The Secret that Ferments into Shame
and how to face loss in order to meet our freedom…
I listened carefully to the plump red-lipped woman with blond wavy hair draping down in neat elegance. The shame of falling into depression in her early 30s was like a rocky cliff she was crushing against.
I learned years later why she was taken by darkness like that, but at that moment she was speaking for me.
Here I was, sitting in a circle with her and 20 other people, all dealing with mental health challenges. I had a lot in common with these people, but my purpose that day was different.
Commissioned by the CEO of Enosh, the largest organisation in Israel serving people with mental health challenges, the same organisation that supports my mother I was there as a business consultant with a secret life. I had never managed before to speak about my secret in front of a group of 20 people.
I could hardly manage it with one person.
Talking about your mother is not appreciated in our society. Many fear it’s just mother-blaming, and years of reticence are stowed away into an uncomfortable secret. As the years go by the secret takes more space. It becomes heavier and you don’t know anymore how to live life without it.
I needed to learn how to speak about my mother, how to feel comfortable with seeing my part of the story and not just hers, how to allow myself the freedom to say “that's my life and I have a right to speak about it”.
Speaking about the loss of the life she had had, that beautiful woman pointed at the life that had gone sour within me. We were both waves in the sea of life crushing against walls of shame.
Shame rises when we’re hiding the truth of our heart
Perhaps something you fear others won’t understand or appreciate. Something you’re not clear on how to speak about without being criticised of feeling guilty. Something that hasn’t yet received acknowledgement by the mainstream and the norm.
In life, we’re never alone in a story. There are always a few sides to the same story, a few angles to the same event. You’re entitled to feel comfortable to do whatever you need with your side of the story in order to disentangle from the undertow of secrets.
Healing the mother wound is not about looking to fault women who are already dealing with navigating multiple lives—juggling between keeping a household and a career, fighting every day to be heard in a world deaf to women’s needs and concerns, looking for a way to make a difference in a capitalist world made by and for men while forging a good future for their daughters.
The mother wound is a hurt in the membrane of a woman’s wholeness caused by a consistent lack of care, support or nourishment to the needs of her true nature
For some women this means lack of affection since the mother was remote or rigid; for other women it’s the absence of guidance and care for basic needs since the mother was sick; other women learned how to doubt themselves because their mother was always in control, never trusted their daughter’s judgment or gave them the signal that they could never get it right.
Some mothers love their daughters, they haven’t abused their daughters but they taught them to be a pleaser because the mother’s demands or need for attention were unquenchable or because the mother was silent when a situation begged for speaking up or because she had no boundaries and made her daughter her best friend.
Maybe your mother was just tired after having many children before you arrived in the world and she couldn’t be present to your needs.
The grief for the loss, once faced, is a tender splash of the waves of life onto the cliff of acknowledgement and the fresh spray of awareness that revitalises our heart.
Secrets don’t ferment well. They turn sour, their acidic nature corrodes your emotional and spiritual sense of self.
Grieving can begin at any moment in life. As you do, a life-changing realisation is waiting for you.
Wholeness and complete inner peace are available no matter who your mother was