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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am a woman engaged to a man with an extremely dramatic, controlling mother. I found this book extremely helpful in pointing out manipulative, controlling tactics she uses with her son which makes him feel completely guilty when he has done nothing wrong. I found myself in a similar situation with her, which is why I purchased this book, which I shared with him. He read parts of it before confronting his mom in order to help give him the strength to stand up for himself.
Mama Drama does a good job stressing the positive aspects of a controlling mother while outlining ways for you to gain control. I found that it does speak to both women and men, and I find it unfortunate that so many books target the mother/daughter relationship; my fiance is living proof that these relationships also exist between mother and son.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
but this one is the best so far, even topping Deborah Tannen's helpful one ("You're Wearing That?"). What I especially found so helpful about this book is that it isn't laden with anecdotes. Instead Denise McGregor has insightful explanations for mothers' motivations, daughters' responses, and how to understand and heal these areas. She also has a deeply spiritual ( not religious) undertone that I found very calming and peaceful. Denise is an excellent writer and knows how to explain even the most complicated issues in such a way that I felt I could understand my relationship with my mom in a whole new way. For so many years I felt alone, and that I was the only one feeling so much guilt when it came to my mom, and Denise's book is so enlightening. I realize that not only am I not a freak but that it is a really common issue with most mothers and daughters, and Denise offers beautiful, excellent advice on how to deal positively and release guilt.

I can not stress how great this book is. Like I said, I have read many many many, and now I feel like this is it. I do not have to read any more mother daughter books ever again. This one book has set me on the road to healing and improving my relationship with my mom. I hope it can help you too.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm writing a review even though I haven't completely finished reading the book in case my review helps someone else. This book is very helpful. The author doesn't mention a lot of pscyhological terms but rather tries to help you understand why you mother is doing what she is doing and provides you with tips on how to balance the relationship so you are not constantly stressed and discouraged. She encourages you not to "divorce" your mom like some would say but tells you to think about what you want out of the relationship and then work to that goal, often by finding some common ground that you can stand on to related to your mother.

I'm sort of in the midst of some major issues with my mother (again) and the one thing I am struggling with are feeling of guilt and isolation and the "why me" mindset as it relates to my mother. Wondering why I can't have a good relationship with my mother like I see other women have with their mothers. I feel further isolated since I don't have a sister or an aunt and my grandmother has passed so there's not even another woman in my family that I can share my feelings with to help me feel better. This book provides lots of examples that help you realize you are not alone and that it is possible to not be super close to your mother and still be a good person.

There is one thing I struggled with that the author says. She says that your mother isn't out to hurt you and she even pointed to examples of child abuse and extreme cases where mothers have killed their children and she still says that those mothers weren't out to hurt their children and that their actions were about their issues and so forth (please read the book for the exact wording on this topic). Anyway I disagreed with that because I think sometimes mothers can wish to hurt their children, consiously and unconsciously I think sometimes mothers are jealous, resentful, unhappy with their own lives and just mean and that they do want to hurt their children. Do I think they may regret it after the fallout of their actions? Yes. Do I think they also have times or moments where they love their children? Yes. But I just felt like when the author said they don't want to hurt you it was almost excusing the behavior and saying that your mother really loves you no matter what and that any bad thing is really not to hurt you and I just don't think I believe that...but that is my opinion.

Let me say again that the book is wonderful and offers great insight in dealing with a problem that can make you feel very sad and lonely. It's worth it if you are having an issue...perhaps you can find some peace in the pages of this book.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I've read this book and found my mom written in the pages. The author also gave excellent advice on how to deal with our "mama drama" without breaking our relationship with her. However, I feel I need to say something about one of her points, namely her claim that "mama drama" is supported by the American culture, but not the Asian culture. As someone who has grown up with the Asian culture in the American society, I know this is not true. Personally, I have often found the American culture to be more respectful of a child's or a subordinate's dignity than the Chinese culture. Respecting the elders is a wonderful value, but it can also mean the elder can abuse the child and the child can't protest or fight back, because doing so is considered disrespectful.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
The book is written in a familiar conversational style that may be good for some readers, and has advice some readers may find useful. Basically, it seems, if your relationship with your mother is frustrating, aggravating, all that stuff in the title, but basically good, this book is for you.

