What is the mother wound?
The Mother Wound refers to a challenging and painful experience with the central motherly figure in our early life. This can be our biological (Earth) mother, grandmother, female caretaker, adoptive mother, etc. Yet, it’s also much more than that.
It’s the learned illusion of separation from The Mother.
A difficult experience with our mother figure has insidious impacts that remain with us throughout our lives. There may have been neglect, abuse, betrayal on some level. Specifically, mother wounds are a breeding ground for the main cause of much of human suffering: SHAME, particularly Feminine Shame, which impacts all of us regardless of gender or physical anatomy.
Most every single dis-ease we will ever experience, whether in our bodies, lives, health, relationships or work, stems from some version of the “there’s something wrong with me story.” That story is the result of shame.
This shame results from the programs, beliefs, and stories we’ve been fed about the feminine energies within and around us.
The subtle creates the gross. Whatever is imprinted on us in our intangible, unseen realms (our emotional, mental, and spiritual or energetic bodies) is creating and recreating our physical experience in life.
Our bodies, health, lives, and relationships are all mirrors of our internal workings. They’re reflecting the shame we are carrying on some level.
When we begin to heal and unravel outdated beliefs and untruths, we can identify the particular shame stories we carry. This begins the process of transmuting them, which not only sets us free, but frees our lineage. This is ancestral Mother Wound healing that supports generations of women (and all beings) past and future.
The Separation From The Divine Feminine or Spiral Principle
Mother Wounds result from the separation between ourselves and the Divine Feminine or Spiral Principle, as I like to call it. This excommunication of the goddess and of anything impermanent or spirally about our existence is the root of feminine shame. This separation is also the cause of the plight of the planet today. These are the results of the patriarchy.
Women experience shame, guilt, and fear of their own being-ness, then pass this on to their offspring to continue the cycle.
At its core, The Mother Wound is a symptom of unused or misused and repressed power that manifests as a variety of coping mechanisms. The coping mechanisms associated with symptoms of the mother wound intend to numb the perceived pain of being a woman. However, alienation from other women and one’s own feminine aspects typically results.
I also want to make it very clear that I’m not being “heteronormative” or insensitive to gender identifications. We ALL have feminine and masculine dynamics within us, regardless of anatomy or personal identification. I refer to these as spiral and triangle principles, respectively. Although I am speaking to females, it’s important to note that feminine shame inflicts all of us.
Frequently Asked Questions About Feminine Shame
What is Feminine Shame?
What is Feminine Shame:
Shame is an often misunderstood state that we do our best to avoid – and about which we rarely speak! However, it is a natural, necessary response that arises when we perceive our sense of safety, belonging, contentment, and/or joy to be in jeopardy. It motivates us to make change so that we may repair our sense of safety, belonging, contentment, and/or joy.
Feminine Shame, a phenomenon and concept created by InnerSpark, is when we perceive ourselves, in our innate, natural state, to be the barrier towards our sense of safety, belonging, contentment, and/or joy simply because of our existence and presence. It is an intense and deeply held resistance, aversion, resentment, and fear towards anything that is soft, transient, cyclical, fluid, passive, nurturing, intuitive, an/or emotional in nature.
It is a shame towards that which is natural in a world attempting to get us on board with what’s “normal.”
This learned disconnection leads us into a perpetual state of “not enough.” We feel wrong, bad, unworthy, fundamentally flawed just for existing. As a species, we’ve lost our taproot and have learned that it’s better to ignore the innate naturalness of our being, unless we wish to open ourselves to scrutiny, judgement, and more shame. What we’ve learned and emulated across many generations now, largely due to Puritanical programming, isn’t “natural,” although we’ve come to certainly view it as “normal.”
Living with Feminine Shame is a constant fight between natural and normal and an internalization that there’s something wrong with us. We are disconnected from our InnerSpark and continually seek cues and validation externally. This compartmentalized way of life makes everything harder and wreaks havoc on us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually and contributes to dis-ease on a massive scale.
Why Does Feminine Shame Exist?
Why Does Feminine Shame Exist:
The root cause of feminine shame is in the programs that have taught us to shun our naturalness and to view it as wrong, bad, sinful. Since so much of our world in its natural state is meant to encompass these qualities (our physical bodies, the cycles of the Earth, the stages of life, growth, and aging, and more), it’s an unfortunate truth that we’ll all experience this feminine shame at some point our lives to varying degrees.
