Part 1: The Toxic Legacy of Mean Mothering:
Those of us who were raised by cold, critical, emotionally or physically abusive, unavailable and/or neglectful mothers, almost inevitably find our selves tyrannized by vitriolic inner critics. These viciously undermining voices lead those of us with such histories to treating our selves in the same damaging ways our mothers have treated us.
Despite how we try or what seeming wonders we accomplish in our lives, these undermining voices keep us from ever feeling we are truly worthy or lovable. Their litany can also keep us feeling shamed and diminished by any needs we might have that we cannot deal with on our own. We feel we are never enough or else that we are too much/overwhelming. We keep searching for what magical thing we might do that could finally silence those inner voices that turn everything we do into nothing of value. Yet each such thing, once achieved, becomes valueless; the critical onslaught continues unabated.
Similarly, no matter how many other people value and love us, no matter how many accolades we garner along the way, it does nothing to invalidate the belief in our own ultimate unworthiness. As the famous Groucho Marx once suggested: “Why would I want to join any club that would have me as a member?” – we believe that anyone that treasures our flawed selves is either stupid or deranged or not seeing clearly when they value us or tell us we are lovable. It’s a terrible plight, this toxic legacy of wounding by damaged and damaging mothers that leaves us feeling so unworthy, so undeserving of love.
Those of us with this heritage are legion and, it seems, almost everywhere in the developed world. That so many women who mother are themselves so damaged, speaks volumes about the soul-destroying cultures in which almost all women are raised.
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