Mother’s Day Dread: Daughters of Non-Loving Mothers


If Mother’s Day is a day you’re not excited to plan a special dinner, send flowers, or acknowledge, in some way or another, the woman that birthed you, keep reading.

While it is normal for daughters to plan celebrations to honor or honor the memory of the woman who gave her life, it’s also time to normalize how some mother/daughter relationships are complicated, estranged, and even toxic.

There is a lot of talk about women with “daddy issues,” but we need to talk more about women who have a “mother wound?”

Never heard of it?

Well, a “mother wound” is not a specific diagnosis, but it is described in therapy as a loss or a lack of mothering that negatively impacts how children view and value themselves, how they love, how they do relationships, and how they function in other areas of life.

When you aren’t raised by a loving, empathetic mother who nurtures and supports you, a “mama bear” mother who fiercely protected and provided for you, or a mother who was indifferent, it’s likely you have a “mother wound.”

A mother wound is an emotional scar given to or passed on to a child. It is a wound carried in the heart, mind, soul, and spirit of a child raised by a mother who couldn’t or wouldn’t give the love, support, protection, and nurture that all children need to grow into adults.

The mother could have struggled with mental illness or addiction, or she could have simply been cold and distant and unable to show the deep love and attention that children need. Either way, the wound begins to slice and scar.

So, if any of this resonates with you, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re triggered by the approaching celebration of Mothers’ Day. I wouldn’t be surprised if honoring your mother or her memory feels a little insincere and inauthentic. Nor will I be surprised if you feel guilt about not being the doting, loving daughter who lavishes praise on her mother during the sacred Second Sunday of May.

If you feel this way, please know that you’re not alone. The mother wound is something that so many women (and men) suffer with. Here are a few signs that confirm you may have a mother wound.

Signs You May Have a Mother Wound

  • Not being connected to your mother on an emotional level
  • You feel you never had the approval of your mother or you can never live up to her expectations
  • Feeling your siblings were more loved by your mother than you
  • Feeling you had to be perfect to get attention from your mother
  • Feeling you had to protect your mother rather than her protecting you


Women with a mother wound often feel a self-love deficit. Feeling like you’re not enough and you don’t measure up impacts how you view yourself, the goals you pursue, and how you connect with others. This is why it’s so important to seek healing for the “mother wound.”

Healing My “Mother Wound”

To heal a “mother wound,” I would suggest talk therapy. I know it helped me tremendously. What I learned in talk therapy was:

  • I could reparent myself. I could give myself the deep love and attention I missed as a young girl.
  • I learned to seek understanding about my mother. I learned to understand why my mother was unable to give me what I needed.
  • I learned to forgive. I learned that I didn’t need my mother to pay for her lack of parenting me.
  • I learned to accept my feelings as my own experience. I have siblings and my experience of my mother is different from theirs. I learned that I could fully accept my experience without needing my siblings to change their experience or validate mine.


I’m not sure what therapy will help you work through and heal, but I highly recommend it.

Final thought

Be gentle with yourself during this Mother’s Day season. Make sure you give yourself plenty of compassion. Society and culture have a way of making us feel guilty and ungrateful for not being the doting daughter. We are often made to feel like others had it worse than we did, so we should just suck it up.

And yes, while your situation may not be as bad as others, your feelings are still valid. They are real and they are yours to feel, examine, and work through on your own.

This post was previously published on


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