Always striving to fit into a rigid, external measure of “normal,” willing ourselves to continue the quest when what would truly bring us back to wholeness is embracing our natural state and our Spirally essence.
Who Does Feminine Shame Impact?
Who Does Feminine Shame Impact:
Feminine Shame impacts everyone – regardless of gender or physical anatomy. It’s an abstract, permeating concept that mostly refers to shame towards that which is natural and has virtually nothing to do with gender or anatomy.
It is when we believe our very natural existence and presence, especially those aspects that are fluid and natural, are the source of our sense of safety, belonging, contentment, and/or joy being in jeopardy.
While womxn do tend to experience it more directly, as a species, we’ve undoubtedly come to a place where the essence of “feminine,” or the Spiral Principle is not held with high regard. We are all impacted, as is our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and the health of our planet.
How Do We Heal Feminine Shame?
How Do We Heal Feminine Shame:
We heal Feminine Shame intentionally, compassionately, gently, and lovingly. We do so by embracing what’s natural and letting go of what’s been deemed “normal.”
In The InnerSpark Method, a system for supporting deep-feeling, sensitive women in breaking the cycles of burnout, people-pleasing, anxiety, and constantly trying to “fix” themselves, we heal Feminine Shame through five phase approach: befriending the body, managing our energy system (with resources like InnerSpark’s Energy Management Tools) and connecting with our emotions, mastering our mind, and aligning with Nature’s wisdom and rhythms.
We do so by reconnecting with ourselves, our InnerSpark, to see the parts of ourselves riddled with shame. We do so in community where we allow ourselves to be seen and witness each other. We come back to a state of reverent balance and holistic living and thriving.
How did we get here?
How do we heal wounded feminine energy as a collective? Some flavor of the “there’s something wrong with me” story takes root in a young girl as she internalizes her mother’s pain. This was programmed both through “nature” and “nurture.” Trauma, including shame, lives in our cells and is inherited.
- Eating disorders
- Health challenges, primarily those inflicted the endocrine system (adrenal glands, thyroid, reproductive organs, etc.)
- Chronic, low grade anxiety
- Feeling jealous, competitive, and/or mistrusting of other females
- Feeling like you don’t like women and having a tough time having relationships with them
- Tolerating and settling for disrespectful treatment
- Constantly feeling unworthy
- Seeking external validation
- Saying “sorry” a lot
- Having a lack of confidence
- Fear of success because it’s not fair for you to shine
- A disconnection from and mistrust of the body
…and more are all ways The Mother Wound may rear its ugly head.
The ways in which our central mother figures hurt or triggered us are the very coping mechanisms they used to continue some illusion of safety and control… And, they’re most likely the ones you may be incorporating on a subtle level.
We can definitely turn into our mothers.
When we resist these ways, they intensify. Our own potential, deep happiness, and health continue to be stifled, just as they were stifled in the women before us.
Why is it so hard to create a healthy relationship with the mother?
Not only is shame and guilt at the core of the mother wound, it also is what prevents us from healing. Changing the status quo and breaking away from the paradigm of our lineage feels shameful, wrong, and just downright weird. This stuff runs deep, beloved!
Social conditioning, on top of any outright projected guilt we may receive from our mothers (“How could you? I am your mother!”), instills a sense duty and repayment. We’re reminded of the sacrifices they made and how we owe it to them to be/do/act in accordance with their expectations.
I’m not saying motherhood doesn’t require sacrifice, however, it’s important to note that we’re each sovereign beings making our own choices. The more we internalize the regretful choices made by those around us, the more shame we ingest. We have a strong energetic umbilical cord that is supplying us with a steady dose of trauma.
Aside from that latent guilt, why would we not want to leave a way of being that is neither healthy nor functional?
Why is complacency in dis-ease the new family tradition?
It’s safe and familiar. Even if the status quo is completely not serving, for many, it feels safer to stay in the same dirty pond than to go explore new ones. The process of healing involves facing the pain. Healing the Mother Wound leads us to our power and potential.
Our mother figures were severely disconnected from The Mother. As was their mother, and their mother, and so on for many, many generations. All of the ways we accept as “normal” in our modern times further wedge the divide between us and what’s natural (being aligned with Nature, The Spiral Principle, and The Mother). We learn these “normal” ways from our families, from our culture, society, etc. Puritanical and patriarchal programming that teach that that which is more feminine/spirally in nature is wrong, untrustworthy, less than have fueled Feminine Shame.
