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  • SuePattonThoele

Completing the Mother Circle



My in-a-nutshell definition of completing the mother circle is accepting the mothering you received, no matter its quality, and then becoming your own good mother. My years in private psychotherapy practice affirmed my belief that a troubled relationship with her mother can become a woman’s most profound trigger. Because of the intense feelings involved, reaching acceptance for such a relationship often takes a tremendous amount of strength and patience. If your childhood wounds are deep and longstanding, please be kind to yourself and seek professional help. A compassionate and skillful therapist, counselor, or clergy person can help you weather the intense emotional storms that often accompany working through mother issues. From a neutral point of view, a therapist can provide valuable insight and perspective as well as practical tools to help you move toward acceptance.

Steps toward acceptance often include speaking your truth in safe ways and places, understanding Mom better by putting yourself in her shoes, and practicing forgiveness. Although we can’t change the past, with healing, intention, and understanding, we can become better mothers to our kids and supportive and loving mothers to ourselves.

If your mother was/is a dear friend and supporter, your main challenge may be accepting the idea of her death. I was blessed to have a strong, loving mother. Even so, I didn’t come full circle in our relationship until she was terminally ill and allowed me to really see her. Mother was a great support to me, but I hadn’t known she needed my support also. Impending death gave her permission to be vulnerable and authentic with me, and I came to really know her. With that intimate two-way connection, we completed our circle by forgiving the hard parts and openly expressing our love and gratitude to each other for the rest. Of course, that sweet completion makes me miss her even more deeply.


During your day...

  • With deep compassion, note any unfinished business between you and your mother.

  • In the theater of your mind, view a scene between you and your mom. With the magic of imagination, put yourself in her shoes. What is she feeling? What is she afraid of? What are her intentions? Give her a little blessing and let her image fade.

  • Allow your attention to return to you in the scene and gently give yourself what you want, need, and deserve.


Forgiving unskillful mothering and creating an internal good mother facilitate

the ability to claim your own feminine strength, wisdom, and power.

Excerpted from The Woman's Book of Strength by Sue Patton Thoele. Available on Mango and Amazon.


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