The death mother sits on the shadow-y end of the Mother archetype. Archetypes are energies that represent certain patterns that contain the totality from shadow to light. Every archetype has this journey, including parental archetypes. The shadow resides within the death mother/father, negative parents, absent parent, to the good enough mother, nurturing mother, present mother and the great, divine mother. herself. One pulls us away from life. The other connects us more deeply into life-affirming principles that give freedom to the soul.
The way we parent ourselves is the backdrop of everything as we move through our lives. It is the way we treat ourselves emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. It is the way we nurture ourselves. It is the way we hold ourselves when we are experiencing difficulties, struggling with dark or challenging emotions, facing addictions or relationship patterns or our human condition. It seems so common that in emotional struggle and life difficulties, we have the hardest time loving ourselves. This is the inner parent at work.
What this looks like is a desire to get rid of the pain, criticizing ourselves, judging ourselves, numbing out the pain rather than seeking soothing, a hatred towards our own inner wounding, bypassing our wounding with spiritual affirmations, using our thoughts to control our deep pain, fear of turning inwards towards ourselves, a feeling of choking when wanting to express truth, a draw to things that on the surface appear soothing but are actually toxic, or seeking for something outside of ourselves to be our source of love.
This is even more problematic in a paradigm that preaches a hyper-vigilance of thinking and emotions, blaming limiting or false beliefs on our life's challenges. It is promoted in this culture of economics where we are preached out that if you work hard enough you should get what you want and if you don't, then you aren't working hard enough, aren't being positive enough or are in some kind of mentality that is blocking you from living in a world that doesn't actually give a damn about how your heart is doing.
While our inner child may carry wounds and need love, care and tending (not the same as fixing), this kind of inner child work can become a distraction. Our body is our inner child and we will ALWAYS be parenting ourselves, tending to our wounding and leaning into our feelings, nurturing ourselves, having compassion towards our human condition and living this life of being human.
The bigger question is who is this inner parent? Who is it that is parenting us? As we individuate, we must resolve the parental wounding WITHIN. At some point, it is no longer about the psychological analysis of what our parents did or didn't do. We can easily get stuck here.
These dynamics are internalized and we end up replaying these dynamics within our own psyches. We are either consciously or unconsciously parenting ourselves, internally viewing ourselves through a particular lens....that of the death mother, negative mother, absent mother or a good-enough, attuned, caring, kind and compassionate mother.
Sadly, most of us are more aware of the shadow side of how our parents impacted us. And, it isn't just our mothers/fathers but the way. Our culture mothers and fathers us as well. The way our cultural mother holds our souls and teaches us about our hearts, emotions and inner life. If we are not taught to value the inner life, the dreams and soul life, we are split off from the healthy feminine that offers nourishment, medicine, holding, love, compassion and the knowing of what to do and how to navigate the emotional life. She knows how to hold the mind in service to the heart. She balances the healthy mother and father within.
We are not taught this. We think people should just know how to be good parents and most people have no idea. We think we should just know how to love ourselves. We know that its' a good thing, but what it is on a deep level many people do not know.
In a culture rampant with the symptoms of soul loss - depression, anxiety, addiction, self-hatred, violence and war, how we are parenting ourselves begs our attention. It is the inner parent that we must turn our attention to, to tend to and to usher them across the threshold from shadow to light if we want to have a sustainable relationship with ourselves for the long haul.
Restoring the sanity of our inner parents liberates us from the shadows and repeated cycles of our wounds continually searching to complete the cycle with others in our lives. Restoring the sanity. of our inner parents establishes a foundation of self-love that we can always draw on, rely. on and move from in our lives. This is where we begin to retrieve our power, call back our soul parts and feel that we belong. To ourselves and each other. We have more space to care about the heart of the world. And, this would be a most beautiful thing.