Difficult mother? Here’s how to heal your mother wound

It’s no secret that many of us have a difficult mother. The thing is – growing up with a difficult mother is not something you manage to just leave behind when you enter adulthood. It’s a burden you carry with you throughout your adult life. Whether you have a needy, co-dependent mother, a controlling mother, a narcissistic mother, a jealous mother, or an emotionally unavailable mother. The mother wound is a very real phenomenon which can spill over into every thread of our being, the way we live our lives, the decisions we make, and how we conduct our relationships.

So for everyone out there who has a difficult mother in their life, here Charlotte Pardy, The Meditative Counsellor – an award-winning psychotherapist who specialises in working with women who have difficult mothers – shares her tips for healing your mother wound.

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Dear Daughter of a difficult mother,

Mother wounds can happen for a lot of reasons, mum may be depressed, bereaved, traumatised, addicted, have mental health issues, or a difficult relationship with her own mother that’s never been resolved.

It’s this difficult relationship caused by her emotional absence that is often at the heart of a mother wound, because the criticising, controlling and at times competitive behaviour takes its toll on you.

You’re just too sensitive.

I never said that.

I’m only trying to help.

This is for your own good.

I wouldn’t do it like that if I were you.

That’s nice, but everyone loves my…

Comments like these undermine your confidence and self-worth, they may drive you towards perfectionism and people pleasing, you may struggle at work and in relationships, you may even worry about passing it on.

I see it so often where women hide their mother wound and try to take it to the grave, they often feel ashamed of not getting on with mum, that there’s something wrong with them, but it’s just not true.

Culturally we tend to put mothers on a pedestal, they can do no wrong, and they always try to do their best, but it’s a fantasy.

Mothers are just as flawed as anyone else

The more we brush it under the carpet the more we allow our mother wounds to thrive, because it stops them, and us from seeking help.

Shame keeps us stuck in the pain and hurt, and it’s time we brought the problem into the light.

You see this hidden hurt can leave us dissatisfied with life, feeling like we can’t achieve our dreams, and by the time we hit our 40s, like it’s too late to change things.

Yet there are women I see in their 60s and 70s who are filled with regret that didn’t do something sooner, especially now they are feeling so much better.

The truth is it’s never too late, you just need the right help and support.

Many women wonder if they can do anything if mum has passed, they often feel left with their mother wound unresolved. I want you to know that healing is possible regardless of if you have contact with mum, are no contact, or even if she is no longer with us.

Acknowledging and dealing with the issues allows us to break the cycle that often goes back generations, meaning we don’t have to hold onto the pain or pass it on to our family.

It takes courage to face the fear, shame and hurt we have been through, it takes faith to know we can come out the other side feeling calmer, more confident, and happier in ourselves.

So, if you are ready to step up and not carry the burden what can you do?

Here are five simple proven strategies I use with clients in my practice.

  1. Recognise that you are feeling shame. You can tell the difference between guilt and shame by asking the question: Can I fix this? If it is guilt the answer is yes, if no, then you are feeling shame. Shame doesn’t belong to you, it has been given to you so give yourself permission to feel shameless.
  2. Understand that you can only fix you. It can be hard to know that we can’t help mum, that if she wants help, she needs to reach out for it. Know that by going through the process yourself that you are showing her it’s possible.
  3. Find your internal compass. If your value and self-worth are always dependant on mum or others you will always be at the mercy of their moods. Find other ways to value yourself such as measuring yourself against virtues or principles you aspire to.
  4. Stop pretending. It’s ok to not be ok is a phrase we hear often, but we also need to stop pretending things are fine when they are not. You’ve probably lived a lot of your life being what you think others want to see, now is the time to put down the mask and be real.
  5. Learn to love yourself. Just because mum struggled to show you the love and care you needed doesn’t make you unlovable. All it means is she couldn’t show you. Let yourself listen to and take onboard compliments, love, and affection not only from others but also from yourself. I promise you, you won’t get ‘too big for your boots’ but you will start to develop your self-esteem.

Healing your mother wound can feel daunting but know you are not alone, there are thousands of us out there.

The five strategies will help you to shake off the shame and start to invest in your self-worth.

Do you have a difficult mother in your life? Are you longong to heal your mother wound? Leave a comment below and share your experience and connect with our community on Instagram here.

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I tried naked yoga and here’s what happened

It seems that being naked is having a bit of a moment. From naked yoga, to the rebirth of the nudist beach as well as influencers baring all on Instagram, slowly being naked is starting to not only be something you do whilst in the bath.

I actually grew up in a household where being naked wasn’t a big deal. As weird as it was being confronted with my mum’s drooping boobs and catching sight of my dad’s penis aged 8 on a daily basis, I actually have a lot to thank my parents for. Being naked in front of me was probably one of the best things they ever did for me in terms of my body image and self-acceptance. Thanks to them I never felt that weird about being naked, even in front of other people. I continued this trend in our house, even to this day.

But even still, when The Naked Yoga Effect by Doria Gani landed in my hands, my daughter part-balked and part-sniggered at me with disbelief that I was entertaining the idea of doing yoga…..naked.

What’s the big deal – I thought – doing naked yoga in my own home? I wondered whether doing yoga naked could really feel that different. After all, a sun salutation is a sun salutation, naked or not…..or is it?

The Naked Yoga Effect

Doria Gani wrote The Naked Yoga effect having overcome a critical illness (cancer), having experienced first hand the liberating effects of practising yoga naked. It was the day after my dad had told me that he had a mutation in his BRCA1 gene widely known to be a cause of various cancers including breast cancer. I had a fifty percent chance of having inherited the gene and would also need to be tested. I was feeling ill at ease in myself having already had to have my entire thyroid removed due to the existence of pre-cancerous cells over a decade ago. I needed to feel free from the mental prison I was currently trapped in.

My experience of naked yoga

And so I grabbed my copy of The Naked Yoga effect, and flipped over to The Beginner’s Yoga Guide. I stripped off all my clothes there and then with purpose – relishing in the moment. That act alone felt so unbelievably freeing.

I instantly felt the difference as I moved through the sun salutation sequences. It felt amazing to not have a single piece of material on my body – feeling the gentle air against my skin. I felt more in tune with my body – and indeed myself – during a yoga practice than I had ever been.

I didn’t mind seeing my breasts swinging down underneath me, or seeing the folds of my tummy from my vantage point. For I was doing something mighty and I could see every single bit of it – every single movement and muscle working away without anything blocking my view.

I think part of the reason naked yoga feels so empowering is that you are doing something you might ordinarily do, in a way you wouldn’t ordinarily do it. So it’s not something completely new and hairy scary, but the fact that you are doing it completely bare makes you incredibly aware and mindful of everything. It also puts you gently out of your comfort zone. It’s a beautiful feeling! Just you, and yoga without any barriers, annoying bits of material or limitations. I honestly never realised that being naked could be such an inspiring and positive act.

Is naked yoga for you?

If you want to feel more comfortable in your skin, practice self-kindness, reconnect with yourself after some form of personal struggle, feel stronger and more confident, more positive or be more mindful that take off your clothes, and get on your yoga matt….because you’ve got nothing to lose apart from the clothes you are wearing.

What’s next?

I loved the feeling of having this special, private practice all to myself. Would I do it in a group class? Well, never say never, but for now, I’m happy to practice naked yoga just by myself. Just me, my body, and I.

Do you think you could give naked yoga a try? Do leave a comment below and connect with us on Instagram here to keep the conversation going.