mother wound and generational trauma

Mother Wounds and Generational Trauma

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How Mother Wounds Impact Our Parenting

You can’t heal a mother wound without discussing mother wounds and generational trauma. Mother wounds absolutely impact our relationships with children – in more than a few ways. It’s easy to continue generational trauma. Especially if you aren’t actively trying to stop it. 

Bonus Resources for Mother Wounds and Generational Trauma

I’m also offering all of my favorite journal prompts for healing mother wounds and generational trauma.

Connect with me on Instagram and TikTok to hear more tips on healing mother wounds, generational trauma, and so much more! 

Prefer to listen? Find the podcast episode below for Healing the Mother Wound!

You can stream the podcast here. Or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, and Pocket Casts. You can also search for Root and Rise Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

Repeating Mother Wounds and Generational Traumas

When your wounded inner child comes up, you can find yourself repeating unhealthy patterns of generational trauma without even realizing it. Be gentle with yourself – and remember it was how you were taught to be and act in this world facing such strong emotions. It was literally what was modeled to you as to how to be a mother. The important part is realizing what you did, acknowledging the pattern, and deciding what you wish to do instead – and continue trying to be that role model for your children.

Becoming the Complete Opposite

Mother wounds can show up in our motherhood by acting as a pendulum swinging too far in the opposite direction. Being so far extreme from what your mother was that it forms other unhealthy behaviors. If your mother was absent like mine, you might understand my experience with it. I certainly find myself so far from what my mother did that I am no longer allowing my children the healthy amount of independence to cope with their emotions, feel their emotions, and process them… Without trying to jump in immediately and fix everything.

Putting Yourself Last

I’m also setting aside all of my own personal needs, feelings, or experiences to always put theirs first. Yes, to some degree I understand that is what parenting is. But remember when I mentioned giving and caring for others to the point where it was painful, draining, or damaging to you? It’s like that. 

The Circle of Security

The book and theory of the Circle of Security really helped me to realize that a healthy distance is important. Both to care for yourself and allow your child to care for themselves (while remaining present, supportive, and attentive). Here is a very short but powerful video demonstrating this concept.

Basically, it shows a child playing and a parent nearby watching. The child goes a little distance away and plays. But comes back to ensure their parent is still there – present and providing safety, if needed. And then they go away again, maybe this time a bit further and for a bit longer.

This pattern of slowly going out into the world to experience it independently, but also knowing and coming back to a point of safety and security is the general concept of the circle of security. The Circle of Security book and teaching goes much more in-depth, of course. So make sure you dive into that on your own or with a therapist to explore it further.

How to end mother wounds and generational trauma

Now let’s talk about what generational trauma is and how to end it. I talked about this in my episode on Generational Trauma and How It Ends With Us.

Trauma can pass through multiple generations completely unseen and is referred to as generational trauma. Some of these traumas have become so embedded within the family structure. That can make it almost impossible for the members to view the world any differently than they’ve been shown. Because of this, trauma cycles can easily continue. However, once you start digging and observing, these traumas can become obvious and hard to ignore.

Absorbing Generational Trauma

Children are like sponges, constantly absorbing everything that they see, hear, and experience. They are soaking up newly learned behaviors every day, especially from their caretakers, their first trusted teachers. Children grow up observing certain ways of coping, thinking, or reacting.

These observations are “lessons” that are like seeds being planted in their minds. Those seeds are watered through witnessing the repetition of these behaviors or core beliefs from their trusted source. Each generation learns from the one before them, receiving messages about themselves and the world around them. What they do with those messages can either continue, change, or end the cycle of trauma.

Your Mother’s Mother Wound

So with a mother wound, your mother was passed down her own generational traumas. She likely didn’t know anything different or didn’t rebel against the beliefs and just continued them throughout her life into your generation.

The fact that you are reading this tells me that you can see what is wrong with the generational cycles happening. That’s the first and most important step – acknowledging. And seeing that it didn’t start with you. But realizing that it can end with you. This leads to the realization that you have a choice.

Breaking Generational Cycles

Know that you can be the gatekeeper for your family. You can decide what you allow into your home, your family, and your children’s lives (if you choose to have them). Seriously, you get to choose how conflict is handled and how uncomfortable situations are addressed. How big feelings are treated and cared for. And how thoughts are expressed.

If this is what you choose to do (or are actively doing for yourself and your family)… Congrats! You are a cycle breaker – breaking all of the unhealthy cycles coming from generations before you. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s incredibly painful to take on the pain of generations before you. To crack it open entirely. And go against everything you thought you knew about life, yourself, your family, and the world.

The Black Sheep of the Family

Many will see you as a “black sheep” in the family. Trust me, I’ve been called this myself more than once. It seems like so many people go with what they know in the family – continuing trends, behaviors, and beliefs. So, the one who questions it seems odd, strange, and can even be treated as an outcast. But that’s ok. I’m not trying to fit into a family dynamic that does not serve me. Truly, I’m not trying to fit in and accept treatment that I know I do not have to tolerate. And that I know I do not deserve.

Complicated Mother-Daughter Relationships

Apart from feeling misunderstood by family, you can feel misunderstood by the outside world. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told “but she’s your mother” and encouraged to take part in an unhealthy relationship.

The pressure from people who couldn’t fathom this kind of mother. A mother who did not want to be present for her child, nurture her child, or who didn’t have the best intentions for her child. Just because you can’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t real. But it sure made me question my own reality for quite a few years.

My Unknown “Estranged” Relationship with My Mother

To be incredibly vulnerable with you, I found out through my mother’s will that she had put down in a legal document that I was “estranged”. An entire decade before I read that or had any idea. I spent over ten years attempting to mend a relationship that did not exist. It kept me knocking at a door that was not only shut – but locked, moved, shredded, like the doors in Monsters Inc.

Your Mother Wound Pain is Valid

Regardless of what other people understand or don’t understand, and regardless of what other people think they know about mothers, I’m here to tell you that your experience is valid. Your pain is real. And you know what is best for you.

Tune out anyone who thinks they know any better than you do. Or better yet – remove them from your inner circle. I had an ex one time tell me that it was a “red flag” that I couldn’t have a healthy relationship with my mother. As if that was my responsibility as a child. Or as if mothers were just somehow absolved or incapable of doing any harm to their children. Well, there is a reason he is an ex.

Continue The Mother Wound Series:

Click on any of the links below to continue or jump ahead. And don’t forget you can listen to the entire episode on the player above. Or through any podcast platform by searching for Root and Rise Podcast!

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

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