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Are You a Motherless Daughter?

By Carna Zacharias-Miller

A Motherless Daughter is a woman who does not have a mother, right? Yes and no. If your mother died, especially when you were a child or a young adult, you certainly know what that means. However, even if you have been raised by your mother, you can be "motherless if she was absent in an emotional sense.

If you are not sure, read the following: Is this you?

"You feel lost, out of place, and unsafe in this world

"There is an underlying sadness in your life, even if nothing is wrong

"You tend to feel lonely and depressed, especially at other people's "Happy Family" gatherings

"You hate your body or are unsure about "being a woman"

"You have abandonment or anger issues that hurt your relationships

"You experience social stress - you either try to stay invisible, or you have a compulsion to be in the limelight

"Any major crisis in your life, like a divorce, job loss, or bereavement, throws you right back into the painful past

"There is a lot of fear, anxiety, or even guilt and shame in your life

"You feel homesick without knowing where "home" is

"You are trying too hard to be happy and "perfect"

"You take rejection very personally

"You believe that everybody else gets their act together - except for you

If you recognize yourself in this description, you could suffer from what I call "Missing Mother Syndrome". And yes, even though you had a mother, physically, she still can be missing, if she was (mentally) ill, aloof, cold, non-caring, or even cruel. In fact, most of my clients did have mothers, but they FEEL like orphans, because their mothers abandoned them emotionally when they were children.

Growing up without the secure presence of a loving, supportive mother implies much more than lacking a same-sex role model. It is devastating. Since the mother is the first, the basic caretaker, losing her -in a physical or emotional way- starts a nightmare of deprivation for a child. In a way, it never ends. Many negative conditions and feelings experienced later in life, may have their roots in this extremely traumatic experience.

Hope Edelman, the author of "Motherless Daughters - A Legacy of Loss wrote to me: "Motherloss is a soul injury. This is not just a psychological condition, but a spiritual wound that women carry with them."

Is there an upside to being a Motherless Daughter? Yes! Motherless women tend to be non-traditional, original thinkers, purpose-driven, compassionate, sensitive, intuitive and creative. Just some famous women who grew up without mothers: The Sisters Bronte, George Eliot, Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Virginia Woolf, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Maya Angelou, Carol Burnett, Jane Fonda, Liza Minelli, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, and Oprah Winfrey. This list does not include women who were emotionally abandoned, since this condition is not as obvious to the world.

So, what do you do, if you suffer from "Missing Mother Syndrome"?

First: Recognize that the core issue of your emotional problems may lie in the fact that you are, in one way or the other, a motherless child. This insight can be painful, because it brings up this feeling of being unloved that you have tried to forget so hard.

Second: Try to find healing in bonding with other women. That does not mean walking around and asking everybody: Are you my mother? It means learning to trust other women, see their strength and vulnerability and find comfort in being one woman in a "band of sisters".

Third: Get help if you are suffering. There are so many therapies out there, mainstream and "alternative". Choose what feels right for you. My personal approach as a Meridian Therapy Practitioner is EFT. "Emotional Freedom Techniques is a method to release negative feelings naturally. It is an emotional form of acupressure. With your fingertips, you tap certain energy points on your body while you are "tuned in" to your problem. It can help you feel better fast (three to seven sessions), and it can be done over the phone.

Whatever you do, remember: You are never really abandoned, lost, or unloved. You always have been loved and appreciated by Spirit. And so it is.

About The Author
Carna Zacharias-Miller, EFT-CC, EFT-ADV, is an EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) practitioner in Tallahassee, FL. She offers live and telephone sessions for stress/fears/weight loss/trauma/self-esteem. Her specialty is helping "Motherless Daughters to release the painful past and heal their hearts. Phone: (850) 878-5690. E-Mail: Website:

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