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Issue No. 3: Mother Wound
Heal your Mother Wound. All about Prince Harry's penis I mean new book, Spare.
IN THIS ISSUE
✍🏽 Essay: Mother Wound
📖 Your Mom’s Book Club: Prince Harry’s Spare
It’s basically the oldest trope out there. It was the driving force behind 86 straight hours of the Sopranos. And it’s most definitely the reason therapy exists.
The mother wound, like it or not, underpins how most of us will untangle and trip through our adult lives.
Look, as a mother myself, it’s the last thing I want to accept. But it’s just so damn inconvenient that it also happens to be true.
It’s multi-layered, to be sure. But in its simplest form, it’s about the modelling we received in childhood. For example, if your mom was…
CRITICAL - You now take your rightful seat as the supreme and devastating judge of yourself. And perhaps others, too, because… ✨projection✨
CO-DEPENDENT - I’m sorry to say you may take responsibility for things you really don’t need to and may have a hard time setting even the most reasonable boundaries.
MOODY OR EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE - You can probably feel the energy of every room you walk into and spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying that people who may not even know you are alive are angry at you in ways that defy logic (not that I would know).
Okay, but I’m not a fatalist. Even if you didn’t get everything you needed, and most of us didn’t, you’re an adult now. That means you’re in control. It’s the single most liberating truth that also sucks.
So how do we fix it all? Is it hours of talk therapy, doggedly pushing through even after the breakthroughs stop? Is it Haagen Daz? Is it climbing the corporate ladder until no one can fucking touch you? No, baby. It’s time to soothe your inner child.
It’s remembering that painful memory, and the little girl or boy who starred in it. Closing those eyes and quieting that mind, the one full of those thoughts (that are not actually you, btw), and telling the story a different way. Until you start to believe in the version of yourself that deserves the remix.
It’s re-parenting yourself, plain and simple – though very, very hard. You start by honouring the fact that you’re still that same little girl or boy even though you’re now 25, or 34, or 48, or 72.
You start to see how the way you acted like a bitch that one time eight years ago was not only not your fault, but also entirely your fault. The way you let that friend treat you like you were less-than or put up with that guy who kept ghosting you? That was a pattern set in motion generations before you existed, and now it rests only with you to end it.
It also means you’re not doomed to fuck up your kids or have them hate you. Because in re-parenting yourself, you’re going further than that old ‘we’re doing the best we can’ style of parenting. You’re pushing through the painful part, feeling it, and giving grace not only to your inner child but also your actual child(ren).
Take that runway, the one given to you by your beautiful, flawed ancestors (yes, even the currently-alive ones who offended you at Thanksgiving last year), and pull every last clump of gratitude out of the dirt. Build a reality where you can see how that vulnerable, tiny little you was cruelly and unfairly hurt, but also how you grew up and became powerful.
Do all that, and I promise your mother wound will heal. Though it may take a lifetime.
Speaking of unhealed mother wounds… Yes, this week’s essay was inspired by Prince Harry’s Spare. Since you all know how the story goes, and this particular re-telling was long (😅), I’m doing a highlight-style review:
Friends don’t let friends write unhealed-as-hell Tell-Alls
Years ago I had a disagreement with a friend. She believed that Prince Harry could never walk away from his royal duties. Simply not an option. I, on the other hand, not exactly a traditionalist, believed that we all have choices to make during our time on this temporal plane.
When he eventually did leave for the safety and sanity of his family, it’s safe to say, I admired the move (still do). So, as all good book reviewers do, I went into this completely un-objectively and ready to side with the author.
But this wasn’t the book I anticipated. Honestly, I wish he hadn’t written this book – at least not yet.
For most people, it isn’t easy to discern between what was a “personal family experience” and what others go through universally. From such an isolated and privileged vantage point, it seems he absolutely could not.
Harry can’t separate common (albeit, hard) human experiences, like your older brother being mean to you at school, from unusually cruel family dynamics, like your family selling your wife out to the paparazzi so they can shine at your expense.
This is the memoir of a grown man, a husband and father, who cannot accept culpability for anything. A man who does not ask questions about the systems within which he was thrust; for it is, after all, the very one his family has thrust upon the world.
I finished this book with the distinct feeling that, while he is rightfully hurt in many respects, he hasn’t yet learned to take accountability in any capacity.
Ultimately, we have to accept that we are the arbiters of our own human experience. When we cannot come to terms with the fact that we may never be perceived as “objectively correct,” we’ll never find peace.
But still, I do think someone strong enough to buck the family tradition – especially when your family is more business (“The Firm”) than a real family – will get there. I just wish he had waited until then to tell his story.
The mother wound of many nations
I was 10 when Princess Diana died. Hiding under a side table, nestled beside the couch in my grandmother’s house, I watched the live updates when I was supposed to be in bed. I was devastated. I thought a princess couldn’t succumb to mortality.
