The Mother Wound: What it Is, How to Heal it & Why it Matters
EPISODE: 44 | DATE: May 27, 2021
“The mother wound really manifests in my clients around this huge perfectionist nature. They will give give give give give and will love and understand. But they are blocked from receiving joy, love, downtime, rest.”
Diffusing Stress Through Movement
- Moving your body is the best way to move emotions through you.
- You cannot think your way out of a bad mood. You literally have to move the energy through you, and you do that with movement.
- Tandy offers online pilates classes that are 30 minutes long. They are designed for busy people – especially mamas – who don’t have a ton of time.
- Thinking too much is very stressful. You need to get in your body to turn off your brain for a moment.
- The astrology for this past year has been very airy, which means a lot of thinking and analyzing.
- Our stressors and anxiety have been heightened as a result.
The Body/Soul Connection
- The vessel (body) and the soul are connected. They are one.
- Therefore by tending to your vessel (body) by working it out and moving it, you are tending to your soul.
- It’s not about aesthetics or weight loss. This is about health and our mental well being.
The kind of movement Tandy teaches (and why it matters)
- Tandy teaches these 30 minute pilates classes which she refers to as tiny and mighty, well curated and well crafted movements that are specific to mamas.
- Mamas don’t have time but we need the filling up, we need the sifting, and we need the energetic shift to sweep out.
- When you tend to yourself, and tend to the emotional wounds our physical attributes will shift. This game of trying to lose weight? No. Your vessel will release the additional weight that it’s carrying when the energetics have healed and moved through and you’re finished with those lessons.
- This is why people will do things over and over and think, “I know what I should be doing and I’m not doing it.” That’s not a deficit, that’s a lack of healing.
What is the Mother Wound?
- There is a clinical explanation of the mother wound, which includes verbiage around moms not being there emotionally, when they haven’t been nurturing loving caregivers, when there are security issues, them not being present, a lack of empathy or they don’t allow you to have negative emotions growing up as a kid, to name a few.
- Tandy’s perspective – and how she works with clients – is inclusive of all those things, but it’s also inclusive of a more spiritual aspect.
- Tandy channels messaging through the tarot for each individual client.
- In that way, from a spiritual aspect, the mother wound is about ancestral healing.
- These are the wounds, traumas and issues that our mothers didn’t have the awareness around, nor did they have the tools or the education to heal.
- Those wounds have been passed down to us, and they become subconscious or conscious programming.
- Tandy has a double mother wound: she was adopted. She was also raised by a highly abusive mother.
- Sometimes mother wounds are very clear, loud, like Tandy’s. And some are really subtle.
What are some of the ways The Mother Wound can Manifest?
- Being passive aggressive.
- Being a martyr and then calling it love.
- Low self esteem.
- Lack of emotional awareness.
- Inability to self soothe.
- A big overwhelming feeling that loving relationships aren’t for you or that you can’t have them.
Do we all have a Mother Wound?
- Yes. Both men and women alike. Because we all came from a mother.
Is there a Father Wound?
- Yes. And a brother or sister wound. We’ll get into that later.
So wait. Are we blaming our mothers?
- No. This isn’t about blaming our mothers at all.
- This is not about pointing fingers. This is about looking at our caregivers with compassion, knowing they did the best they could with what they had, and knowing that their unhealed wounds – including their subconscious ones – were passed down to you.
- The power is in you doing the healing.
- There is no perfect mothering. There is no perfect parenting. There is no perfect personing.
- This about about doing the familial ancestral healing that allows us to grow and evolve into healthier and more balanced humans.
The big picture: Why does the Mother Wound matter?
- Because if we don’t deal with it, it blocks us joy, receiving and nurturing.
- When that happens, we will often go into perfectionism.
- This is how Tandy really sees the mother wound manifest in her clients: it’s this huge perfectionist nature and they will give give give give give and will love and understand but they are blocked from receiving joy, love, downtime, and rest.
- Mothers carry all of their eggs their whole life so our children are really with us our entire lives energetically.
- And if we’ve carried children in our womb, then we have this cellular memory together. We have been in the same vessel. Tangible. Tissues. So the mother does take on more weight in the wounding department because we are them and they are us.
- That’s not to exclude the fathers or to diminish anyone’s role or the capacity for balance. But when talking about the mother wound we really need to get to the primal aspects of women carrying babies in their bodies. There is bound to be a connection.
- That oxytocin connection, that sense of safety, that skin to skin contact – we are primal animals in this space. So if those have been disrupted – at any point up to the age of 3 or even 7, and really until you leave the home at 18 – this disruption really creates our capacity to love and to receive and what is healthy and what is stable and what is ok.
- So if a mother couldn’t be there emotionally for whatever reason – no judgement – there wasn’t a loving caregiver or a sense of security all the time.
