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Misplaced Loyalty

The pain of misplaced loyalty for women with a mother wound brings up strong shame and affects their sense of self. Explore the journey of healing the mother wound and finding freedom.

misplaced loyalty

Loves, I want to tell you about Carla.

Carla came to me because her mother wound seemed to have reopened when her mother decided to move back to her homeland.

Like many women, Carla thought that she had “dealt with it”, getting to a sense where she had managed to move on and not get too upset at her mother any more. After years of psychotherapy She didn’t want to go over those feelings again.

It’s quite common for a mother wound to reopen in spite of many years of working through it. It can be triggered, as happened to Carla, by a big change.

Be it changes initiated by others or ones that we initiate, it’s as if we’re standing at a threshold of who we are and how we move on in life, and old wounds can get rubbed, even inflamed.

These shifts can be a relocation, stepping up in terms of how we show up publicly, a new and significant relationship, and more. There is no one trigger to point to: it is about our status quo being challenged.

This new shift to relocate made Carla, once again, feeling left behind.

Carla was torn between anger at how her mother always seemed to do only what was convenient for herself and a sense of loyalty in supporting her mother.

As a world-famous performance artist, Carla’s mother had been absent from home for many years, leaving Carla with the feeling that she didn’t really matter.

It’s no simple matter for a modern women to compose a life of fulfilment, which includes motherhood, career, self-care, social life and creative expression. When this balance is out of kilter, a daughter is often left with a sense of responsibility for her mother’s happiness.

No one wants to deprive their loved ones of their happiness. For a young daughter, this feeling is unbearable. She would push all her needs aside just to see her mother happy.

The younger the daughter is, the more unconscious and automatic this response is.

In a young’s daughter’s eyes, her mother’s happiness equates to her own happiness. Her loyalty to her mother is a sense of loyalty to herself.

The belief that shapes this process of loyalty says: “Something bad will happen if I’m not loyal to my mother.”

You may have had a similar experience only that it didn’t show up in these particular words.

One of the things I struggled with at the beginning of my mother wound healing journey was the challenge to creatively articulate my life experiences because of an underlying sense of loyalty to keep my mother’s story secret. With that, I denied my own story and had no sense of loyalty to my needs as a creative person or just as a woman with a life story of her own.

Other ways this loyalty can show up are difficulty in refusing her gifts and financial support; feeling obliged to take her advice or to share personal things with her; keeping in touch in spite of continued or past abuse; rejecting your own and or your family’s needs to serve your mother’s; relying heavily on the narrative that she also suffered in her life while disregarding the consequences you’re left to deal with; and so much more.

Misplaced loyalty is a result of an early sense of fear that left its mark on the nervous system and gave rise to the belief that if you become loyal to your own needs it’ll somehow compete with your mother’s and therefore something bad will happen.

I think that ‘loyalty’ is a big pompous word laden with personal but mainly cultural associations.

In some cultures, especially religious cultures, loyalty to one’s mother no matter what—no matter the neglect, the abuse, the harshness—is a sacred unspoken vow you cannot break.

The question that healing the mother wound poses is not whether one should keep or abandon one’s cultural heritage, but rather “How does my loyalty supports my well-being?“

When loyalty becomes an ideology it often rejects a natural harmony of life.

Sometimes it’s possible to find a new way of being, a way forward without losing contact with a mother or family. But sometimes it’s not possible. It’s never an easy decision to make. And there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

And here I’m thinking of another aspect of loyalty which is an easy way out of what is otherwise a very personal, contextualised and complex question.

The only way to find your way is by exploring the core beliefs that define your access to happiness, autonomy and self-expression. Loyalty might be just one aspect of this.

Core beliefs are both culturally inherited and shaped in early childhood and can be changed

Feeling left behind, being in second or perhaps even third place in her mum’s list of priorities as she prepared to move back to her homeland, Carla was tormented by this yearning grabbing hold of her again.

When Carla and I looked into her core beliefs, she discovered that her loyalty was based on her 7-year-old self who kept on trying to please her mum just to win the attention, love and care she needed and never really received.

When we reveal the part in us that clings to the imagined rewards of loyaltywe’re able to build a bridge between the wounded young self and the adult self.

Loyalty that is harmonised feels like a release of the tension in the nervous system, resulting in a lightness where something new takes place, a new sense of connectio.

I’ve done these processes many times over the years so I’m bringing some of it now in the form of self-study courses to help women like you find their way to healing the mother wound.

I can teach you how to do that my video training Breaking Free from Limiting Beliefs which I’ll be launching on September 18th.

This training is a self-paced course where you’ll learn:

  • What’s the special connection between the mother wound and limiting beliefs

  • How to disentangle oneself from these beliefs

  • How to form new, empowering beliefs that set free your wellbeing, creative expression and sense of an autonomous self.

There's a pre-launch 50% discount until Sep 17th

core beliefs online course

Not there yet? Here a couple of way to stay connected:

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Shelly's helping women whose relationship with their mother left a negative charge and want to become un-limited in their personal or professional life


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