- Paperback: 287 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (21 October 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006220436X
- ISBN-13: 978-0062204363
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mothers Who Can't Love Paperback – 21 Oct 2014
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"Forward validates the reader's feelings and presents effective coping mechanisms, offering suggestions on setting boundaries, negotiating for a better relationship, [and] being assertive . . . Highly recommended."--Library Journal (starred review)
"A useful challenge to accepted wisdom about the normally taboo subject of mother love, with helpful tips on how to jump-start the healing process."--Kirkus Reviews
"Once again Susan Forward has identified an important issue that has been calling out for her expertise and unique perspective. This landmark book is powerful, accessible and extremely supportive - just what women need! Her case examples are riveting, her techniques are brilliant and her wisdom is poignant."--Beverly Engel, author of Healing Your Emotional Self and The Nice Girl Syndrome
"A riveting, compassionate guide to helping women transcend the wounds inflicted by their rejecting or abusive mothers."--Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D., author of How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, The Freedom Not To
"I know so many women who will feel enormously grateful for Mothers Who Can't Love, and rightly so. This thoughtful and thorough book will validate their feelings and their stories, and even more important will offer invaluable and empowering wisdom."--Mira Kirshenbaum, author of I Love You but I Don't Trust You and Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay
From the Back Cover
Over the course of thirty-five years as a therapist, Susan Forward has worked with a large number of women struggling to escape the emotional damage inflicted by the women who raised them. Subjected to years of criticism, competition, role reversal, smothering control, emotional neglect, and other forms of abuse, women raised by mothers who can't love are plagued by anxiety, depression, relationship problems, lack of confidence, and difficulties with trust. But as Forward explains, it is possible to heal the mother wound and find help and validation.
Filled with compelling case histories, Mothers Who Can't Love looks at the devastating impact unloving mothers have on their daughters and provides effective techniques to help them overcome the pain of their childhoods, reclaim their confidence and self-respect, and break the cycle of emotional destructiveness for future generations.
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The first part of her book addresses the many faces of an unloving mother. Mine was the narcissistic mother. Sometimes she could be downright psychotic and abusive. For me however when you have been hit enough, it's only a sheer irritation that my mother thought she could scare me with a belt. Susan gave me such clarity and validation with this section. I was always so confused as to why my mother could occasionally be loving and why everything went down the drain when I found my soulmate. These kinds of mothers don't mind you as long as you do what she wants you to do, as long as she has control over you, and most of all-- as long as you don't become a woman. I no longer feel threatened when my relatives try to remind me of the good times I had with my mother. In a lot of ways, I was no more than a piece of property to her. I was deprived and pruned so that I could one day be given away like property then people would see how amazing and strict she was. Thus, she would gain other people's fear and respect. That was her ambition all along and it didn't sit well with her that I refused to be treated like a trophy. My world came crashing down when I realized her need for fear and respect from a bunch of faceless people meant more to her than my life and happiness. She had no qualms about trying to break me, thinking I would eventually capitulate. Like many unloving mothers, she wreaked havoc on my conscience. I felt horrible for not obeying her commands. I felt so guilty whenever she reminded me of all she did for me. Like many daughters of unloving mothers, you break in another way be it physical illness or in my case: depression.
This book also made me aware of how every experience with an unloving mother will mold the way you go through life. I've been on the receiving end of my mother saying: "I wish you were never born" and "You should have died a long time ago"-- all in the same breath. However, her destruction did not start when I fell from grace. The tendency to feel responsible for other people's happiness, feeling guilty if you don't comply with other people's wishes, and chasing approval all steams from how your mother raised you. It was such a shock for me to read that love does not have to be earned. I still remember my bridesmaids' speech during my wedding. They called me loving. They said they loved me. I was speechless and felt that I didn't deserve it. Sure I love my husband but I never expected much of it back. How bizarre it was for me when he was always there for me and took care of me without a second thought. How bizarre it was for me when a friend pointed out that my husband loves me more than how other husbands love their wives.
All of these scars and self-punishment were from the way my mother programmed me from birth. No, I will never have a loving mother but that is okay. The notion of the Loving Mother is bade farewell in Susan's book. I learned to say that it's okay. Moreover, I can be a loving mother to myself. And just because I never received the nurture I needed, it doesn't mean that I can't be a loving mother when I have children.
Most importantly, my rights are spelled out. I no longer need to feel guilty. It was my right to live my life the way I wanted. It is MY choice whether I want to have my mother in my life. If I am ever urged or criticized again to have my mother in my life, that person will be on the receiving end of some very good non-defensive communication.
Dr. Forward’s book cuts through the nonsense that is the notion of the perfect mother and shines a light on the painful cycle of guilt and acquiescence experienced by unloved daughters, a cycle with which I have become sadly familiar.
Ladies, Dr. Forward is on your side. We men need more strong voices like Dr. Forward out there advocating for daughters.
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