Mother wound, the deep emotional pain that can impact you in so many ways. Perhaps you have learnt to live with it and developed coping strategies, some of which may be helpful whilst others are unhelpful even harmful in the long run such as avoiding situations which feel emotionally challenging, emotional eating, drinking too much, shopping, gambling, seeking solace from the arms of people who are not good for you.
I have previously written about the Mother wound here and how you can help yourself to heal from it and how it impacts men.
The focus of this post is on helping you to prepare for situations when your Mother Wound gets triggered.
You may wonder – what is a trigger. A trigger is something that elicits a strong emotional reaction from you. In this case, it is linked to your emotional wound caused by the relationship or lack of it with your mother. Something happens and your nervous system is reminded of the original pain. Your body has stored all the memories even if you cannot cognitively access them.
For example, if you are in contact with your mother, she may say something that reminds you of how she treated you as a child. This triggers pain in a vulnerable part of you, in a younger part, which you can also call your inner child part. You may notice yourself almost becoming that child again, who did not have their needs met by their mother. Perhaps she was emotionally unavailable and not capable of comforting you. Perhaps she prioritised herself or others.
Your mother wound, and the pain it has caused, could also be triggered when you are dealing with someone else and you recognise feeling in the same way as you did with your mother. Now as an adult you are aware that your reaction seems disproportionate to what is happening in the present time. Therefore, it may be the old wound may be triggered and that part of you is communicating about its needs not being met.
Mother’s Day is approaching soon in the Uk and this may trigger you. Perhaps you feel that your mother does not deserve to be acknowledged for her efforts as a mother.
You may have a friend who is very close with their mother or you see warm and loving mothers attending to their children, which reminds you of what you missed out on. This may lead to feelings of sadness and/or anger.
When your mother wound gets triggered, this can cause a lot of anxiety in you. You may feel inadequate, even be unable to do your usual tasks. You may feel this heavy feeling and constant self-blame for things that you haven’t done and self-doubt. Over time this may lead to depression.
Your mother wound may impact your relationships and it may be difficult it is for you to let people close to you. On the other hand, you may be constantly worried about people not liking you or being loyal to you. You may seek constant reassurance that you are accepted and your partner is there for you.
When your Mother Wound gets triggered, you may experience any emotion from anger, anxiety, sadness & loss, to shame or guilt. You may become so consumed and flooded with emotions that it is difficult to know what to do. When our amygdala gets triggered and we are preparing to protect ourselves in some ways (fight, flight, freeze), all rational thinking in the prefrontal cortex goes offline. At this stage your protective mechanisms take over.
You may tend to react in a particular way when you are triggered. Perhaps you get angry, or you shut down and blame yourself. These are usually linked to your coping strategies developed as a child when protecting the bond with your mother which ensured your survival.
Here are a few ways in which you can support yourself when you have a very difficult moment:
- Acknowledge that a vulnerable part of you is being triggered. This is nothing to be ashamed of. All feelings are allowed and need acknowledgement. Acknowledge that your past hurts are getting triggered and this was very difficult for you as a child. Emotionally you are reacting from the perspective of the child. These feelings have got stuck in you. Remind yourself that the very capable adult you are as well is still around and able to take care of your younger part.
- Remind yourself that you are now the adult in charge and whatever went on, or failed to happen as in case of childhood emotional neglect, you are in charge now and you can change your future.
- Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself like you would treat your very best friend.
- Give yourself a moment to support yourself. Think about your favourite places, things and people.
- Practice deep breathing and do a full-body scan to notice what your body feels like.
- Seek support from a supportive friend or partner. Someone who lets you be you and accepts your emotions as they are.
- Once you have managed to bring down your nervous system, consider your options (whether you need to act on something or just leave it) and perhaps write them down.
I hope this helps you when your Mother Wound gets triggered. If you are struggling with the pain of the Mother Wound, talking to a professional, registered psychologist can be helpful process and release some old emotions.
If you are seeking a registered psychologist to support you, heal past wounds and starting living whole-heartedly, please take a look at my services page.