- Like it or not, moms are home base. We are the foundation. So when those pieces are unhealthy or toxic or non supported – there is a wound.
Are there other aspects of The Mother Wound?
- There is the cultural side of it, which we could go into another time.
- And then there is just the families and lineage and the dialogue that you come from.
What are we trying to accomplish when attempting to heal The Mother Wound?
- We are looking to break the cycle of toxicity.
- And when we address these wounds, yes we’re doing the healing for us. Yes we’re doing it for our children. But the energetics go 7 directions forward and 7 directions back. So it’s ancestral on that level. Healing the past and the future.
Can you tell us more about your experience being adopted?
- Tandy always knew she was adopted, but it was a closed adoption so legally she wasn’t allowed to know anything about her birth mother. Her adopted parents’ names were on her birth certificate.
- The only thing Tandy knew was that her biological mother was old enough to keep her but chose to give her up for adoption.
- Tandy grew up being treated like she was special, to the point that she felt bad for her older sister – who was her parents’ biological daughter – because they doted on Tandy so much.
- Sadly Tandy’s mother was physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually abusive.
- Tandy always felt like the “other” because she had dark skin that tanned super easily, unlike her family’s skin. But other than that, she didn’t give much thought into what being adopted really meant to a human until she became pregnant herself with her first son.
What happened when Tandy got pregnant with her first child:
- Aside from the hormones shifting in pregnancy, from the magical and energetic aspect of things, being pregnant began to open up channels in Tandy’s memory.
- Tandy is already highly sensitive and psychic and clairsentient and a channeler. Being pregnant, therefore, kind of split open a knowing of things.
- Memories returned to her. The vessel will return memories. We know that with acupuncture, you can open up lines and you’ll remember blocked memories.
- And so when Tandy got pregnant towards the end of it she was remembering thing about her birth mother.
- Tandy’s husband encouraged her to see a therapist who specialized in adoptees, so she did.
Being Given Up for Adoption: The Primal Wound
- In therapy, Tandy learned about The Primal Wound, which is what it’s called when you’re given up for adoption.
- It’s an inherent unworthiness. A sense of “I am not wanted.” It’s like a runt puppy being thrown out, as if to say, “You’re no good.”
The Adoptee’s tendency toward Perfectionism
- Adoptees tend to go in two directions:
- They are either the perfect child, which was Tandy. They are hyper overachievers, do really well in school, don’t talk back, follow the rules, etc.
- Or they have addiction issues of just really being unattached and detached from everything.
- The perfectionist nature is, “If I’m good enough they will keep me. If I’m good enough they will love me.”
The story continued (and meeting her biological mother)
- Tandy began to get worried that someone would take her son, which is apparently really common in adoptees.
- She began to think about what kind of mother she wanted to be, and what kind of mother she didn’t want to be. The truth was, she wasn’t sure what kind of mother she wanted to be.
- 3 months after Tandy’s son was born, they discovered he had a genetic disorder. Tandy then reached out to her family to see if anyone had any information on her biological mother. Her godfather had her mother’s name.
- Tandy actually didn’t do anything with it at the time because it was so intense for so long with her son in the NICU that she couldn’t handle another trauma.
- 4 years later, Tandy felt a little ping from the universe and found herself looking up her mother’s name on Facebook. She went through all the matching names until she found one woman who looked exactly like her.
- She reached out and they began chatting. Tandy found out she had a half brother and half sister, both of whom had different fathers. And her mother wasn’t sure who was Tandy’s father.
- Everything was fine in the honeymoon stage of the initial meeting, but when Tandy began to ask about being put up for adoption, there was too much shame for her mother to handle. They no longer have a relationship. Her mother cut off all communication after that.
A Second Wounding
- Tandy says that it felt like a second wounding when her mother cut off all communication.
- But it felt even worse. Like being rejected the second time.
- Tandy thinks that before she understood that she was tiny and people get into difficult situations and she had a cognitive understanding of why her mother gave her up for adoption.
- But to come back in and have this honeymoon stage and not be able to have this difficult conversation felt really hard.
- Even though she knew it wasn’t true, the feeling was, “I’m not worthy enough for you to step up for. You’re unwilling to grow for me.”
- The adult in Tandy knew that wasn’t the case, but the inner child in her asked, “I want you to be better for me.”
The Inner Child vs The Inner Teen
- When working with her clients, Tandy does sometimes deal with the inner child, but what she mostly finds comes up is working with the inner teen.
- We understand the inner child and how that’s connected to nurturing, caregiving, soothing, that softness.
- But the inner teen is that first place of moving into independence – moving towards adulthood and that inner rebel.
- But you don’t get to be a rebel and break the rules and individually if you’ve never been a part of the pod. If you’ve not been held.
- The inner teen work comes up such that it asks: what are the ways that people would like to have been more of a rebel, taken more risks?
