Monday, May 11, 2009
The Mother Wound
Here's a perfect post Mother's Day story and article for us all, especially those who are dealing with the pains of mother abandonment. No matter what mother wounds we are carrying around, let us be consoled by the fact that we have our Heavenly Mother who is constantly watching and praying for us Her pilgrim children on earth.
by Susan Darst Williams
I've been watching old home movies with my mom. We're transferring them from old Super 8's onto DVD's. We've laughed; we've cried; we've negotiated whether she gets to cut the scene of her smoking a giant stogie if I get to cut the scene where I'm acting dorky and my sister lets me have it with a sharp elbow.
There's a reason I'm zeroing in on my mother in these old tapes. There's a reason I got teary-eyed when she kissed me, in my little baby bonnet. The toys under all those Christmas trees . . . the birthday parties . . . the vacations . . . all show the work, love and sacrifice my mother devoted to rearing us four kids.
Not everybody gets that birthright, good mothering, that wonderful foretaste of heaven. When you don't, the consequences can be grave.
Someone special, a friend in another city, killed herself last week. I think it had to do with what they call "the mother wound." She put a deer rifle into her mouth, and blew herself away. How could she? I think she had a big hole in her soul because she never got what many of us take for granted: mother love.
Cheryl's dad apparently was harsh, and hit her mother. A bloody handprint on a wall was one of Cheryl's few childhood memories. When she was about 4, her parents split. Her mother and sister moved away -- not just across town, but to another country.
She saw her mother again, once or twice, but that was about it.
Abandonment has to be worse than growing up with an alcoholic mother, or a mean one, or one who hits. Those leave wounds that, while terrible, can be healed. Absence, on the other hand, creates a wound so large it becomes a void.
I think Cheryl grew up wanting to fill that void. A teacher for 20 years, she was a favorite for many students, probably because she gave what she didn't get: love.
When her first marriage failed, she concentrated on rearing her two children, now young teenagers. She was a good mother. Cautiously, she accepted attention from a suitor, and after many years, she married him.
She fiercely wanted a baby to unite the blended family. But a series of difficult events, culminating in a miscarriage, plunged her into depression. She started obsessing about that baby, whom she named Emily. She said a few times she wanted to be with her. Several months ago, a suicide attempt using pills was thwarted.
Medication and counseling seemed to be helping. But recently, after two co-workers announced their pregnancies, she toppled off the balance beam of rationality. A frightening episode of erratic behavior ended with the terrible gunshot.
Ironically, she now has abandoned her daughter and son, tragically convinced they'd be better off without her.
And everybody's tortured. Why did she do it? She was a good Christian. Why didn't she trust God to make things better?
I think it's because she didn't have the crucial "tapes" playing in her heart, that she had a mother who loved her and would stay with her, no matter what.
That security is a bridge to God's love. But even though He sent many others to show her His love, she couldn't cross over. Instead, she blew up the bridge.
You know those home movies, with my mother's radiant smile enfolding all of us kids? I hope and pray that Cheryl is experiencing that perfect, boundless love for real in heaven with Jesus, at last.
I hope and pray, too, that each of us will build up mothers whenever we can, so they can give their children what's priceless and eternal: self-worth, and an unshakable belief that God will make everything all right, even if our own loved ones can't. Especially then.
Everybody needs those tapes of unfailing love to play in our darkest moments . . . illuminated by the Light of the World. †
Healing the Mother Wound Abandonment
by Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D.
1. Remind yourself of these things:
a. It was not your fault.
b. You were not a bad child.
c. Your mother may not have realized how deeply this affected you.
d. You deserve love.
2. Create joy and beauty in your life now.
a. Gather supportive friends and loved ones around you.
b. Feed yourself good food, and treat your body well.
c. Give yourself birthday parties and moments of celebration.
d. Create your own family, whether it is your own children or friends whom you adopt as your new family.
e. Appreciate each day as it unfolds.
3. Find the help you need to heal your wounds.
a. Find a therapist who believes that the past affects the present and can help you work through it.
b. Write your story-from your point of view all the way through.
c. Illustrate your story with family photos.
d. After you write your story, write the story of your mother's life. Research her life as best you can. Illustrate it with photos.
4. Use visualization, meditation, and prayer to get in touch with the life you want to live, and the blessings of your life.
a. Meditate in quiet surroundings each day for at least 10 minutes.
b. Read books that inspire you to love and accept yourself.
c. Share with others your healing story.
"Maternity is on the face of it an unsociable experience. The selfishness that a woman has learned to stifle or to dissemble where she alone is concerned, blooms freely and unashamed on behalf of her offspring." - Emily James Putnam