The Biggest Mistake I Made at the Beginning of my Work
& what women healing the mother wound need the most
I met Mari in an online New Moon workshop I offered. She had a sweet, girly voice that didn’t reflect her 5 decades of life.
She was thirsty for genuine connections in her life to clear the dust of loneliness.
Mari had been in several intimate relationships throughout her life. And now, entering her Elder phase, after different processes with many healers and therapists, she was looking again through the childhood drawers of her heart wishing to shed more layers of the pain that kept her at a distance from sharing her life with someone or at least having satisfying friendships.
“A familiar wave of sadness and sorrow washed over me again today,” she wrote to me, “and a very strong pattern which accompanies me since childhood came up.”
Mari went on to tell me that she felt “enlisted” as far as she can remember to protect her loved ones from pain and death: “It’s what gave meaning to my life.”
Mari was very familiar with the patterns that played out and made her life feel empty.
Becoming familiar with our patterns is not the end of the healing road, just the start
After years of therapeutic work, there comes a point where we’ve gathered quite a lot of knowledge, theories and even insights about why we are the way we are, which stories have shaped us and what are the major habits and patterns we need to change.
Mari grew up with the role of keeping her sick father alive.
Her mother and big sisters gave her the impression and the encouragement that it was thanks to her that her father survived as much as he did. And that it was up to her!
“My father died when I was 18, the morning of Easter. I decided to stay the night at the university because I wanted to join the man I was in love with for a bridge night. It was utter boredom, but the things you do when you’re in love… I could have come back home the day before… I arrived at noon time the day after straight to my father’s funeral.”
There is no amount of words which can rescue Mari from the sense of responsibility and grief for not having been there for her father when he passed away; no amount of explanations could relieve her from the pain of regret and a sense of having failed in her duty.
Our emotional sense of being responds only to an embodied way of interaction with that which never happened
In the Hakomi way, a somatic mindfulness-based psychotherapy which I’ve started incorporating more and more into my work, identifying the missing experience is a key element of a healing process that is capable of shifting repetitive and familiar patterns in an extremely profound way.
But back then, I didn’t have the knowledge of this tool.
I also didn’t necessarily focus on healing the mother wound. It took a few more years before I noticed that 99% of the women who wanted to work with me had been dealing with some form of a wound from their relationship with their mother.
But I was versed in holding a powerful space where we can engage with challenging feelings such as loneliness and sadness, growing the capacity to turn towards them rather than away from them so we could glean the wisdom that lives in their heart.
Mari indeed started witnessing things in herself that she hadn’t noticed before. “I came to realise that I’m refusing somehow to grow up and act upon my life. When I’m not in a relationship or a working environment I’m like in a vacuum. I’m still waiting for someone to tell me what to do with my life.”
Mari started writing to me more and more in between our meetings. Her emails became longer and longer and she started to somehow demand lengthy responses from me.
I was very warm and caring towards Mari and could deeply feel her sense of loneliness.
But it seemed that no matter how much warmth, compassion and understanding I offered Mari, there’s no easy way to say this—I failed her.
Or at least, I was helping her no more than any other of the ones she’s already had.
The sense of needing someone to rescue us is familiar to many of us. Especially for women who've had a tough dynamic with their mum, the desire to be properly guided is embedded in their sense of self.
What women healing from the mother wound need the most is intimacy with the Big Mother
I failed to notice that Mari and I got caught in a system. A system is a dynamic between shadows. Mari’s shadow of dependency started to interact with my shadow of mothering and we started spinning in it.
So of course when I started putting boundaries to our interactions between sessions she felt abandoned.
“I wanted you to be my womb” she threw at me with anger in one of our conversations.
But no one can be that for her!
Not even her mother can bring her back to the cosy, protective space of her womb.
Women healing the mother wound don’t need a surrogate mother. Some women are aware of that and some aren’t. 12 years ago, at the start of my therapeutic coaching work, I didn’t notice that I had fallen into that trap.
As soon as I started unconsciously stepping into a mother-like space for Mari I abandoned her.
“To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surrounding” ~David Whyte
Mari’s missing experience was knowing that it was safe to be a child. That the burden of keeping people alive or protecting them from experiencing pain is not hers to carry.
It’s ok to not know what you should do with your life when you’re a child.
If your space as a child was abducted by an immature parent it’s very much expected that a part of you wouldn’t want to grow up, more precisely wouldn’t know how to grow up and would stay frozen at that point in life until it’s led through an embodied process that allows it to grow and catch up.
Women who seek mother wound healing need to grow into Sovereignty. And a space holder that falls into that mother-substitute role fails to see the missing experience and stands in the way of her sovereignty.
Sovereignty is being the queen of your own inner land, where you know what’s needed to happen that couldn’t before
Through growing intimacy with your frozen parts and your missing experiences, you find ways to give an answer to parts in you that stayed hungry for years.
You could perhaps get that from your mother if she at some point in life turned out to be what you needed. But that is rare.
And in fact, my experience tells me so far, that as a grown woman not even a miraculously transformed mother will be able to stop a bleeding hunger to feel safe, to receive guidance, to be seen and appreciated.
Those missing experiences find completion by discovering within ourselves how to give an answer to something that hasn’t happened because as a grown woman, you are much more resourced and able to connect with the essence of sovereignty, the natural healing powers of the Big Mother that lives within each one of us.
The mother wound is a relational wound, meaning it has happened within a relationship. It is therefore pertinent to its healing to be processed in a relationship with a space holder (therapist, coach, healer…) that is not only aware of her shadows but is able to spot from miles away what could get her caught in a system with you, and how to jump out of it if that happened.
Your therapist is not your mother nor your friend. I don’t say that from a hierarchical point of view but from the recognition that healing transpires when the therapist helps you facilitate the level of intimacy with yourself that you need in order to forge your sovereignty, your embodiment of the Big Mother who feeds the hungry child within.
Healing the mother is also different from healing other relational wounds since it visits the most primal bond in life. As you begin to recognise the missing experiences within a healthy therapeutic relationship the young parts within you merge with the adult part of yourself and you finally find that sense of wholeness that you’ve been looking for.
Two weeks are left for the Special New Year single session for a 60% discount offer.
If you’re curious about your missing experiences and how engaging with those can follow up with profound release I would love it if you take this opportunity to find out how profoundly healing this can be.
This offer is calid until February 6th
You can book it now to redeem it within the next three months.
This can be suitable for you if you’re:
Curious about healing the mother wound and want to just dip in your toes
Facing a specific issue or question and want to delve into without getting necessarily into a longer commitment
Wanting a taste of my approach to healing the mother wound
Interested in mapping out your steps for healing the mother wound
Needing some nourishment
This session includes:
A pre-session questionnaire to prepare for our call
60-90 minutes zoom call
Recording of the call delivered via email
A PDF summary of the main insights and possible further steps or practice suggestions
Shelly’s helping women on a journey of healing the mother wound who are dealing with the ways it has limited their sense of self, relationships or the success of their calling and want to reach deeper levels of fulfilment & wholeness
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