I first met my inner child in 1999. Doing inner child work has since been the crux of my healing journey. Over the years, I have inquired deeply into WHY I had such a challenging home and family experience. I needed to make sense of it all — for my sanity. I knew that the wounding behaviors had been inherited and passed on. But it didn’t give me a sense of peace. I used whatever theories and explanations I came across, including dismissive views and New Age/spiritual bypassing teachings, to make me feel better and compensate for the pain.
I now know much more clearly that the root cause of my mother [and father] issues and the Mother Wound is patriarchy. I have read most of the books and articles about difficult relationships with mothers and families of origin. Still, none connected it to patriarchy and delved into its correlation with the Mother Wound the way and to the depth and detail that this book did — which is why the Mother Wound, I believe, is a Soul Wound — individual and collective. I have long ago viewed humanity as a wounded species. It isn’t only those with difficult relationships with their mothers who have the Mother Wound. We all do – women and men alike. And it is probably a term that can be interchanged with “Patriarchal Wound.”
The book reflects a balanced writing of personal narratives and corresponding principles with appropriate reflection questions. The author is not preachy, walks the talk, is unapologetic, and filled with much compassion. It’s easy to see and feel that she has done the work. Her writing is so profound yet gives practical and attainable ways to heal the mother wound.
Indeed, our pain and suffering, our wounds are the portal to our liberation from the falsehoods that we’ve internalized and normalized; they are the “doorway to deeper truths,” one of which is that there has never been anything wrong with us; how our mothers have mistreated us has nothing to do with us but has to do with them and their [our mothers’ and society’s] wounds, which are deeply rooted in patriarchy. Truly, there is so much truth and wisdom in not taking things personally. Our mother’s [and father’s] wrongful and hurtful treatments and behaviors are all on them. Our responsibility is not to correct what is wrong with us — because there isn’t any — just so we would win our mother’s [father’s] love and approval. Rather, our responsibility is to focus on our personal healing and undo all the false programming and misleading beliefs that we’ve inherited from our families and patriarchal society.
I deeply resonate with and truly believe that “The Mother Wound has been a blind spot of women’s empowerment up to this point. Even the most evolved among us have avoided looking at this issue. Healing the Mother Wound is the next frontier of feminism.” [p. 244] While I have looked closely into my mother issues over the years, it wasn’t until a decade ago when I stopped being in denial, went no-contact with my mother, and began delving much more deeply — thanks, in part, to Bethany’s work and writings, which have helped me peel away the layers.
And now comes this book, which is another invaluable addition to my healing toolkit. It is a MUST read for anyone who wants to put a stop to their destructive behavioral patterns or feel called to contribute to the collective shift [out of patriarchy]. If you don’t feel the calling, you most likely will after reading this. It will make every reader so much more aware of how we are all contributing to the perpetuation of patriarchy — without us even realizing it. More importantly, the book does not only offer us the gift of increased awareness; it gives us HOW, in simple ways, we can stop being a participant or enabler. Following Bethany’s suggestions will put the butterfly effect in motion — whatever happens at the individual level impacts the collective; whatever we do and however we deal and engage with our families of origin in the hope of breaking dysfunctional patterns impacts the entire human family, perhaps not immediately but generations and centuries later — for sure. The book reinforced that belief in me.
The book reiterated my resolve that the best gift I can offer to humanity and the most important and meaningful contribution I can make is to be the most glorious version of myself — as I — and no one else, especially not our patriarchal society — have defined it. “The biggest gift we can give others is the example of our own lives working, stepping forward in our power and being who we truly are without apology, without shame, but with a sense of inner blessedness and celebration.” [p. 237]
I must keep shining and spreading my Light. Whoever is touched by my Light is not my concern — that’s the job of the Universe; Divine Intelligence will take care of that. I may think — at times, be discouraged even — that whatever healing and re-parenting/re-mothering that I am doing to my little Nadine may not be significantly impacting or benefiting humanity. I was reminded of the falsity of that thinking because no amount of healing, no matter how seemingly minuscule, is ever wasted. Every healing endeavor that I undertake is sure to cause a shift not only in my inner child and inner landscape but in every child — inner and otherwise — of the rest of humanity.
When I hear such dismissive comments like, “But your mother did her best,” I will now respond with, “Yes, AND her dysfunctional behaviors and treatments towards me, which have hurt and wounded me to the core, are the ill effects of patriarchy. I hope you echo my view of the urgency of the need for the dismantling of patriarchy to prevent us from inflicting any more wounding, wounds, and woundedness to one another.”
Patriarchy as the root cause of the Mother Wound and my mother’s [and father’s] unloving treatments does not get her [them] off the hook. It does not take away her [their] responsibility and accountability. Seeing and knowing this, though, is most helpful in bringing me to that place where, as Bethany had conveyed, I can be most grateful for the [little] love, nurturance, attention, etc. that I received from my mother [and father], and be compassionate for what she [they] could not give me. [p. 234]
I cannot change my miserable childhood [and adulthood] and dysfunctional home and abusive family upbringing. I cannot undo the hurtful things that my mother [and father] did. But I can change the resultant distorted beliefs, messages, and programming. And I can change only those which I acknowledge. Therefore, I must continue speaking truthfully and openly about my harrowing experiences — no matter how taboo society views it — as how Bethany and other courageous cycle-breakers have been doing. Make the unconscious conscious.
Bethany has written that the wound is the medicine. Indeed, the gift can be found in the healing — in the process itself. After all, there is no end or finished line to our healing. It is a lifelong journey, as the book also reiterated. Healing the Mother Wound mustn’t just be one aspect of our healing journey. Healing the Mother Wound ought to be a way of living. If we can all embrace this, then the shift away from patriarchy to a more balanced, yin-yang, non-hierarchical, inclusive culture can manifest much sooner than we hope.
And our foremothers [ancestors in general] and grandchildren/nieces/nephews, great-grandchildren, great-great-great…..grandchildren/nieces/nephews will not be able to thank us enough for the courageous work that we’ve done/we’re doing. Not only our foremothers but our entire ancestral lineage will be just as appreciative and grateful because we have set them free from the bondage, the pain, and suffering that they had carried and passed on to us, albeit unwittingly. Then, we will no longer be a wounded species with a fragmented soul but a truly enlightened one — a society where the Sacred Feminine is much revered in harmony with the Divine Masculine.
Click here for a copy of the book.
This review is also published on Amazon here.