The Mother and Father wound are the most common issues most of the human beings, if not all, face.
The work of acknowledging and own the inner wound is the center and most important job a man must engage. It is the journey of life. In a sequence, firstly, the wound happens; secondly, the work of hiding it is put in place; thirdly, notice something is missing; fourthly, become aware of the wound; and finally, start operating from the wound, but no longer from the pain, but from a sacred space. The final space is when one start to live out of the True Self including all the other phases. The man is becoming more whole, integrated and authentic. There is a classification of the wound known as the Father Wound and the Mother Wound.
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In another blog, I described this wound when a mother is overly protective and caring, who ends up manipulating a son’s life, blocking a boy/man to live and feel his youth/adulthood and healthy masculinity. Another example of the mother wound is the classic mythologic tale named Iron John and explored by Robert Bly.. In the legend, the mother wound happens when the young boy finds out that the key for him to be liberated to his healthier boyhood is ‘hidden under his mother’s pillow’. In order for him to be released, he would have to confront all his mother’s expectations and dreams about her poor little ‘good boy’. On the top of that, he would have to invade his father & mother’s sacred space, the nest of his family where they make love, to reach out for his true freedom (Bly, 1990, p.11). A big task and not many men go that far.
Again, I have written in a past article about the trauma that a father wound could be a father correcting a son, through a projection of the father’s own shame and fear, by being arrogant. Or even, the absence of any action at all. The father wound from absence is the most common one. The body of the main authority of the house is there, but he just doesn’t participate in the main decisions of the family’s life. “Those who suffer from this wound has no masculine energy, lack self-confidence and the ability to do, to carry through, to trust themselves - because they were never trusted by him. Here, is where most people are wounded - unfeeling, unbelieving and not whole” (Rohr, 2005, p.12).
This is the hardest and noblest path to take. It is painful, not enjoyable, hurtful, difficult and challenging. The truth will set you free, but before will make you feel miserable. Plotkin compares the path of the wound as the path of the formation of a pearl: “the tiny grit of sand within the oyster creates an irritation (the trauma) the oyster seeks to emanate by coating the grain with successive layers of lustrous deposits, ultimately producing the jewel” (Plotkin, 2003, p.97). The process of healing might take the whole lifetime, but it must begin as there is a treasure in it. Maybe, this is the secret of life.
Embracing the Wound
A great scene of a powerful and sweet movie exemplifies really well the process of embracing the wound with caring. The movie The Kid is a story of a 40 y/old men going through a mid-life crisis, that meets up with his 8 y/old self. The scene below is him re-living the traumatic moment, following with his mature self-embracing with love, with caring, with the deepest level of acceptance and guiding him to a more mature space. That leads to the beginning of the transformation towards the Sacred Self. Enjoy the scene.
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To read about The Process of Life Transition among Men, click here.
To read about Men's Grief Work, click here.
Bly, R. (1990). Iron John: men and masculinity. Ebury Publishing. London.
Plotkin, Bill (2003) Soulcraft – Crossing into the mysteries of nature and psyche. New World Library Publishers.
Rohr, R. & Martos, J., (2005) From Wild Man to Wise Man: Reflections on Male Spirituality. St Anthony Messenger Press - Cincinnati, Ohio/USA
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Felipe Oliveira is a counsellor for men to live an Authentic Life™, and is ready to hearing from you. Send him an email now.
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