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Healing the Mother Wound One Step at a Time

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I am 63 years old and have been working on healing the mother wound off and on now for about 5 years. Thanks to Bethany Webster’s introductory course, I feel like I’m just beginning to mother myself and for that I am grateful.  I am finally, for the first time, starting to feel safe and “at home” with myself.  I’ve found a good place to rest my head at night, where I make sure that I find at least 3 things to be grateful for.

I have recently found an inner strength that I’ve never felt before…And compassion is growing within me too, but it hadn’t always been this way….

My mother suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and depression since I was born and so I felt that she wasn’t emotionally available for me. My father was an angry, emotionally wounded man, and so I soon learned to steer clear of him.  So you could say I had a mother AND a father wound. My only solace were my close friends and I relied upon them heavily.  With my parents, I became what I needed to be to survive, but I lost myself in doing so.  I remember one time in school trying to remember how to spell the word “I”, but couldn’t!!!  How telling!

I first came across Jasmin Cori’s exceptional book, The Emotionally Absent Mother, about 4-5 years ago.

While reading it, I became frustrated when trying to envision an archetypal mother to rely on. I remember thinking of an older Mexican woman who was kind and wise, talking to me in my imagination. Things were going well until (in my mind) I touched her inappropriately! I didn’t understand why I did that and didn’t feel comfortable continuing my imaginary mother-daughter talks. I ended up thinking of an eagle who would protect me and keep me safe.

It wasn’t until this year that I was able to remember (with the help of a trusted counselor) that I was guided to touch and rub my teenage babysitter’s breasts. I believe that I was 4 at the time.  It wasn’t handled very well by my parents and so I suppressed the memory and stuffed it so far down. It’s not surprising that I hated myself for what happened, but I’ve been able to explain to my inner child that it wasn’t her fault, even though it was me who touched the babysitter! By accepting what happened, and allowing myself to express the pain, sadness, anger, and shame that for so long had been buried, I am slowing healing from the event and the repercussions (sexual confusion being one of them).

There have been many beliefs that I’ve needed to challenge because of my upbringing: core beliefs that I was a bother, that I didn’t count, that I didn’t deserve anything good, that I was selfish, that my needs didn’t matter, that I was bad for being a girl, that if I were perfect, I would be loved! This healing work is overwhelming at times, but by talking with my inner child and giving her a chance to talk to me and express herself, we are both getting better.

There is a large, wild patch in our backyard that I sowed this spring with local wildflowers and grasses, but it soon became infested with “cheat grass”, a nasty, invasive grass.  I spent 6 weeks weeding that wild patch this spring and summer, one square foot at a time, 2-5 hours a day.  I was overwhelmed at times when I looked at the whole thing, thinking that I’d never get finished with it, but I focused on only the area that I was working on that day and reminded myself that by the inch it’s a cinch; by the yard it’s hard.  And that is how I sometimes have to view healing the wounds from the past – one step at a time.

I want to thank my husband for being so supportive of me and my journey, my counselor, and this platform to tell my story in the hopes that it will help someone else along the way.

Be kind to yourselves!  

Storykeeper: Wendy Johnson

Wendy lives in Montana with her husband of 25+ years and her dog. She is retired and enjoys Native American cultures, horseback riding, hiking, cross country skiing, photography, fishing, travel and nature in general! Nothing is more soothing for Wendy than being out in nature.

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