Anyone else feel like an outcast on Mother’s Day? It’s not a festival of sunshine and flowers for all of us. Mother’s Day can be a minefield of emotional triggers for those who grew up in dysfunctional, abusive, or neglectful family systems.
The article linked below is addressed to daughters but it was a huge eye-opener for me as a son as well:
For many men, there is nothing more terrifying (or unthinkable) than looking into their own Mother Wounds. I know my Father Wound well. It hurts but does not scare me. My Mother Wound terrifies me. It feels like a pit from which there is no return.
My Mother Wound is equally deep in its own way as my Father Wound, but much of it is hidden in the weeds and shadow realms of my psyche. Finding its various elements and aspects, seeing them, and recognizing them for what they are has been a tricky job, largely because my mother was the person I trusted most and she conditioned me not to see what she was doing to me. The culture has amplified, and continues to amplify, the conditioning my mother laid into me so early and so often that women (especially mothers) can never do wrong or be at fault, making a tough slog through the dark feminine underworld in my own psyche even tougher.
Today on Mother’s Day, I’m supposed to be the adult (as always) and set my own needs and feelings aside (again) for a woman who has no interest in me, and never really has. The loneliness and alienation I feel today as a son is multiplied by the non-stop social and media imperative to adore and deify a mother who has no understanding of me and no use for me outside the scope of my being what she wants me to be to suit her own needs.
This topic isn’t easy for me to write about. It feels incredibly risky. I feel safer writing about being sexually abused than writing about this. I never felt unduly constrained by the urge or the obligation to protect my father from my feelings about him as I wrote about working through my Father Wound. Mother is another story entirely. I expect I’m probably going to stumble and make mistakes going forward down this path, but this is work I have to do if I have any chance of being whole, mature, and complete as a man.
I know there are other men out there who need to do this work as well and I hope they’ll feel encouraged to do it. Any man who is consciously, actively working on his Mother Wound deserves support and understanding. By confronting one of our culture’s most powerful and deeply entrenched taboos, he is charting a necessary and critically important new route through largely unexplored territory for other men.
Photo credit: David Jewell. Used by permission.