In this second blog in my series on the intriguing and insightful Feminine Archetypes, I explore the Mother Archetype, her Shadow Archetype, The Selfless Mother and Mother Wounds. I also lift the veil on how The Selfless Mother can cause a fracture in the Maiden Archetype – creating the Shadow Self.

The Mother Archetype
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To read my previous blog in this series where I explore the Maiden Archetype CLICK HERE to learn all about her.

The Mother is nurturing, abundant, and generous. She is a natural caretaker who is gentle, and compassionate, and she lives to care for and support others. The Mother is bursting with fertility, and she has the maternal drive to provide for her loved ones. When we embody the Mother Archetype we embrace motherhood, give birth to and nurture children. You could give birth to and nurture ‘idea children’, a new business venture, or put your love and attention into a creative project. This can mean sustaining what you’ve already created. Mothers enjoy looking after other family members, friends, and pets.

The strengths of the Mother Archetype are her persistence, her sense of duty and responsibility, her nurturing nature, and her grounded and compassionate nature. A Mother loves to create with her hands. She ensures that everyone is well taken care of.

To find out more about Feminine Archetypes Buy My Book When She Wakes, She Will Move Mountains.

The Mother Archetype
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Embodying the Mother Archetype could refer to connecting to and caring for our collective ‘mother’ – mother earth. Mothers are the keepers of the natural cycles. They are deeply connected to the cycles of their own bodies.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Mother Archetype? Buy my book.

Representations Of The Mother Archetype In Our Culture

Some of the modern representations of the Mother Archetype in our modern culture are the Madonna, Mrs Weasley from Harry Potter and Lady Elinor in Brave. Maternal figures who are nurturing, compassionate, responsible, protective and giving.

Modern culture tends to idealise mothers as being ‘selfless’. Although, there has been a bit of a shift in modern movies for children, to view mothers as supportive, caring and independent, capable and fierce.

The Mother Archetype
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The classical representation of the Mother Archetype is the Goddess, Demeter, as mentioned in the story of Persephone in my blog on the Maiden Archetype. However, other Goddesses from other cultures represent the Mother too, especially in relation to mother earth. These Goddesses are Gaia, Pachamama, Prithvi, Isis, and Papatuanuku.

The Selfless Mother Archetype

The Shadow Mother Archetype, the Selfless Mother tends to overgive. She lacks boundaries, seeks to control, and is prone to co-dependency. She neglects herself and can experience a loss of self. A Selfless Mother can tend to take on everyone else’s problems as if they are her own. She can feel the responsibility to ‘fix’ these weighing heavily on her.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Mother Archetype? Buy my book.

Mothers have martyred themselves in their children’s names since the beginning of time. We have lived as if she who disappears the most, loves the most. We have been conditioned to prove our love by slowly ceasing to exist.

Glennon Doyle

The Selfless Mother seeks to control others around her. Like the Shadow Maiden, Shadow Mothers can be extremely concerned about the judgement of others around her.

This tendency is mirrored in how we ‘mother’ others in our work and social environments. The Selfless Mother can struggle greatly to let her children grow up and/or allow others to take care of her physical or metaphorical children.

Many women identify strongly with the Selfless Mother Archetype, especially during our ‘mothering’ years. Our inability to ‘mother’ ourselves or to heal our Mother Wounds can interfere with our ability to fully embrace the Mother Archetype’s nurturing energy for ourselves and in our relationships. We risk passing this as a ‘Mother Wound’ to our children.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Mother Archetype? Buy my book.

The Mother Archetype

The Beliefs Of The Selfless Mother

As mentioned above, it’s natural for the Mother Archetype to be giving in nature and extremely emotionally available.

If we over-identify with the Selfless Mother, there is a chance that we will neglect our own needs, deplete our energy and lose our own identity. We judge ourselves harshly and base our worth on the roles we play for others. Selfless Mothers find self-love and self-nurturing challenging. They may need to learn how to use some of the mothering energy they give to others and use it for mothering themselves.

Selfless Mothers believe that they must fix every problem for their children and provide them with the ‘perfect’ childhood. They strive to protect their children from all heartache, discomfort and pain in order to be seen as a ‘good mother’. Because Selfless Mothers feel judged by other Mothers they believe that their family must be perfect in order to prove what a good job they are doing as a Mother.

Selfless Mothers often equate their worth with how much they do for others or how productive they are. This can be the root cause of their overgiving nature.

A Selfless Mother often believes that everyone should treat her the way that she treats them and when they don’t she becomes upset, depressed and resentful.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Mother Archetype? Buy my book.

The Selfless Mother Archetype
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Mother Wounds

A Mother Wound is a wound passed to us from our mother. It is a way that our mother was mothered and/or wounded by her mother or by her culture’s expectation of what defines a ‘good mother’. Mother wounds are passed from generation to generation.

Mother Wounds that need healing in the Selfless Mother Archetype:

  • The Selfless Mother Wound – You were ‘mothered’ by another Selfless Mother who lacked boundaries. She modelled selflessness as the ideal that all ‘good mothers’ should strive for.
  • The Distant/ Absent Mother Wound – You were mothered by a mother who was emotionally or physically unavailable. This caused so much pain that you now strive to be the opposite for your children.
  • The ‘Child-Mother’ Wound – You were mothered by a mother who needed you to emotionally parent HER. Or you were expected to be the primary caregiver for younger siblings.
  • The ‘Unnamed Maiden’ Mother Wound – You did not develop a sense of self due to a mother who did not see or hear you and instead tried to mould and shape you into who she thought you should be.
  • The ‘Unlived Mother’ Mother Wound – Your mother gave up her life and dreams to be a mother to you. She constantly reminds you how much she sacrificed for you and you must do the same for your children or to live out her dreams for her because she has lived for you.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Mother Archetype? Buy my book.

The Mother Archetype

How The Mother/Maiden Co-Dependency Fracture Causes The Shadow Self

The Shadow Mother and Shadow Maiden Archetypes can have an unhealthy co-dependent relationship. It is the nature of Maidens to want to grow up, go on adventures, and explore their innate curiosity. It is the Shadow Mother’s nature to over-protect and to want to control the Maiden.

The Maiden wants to be loved and accepted by the Mother. She senses that she will lose this love and acceptance if she grows up and changes. The Maiden, in turn, stunts her growth and stays small and obedient to continue to receive the warm glow of approval from the Mother.

This occurs in our external relationships between mothers and daughter(s). This is also mirrored in our internal relationship between these two Archetypes.

This causes a fracture in our Maiden self. A splitting occurs of our ‘light’ acceptable parts from our ‘dark’ ‘unlovable’ attributes. This causes the disconnection from and disowning of our dark ‘Shadow Self’.

The fracture and disowning and alienation of our Shadow Self, causes a war inside of us and leads us down the path to self-loathing, struggle, and suffering. The self-abandonment of this fracture causes us to act against our intuition, numb and repress our emotions, and repeat self-protective behaviours. Which ultimately leads us to feel stuck, alone, anxious and depressed.

Do you want to be to find out more about the Mother Archetype? Buy my book.

The Healing Journey

The good news for Mothers is that we can do the work to become aware of and heal our own Mother Wounds.

When we do the necessary healing and Shadow Work, we heal and clear centuries of generational trauma and break the cycle for ourselves and our children. When we as mothers work on ourselves and pursue our dreams we normalise personal growth and success for our children. Our wounds, or mother’s wounds, her mother’s mother’s wounds do not need to be our daughter’s wounds.

A mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem.

Naomi Wolf

Are you the cycle breaker in your family?

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