“Susan Forward has saved millions of lives with her profound wisdom that children raised by abusive parents need not “forgive and forget” to heal and move on to happy, healthy lives. . . . A powerful guide to self healing.”
“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.”
“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.”
In this powerful guide, Forward (Toxic Parents) offers a lifeline for those who have suffered through a dysfunctional relationship with a parent. After defining and describing the five most common types of abusive mothers (overly enmeshed; severely narcissistic; control freak; mothers who need mothering; and those who are physically and/or emotionally abusive) Forward gets to work showing adult daughters how to address the negative beliefs that grew from an unhealthy upbringing. With empathy, she assures those who suffer that the abuse is unequivocally not their fault and offers a series of exercises designed to reveal the truth of the situation, acknowledge the pain, learn to set boundaries, and break self-defeating patterns. In a particularly sensitive area, Forward addresses the issue of incest and mothers who have been complicit in such abuse, urging incest victims to seek professional therapy. While this title is labeled as a guide for women whose mothers are unable to love, its sound advice is applicable to persons of any gender. And while readers may be overwhelmed with painful memories at some junctures—an eventuality Forward expects and addresses—this book should be considered required reading for anyone who had an abusive childhood. (Oct.)
Therapist and author Forward (Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them) provides validation and support for women who have experienced criticism, competition, damaged trust, role reversal, and other wounding behaviors from their mothers. The book thoroughly describes the various personality types of unloving mothers: narcissists, overly enmeshed mothers, control freaks, those who need mothering themselves, and those who fail to protect their daughters from abuse. Forward validates the reader's feelings and presents effective coping mechanisms, offering suggestions on setting boundaries, negotiating for a better relationship, being assertive, and cutting off a parent entirely, if necessary. VERDICT Highly recommended for women looking to address problems with their mothers.
Therapist Forward (Toxic In-Laws: Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage, 2001, etc.) explains how recognizing the reality of an abusive mother-daughter relationship is a necessary first step in dealing with psychological problems. The author dismisses the assertion that "giving birth makes [women] inherently capable of nurturing." Using anecdotal material, she illustrates different types of toxic mothering: a narcissistic, self-absorbed mother who insists on being the center of attention, deflates her daughter's accomplishments and is super-critical; or an "engulfing mother" who is "desperate, clinging and restrictive." Too often, a daughter cannot face the possibility that her mother does not love her and instead internalizes her mother's message that it is her shortcomings that are poisoning the relationship. "The smiles and good opinion of her all-powerful mother mean everything to the dependent daughter," she writes. Taking examples from her 35-year clinical practice, Forward shows different techniques for handling these toxic relationships when they persist into adulthood. Among these are confidence-building techniques to help daughters develop insight based on journaling--e.g., compiling one list that contains her mother's false assertions and comparing it to a counter list stating the truth, burning the first list and attaching the second to a balloon. The final step in the healing process is for the daughter to confront her mother directly with nonnegotiable demands about how their relationship must change and be prepared to sever it if these are not met. A crucial part of the process is confronting grief and anger as it arises. Professional help may or may not be necessary, depending on the circumstances. 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.