Audrey Jolly Therapy

Warm, Safe Mothering ...does it matter?

Posted Jun 10th, 2015 in Mental Health, Depression, Shame

Warm, Safe Mothering ...does it matter?

Did she light up when I entered the room? Not often.  Did she scare me at times? Yes. Was she cold and frightening? Yes.  Do I hear this often in my practice? Yes. 

Motherhood is one of the hardest roles there is and one of the most important and impacting roles in a child's life.  In most cases mothers are doing the best they can with what they know and have available to them as inner resources.

Not all mothers offer warmth, love, security and comfort to their infants.  Mothers carry wounds as well.  Attachment wounds to be more precise. And it’s all instinct for the newborn. They do not have cognitive development yet. They don’t think, nor can they reason.

They can’t say, “well mom is just having a bad day, it doesn’t have anything to do with me, she’ll be better soon.” There’s none of that occurring. There’s only overwhelming fear, abandonment, threat, distress, panic, grief, loss, despair and terror. If mother is suffering, then her child is struggling.

At birth we instinctually seek a safe attachment. Our survival is dependent on it …so it’s of primary importance. We look to attach to some safe, secure, person who offers us warmth, security within a calm, soothing surrounding. 

We seek it through physical touch and voice quality communicated through our caregiver’s energy, touch, volume of their voice and movement quality. A calm, contented, loving, consistent, ‘available’ caregiver is what’s desired for optimum comfort in the infant.

I know what you’re thinking…I’m screwed! If you are reading this blog, connecting to it’s content at all… you are likely thinking ‘optimal’ mothering is a mystery to me…my own experience was far from optimal.  

You are not alone.  Many of us had a different experience of mothering than safe, secure and calm.

Many of us experienced 'not good enough' or 'almost good enough mothering’ and stumble along through life sort of piecing it together as we go.

We live from what we know about life. We model our relationships on those we experienced at home. We live from our habits, patterns and adaptations developed as we grew up.

There is a quote in theatre that says, “lacerated by my last human encounter, I stagger on to the next.” It describes, viscerally, the struggle to relate to another in an intimate, safe and loving way.  

We need tools and techniques as well as the physical, energetic, sensual experience of safe relationship in order to be able to build it into our lives.  

We are multi-leveled beings desiring love and intimacy but we also often have guards and defences... parts of us that resist the very things we want the most. This resistance is usually developed out of fear of being hurt, often because we were hurt in the past and we don't want a rerun of that.

Once you understand past hurts and come to terms with the feelings, you are able to release the blocked energy and emotions and move on to love again if you desire to.

You'd be very surprised to see just how influenced we are in our day to day love relationships by how we were mothered as a child. It's a journey worth looking into if you want more out of your relationships today. 


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