So in addition to longing for a more nourishing relationship with our mother figure, the real medicine comes from all of us addressing the legacy of Feminine Shame and reconnecting with The Mother.
More on what’s “normal” vs what’s natural and how to live more authentically.
Pathways to Liberation
In my own case of unraveling this karmic knot, there was definitely a sense of shame and guilt. It felt like my mother’s pain, and therefore the pain I endured in my childhood as a result of her drinking and drug use, were somehow my fault.
I wanted to save her and wondered what I was doing wrong. When would I ever be enough? What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t she love me enough to be fully present, healthy, and engaged?
I have had my own battles with alcohol and disordered eating. I have placed tireless and ruthless expectations on myself. I have succumbed to the hyper-intellectualism and perfectionism plaguing women at the expense of their own vitality. Another effect of the patriarchy and Feminine Shame.
I have also felt the guilt and shame around energetically uncoupling from my mother to find my own voice. And despite dancing with this mother wound for quite some time, the familiar tinge of shame lurks: I couldn’t save her before a lifetime of unprocessed grief, trauma, rage, and shame washed down with alcohol took her life.
The real way to express love, gratitude and loyalty towards our lineage? Follow Truth and Beauty.
I know and feel in my bones – which are the ancient materials that have housed the spirits of my lineage and those women before me – that this is the way. This is, in fact, what they wanted for themselves and for us. They were too trapped in their own delusions, perceptions, and trauma to allow themselves to have it.
The only duty we have is continuing the work they actually wanted and doing our parts to heal feminine shame.
Loyalty is not continuing the same dysfunction. They don’t want that for us and they really didn’t want it for themselves. They don’t want us to be stuck in the same pain, same struggles, same addictions, same sicknesses, and to wear the same armors. They want us to rise and embody our divinity and know Beauty.
How do we begin to heal?
- We must first recognize the feminine shame we’re carrying and engage in our own shadow work. Often, we’re shameful about the shame we carry. That shame cycle prevents us from accepting it. Without acknowledgement and acceptance, surrendering to consciously and clearly move forward can’t take place. Working with our energy, loving on our nervous systems, cultivating body trust, and aligning with Nature’s wisdom are some quick and potent ways to unraveling Feminine Shame and reconnecting with ourselves as The Mother.
- We should then spend time with our own flavor of shame. How does our particular flavor of shame how up in our lives, in our bodies? Where does it come from? How do you really feel about the feminine or spiral principle? How do you really feel about women, your body, your emotions, anything that’s unpredictable and ever-changing? Get very curious about your own shame and befriend it. It’s truly the root of all dis-ease and dysfunction.
- We must see our central mother figures as humans – just like us. They aren’t a representation of the Divine Mother or all women. They are or were just humans like us with wounds, shame, traumas, stories, and unprocessed emotions. Stop the lineage of blame and guilt and unprocessed trauma. Choose to embody something different. In releasing them of the burden of representing the Divine Mother, we begin to see them through compassionate eyes, which sets us all free.
- Practice kindness and compassion and love towards yourself. Develop a self-care menu that nourishes your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies.
- Embodiment practices to feel into the shame, pain and confusion you possess. Allow yourself to grieve, access your inner child and allow her to vent, rage, cry, scream, and feel. Our bodies are sacred, ancient, and wise suits that have all the wisdom and answers we need. We’ve been programmed and conditioned to numb out of our bodies and rely on our intellect. The practice of embodiment and intentional, conscious movement is our anchor back to our innate knowing. We are able to access what is living inside us that begs for our attention. These trapped emotions and the energy they suck from our vitality is the root of all dis-ease. By engaging with it and processing it, we increase our health on all levels – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
- Other things you can do are to write her a letter – let it all out – and burn it. Seemingly trivial, the practice helps us access stagnant emotions. Often, we minimize our pain and experiences and by recalling them, we give this pain a voice and a witness.
It’s an ongoing process that requires consistency and a willingness to be with and reclaim all the pieces of yourself.
As you rise into a place of self-sovereignty, you are carrying the torch for those who came before you and those who will come after you.
Check out my conversation with Maryn of IndieBirth.org on the Taking Back Birth podcast about The Mother Wound.
How does the Mother Wound show up in your life? How do you consciously unravel the effects of the patriarchy in your life?
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