You must have heard of the age-old “nature vs nurture” debate.
Psychologists have been trying to figure out whether our behavior is influenced by our genes, or by the environment we grow up in.
I personally think that it is a mix of both.
Obviously, your genes play a huge role in determining who you are.
But how you were raised and the experiences you had growing up, play an equally important role.
Many adults who had a difficult childhood or had parents who were not loving enough might grow up with emotional wounds.
And although they might not know it, these wounds affect their behavior.
Take the mother wound for instance.
If you experienced an emotional absence of your mother in your early years, you could have grown up with the mother wound. This could have immense and deep-rooted effects in your life.
If you feel like your mother wound might be hampering your relationships, behavior, and mental health, you could use some emotional healing.
Let’s take a look at ten ways you could recover and free yourself of the pain.
1) Create Some Mental Space For You
The first step to healing can often be the strangest one.
But it is a step that you need to take to free yourself from years of hidden pain.
The first thing that you need to do is separate yourself from your mother. Not physically, but emotionally and mentally.
What happens is, when mothers don’t parent their children properly, they can struggle to form a clear identity of themselves. This might carry over well into their adulthood.
It is only logical that if you were not loved by your mother as a child, you might have developed a deep craving for that love.
This could have prevented you from creating the mental space between you and her, which is necessary to gain a larger perspective.
As such, it is possible that you didn’t develop a sense of who you really are. Your whole life might have been defined by the actions of your mother.
Ask yourself, do you really want to live like this? Aren’t you a unique individual with your own life to live?
You need to get it into your head that you are not your mother. Sure, you have her genes and as such, she is a part of you.
If you want, you can even continue to have a relationship with her.
But, you need to realize that you are not her. It is this mental separation that will pave the path for your healing and self-discovery.
There are several ways you can start to get to know yourself better.
You can spend more time alone, trying to understand how you think, what you like, what you don’t like, and so on.
You can pay attention to what your passions are and ask your friends what they think about you. This process of realizing your unique identity will happen organically.
As you try new things regularly, you will come to know more about yourself and you will slowly heal from the wounds of the past.
2) Don’t Take The Blame
Often when you are in pain, you tend to blame yourself for feeling that way.
You might think that it was your fault for the way things turned out to be. You might also question if things would have been different if only you had done certain things differently.
These are natural questions and it might be okay to ask them if something was your fault.
However, if you blame yourself for the choices that your mother made, that is not okay.
I mean, it’s bizarre that you’d even think that way.
You were a little child while your mother was the grown-up. It was her responsibility to care for you and love you unconditionally.
If she wasn’t emotionally available for you, it was her choice. It was her mistake.
It is really important that you know and understand that the way your mother behaved was not your fault at all.
It was not because you did something wrong. And it was certainly not because you were not enough.
You deserved love back then as a child and you deserve love now as an adult.
If you still feel like blaming yourself, I think putting yourself in the shoes of a parent might help.
If you have a child in the future, and for whatever reason, you don’t love them enough, will it be their mistake?
No, right? And if your child thinks that they are to blame for your actions, would it be okay? Heck no!
So, how is it right for you to blame yourself for something that your mother did?
3) Create Your Very Own Best Friend
It is often said that the first and the foremost relationship that you have is with your own self.
But, this self relationship can become toxic due to your mother’s negative behavior in your early years.
There are some mothers who are highly critical of their children. No matter how good they are, they always try to find faults and compare them with other children.
Then there are some mothers who just can’t show love and affection.
If this happened to you too, it probably influenced the way you view yourself.
You might have grown up with less confidence in yourself and you could have this voice at the back of your head that is always telling you that you are not enough.
Naturally, you might think that there is something wrong with you, perhaps even thinking that you are undeserving of love and kindness.
It is not a surprise that adults who grew up with critical mothers are often very hard on themselves. The slightest of mistake is enough to send them on a self-criticism mode.
If you do all of this or any of this… stop! Stop for a second and ask yourself, “Why do I do this to myself?”.
Trust me, “why” is one of the most powerful questions there is. It might just wake you up and make you change your ways.
I think what might help you the most is acting like your own best friend. Then, instead of criticizing yourself, you would be kind to yourself.
