Posted by: Tracy Barsamian | April 30, 2014

The Mother Wound

I just celebrated my 40th birthday.

One week before my 30th birthday, my mother died.

Each year my birthday marks the anniversary of my mother’s death.  And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that on this particular year – my 40th birthday and the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death – that I am learning about “the mother wound”.

Bethany Webster has an amazing Website about the mother wound.  On her site, Womb of Light (The Power of the Awakened Feminine), she explains,

What many people do not realize is that the core issue at the center of women’s empowerment is the mother wound. Difficulty and challenges between mothers and daughters are rampant and widespread but not openly spoken about. The taboo about speaking about the pain of the mother wound is what keeps it in place and keeps it hidden in shadow, festering and out of view.

What exactly is the mother wound? The mother wound is the pain of being a woman passed down through generations of women in patriarchal cultures. And it includes the dysfunctional coping mechanisms that are used to process that pain.

The mother wound includes the pain of:

  • Comparison: not feeling good enough
  • Shame: consistent background sense that there is something wrong with you
  • Attenuation: Feeling you must remain small in order to be loved
  • Persistent sense of guilt for wanting more than you currently have

The mother wound can manifest as:

  • Not being your full self  because you don’t want to threaten others
  • Having a high tolerance for poor treatment from others
  • Emotional care-taking
  • Feeling competitive with other women
  • Self-sabotage
  • Being overly rigid and dominating
  • Conditions such as eating disorders, depression and addictions”

I’ve been researching and digesting this (new to me!) term “mother wound” for a couple of weeks.  And in truth, I am overwhelmed by it.  Not because the ideas behind the term are new – but rather, because I am shocked that a term exists for it!  I am shocked that other women have experienced this same wound.  It seems that there is an unspoken silence around it.  And that silence – keeping all the hurt and shame bottled up – makes it possible for the mother wound to continue for generations.  The wounded daughters grow up to be mothers who unconsciously pass this wound on to their daughters.  And so the cycle continues.

So while I am working on processing (what I now know is called) the mother wound, I NEVER imagined that this was a core issue for so many women.  It’s like the curtains have been thrown back!  The sun is blazing in!

Bethany Webster further explains,

“A critical step for a woman’s authentic empowerment is to heal the mother wound; transforming the generational pain of maternal wounding into divine feminine power. In order to do so, both mothers and daughters must start with themselves as daughters because this is the place where the wound originally occurred. This is the deep work that is required to embody our truth, authenticity, power and creativity for the benefit of all beings.”

Huh.  So, I have been actually been working these past ten years to heal the mother wound.  I started with talk therapy and then stumbled upon naturopathy.  The naturopath, not the therapist (that I’d been working with for two years!), was the first person I ever told about the true nature of my relationship with my mother.  And once I said the words aloud, the healing could begin.

Over the years, many holistic therapies have supported my healing.  Of all the holistic therapies, energy kinesiology has been the most life changing (and that’s why I am taking classes, in hopes of paying it forward one day).  But even the kinesiology took time.  For the past two years, I have been making great strides towards mending my broken cup.  And healing my mother wound has helped to heal and strengthen my relationships with my daughters.  But just this spring the work has gotten even deeper.  I started having sessions with Joy! DelGiudice in which I am healing my mother’s mother wound.  And these sessions are by far the most powerful work that I’ve ever done.

So I was already totally on board with the idea that these wounds are passed down through the generations.  I was on board with healing my ancestors to heal myself and my children.  But healing these wounds to heal the world’s wounds, too?  Well, that’s pretty awesome!!!

Listen to what Jeff Brown, Soulshaping, has to say,

“We must not give up. It takes so much time to heal because we are not just healing our own wounds – we are healing the world’s wounds, too. We think we are alone with our ‘stuff’, but we aren’t. With every clearing of our emotional debris, with every foray into a healthier way of being, with every excavation and release of old material, we heal the collective heart. So many of our familial and karmic ancestors had little opportunity to heal their pains. When we heal, their spirits breathe a sigh of relief. We heal them backwards, while healing ourselves forward. We heal in unison.”

So my mother wound – which was once a secret that I hid from the world – turns out to be a part of a much larger whole.  I haven’t been walking the road alone after all.  I’m honored to be in good company.


  1. In healing you have to face and, in a way, relive the pain in order to take away it’s power. Sending you lots of love as you continue your journey, my friend. You, most definitely, are NOT alone!! xoxo

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