And that’s a delusion Harry maintained, calling Diana’s death her “disappearance” throughout the book. Really, that’s what it was. A deep absence. One that removed the only semblance of normalcy, and unconditional parental love, from his life.
He wasn’t even hugged by his father when he received news of his mother’s passing. Imagine the grief of losing your mother combined with the utter loneliness of not even receiving physical affection from your surviving parent.
That image of those two boys walking behind their mother’s casket is, well, it’s probably the thing I have the deepest sympathy for. This family used those kids, in their saddest moment, to further an agenda.
Harry lost the mother who defied protocol to love him, and it is the story of his life.
Family hubris on an unimaginable scale
What I loved most about this book was not only how unbelievably out of touch Harry and his family are, but also how fucking normal they don’t realize they are.
In this year of our lord 2023 I can damn near promise you that you are not inventing new family dynamics – even if you’re in line to the British throne. It’s all rather mundane, actually:
He doesn’t really like his step mom and wishes that his dad didn’t marry her. But ultimately he just wants his dad to be happy so he accepts it.
He fights with his big brother and takes a jab at his hairline (which at one point he says was receding at an “alarming” rate). He also complains constantly about how shitty “Willy” is to him but literally went on an Arctic expedition knowing he might miss his own brother’s wedding. Maybe you’re both shitty to each other!
And my favourite. He couldn’t plan his own wedding the way he wanted because his family had to do things the way his grandmother wanted. Yeah, man, get in line. That’s literally weddings.
I cannot help but take a family systems lens to this book. The whole family dynamic, right down to a narcissistic matriarch, is classic (sorry but you cannot convince me that believing you have divine rights to colonize, and using that “fact” to control the joy and pain of your family members over generations is not elevated textbook shit).
Point is, this is a family that believes too much in its own specialness. What they really are is a traumatized family with so much intergenerational pain. So, like, an average family.
War and Paparazzi
One of the more upsetting parts of this book is Harry’s casual attitude toward war and killing. It seems to stem from the fact that he is a straight up black and white thinker who believes there are “Good People” and “Bad People.”
Paparazzi, for example, are all Bad People. He never questions a system that props certain people up, leaving others to run the rat race below, standing to make life-changing profit from obtaining these images. I’m not saying it’s a dignified living, per se, and I believe some of these photographers absolutely do go too far, but his family has also worked with them for decades.
In war, he is a Good People. He admits to having killed 25 literal human beings and feeling absolutely nothing about it. Look, we’re not pro-Taliban over here at One Tough Mother, but there is something grossly detached about overtly stating that your approach is to strip people of their humanity and reduce them to a number, like in a video game, so you can easy breezy lemon squeezy kill them.
By his own admission, his pain and dysfunction made him a perfect candidate for the soldier life. To admit that and not ask any further questions about his pathological need to be in action is really missing the big picture in his own life.
Trigger warning: Prince Harry’s “penis” AKA his “Todger” AKA his “Willy” (not to be confused with his brother Willy okay he doesn’t actually call it that). But seriously the amount he talks about his frostbitten penis is, well, unexpected. Some may say, unnecessary.
If you have strong opinions for or against Meghan Markle, but especially against, I do believe you should be committed. It’s fine to “like” or “not like” a celebrity generally and in passing but beyond that, check yourself. I’d call the parasocial hate this woman has endured bizarre if it weren’t so clearly rooted in racism.
For the casual haters, my personal theory is that she is honestly a bit of an awkward nerd but so beautiful it’s confusing. Still, after reading this book, I am convinced Harry has her on a pedestal. The way he acted like Suits was equivalent to peak 2001 Friends is all the proof you need.
Barely a word about Prince Andrew. Look, I get that he hasn’t gone deep into anyone else’s dirt, which, respect. But this isn’t a ‘who’s having an affair with whom’ type thing. It’s a disgraceful stain on a very public family who has yet to say a damn honest thing about it.
Let’s be clear on one thing: he does very little to redeem himself when it comes to the ol’ wearing a nazi uniform as a gag bit. First of all, and this cannot be understated, they were attending a party with the theme of COLONIZATION. What in the ever loving fuck, and also he could literally just have attended as a member of the royal family? Like, as himself.
Then he blames Will and Kate, which, yeah… I guess they were stupid too, but only one of them actually showed up in a nazi uniform. Then he claims he was ignorant about the Holocaust (how?!?!?!), and that he is dedicated to educating the world about it from now on but also pointedly stops himself from sharing any significant takeaways from his visits with survivors.
Lastly, he could not have made William and Kate sound more stuffy and unappealing. When he told the story about Kate shrieking about Meghan saying she had baby brain (“don’t talk about my HORMONES!”), I mean. I can only pray that Prince William will one day write Heir so we can hear the other side, though I doubt it will win anyone over either.