The grief of the mother

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I wrote this post ages ago and I couldn’t post it.  In it I was coming to terms with the collective abandonment wound in my family.  I hope it speaks to someone.  I am not sure why I could not post it.

I had a thought today as I was reading a blog about someone’s grief for the mother they never had, that that person did indeed have a mother but she was a mother who could not mother because she, herself had never really been mothered.

I then thought of the earth as our mother, as the mother that gives to us out of her vast creative bounty of the things we need to nourish and live and of how we are now abusing that mother in so many ways.

I had a sense of the devastation of the First World War being the War which was a war against nature, against the mother, a war in which beautiful green fields were decimated and laid to waste by man made weapons that were an outcome of the industrial age whose roots lay in the iron age.

I had a sense of how the mothers suffered as their son’s were slaughtered and traumatised all due to one person’s quest for ownership of land which was only ever given to us as custodians.  I had a sense of the pain and loss that occurred to mothers and to children everywhere as a result of that War that then begot another that led to even more destruction of land, nurture, comfort and beauty, which saw the rise of a monstrous anger that fuelled genocide of massive proportions and more decimation of human endeavour.

When we are grieving and mourning for the mothering we never had do we ever get beyond our individual sad concern with that to see the bigger picture that perhaps our mothers and our fathers too knew some profound devastation that made it so much harder for them to mother or father or turned their interest towards other concerns that left so precious little left for nurturing us?    Do we think of the hunger and emptiness that might have then driven us in unconscious ways to possess more or to numb the pain that lay at the heart the ancestral gene pool of whose roots we are so unaware?

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a family friend about abandonment wounds and mothering.  She told me how even though she has been there for her daughter to the best of her ability her daughter still felt abandoned at times.  I spoke of my own feelings of abandonment around Mum and of how after working through all the anger I now know how unconsciously these were passed down.  I am also more aware now after letting go of some anger of how my father’s wounded desire to overcome the poverty of his own childhood and find for us a material security led to decisions which made relationship and togetherness difficult and led me towards a painful isolation, whose consequences I am only lately beginning to understand.

And I am beginning to see that perhaps all of this has been for the purposes of learning that reality is often harsh, that we and others are subjected to so many forces outside of our control and yet we have some choice in what we make of these, of the lessons they taught and of the resilience they called out of us.

Wisdom through suffering, love gained through our willingness to face and feel the pain and offer to ourselves and others the nurture that no longer perpetuates more damage, abuse or suffering seems to me the only way out of a deep wound to the mothering impulse in all of us that we so urgently need to heal so that our unconscious anger does not destroy the mother earth we live on or turn us against ourselves.  For the longed for lost, loving mother we yearn for, can in the deepest abandonment be found inside, if and when we choose to keep the focus on love, nurture, compassion and choose to embrace the wisdom of a longer range view that considers the impact of wider forces we may not fully have seen or understood.

7 thoughts on “The grief of the mother

  1. I understand what you say here but am not yet at a place in my journey to be able to “feel” this.. in me, it makes me want to snap back at you that I don’t care about what caused her or him (my parents) to unconsciously act out the way they did, that they may have been un-parented and that in result, meant they un-parented me and my reasons right now are that that doesn’t make it okay. I was un-mothered and un-fathered and it hurt but I won’t be passing that down to another generation, I am getting help so that my future children don’t have to feel the same things as me.

    HOWEVER and having said that, I think that one day I will be where you are – so all is not lost. I don’t plan to stay in this angry stage forever and I hope that one day I can be as understanding and compassionate as you.

    1. Anger is about deep hurt TT and its okay to feel that hurt and anger but the point is to get to the sadness beneath it. I think reactive anger can sometimes be a bit of a defence I am not saying that it isn’t justified but our parents are only other flawed humans, they often have deep injuries or deficiencies emotionally that cause them to do things…The point is that we realise what they did to us DID hurt us, we have a right to be angry about the behaviour and know we deserved something better but that life is inherently imperfect, sad, painful and distressing as that is. And the most important insight, what they did was about them not us. Sending you love. Deborah

      1. Hi Deborah, thanks for replying. I am glad that my comment didn’t offend you, I thought about it several times during the day yesterday.

        I “feel” that one day I will be where you are – that I will be able to say, believe and write that.. it’s just that I’m not there yet.

        I agree that anger is a more immature defence to sadness – and I am very in touch with that sadness AND anger at the moment, although in fits and starts.

        I guess if I was to try and rationalise it away with the knowledge that you so rightly write about, I would be setting myself back… BUT I will of course get through the sadness and anger and reach this phase.

        It’s weird though because I can intellectualise what you say, 100% I can – but I am being stubborn and saying “No, nothing will make me forgive her” and that’s the child in me who feels the pain is being minimised if there “is a reason”. Does any of that make any sense?
        x

        It’s weird, I’m like

      2. I really understand that need to hold onto the anger and it may be necessary as a protection so you don’t fall for more abuse. Rationalising is problematic I hope I don’t seem to do it too much here. I try to forgive when I can as holding onto hate and hurt goes against a lot of my conditioning. But I also understand those to be legitimate feelings that have to be worked through and validated on the path of healing,

  2. Hi TT i think its good you arent rationalising and I feel we need to feel all these deep emotions…I rationalise too much at times..but I also have felt all those same feelings as you and struggled with them too. Maybe your therapist has a view point. Forgiving cant be intellectual it has to arise out of a deep process of suffering that burns away illusions and that is very deep and intense spiritual work. But this is just my experience and opinion. ..it may or may not be true for others…it nnay be wrong x

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