- But if you haven’t had that initial attachment, taking risks and individuating yourself feels weird.
- They aren’t quite ready to go be out in the world on their own because they don’t know what happens when they make a mistake. There’s nobody there to catch them.
- So it’s the inner teen work that tends to get looked at. It’s still the inner child – but it’s not the toddler or the infant.
- Either way, it becomes mothering ourselves. Personal parenting. It becomes adulting: what is it that you needed at these ages and stages that’s coming through that you did not get that you wish you would have gotten that you needed: conversations, education, nurturing.
- We can’t go back to get it and we cannot change the person and sometimes the parents aren’t even around anymore. This is where maturity and self healing begins
- We have to be aware of what we wanted. What did we not get without judgment. Because some people think what they needed and wanted was silly. It isn’t. Not in healing work. Not in real life. You identify that. Then we want to get to grief and mourning and loss.
The spectrum of healing
- The spectrum of healing is so many things but what we tend to skip as a culture is grief and mourning and loss. We try to make lemonade – just skip to the healing. It doesn’t work like that!
- This isn’t about victim nature. It’s about reality. That sucked. That didn’t feel good. That left a scar.
- So identifying what you needed and what you wanted, trying to and allowing yourself to connect to the grief and the loss and really feeling it.
- We have to feel it to heal it.
- We’ve got to get to the tears in some form or another.
- Watch a movie that makes your cry, listen to a song that makes you cry – do what you need to do to feel it.
Getting to Forgiveness (and how it liberates you)
- Healing is not linear. You have the cognitive understanding and recognition. This is where therapy is amazing, the cognitive process. Understanding that your parents were just people. They are genuinely doing the best they can and sometimes the hand they get to play is just really hard.
- And then into forgiveness. Not because what they did was ok. Because it is too heavy to carry around your whole life. You have to lighten the load. You have to let it go. That doesn’t make it ok.
- The final piece is the self mothering, the self care.
- This can look like getting on your mat and doing pilates, pulling a tarot card, whatever it is for you. This is what care and self nurturing looks like. A version of it.
- It’s visceral. The mother wound is a body issue also. It’s body safety.
- So that self care aspect for those of us who haven’t understood it before – these functional pieces of getting on the mat, getting into meditation, drawing a tarot card, journaling about it – this begins a template for self care that can lead to bigger work in the emotional healing.
How we treat ourselves matters
- How we treat ourselves is connected to receiving.
- And how we treat our temple (our body) is how we not only demonstrate the way we want to be treated but it’s also energetically what we’re telling the universe how we want to be treated.
- But when we don’t know how to do that and it hasn’t been done for us, that’s a challenge. But that’s the work.
- You just have to start showing up, no matter how small or how little time you have.
- You have to force yourself to do it even if it feels uncomfortable. Tandy doesn’t always want to wake up and get on the mat, but she forces herself to do it because she knows it manages her anxiety and depression.
- We have to learn how to surf the waves of life better so that we can respond rather than react.
Another variation of the mother wound: becoming a mother ourselves
- We create another aspect of the mother wound when we become a mother ourselves.
- Things change. We have to deal with our expectations of what mothering was going to be like.
- We have to deal with our identity prior to motherhood and who we are after.
- We have to deal with the cultural norms of motherhood vs the reality of it.
The Father Wound & Soul Contracts
- We all have soul contracts. We agreed to incarnate at this particular time. We agreed to incarnate as siblings and children to certain people. We choose this.
- It’s not always going to be a loving relationship. It’s often to burn karma and to heal.
- So the basic is the same for the father wound – tissues of theirs that they have not, could not, didn’t have the tools to or the way to heal – get passed down.
- They will affect our relationship with men.
- How we perceive those who identify as male or as authority figures in our life and how we connect to and communicate with them.
What about sibling wounds?
- They are very unique but they are definitely just the wounded pieces of dynamic.
- So sometimes that looks like the other sibling was the family favorite and perfect and did everything right and so it’s the worthiness wound. Sometimes it’s “I was responsible for raising my sibling so this is kind of effed up because I don’t know what sibling relationship should really look like when there is a responsible parent party.”
- The dynamic with the sibling wounds are going to be different but it’s important to look at this. You have a perfect partnership with someone for a reason. Look at what needs to be healed, what needs to be learned.
Tandy Gutierrez is the founder & creator of Unicorn Wellness. She is a busy mom, step-mom, wife, tarot reader, intuitive-psychic, and author, thriving in an autoimmune body (Celiac, thyroidectomy, IBS) with 20+ years of experience in the fitness & wellness industry. Tandy is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost Pilates experts featured in Allure, Seventeen, Self, and Elle Magazine and was the first Pilates Regional Manager for Equinox Fitness SoCal. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two sons, and their blue-russian cat, named Mouse, and loves espresso.
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