It’s a definite no-no to talk in any other way but positive about mothers. Our society puts in a huge altar the sacrifice and love that all mothers have for their children, especially for their daughters.
Yet, the reality is that all mothers are humans and all of them inherit us the chain of pain that all women carry: the mother wound.
Toxic mothers and success
In fact among all mothers there is a special kind, one that psychologists have labeled: toxic. This kind of mother has huge relevance in the business world, because she generates highly successful business women. Actually, her daughter will work harder than anyone else in the utopic quest of pleasing her and getting her approval, recognition and love. Pleasing her mom generates external success in some areas of her life, yet a huge emptiness as her authentic desires are suppressed.
In the first decade of my coaching practice, a very clear pattern has emerged. I attract women with very similar pains to mine. Superficially all is great in their lives. They are highly talented and highly educated. Even more many letters follow their names (MBA, PhD and others). As polyglots they work all over the world. Yet no matter how fast they run, a dark shadow follows them wherever they go. So they experience many of these feelings,
- Lack of self- confidence: No matter how many compliments or titles they get, they fear they would be found out anytime. In fact, the sense of not being good enough hunts them.
- Lack of trust in others. They feel like outsiders and wonder if there’s a secret agenda why people are nice to them.
- Difficulty setting boundaries. They please everyone to be accepted and recognized. Hence, they have very busy agendas, as they indiscriminately say yes to all. They babysit grownup, solving their problems and their emotional dramas.
- Difficulty seeing themselves accurately. They have a distorted image of themselves. They don’t understand why people compliment them. They must work harder, eat less, do it better, write another book or get another tittle.
- Use avoidance as a survival strategy. Some of them (like me) run away from conflict as far as they can, even move to the other side of the world not to do with drama.
- Replicate the mother patterns in relationships. They go from one failed intimate relationship to other. Likewise, they have a huge collection of failed dates, friendships, and marriages.
You guessed it: toxic mothers
You guessed it! They also shared one important piece of childhood history: a toxic mother. Even if each one of us is different and our stories as well, there’s a pain that we all shared. Hence we feel unloved by and disconnected from our mothers. Unfortunately the taboos that portray all mothers as loving keep us silent and isolated.
Just talking about it lifts a great burden. We shouldn't underestimate the power of awareness. Even it's not all you need to do to heal a patter of a lifetime, it's the first step of a healing journey.
Attachment theory explains this wound
Attachment theory explains the genesis of these wounds. During our first years of life, we build our sense of self by seeing us on our mother’s face. Our internal templates of who we are and how relationships work are based on the nurturing we receive early in life.
When she is loving and well adjusted, we grow with a healthy sense of our worth. As a result, we feel loved and lovable. Indeed, this is the fundament that allows a women to express herself with true feminine power as a grown up woman.
On the contrary, when the mother is emotionally distant, absent, inconsistent or plainly cruel, the daughter learns radically different lessons. In this case we grow to believe that we are not lovable and that intimate relationship are unreliable or plainly dangerous. Consequently this scenario is the fertile ground to create women who will grow up with the "I'm not good enough" gene.
Sadly often we accept as normal these behaviors in ourselves without knowing their point of origin. No, I don’t want you to blame your mom or feel like a victim. On the contrary, I wish for you and for all women to remember how lovable and worthy you are. My purpose here is to help you diagnose and acknowledge these pains. Once you do that, you've taken a monumental step towards true inner power. After healing this wound the need for recognition, hard work, perfectionism and other women's kriptonite disappears.
Unfortunately because emotional abuse is often tolerated or because the abusive parents are very secretive in their abuse (hiding their true selves when in public), emotionally abused children will assume that how they were treated at home as natural. They have no frame of reference. And so, the child will develop a skewed sense of what a healthy relationship is.
Identified? There's a way out
If you have been a victim of a toxic mother, it’s possible for you to regain control of your life. Here you have some ideas on how you can start this process,
- Regain confidence by seeing yourself as you are. Take a time to look at who you have become. Appreciate every aspect of your life that you have created. Shower yourself with love.
- Own your story. Be your own heroine. Write your story. Look at the characters in your movie. Find the gold and the blessings in all the dark periods.
- Give up on wishful thinking. Forget about having recognition from the outside world: your mom, a man, your boss, your company.
- Grieve. Let go of your dream of the mother or life you would have liked to have. Let it go. It will never be.
- Build a new inner mother. Build an inexhaustible source of love and acceptance. Learn to mother yourself.
The transformation will not be simple. Just think about how long it took this mental programming to take hold of you. It has taken your age, plus 7 generations past. That's long. For that reason, healing these painful patterns will need more than you expect, plus the reconditioning will take a life time.
If you feel you were brought up by a toxic mother,
make it your legacy to
break the family legacy.
If you feel you were brought up by a toxic mother, make it your legacy to break the family legacy. - Blanca Vergara
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