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I have written extensively about the mother wound. It’s humanity’s single point of failure, the short-circuit in our collective psyche that makes us all feel to some extent like an unwanted child.

What is the mother wound?

At its heart, the mother wound both causes and is caused by a failure of nurturing that prevents our inner child—the pure, playful, joyful, fully connected part of ourselves—from developing into our adult self.

It prevents us from building a world where community, connectivity, sustainability, and non-judgmental nurturing (unconditional love) are fundamental givens of human existence.

The mother wound occurred around 6,000 years ago. Long-term drought in the Sahara, the Middle East and Central Asia led to desertification, famine, and competition for resources. This terminated the peaceful Neolithic era and inaugurated the bloody transition of pastoral nomads displaced by spreading deserts into the first city-states, armies, and civilizations.

Famines spanning hundreds of years profoundly affected the human psyche.

“A passive indifference to the needs or pain of others manifested itself, and hunger, feeding of the self, became their all-consuming passion… The very old and young were abandoned to die. Brothers stole food from sisters, and husbands left wives and babies to fend for themselves. While the maternal-infant bond endured the longest, eventually mothers abandoned their weakened infants and children.”

— James DeMeo, Saharasia

This is what we term ‘survival mentality’.

Six degrees of separation

The long-term impact of famine was a six-way psychological fragmentation that became embedded (normalised) in the human psyche. Once normalised, it passed from generation to generation and spread globally through conquest.

This six-way fragmentation of being is the mother wound. It’s the origin of all personal and planetary dis-ease.

The mother wound

The mother wound has four fundamental impacts:

  1. Incapacity for genuine emotional nurturing.
  2. Externalisation of human value systems.
  3. Deep feelings of being unworthy and unwanted.
  4. No capacity for dreams, aspirations, and actions.

I’ve listed them in this order because that’s the order I uncovered them in. I’ve written more about the lack of genuine nurturing and externalisation of value systems before. Here I’d like to focus on the last two aspects.


The mother wound separates us, at conception, from everything of value to us, including loving nurture by our mother and other carers.

Stuck in survival mentality, they’ve lost the capacity to transmit anything other than the conditional love (“I love you if/as long as…”) that’s the cornerstone of co-dependent, survival-based societies.

(Don’t be fooled by the greasy veneer of affluent, hi-tech, global westernisation. It’s nothing more than survival mentality smothered and numbed through endless consumerism.)

Because we don’t receive anything of genuine emotional value from our carers, we naturally develop feelings of being unworthy and unwanted.

The extent to which this affects us depends on the extent to which it affected our immediate ancestors, and our individual level of emotional sensitivity. In my case, my father was abandoned by his father while my mother was abandoned by her mother.

With their own capacity for genuine nurturing destroyed, how could any sense of being worthy and wanted form in me? Where would they come from? Who could provide the emotional role-modelling? No one.

No dreams

Feeling unwanted perpetuates the cycle of destructiveness from one generation to another.

Not only does the trauma of the mother wound exert a paralysing influence that stops us from achieving our full potential, but it also robs us of the capacity to dream. I mean this in the sense of having aspirations and bucket-list items, making plans and setting goals.

People in deep survival mode don’t dream; they just exist. They tick over for years on end in the same relationships, jobs, and social circles. They loop around in circles of sameness and underachievement, professing to be content.

Dreaming is part of the mechanism we need to transcend survival mentality. To change our current experience, we must first change our future potential. That begins with dreaming, with imagining a new ‘now’ so powerfully that it eventually comes into being.

The unwanted child within us is incapable of such dreaming.

Dealing with feeling unwanted

Feeling unwanted may manifest as a numbness round the heart, as inertia, hopelessness, a deep sense of despair, or of feeling unlovable. There are many other possible symptoms.

In my experience, feeling unwanted is always a core wound. That’s because it stems from the dark heart of the mother wound. I spent years clearing deep issues, feeling that the numbness and sense of being unwanted in my heart of hearts would never shift.

Yet it did. That’s why I’m writing about it.

All trauma is mechanical. When you align your healing process with the mechanics of trauma, the trauma must release. This applies from the most superficial trauma to the deepest core wound—like feeling unwanted.

The process doesn’t change, only the depth at which you’re excavating.

Secondly, don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t have the right methodology. That you need another tool, another technique, another course, workshop, or guru. You don’t.

You need to understand the basic, immutable rule. Traumas are unprocessed (i.e., unfelt) emotions. If you’re genuinely willing to feel what you’re unconsciously rejecting, then the triggers to release the trauma (blog, workshop, guru, incident—whatever) must manifest.

Yet you may have to plough through a bunch of other, lesser traumas to get there.

Once your trauma around feeling unwanted cracks, it’s time to dream.

Challenge yourself to dream. Make a long list of your dreams—dozens of them, enough to push past your conscious mind into your subconscious where your real desires reside.

You can’t create the ‘life of your dreams’ without dreaming. First, you must venture into the dark heart of the mother wound and rescue an unwanted child—you.


The Mother Wound online course
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