Childhood Maternal Wounding: Cultivating Self-Mothering Capacities

Grayer, Dianna (2010) Childhood Maternal Wounding: Cultivating Self-Mothering Capacities. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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Unresolved childhood maternal wounding prevents the authentic self from surfacing. This study’s Research Problem was: what subjective states arise as a result of grieving unresolved childhood maternal wounding? The research hypothesis was: the subjective shifts that arise as a result of releasing shame and grief related to unresolved childhood maternal wounding include self-mothering, self-respect, dignity, and autonomy. The Literature Review addresses childhood maternal wounding from Object Relations Theory, Psychodynamic Theory, and Affect Theory. The literature explores faulty mothering and the importance of grieving childhood maternal wounding. The methodology for this study utilized Imaginal Inquiry. There were eight participants who met for one individual meeting and two group meetings. Through various activities, including guided visualization, journaling, art making, and dialogue, participants grieved their experience of childhood maternal wounding. The study’s cumulative learning was: Movement from self-hatred to self-love is cultivated by turning towards one’s disowned hurt child. The process of unburying the grief of childhood maternal wounding by embracing one’s disowned hurt child, vii expressing sadness, anger, hurt, and being held in a nurturing environment, provides opportunities for new mothering. The gifts of unburying the grief of childhood maternal wounding are: reclaiming the hurt child, speaking the breadth of one’s subjective experience, forgiveness, and a new self-mothering. Four learnings emerged. First, the experience of giving voice to the disowned child self brings one closer to aspects of the self initially rejected as a result of childhood maternal wounding, which include affective experiences of fear, shame, and anger, as well as joy and excitement. Second, the experience of speaking from the breadth of one’s own subjective experience of the wounded child and the rejecting mother, in a facilitative holding environment, allows the ‘unhitching of developmental hold-ups’ in the internalized mother-child dyad. This ‘unhitching’ loosens long-held and constricting internal structures, giving rise to feelings of relief, freedom, and compassion. Third, the experience of grieving the loss of desired mothering facilitates self-acceptance, a willingness and desire to tend to one’s needs, and the ability to forgive. Fourth, within a facilitating environment, when one’s hurt child is embraced, positively mirrored, and witnessed by others with similar experiences, an instinctual mothering is summoned and becomes an agent of healing. The study’s learnings were reflected through the myth of Cinderella, which portrays the power of the archetypal positive mother and her capacity to evoke change. The journey toward embodying the positive mother archetype leads to a new mothering which facilitates embracing one’s true self

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Dianna Grayer
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 22:36
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2017 22:36

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