Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters
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With Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters, Susan Forward, Ph.D., author of the smash #1 bestseller Toxic Parents, offers a powerful look at the devastating impact unloving mothers have on their daughters—and provides clear, effective techniques for overcoming that painful legacy.
In more than 35 years as a therapist, Forward has worked with large numbers 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 abuse, these women are plagued by anxiety and depression, relationship problems, lack of confidence and difficulties with trust. They doubt their worth, and even their ability to love.
Forward examines the Narcissistic Mother, the Competitive Mother, the Overly Enmeshed mother, the Control Freak, Mothers who need Mothering, and mothers who abuse or fail to protect their daughters from abuse.
Filled with compelling case histories, Mothers Who Can’t Love outlines the self-help techniques Forward has developed to transform the lives of her clients, showing women how to overcome the pain of childhood and how to act in their own best interests.
Warm and compassionate, Mothers Who Can’t Love offers daughters the emotional support and tools they need to heal themselves and rebuild their confidence and self-respect.
lifetime contract with their mothers that hands over much of their autonomy and big pieces of their adulthood. When the healthy part of you chafes or complains, you may even go as far as believing “I can’t survive without Mom.” If you encounter her disapproval or disappointment, giving in to your mother seems like the only reasonable choice. Enmeshed mothers are masters at using guilt. They often collect injustices, lining up instances that have displeased them and citing them as reasons why
that people will see me as the disturbed person I must be, having been brought up by a cold, disturbed person.” Here, in this section of the letter, we demolish the argument that goes “your childhood troubles with your mother are all in the past” and the advice that urges you to “just get on with your life.” Daughters like Emily are often surprised to see how little trouble they have describing how their programming has affected them and how it fuels the compulsions they’ve felt to repeat
her strong tendency to rescue people. We’d traced that tendency back to the years of training she’d gotten in caretaking while growing up in a role reversal with her depressed mother. (You saw our earlier sessions in the chapter on mothers who need mothering.) Her letter to her mother detailed the way she’d been expected to keep the household running from the time she was tiny, and the way her mother had leaned on her. It also described the price Allison had paid for always holding everything
invaded, diminished, belittled, powerless, or erased? Where do you want to draw the line between what you are willing and not willing to do in response to her requests? What is and isn’t okay for you? You have the right to determine what’s allowable when you’re together. Is it okay with you if your mother starts to restyle your hair? Does she need to call before coming over? Can she call late at night if it’s not an emergency? When she’s at your house, is it all right if she picks up a letter
that she’s a strong, independent woman, not a helpless child, and can survive in the world without her mother. That means putting aside all the tenacious “what-ifs” and “if onlys” and “if I’m just good enough she’ll have to love me” longings, and all the fantasies of what might have been. “It’s time for you to release those damaging fictions once and for all,” I told Karen. “They never served you well.” Telling Her It’s Over The best way to tell your mother about your decision to break off