Sedna’s Daughters: Healing from Family Estrangement

Families in patriarchal cultures often mete out similar types of domination and oppression on their daughters that women experience in the larger world. For many daughters (and sons/trans/genderqueer folks), this includes scapegoating and rejection. Sedna’s Daughters provides a safe space for discussion on earth-based, spiritual approaches to healing from the confusing experience of family estrangement and recognizes all people's inherent belonging to Mother Earth, the human family, and the cosmos.

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Post-Mother's Day Reflections

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For daughters recovering from Family Aggression, Mother’s Day can be emotionally taxing. This means that managing the day itself can be a tall order that does not allow for much deep reflection or soul-searching about the broken bonds between us and our mothers. Just getting through the day can be enough. But today is another day and thus an opportunity to untangle and unravel the elaborate weaving of the relationship we had with our mother.

Over the past many years, I have learned plenty from listening to daughters who had difficult relationships with their mothers, and I have also learned abundantly from my own experiences. One of the most healing insights that has served me well in my own grieving process is the reality that none of us have to have a WHOLLY good relationship with our mothers in order to still have some good memories: of eras, days, even just moments worthy of remembrance with her. For some daughters, remembering their mothers in any way at all can bring up significant pain because of the unrelenting abuse and neglect by her. I am very aware of this truth. For other daughters, they may have some bright memories of bonding in early childhood, or during an important event in their lives, perhaps. These memories can be a place to cultivate healing.

If we daughters who were/are targets of Family Aggression could up-end the basket of our relationships with our mothers onto a great wooden table and look at them like a fishing net brought up from the depths of the sea, we each would have our own starkly different experiences. Yet, surely there will be the obvious cataclysmic grief before each one of us. There would be the feeling of "what could have been" but never was. Our unrelenting efforts to mend the breach would be there as well, and all the failing it engendered in us. The presence of broken bonds, the golden cords of loving attachments rent, our empty hands reaching out and never clasped--all looking at us starkly in the brilliant light of day. 

Know that we can do this witnessing together, as a community, and the contents of each daughters' basket of mother-loss can be lovingly acknowledged, just as it is.

Despite my mother's explicitly clear message that I was unwanted from my birth until the day she drove away and never spoke to me again, we still had many good memories together as "friends" throughout our 4-decade-long relationship. Despite the lack of bonding and attachment, I learned important lessons from her about life, being a woman, and being a feminist. She gave me books as a child, taught me manners, and modeled a strong work ethic. We laughed ourselves silly over the years, and she was, at times, generous and loving toward me. In many ways, I am like her and proud of what I learned from her. Tragically, what there was of goodness was punctuated by scathing words and acts of hatred throughout my life, blatant neglect and mockery of my needs as a child, and her refusal in my adulthood to seek counseling to heal our relationship (she was a psychotherapist)--a confusing blend of extremes whose entanglement nearly choked me to death. I consider her final act of abandonment and encouragement of the entire family to shun me an act of salvation that handed me back my life: a strange blessing, indeed. I have heard many other shunned daughters share a similar sentiment.

Dear Readers, I have spread before you some of the contents of my mother-loss basket, and thank you for witnessing my process, hoping it may encourage healing work for you as well.

As I say good-bye to Mother's Day, and say good-bye once again to my mother, I will pick through what is spread on my table that was beautiful from her, honor it, cherish it, and see myself in its goodness. I will thank her for bringing me into this world, and handing me the strength to survive being her daughter. I will pray that she finds the freedom she deserves, that we all deserve.

Until next time, I am holding you all in my heart. Love, always, Sedna XO

 

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I have a Ph.D., am a victim's advocate, college-level educator, and was shunned by my maternal biological kin and their family friends over a decade ago. I have built an international community of daughters (and sons) committed to supporting one another and thriving despite the aggression of our relatives. “Sedna” is the EuroAmerican name of a revered Inuit Creatrix who was violently rejected by her parents and cast into the sea to die, but instead survived to create otters, seals, and whales.  Sedna is also the name of a star just appearing in the farthest reaches of our solar system and discovered by astronomers on November 14, 2003. Nick Anthony Fiorenza writes that "Sedna's message here is that humanity must recognize the truth about the suppression, persecution, abduction and exploitation of the feminine force in the world; and this mentality perpetuating such must be addressed and changed." Healing women is my life's work. See my Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/SednasD/

Comments

  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ Monday, 14 May 2018

    Thanks for opening a space for women.

  • Sedna
    Sedna Tuesday, 15 May 2018

    Thank you for the acknowledgement, Carol!

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