I am NOT my mother!
It’s the stuff nightmares are made of…
That moment a loved one tells you that you are
(yup, you know where I’m going don’t you?)
Why does this comparison incite such rage, such shame, such…………….. fear they may be right?
Why is this even a thing?
Even women blessed to grow up with mothers whom others (and maybe even themselves) thought were perfect will sit on my couch and unfold stories triggered by unconscious patterns she picked up.
“All parents damage their children, it cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge. Others crack. A few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair…”
We cry and sometimes laugh our way through the universal experience of:
- Being a woman trying to figure out who she really is
- Identify where our mothers end and we begin
- How we can honor the role or even just placeholder they have/or had in our lives
- While considering the possibility of trauma and epigenetic influences in our mothers’ own histories
- BUT at the same time validate our personal experiences too!
One of my girl crushes and author of “Warrior Goddess Training“, Heatherash Amara, recommends rewriting the stories we’ve told ourselves that contribute to a large percentage of our pain and acting in ways we have identified as being negative in our mothers. And she says to start with gratitude.
[Try] and separate out your judgment and emotions around [your mother] to simply honor what positive modeling you did get. Write a list of at least 5 things you appreciate.
Now write down 5 things you took on that you would like to release. What beliefs did your mom hold that you still act from unconsciously?
The key to releasing old family patterns is to recognize that they are simply passed down unconsciously, and now you are becoming conscious of them. Bless them. Then feel into what you need to do in your life to create a sense of stability…that is not based on your family patterns.
The healing is in the POWER OF CHOICE. You get to choose which behaviors stay and which ones go!
As a mother myself, this can be hard to sit with on both sides. Crazy for me to try and imagine that one day my daughters could be sitting one someone else’s couch talking about me! All the more reason to take responsibility for my own narratives now and show them they can do the same.
For those of you still struggling to identify anything positive about your mother (or lack of a mother figure), let me offer you an alternative view:
- EVERY personality has its strengths and its vulnerabilities.
As a mother, I see one of my roles as helping my daughters hone in on what makes them naturally amazing and what they need to look out for. In true Gemini form, I have given birth to polar opposites, each resembling one side of me.
- My oldest is an amazing nurturer – a people person through and through; empathic with a flair for the dramatic and finer side of life.
- My youngest is a fierce champion for equality and justice – an introvert who would prefer to wear leggings and t-shirts to every social function.
The shadow sides of their archetypes as Jung would say, is that the oldest is tender-hearted and easily damaged if she doesn’t develop deep roots to carry her past others’ opinions while my youngest may miss out on the intimacy vulnerability can bring if she isn’t mindful of things like tact.
The same is true for you dear one.
You are a product of your mother, yes. BUT you are also in control of what you do with that.
After all, as Mitch Album’s poem goes on to say:
Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away. The moments that used to define them – a mother’s approval, a father’s nod – are covered by moments of their own accomplishments. It is not until much later that children understand: that their stories and accomplishments sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones.
You have peace when you make it for yourself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tamara Powell, LMHC is a licensed therapist, former university psychology instructor, and empowerment coach who believes life should be lived as a journey that is “anything but ordinary.”
Her private practice is specialized to help individuals break free from toxic cycles of distress, dysfunction, and dissatisfaction with life that are created when trying to live according to someone else’s rules. Only by living what she calls radical autonomy, can one obtain soul satisfying relationships and a sense of true life purpose and inner peace.
If you’re interested in working with her, either in person or online, you can learn more about her services here.