I mean, think about it.
What would you say to a best friend who is feeling low?
You would sit with them, care for them, and try to make them feel better. I think you might need the same love and kindness from your own self.
4) Let Out All The Pain
One of the most common things people do while experiencing pain is that they bottle it up.
If you had an unloving or highly critical mother, you may have learned to do the same right from your childhood too.
I can’t tell you how dangerous this can be for your emotional well-being.
Have you ever seen a pressure cooker cook food? All the pressure gets built inside and then there is a sudden and violent release of steam.
You see, you might have years of pent-up pain and emotions inside you due to your mother wound.
The sad thing is, you might not even be aware of this. And even if you are, you might be afraid of confronting all those years of feelings and emotions.
Also, one day, all these hidden emotions might come bursting out and that may have negative consequences for you and your relationships.
That’s why the sooner you let out all that pain, the better it will be for you. You will finally be on your way to healing.
Let me ask you this, don’t you feel extremely light after you have cried your heart out? This happens because crying releases the emotional storm that had been brewing up inside you for a long time.
You might want to talk to your loved one and really share everything that you have ever felt about your mother and her actions.
Tell them how it felt as a child and how it feels as an adult having a mother who is distant.
If you feel like crying, do it!
It is completely okay to be vulnerable in front of them if you trust them completely. It might take a few sittings, but you will feel much better having let out all that buried pain.
5) Face Reality as it is
We often see reality the way we want to see it, instead of seeing it for what it really is.
As a child, you might have seen or wanted to see your mother as a loving and caring parent. And even though you got to experience the opposite of this, you might still be holding on to hope that she will change one day and give you all the love you had always wanted.
This endless waiting can be daunting.
It keeps reopening the emotional wound that you have since your childhood.
Do yourself a favor and unleash yourself from the shackles of unrealistic hopes and dreams that your mother will ever become who you want her to become.
Some people just don’t change, you know! It is okay to let them be who they are. They have to follow their own path at their own pace.
As a general rule of thumb, you should view things and people the way they are, not the way you want them to be.
It allows you to accept everything and everyone just the way they are. And this saves you a lot of emotional turmoil.
I know, it can be agonizing to come to terms with who your mother really is. But it is something that you need to do if you want to move on with your life.
Remind yourself that this pain will be temporary but the healing will be permanent.
And who knows, once you’ve accepted your mother for who she is, you can think about having a relationship with her from that level of understanding.
6) Correct Your Behavior Bit By Bit
Everyone has good and bad traits, and these can often be the result of our experiences.
If you had a childhood where you didn’t get the love and care you needed or wanted, it can have deep-rooted influences on your personality and behavior.
Several of your bad habits or traits can be attributed to your mother wound.
In fact, you may repeat what your mother did to you emotionally, to other people, without even realizing it.
- Has it ever happened to you that you were overly critical of somebody’s work at your office only to realize later on that the work was actually good?
- Or do you find it difficult to commit romantically to a single person?
- Maybe you are often rude to others without any reason?
All of these are personality traits that are often developed over the years due to the mother wound.
To live a better and happier life and to develop strong relationships with other people, it is important that you correct your behavior.
Of course, doing it all at once may not be possible.
So, what you need to do is mindfully study your behavioral patterns and note down all the things that you might need to change.
Like, literally, take a notebook and a pen and note them all down. You can even ask your friends what they would like you to improve about yourself. Then slowly, work on improving yourself.
When you keep fixing these “loose ends” one by one, you start perceiving that you are making real progress.
You get a sense of control and you actually start feeling good about yourself. Do this long enough and you will be well on your way to healing.
7) Focus on Your Thoughts
To do that, you could turn to spirituality. ( not related to any religion)
There is a reason why more and more people are turning to spirituality nowadays.
It is literally the realm of your inner dimension and can be of immense help to solve anything that has been troubling you.
No matter how deep or complicated the pain is, you can use spiritual practices to heal yourself. Obviously, this applies to the mother wound as well.
Take for instance meditation.
This is a practice where you sit in silence and contemplate your thoughts and emotions. You can make it a part of your daily routine.
