mother was just as much of a victim as I was against my father’s abuse. When my memories returned, an entire story line burst open. A story of how my mother never loved me. How she bent over backwards to make sure I hated my life; hated myself. A story of how she used every opportunity to take her jealousy and disgust of me out on me.

I had all the pieces of what she did to me, but I couldn’t see the whole picture. I was missing the thing that tied it all together; my childhood rape. I thought she was just lashing out at me because of how my dad treated her. The trickle down effect, ya know?

Through my mother’s treatment of me and the things she’s said to me, I thought I was just a despicable child. I knew there was something wrong with me. I knew I was disgusting and I was terrified if she actually could see into my mind. Besides, she constantly reinforced the idea that I was a disgrace to her.

As the missing memories began to fill in the gaps in the story of my mother’s treatment of me, I felt like I had been sucker punched. But also deeply validated. I firmly believe that she knew that my dad had raped me. But instead of standing by me and fiercely defending and protecting me, she took her disgust and anger at what he had done out on me.

I have no memories of my mother being affectionate to me. I have no memories of receiving hugs from her or feeling safe and warm or feeling protected. It was me against the world and my own house wasn’t safe.

And yet, I somehow am managing to not repeat the same cycles with my children. They are teaching me about giving and receiving affection just like I am teaching them that it’s okay to say no and to protect their boundaries.

Acknowledging and holding space for the damage my mother’s abuse caused is difficult. I’m doing it anyway, but I am holding space for my younger self’s heartbreak. It’s taken over 2 decades for me to get to a place where I’m okay with my body. I don’t feel like it’s the disgusting thing my mother always said it was. I love the shape of my curves and the fact that my body has created two new lives. I cry though for the pain my younger self experienced daily, and the self-doubt and belief that she was the cause of all of the family’s problems. My heart wrenches as the echoes of that pain still touch me to this day.

I wrote several thousands pages in the new book yesterday. I woke up yesterday morning at 4:40am with the last words of a dream ringing through my head. My mother was in the dream, but I was separated from her the entire dream. There was this weird kidnapping scene, I was with a sister, but not one of my sisters in this life time. We managed to escape and made it to where my mother was supposed to be. We were met by a personal assistant kind of person who kept going on and on about a bunch of weird details. I finally stopped her and asked her where my mother was. She just looked at me and said “oh, she’s dead.” To which I then woke up.

This is the not the first dream I’ve had of my mother dying or being at death’s door. The feelings that ripped through my body as I lay there in bed trying to process was of tearful relief. I believe the dream was pushing me forward to finish these last layers that exist in my mother wound. I felt like I was walking around with a bleeding and gaping wound on my back yesterday. I did a Lion’s Gate tarot spread yesterday, got some amazing cards and direction, but felt prompted to pull a 9th card.

I pulled the 9 of wands – the card of the final challenge, battle. The card of picking yourself back up, wounded and broken, and still continuing to fight to victory. It’s a fire card too and I certainly felt that burning fire ripping through me, burning away the pain and leaving the ashes behind for something to start anew.

So I’m standing tall, pulling myself up and facing these wounds and the deep dark pain. I’m going to do my younger self proud and give her the respect and space she always deserved but never got.