Many of us grew up not seeing healthy boundaries in relationships, not being able to fully express our emotions or learn how to really take care of ourselves.
So many people I meet are hugely embarrassed to say that they don’t know what boundaries are, or who proudly announce ‘I don’t have boundaries’
As we grow, we learn how to behave by watching what goes on around us and (for any care-givers out there) it doesn’t matter how much you think you’re hiding it, as kids we see it, absorb it and put it into our data bank on repeat.
So it’s perfectly understandable that what we don’t know in adulthood is what we didn’t learn as kids.
Most people I talk to think that needs relate to other people and that it’s selfish to have your own. So much so that often what you need is such an alien concept that that you literally have no clue what your needs are.
You’ve been taught that denying yourself, betraying those needs in order to receive love and acceptance is normal.
I see the ultimate act of self-care as the act of re-parenting yourself. It’s a process of recognising old patterns and re-learning them so you can step into a loving, healthy and sustainable relationship with yourself and others in your life.
It takes turning inwards and meeting yourself on a whole new level so you can learn, experiment and show up in new ways. It takes courage and it’s not always easy, but by embracing the pure unconditional love of the Mother Powertype, you can open up a whole world of love and possibilities.
If you had a childhood that’s left you feeling inadequate in some way or that you feel something wasn’t quite right or that something was missing, re-parenting may be a great option for you.
As we get to midlife we want to rise up and do something different, live a different way, strike out and do different things, but often the beliefs and behaviours we learned as we grew up holds us back.
Perhaps in your home your emotions weren’t acknowledged and honoured, or you felt you were never really listened to or understood. Maybe sarcasm constantly opened new wounds that you didn’t know how to heal.
All of your experiences as kids and young adults form who you are today and when you feel something was missing for you, there’s a hole that you try to fill with other things; things like trying to prove you’re worthy of love by sacrificing your own needs, striving for perfection to prove you’re good enough, people-pleasing to win affection, avoiding getting angry or sad as a bid to keep the peace.
Essentially, you abandon yourself in the cause to be truly loved then feel immense pain when you feel abandoned.
The truth is that only you can change all that. There is no knight on a white horse charging in to rescue you. There is no supreme being floating down to earth to whisk you away to a better place. If you want to fill that hole with pure and unconditional love, you gotta do it for yourself.
The Mother archetype is a great place to start. She is the embodiment of all love; pure, unconditional and completely accepting of you as you are right in this moment. Snot, tears, hiccups and all!
You can wrap yourself up in that blanket of pure love and nestle down safe in the knowledge that all will be well.
It can be difficult to acknowledge that your mother didn’t give what you needed as a child.
She gave you life, sacrificed for you and did her absolute best to raise you and here you are criticising her? How ungrateful and selfish of you!!
But the truth is many of us have grown into adults who feel their parents lacked some knowledge or understanding about what we really needed back then.
This isn’t about blaming your mother for her short-comings, after all she did the best she could at the time with the knowledge and resources she had. And that includes her experiences growing up too.
If your mother was unable to embrace and express her love and affection as a mother you may have notice things like:
- That she was sometimes distant or seemed cold or uncaring. Maybe an attitude of ‘just get on with it, this is life’
- She was often judgemental about yours, or other peoples behaviours ‘Well I wouldn’t have done that!’ or maybe she had a ‘look’ that showed her absolute disgust at something (my mum’s favourite!!)
- Love was given based on certain ‘conditions or expectations’ you had to meet and love was denied if you fell short of them.
- She appeared selfish (in a negative way) was neglectful or even hurtful in a bid to make herself feel better.
On the other hand, if your mother’s mothering instinct was on overdrive you may experienced your mother as:
- Fiercely possessive and controlling, not allowing you any room to make your own mistakes or live your own life.
- Overly fussing about your clothes, hair, manners etc in a bid to have the ‘perfect’ child or be seen as the ‘perfect’ mother.
- Not wanting to be or feel alone. Keeping you tied to the apron strings as long as possible – often using guilt to keep you close.
- Being an absolute martyr to her family, never needing or asking for help but always ‘having to do absolutely everything’
The truth is that neither of these characters are a well-expressed mother archetype and isn’t what you need if you’re reparenting or doing any kind of inner-child healing. Nor are they any help to you when you need to provide support or help to others. For that you need the Balanced Mother
Whenever I talk about the Mother Powertype with my clients, there is usually a reaction of ‘Oh but I didn’t get on with my mother, I don’t want to be like her’ or ‘But I’m not a mum so that doesn’t apply to me’
It’s not around any experiences you may have had of a mother (or mother figure), nor is it linked to any experiences you may have had as a mother. And it absolutely has nothing to do with whether or not you are a biological mother.
The Mother PowerType is the pure essence of love for another. It’s unconditional, accepting, life-affirming; a warm hearth on a cold winters day.
Out of the 5 empowering women’s PowerTypes that form the foundation of my coaching, the Mother is the top dog when it comes to taking care of that little inner-child whose hurting and acting out.
When someone signs up to work with me in either 1-1 coaching or my group programme Claim Your Courageous Life, they automatically get to take a profiling quiz that shows them how the 5 empowering women’s archetypes (or PowerTypes) are showing up in their lives. One of the PowerTypes is the Mother.
The reason is that when you know who’s running the show (and not always in a good way) you can take steps to provide more harmony in your life and get the courage to make real, lasting change.
If your Mother is running the show (ie over expressed) you probably feel that you are the only one who can do XYZ. No-one can do it as well as you can so you may as well do it yourself. No-one really appreciates or understands just how much effort it takes to XYZ.
You may feel you are holding back in your significant relationships because the other person is lacking in some way and can be frustrated (or fearful) that your ‘children’ aren’t striking out on their own, or that they are leaving the nest far too early.
This has nothing to do with whether or not you are a biological mum, have any dependants or not and it has nothing to do with how you personally feel about your mum or caregiver. It’s about the innate nurturing energy we all have inside of us whether that’s to kids, friends, family, pets, plants, work colleagues, neighbours…..
When the mother Powertype is balanced and well expressed she is the most amazing energy to be around, and to embrace in yourself. You’ll know a well-expressed mother because she:
- Uses gentle encouragement
- Is patient and works to bring out the best in everyone around her
- Knows that every person has a valuable contribution to make and needs to be heard
- Supports those around her and teaches them to take care of themselves
- Provides a safe space where you can be honest and open
And as a well-expressed Mother you also show these characteristics to yourself.
- Considerate and Fair
So I ask you, are you showing up as the well-expressed Mother or have you slipped into the realms of under-expressed or over-expressed and how is that impacting your ability to claim your courageous life??