Mother Work with Michael Gurian

posted by Eivind on July 8, 2010, at 11:13 pm

Michael Gurian

My friend Thomas Gramstad, participant at both Masculinity Movies LIVE events, just sent me a great interview from with a guy called Michael Gurian. I’ve never heard of him before, but it turns out that he is also in the mythopoetic movement and closely related to Robert Bly (maybe my favourite author).

The interview is illuminating. In it, Michael talks about how most men – society overall in fact – considers a man’s work to be about dealing with his conflicting relationship to Father. When a man has done his father work, he is done, we may think. He is then ready to tackle life as a fully integrated and mature man.

Michael points out in the interview that when he started addressing Mother’s part in the forming of the son’s traumas, people would object, because the mother surely was the stable and compassionate one, the rock of the family.

As I was reading this article, I felt it struck some chords deep inside. I have been working on my relationship with my father consciously for many years now (which you can read more about in an imminent blog post), but only recently have I discovered that I have some serious work to do around my mother. I understand now that I have given undue credit for my struggles in life to my father. As I write these words, I feel some sadness for this. Imagine, I have blamed one person for most of my problems in life, and all he did was try as best his could, in his own limited ways, to care for and love me. There is grief for me here.

It’s easy to blame Father – the wounds are so obvious. But I have become attuned to a much more subtle current of trauma in me, one which is connected to my relationship to Mother. I have felt anger arise in this process and it’s become incredibly important to maintain my boundaries in relation to women. Most men today, Robert Bly tells us, have not broken with their mother – with Mother energy – so we are still shackled to the image of our mother as a flawless creature that we must defend from the evil Father. And she often contributes to our hallucination.

I feel great sorrow when I realize the enormous hurt that is being propagated in our society due to our ignorance surrounding how to raise boys. We fail to understand the need for a dramatic shift between mother and sun as he reaches his teenage years, of a dramatic separation. By not heeding this nature’s call, our culture magnifies the Oedipal impulse, Michael Gurian tells us in the interview, which leads to all sort of problems, domestic violence being one of them. (yep, domestic violence stems from men not separating from Mother energy) We must be mindful, as Michael is, to not start blaming women for our problems, but it is a huge step on the path to maturity for a man to own his mother wounds and take back the power that he put under his mother’s pillow when he was young.

I’m in the middle of that process myself – and it’s accelerating right now – so I will return to this topic again later on.

In the meantime, Michael Gurian is an expert on this unlike yours truly, so heed my advice and check out the article here: Mother Work with Michael Gurian.

Thanks, Thomas, for sharing this gem.