Abuse Trauma & Unmothered Children

From a page on my website- 2012.

I have copied this page here to the blog.

Those days I was operating from a mainly Counselling lense, with some Energy healing.

Toaday 10 years on I have completed IFS training and this is now the main model I offer to work with past events that were not resolved, or come down the generations.

I am also working via an energy healing lense and these can be combined if you so wish.

So I bring it here as a piece that is nostalgic, but also because it contains good information from my 20 plus years working as a Counsellor, which informs and underpins my current practice.

 I have a special interest in working with people who have experienced trauma, abuse and/or neglect as unmothered children. (unparented) As you are reading this now and have connected with the words/term, you may recognise  this as a part of yourself?  Perhaps its time to begin to explore that? I am happy to discuss this with you and explore it further.

Complex Trauma & Difficult Early Attachment
Are different words for the above. Trauma comes under many guises and often goes alongside growing up with a difficult or disrupted early attachment to the parent/caregiver, meaning there were significant times in childhood when you were not seen, heard or acknowledged ( whilst this is true, I find its subtle and not so subtle) and you had difficult later life experiences too. I like the term unmothered children to describe this early disruption. Together they result in complex trauma that comes from a variety of sources.

Which might result in you experiencing some of the following symptoms-

  • Depression
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Anger/Rage
  • Addictions
  • Domestic Violence
  • Childhood Abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • PTSD
  • mood swings
  • Obsessions
  • Difficulties in Relationships- work or home
  • Self Harm
  • Dissociation
  • Bullying
  • Trust Issues
Abuse, trauma, unmothered children.

Unmothered children is an emotive phrase. I first heard it via Dr. Clarisa Pinkola-Estes in her famous audio book called Warming the Stone Child.


On Warming the Stone Child, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés leads us past the gates of the conscious mind (where real time healing happens) to discover the unmothered child within. Along the way, this gifted storyteller and Jungian psychoanalyst instructs us about the psychology of abandonment in childhood, how it affects us in later life, and its curiously special gifts and powers. Drawing from many world cultures, Dr. Estés has gathered a collection of deep myths, fables, and fairy tales with the adult listener in mind. Her storytelling creates a compelling picture of the orphan figure through the ages, while helping us understand the meaning of preadolescent abandonment in our own lives. Spiced with wonderful storytelling, Warming The Stone Child is a unique listening experience with a practical edge. Highlights: Inuit fable of the Stone Child; symptoms of the adult “abandoned child”; the story of the Little Red Cap; English tale of the Stolen Woman Moon; the four types of abandonment; re-creating the inner mother, and much more.

Complex Trauma, from different sources

As different people we each have a unique experience of growing up. Unmothered children is a term I understand as growing up in a family where we did not have all of our needs met. There were significant times where we were not seen, heard or acknowledged and we had to adapt our true self to fit in. This unmothering is also known as developmental trauma or disrupted early  attachment. It often goes alongside childhood sexual abuse though not always. All of my training and practices give me the understanding, experience and tools to enable me to access the gates of the conscious mind and travel within. Beginning to unravel and make sense of past experiences and current symptoms.

Reasons why this happens

There are many reasons why this happens including growing up with domestic violence, parents using substances, alcohol, drugs, being part of large family, step family or lone parent family or living with a parent who has longstanding mental health issues such as depression/ anxiety. For whatever reason our parents- mothers, fathers/ primary care giver, were not able to be present enough of the time and engage enough, to enable the baby, child, young person to be truly seen, heard or acknowledged.

Epigenetics/Generational Trauma

Epigenetics – Trauma is also passed down through the generations in the genes, this is known as epigenetics. Passed from generation to generation, unconsciously. These traumas may appear as attachment patterns, ways of beings, different types of abuse, ptsd,complex trauma from a variety of sources.

Generational trauma and epigenetics are also thought to be linked to some the dakest moments in history, such as war, genocide, famines, slavery. This is beleived to result in an epigenetic imprint passed through the generations.

Generational Trauma in IFS this is known as a Legacy burden, and there are specific ways to work with this type of Trauma and help to heal it.

There are also Legacy heirlooms passed down through the generations- positive qualities and personal attribues.

Seeking Help

People generally find ways of managing their symptoms, some of these are harmfull and some are not. In IFS these are know as Managers and are either proactive or reactive ( Firefighters) People also generally, seek help when their current symptoms or way of life is unmanageable or unsustainable.

In choosing to come to therapy you now have the opportunity to begin to clear and heal these patterns of old, helping at the same time to heal and clear the generation trauma that it is.

Counselling & Psychotherapy and/or creative self expresion are safe ways for you to begin to unravel your story and history.

Working with the body and the somatic symptoms in a safe and gentle manner.

Published by Maggie

Working together collectively, for the common good. We are all in this together. There is no Planet B. As we heal ourselves, we heal each other.