A Great Book for Understanding Your Relationship With Your Mother

The Emotionally Absent Mother: A Guide to Self-Healing and Getting the Love You Missed by Jasmin Lee Cori

Have you ever had trouble as an adult connecting to your mother? You want to further develop the relationship, but there seems to be a wall between you two. You are not the only one, everyone has a complex relationship with their mother that impacts their life from childhood until adulthood.

“Few experiences in life are as deep as the feelings we carry about our mothers. The roots of some of these feelings are lost in the dark recesses of proverbial experience. The branches go every which way, some holding glorious, sun-drenched moments, while others are broken off, leaving sharp and jagged edges that we get caught on. Mother is not a simple subject.”

— The Emotionally Absent Mother, Jasmin Lee Cori

The good news is we can heal the unloved, unheard, unseen child and become empowered, loving adults. A book that I’ve recently read, mainly because I wanted to understand the dynamics between mother and child, is The Emotionally Absent Mother: A Guide to Self-Healing and Getting the Love You Missed by Jasmin Lee Cori.

I have to say that even if you think you have the best mother in the world, and that your relationship works well, this book can help you find if you are suppressing any trauma. I, myself have a good relationship with my mother, but I’ve often wondered if it can be improved.

“Any relationship as complex as that between mother and child is going to include both love and hate. Most young children feel moments of hatred when their needs or wishes are frustrated, although many children won’t dare to express this, their bond with Mommy was far too fragile.”

— The Emotionally Absent Mother, Jasmin Lee Cori

This book helps you understand your mother better

In the first part of the book, you will learn about what you actually need for a mother or mother figure (the role of the mother can be taken by various persons in one’s life when the birth mother is completely absent) and how it impacts you when you don’t receive it. While this takes on an emotional journey, where you might go back to times when you were hurt and didn’t even realize, you will also understand that your mother went grew up in dynamics, or probably worse. You will be presented with different types of mothers from emotionally absent to the ones with mental health problems, and the so-called good mothers, so that you can identify which one you grow up with and then work from there. I have to mention that this book does not pass any judgment on any kind of mother and that it acknowledges that no mother can be perfect.

Going inside yourself is the first step to be able to fix or strengthen the relationship with your mother, or to even remove yourself from that relationship if you conclude that is the best way for you to heal. By acknowledging your mother’s trauma you can understand her better, not in order to make excuses for her behavior, just to simply understand.

The journey is long and very different for everyone, but worth making it.

How to heal

You will go through a series of practices that will help you be aware of your feelings, find support, keep a journal, decide how you want your relationship with your mother to be from here on, and re-mother yourself. Here is a snippet from an exercise you can try:

“Remember a time when you felt nurturing or protective of another or were actually involved in caregiving. Bring this feeling all the way through you. Intensify it. You may have muted your natural inclinations then, but give them an extra boost now. Feel yourself as a nurturing adult who can mother the undernurtured child within. How do you feel this in your body? Take an inner snapshot of you in this role, so you have an image to call upon later.”

In the beginning, learning to check in with the child may require some effort, but it can become a more automatic and integral part o your life as you keep practicing and honoring them.

What I’ve learned

While my mother was not absent, I’ve understood how her childhood traumas might have been transmitted to me as well and why sometimes feels like we don’t connect. I’ve also learned to accept that it is ok to feel angry or disappointed with her in some situations, even if you understand why she was not able to give you what you needed at that moment. Suppressing the feelings won’t help heal the relationship.

“When there has been significant injury, it’s never as if it didn’t happen. There is always at least the memory of the wound, if not some remaining sensitivity. But the power of that wound diminishes with healing and our response to any poking in that area changes. Rather than get caught in childhood feelings that are triggered, we can learn to turn our attention slightly and ask the child inside what it needs now. We can respond to the feelings rather than stay trapped in them.”

— The Emotionally Absent Mother, Jasmin Lee Cori

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