For Men: Our Complex Mother Stuff

I am keenly aware of how challenging to write this piece on Mother. It is scary and dangerous, just like Her. In men’s work, we avoid processing our mother issues, we hardly talk about them. She is in shadow for men, and you do not have to look far across this entire planet to see the real and painful effects of this blindness.

We are born from the fusion of sperm and egg, deep in her body. We differentiate over 9 months, deep in her body. We are born into the world, and in her charge for 3-7 years, close to her body. After that, we begin to have conscious memories.

The initial healing in men’s work focuses on the father wound. First, because we are men, and second, because we have more conscious memory of him and access to past experiences. We remember when he came home drunk, or hit us or hit our mother, or left us behind, or died. However, most of our experience of mother happened before any conscious memory, other than family stories or pictures. This means that our memories of Mother are carried deep in the cells of our bodies. This tells us that our unconscious issues with Mother are reflected in our body’s reactions to wherever the feminine shows up in our lives. After all, Mother is the first feminine imprint, layered deep in our neural pathways, and as she is essentially life-death-sex, we project her everywhere.

So the next question might be: “If I want to work through my issues with women and the feminine, where do I start?” For many years, I have advocated the necessity of emotional awareness, a body-centered language that allows us to speak to what we are feeling deep inside. Without the ability to articulate the subtle and non-verbal textures of our feelings … especially the deeper more painful ones down in the body … we cannot get to the deeper truths within us.

Hear Robert Johnson, from Lying With The Heavenly Woman …

“She (Mother) is probably the most powerful person in his whole life, since she gave him his physical structure, fed and raised him, and largely determined his idea of women for the rest of his life.” 

“Mom is a discreet human being ‘out there’, while a man’s mother complex is always an interior matter.”

“The mother complex is his wish to regress to infancy again and to be taken care of, to crawl into bed and pull the covers up over his head, to evade some responsibility that faces him. It can come as a mood, as a discouragement, as a paralysis, or as just being ‘fed up’ with it all.” (pp 18-19)

Once we allow our eyes to open, our entire life begins to change. Of course, the ego and risk manager and protector will have something to say, as they do not want us to go poking down into those dark places. They are more comfortable with the easier, more surface shadows, like ‘being angry at her’ for being a bitch, or pick one from the innumerable judgments we have that make women the bad guys.

What would happen if we began to look more deeply at those unconscious or semi-conscious beliefs we carry about women and the feminine. What if we prepare to look at these as projections, with altogether new eyes? What if we look into the operating system imprint, the part that carries the entire story of the feminine in our own bodies? What if we really paid attention to our feelings, especially when we react to women?

Culturally and personally, we are unearthing our own genocide, racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, hatreds of all kinds … the lamp has been lit, and it grows brighter. So what if we look at misogyny? What might we find?