While meditating, imagine you connect with your inner being. There might be an inner child inside you who is still looking for love and affection. Try to connect with it on a spiritual level and tell that inner child that it is loved and cared for. You can visualize a bubble with you as a child in the middle of it. Imagine you hugging the little you and telling him/her that he/she is loved and and that from now on, the wounds will be be healed….. it is very symbolic and might take a few sessions to get some positive results.
Another great practice is mindfulness.
In this practice, you are always aware of the present moment in a non-judgmental manner. This allows you to detach yourself from what’s going on in your life. You can use this to deal with your emotional wound.
To do this, sit by yourself and look at your relationship history with your mother. Do this in a non-judgmental manner. Now, ask yourself what is the best way to deal with the situation. Maybe you want to forgive her? Maybe you want to cut ties and move on? You will get your answer during your practice.
There are other great practices too, like yoga, breathing exercises, gratitude, prayers, acts of compassion, etc. You need to make them a part of your life. They will fill you up with good emotions and gratitude for life and take away any resentment you might be holding.
8) Focus on Love
I mentioned above how opening up to a loved one about your mother wound can help you let out all the pain you had been holding for years.
This point takes it a bit further.
In this I want you to consider how you feel when you are around someone you love and trust in general.
Doesn’t it feel great to be around people with whom you can be your true self? Doesn’t it feel awesome to love them and be loved in return?
You see, the absence of love from one person (your mother), doesn’t have to mean the absence of love itself.
There are so many people in any person’s life that they can turn to for emotional support. You might have siblings, friends, colleagues, romantic partners, and so on. Out of all these people, there has to be a handful of people that you are really close to.
Talk to these people often, hang out with them at your favorite restaurants, go to movies with them, plan travel getaways together, share your deepest thoughts and feeling with them, and do anything else that makes you feel alive and wonderful.
These are the kind of experiences that will act like vitamin C to your wound (meaning they will quickly heal up the wound).
9) Seek External Help
You might have heard of people going to therapists and talking about how they feel all better. If you have had any reluctance to visit one, you might want to reconsider.
After all, they are professionals who specialize in emotional issues and might have insights that you may not have even imagined.
Also, they deal with several people who might be in the same boat as you. So, they are in a better position to advise you on what you need to do to heal your mother wound.
I personally feel that we are our own therapist, each one of us…
But going to a therapist will help especially if you feel like most other ways of healing are not working.
It’s okay if you feel this way.
Sometimes, you just need professional help.
So, ask around if your loved ones know a good therapist or search online. Take your time to find the right professional for you and just pour your heart out in front of them.
I know, it might feel a little strange going to a therapist if you have never gone to one before.
But trust me, it will be one of the most freeing experiences of your life. You will be able to share your deepest, darkest feelings and concerns with them in a safe space.
And since there is a confidentiality clause, you can remain assured that they will respect your privacy. Who knows, just saying aloud how you have felt all these years might kickstart your healing process.
10) Live to the fullest and Be Patient
Last but certainly not least, you have to be patient.
I understand that we live in a “fast-food culture” where we love instant gratification.
But some things just take time.
Your mother wound has probably existed for a significant amount of time (probably since your early childhood). For some, it might have been more than a couple of decades.
The older and deeper the pain, the longer the healing will take.
I know, once you have made up your mind that you want to heal, you want it to happen really fast.
Unfortunately, advancements in science can’t help you in this regard. The answers to your problems will have to come from within you. After all, that is where your feelings are generated. So, you will have to be patient with yourself.
Use this time to do all of the things I have talked about above.
Spend time with your loved one, share your pain with others, improve yourself as a person, change your perspective on your relationship with your mother, practice spirituality on a daily basis, have some “me time”, talk to a therapist, and so on.
Take a holistic approach as picking just one of these ways might not be enough.
Also, during your healing process, you might falter once in a while.
Please know that it is okay!
Some days you will feel like you have made a lot of progress and on other days you will feel like you took a few steps back.
Again, it is completely normal to feel that way. What matters most is that you keep going. Slowly but surely, you will let all of that pain leave you for good. And before you know it, you will be filled with love, gratitude, and a new appreciation for life.