If your mother has ever significantly harmed you, do not get this book. (Unless you want to get it to light it on fire with friends, or something.)

I can't really put this in strong enough terms - if your mother has a personality disorder of any kind, if she's molested you or allowed other people to do so, if she has any kind of pronounced pattern of abuse or manipulation, you might be far better off with Victoria Secunda's "When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends," which is far more compassionate, reasonable, empathetic, and informed.

What McGregor has to tell you about your mother is basically what someone might have told you in the 1880s if you were beaten by your spouse. That you deserved t, basically, and that the person who beat you had your best interests at heart, and only did it because you made them, and so on.

McGregor would perhaps have been wiser to limit the reach of her book to people whose relationships with their mothers had been difficult, but not included psychological disturbance or violence. She doesn't, and in a few short paragraphs dispatches the concerns of these people she seems to know very little about. Her advice for people who have been the victims of abuse: "Your mother only wants the best for you!" She quotes a woman convicted of killing her children who wrote Erma Bombeck a fan letter. In the letter the woman says that Bombeck's book was so good, if only she'd read it earlier she might not have killed her kids. McGregor presents this as evidence that, I guess, mothers are basically innocent of any crimes against their children, even when they killed them.

For people who have been in dangerous situations with their mothers, well, it's not just that it's bad counseling, it's also bad to know that someone espousing this stuff can be called a professional, given endorsements, praised, etc.

Use the book for what you can if you have to, but there are a lot of better things out there.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
I found this book very disappointing. It kept repeating that we should let things go, that we should reestablish a good relationship with our mother, with no guidance whatsoever. It either oversimplified things, or just said things like: after 20 years of work she had the relationship she wanted with her mother...
To begin with I don't want the process to take 20 years, and second, what do you do? Women who buy books like this are looking for specifics, not anecdotes.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
What an incredible source of inspiration!! I had the great pleasure to attend one of Ms. McGregor's seminars and found her not only to be a warm and caring person but a tremendous source of strength and knowledge that has helped me mend my relationship with my mother. Mama Drama is a must have in any household!! For you men out there, if you care about the women in your lives, make the emotional investment and get a copy for your mothers, sisters, daughters and wives! An absolute winner!! Thank you Denise for changing my life!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was a little unsure about this book after reading the first 40 pages or so, and then I was shocked and so thankful for all the amazing and wonderful insight this book has to offer. It really helped me see my mother (and father) in a different, much more positive light. I looked through at least 50 books until I finally came upon this one. It is a fantastic book for anyone who has dealt with guilt, control, critical behavior, neediness from their parent. I loved this book and I am so glad I found it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have had a strained relationship with my mother since I was a teenager. I'm now almost 28 years old and have a 13 month old son. She and I recently had an all out war with each other. I bought a ton of books on Amazon about learning how to have a better relationship with your mother. I haven't read them all yet, but this one has really helped a LOT so far. I read this book after the huge fight with my mom. After a few weeks and everything cooled down my mom and I started talking again and I've been using some of the tips from the book (my mother obviously doesn't know!) and it's working great so far. I don't feel the tension I used to feel every time we were around each other. It's much more relaxed. One of the biggest things I learned was that I have to change MY behavior and how I react to my mother. I cannot change her and her ways, but I CAN change how I react, thus not giving her any 'ammunition' so to speak. If you are even considering buying this book I would. It really has helped me a lot and I feel much less stress.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book was so helpful that I passed it on to a friend. I have actually used advice suggested by the author and my life with my mom has improved significantly. It truly helped in that my mother has to break the apron strings and I have to take the responsiblity to grow up. If nothing else, this book puts boundaries in perspective. I am normally reserved about self-help books, but as a practicing mental health professional, this one will become one of my more recommended to clients.
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