So you can read my books

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Most of my visiting friends are women ...

   And I don't think there is a mother-daughter relationship that isn't complicated and difficult in certain respects.

 Whenever there is someone who acts in an abusive way,

the only way of dealing with that person is to have a clear plan so that you can remain protected.

 When a child is being abused, the law of Honoring Your Mother and Father is suspended.  

Or perhaps think of it as honoring the parent

by realizing that the person is dangerous to themselves and others and acting accordingly.

 We don’t get to choose our mothers. 

We only have to find the wisdom to emerge from the experience of mothering with some small degree of inner peace and strength.

 Mothers are the first and most constant expression of what a woman is.

If your mother is emotionally damaged, you will have a hard time finding your own path in living as a whole woman.

Your mother's relationships with men --

husband, boyfriend, brother, father and friends--

are the first and most compelling examples of how you believe a woman interacts, or should interact with a man.

If your mother was/is emotionally damaged,

you will have to exercise great care that you choose wisely in your own relationships.

 Perhaps the greatest common ground is the discovery that each of you is not alone,

that you are not the only girls or women on the planet to have had mothers who can’t or won’t love them.

It was their fault not yours.

 In infancy and childhood, a daughter catches the first glimpse of herself in the mirror that is her mother’s face.

The daughter of an unloving mother —

one who is emotionally distant, withholding, or inconsistent, or even hypercritical or cruel—

learns different lessons about the world and herself. 

The experience  teaches a child that the world of relationships is unreliable.

It is called  avoidant attachment

and sets up a terrible conflict between the child’s needs both for her mother’s love and for protection against her mother’s emotional or physical abuse.

 The key thing here is

that the daughter’s need for her mother’s love is primal and a driving force, and that need isn’t diminished by its unavailability.

 Early childhood attachments are highly predictive of adult romantic relationships, as well as friendships.

 It won’t surprise you that the most common wounds are those to the self and the area of emotional connection.

 Consciousness is the first step in an unloved daughter’s healing.  

1. Lack of confidence

 The voice in the daughter's head is that of her mother’s, telling her what she isn’t (smart, beautiful, kind, loving, worthy).  

Her accomplishments and talents will continue to be undermined by that internalized maternal voice, unless there is some kind of intervention.

2. Lack of trust

 The ambivalently attached daughter needs constant validation that trust is warranted. 

This triggers a pulling away of the Other in her life, teaching the daughter that all relationships are not to be trusted.

 3. Difficulty setting boundaries

 Many daughters, caught between their need for their mother’s attention and its absence, report that they become “pleasers” in adult relationships

 or are unable to set other boundaries which make for healthy and emotionally sustaining relationships. 

 4.  Difficulty seeing the self accurately

 As a child it was only natural to internalize all you were told growing up, and these distortions in how we see ourselves may extend into every domain, including our looks.

5.  Making avoidance the default position

 Lacking confidence or feeling fearful sometimes puts the unloved daughter in a defensive crouch

 so that she’s avoiding being hurt by a bad connection rather than being motivated by the possibility of finding a stable and loving one.  

   6.  Being overly sensitive

 An unloved daughter may be sensitive to slights, real and imagined; a random comment may carry the weight of her childhood experience without her even being aware of it. 

  7.  Replicating the Mother bond in relationships

 Alas, we tend to be drawn to what we know —those situations which, while they make us unhappy in the end, are nonetheless “comfortable” because they are familiar to us

With this list in mind, the day a daughter takes stock of her wounds is the first day of her healing,

 and her journey towards new self-awareness and possibility.

 What often works is non-defensive behaviors, setting limits and boundaries. 

As far as the emotional work is concerned, try to get to the point where you don't get sucked into a lot of the sparks or overreact to the stabs and the jabs. 

A good book to read:
 Mothers Who Can’t Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters


  1. My mother was my safe haven, Roland, and I've posted two image boxes on my blogs - in Mother's Day memory. I know I was very lucky, I had a great mom, so it helped to balance off the other parent.

    My best friend had a mother who made her feel useless, dumb, and ugly. Then I showed up, and restored her battered feelings.

  2. D.G.:
    As you probably already surmised from my posts on her, Mother was also my safe haven and champion.

    Sadly, too many daughters are like your best friend: targets of their mother's dysfunction. :-(

  3. Thank you.
    I was in my thirties before I realised that I was not stupid. And it and some of the other labels still stick.
    BUT she gave me life, and she gave me books. And I am grateful for both.

  4. Elephants' Child:
    It was your mother who was stupid to inflict torment on the child who loved her.

    She was a thief who stole a treasure from herself -- you.

    You are wise. :-)

  5. These are wise words, my friend. Brought back memories of the complicated times with my mother....very complicated. But she had her "thorns in the side" as she was also always loyal to her family...even as she nagged her husband, and berated me. She has passed on...lived 97 years. Tough old lady...she left me that legacy. I do know that "over there" her weaknesses are becoming strengths. It is a thorny path we tread on earth, a path that begins with our mothers. We wouldn't be here without them. Very thought-provoking post, my friend. I occasionally drop by to see a dear blogger friend, and am glad I stopped by here, spurred on by your wishing me a happy birthday. Thank you!

  6. Ann:
    I was happy to wish you a wonderful birthday!

    We all have hurts within but we should not take them out on our children. Yet, our mothers and fathers are but human.

    The path each of us must walk is shrouded in mystery and darkness. I am sorry your mother planted her thorns into your heart. You are wise to forgive her and understand her.

    If you could listen to my Audible audiobook of my latest book of Sam McCord, I would send it to you for a birthday present.

    If you have a kindle fire or a smart phone you could listen to it. Do you have either? Let me know. Again, Happy Early Birthday!

  7. Dear Friend. I noticed when I posted this that you respond on your blog to comments. So I came over to see what I knew would be a lovely and wise response. Yes, we are indeed ALL human. Sometimes it may take one a lifetime, but forgiveness is the only way to inner peace.

    Sadly for me, I don't have either a kindle fire or a smart phone. But it is so kind and lovely of you to offer this gift.

    Actually, at my age a smart phone is too smart for me :)As is most of the new and even some of the old social media. I can't even remember how to set up a WordPress blog. It is definitely time for me to retire. I was just reminiscing with Jen that if I hadn't submitted my memoir when I did to my publisher, it would never have been published, mostly because I wouldn't have the energy to do it now.

    Anyway, thanks again so much for the birthday wish...for tomorrow. I've heard from a few other long-distance friends today also, and hope my youngest daughter and son call me tomorrow as they did yesterday for Mother's Day. I know if YOU were my son, you would have called me. What a wonderful Mother you had, as you expressed it so eloquently. I can't think of a greater "talent" to have than to be someone's "safe haven."