Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Adele egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Get Ready for the Winter Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer bf15 bf15 bf15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $15 Off All-New Fire Kindle Black Friday Deals Outdoor Deals on DOTD
Mean Mothers and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $24.99
  • Save: $10.50 (42%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Mean Mothers: Overcoming ... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. Has usual library labels and stamps.Good readable copy with minor wear to cover. Pages clean and unmarked. Eligible for Free 2-day Prime or free Super saver shipping. All orders ship fast from the Amazon warehouse with tracking number. Amazon's hassle free return policy means your satisfaction is guaranteed!
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt Hardcover – October 13, 2009

81 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$10.76 $7.24

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
$14.49 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt
  • +
  • Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters
  • +
  • The Emotionally Absent Mother: A Guide to Self-Healing and Getting the Love You Missed
Total price: $35.89
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

An exploration of the darker side of maternal behavior drawn from scientific research, psychology, and the real-life experiences of adult daughters, Mean Mothers sheds light on one of the last cultural taboos: what happens when a woman doesn't or can't love her daughter.

Mean Mothers reveals the multigenerational thread that often runs through these stories—many unloving mothers are the daughters of unloving or hypercritical women—and explores what happens to a daughter's sense of self and to her relationships when her mother is emotionally absent or even cruel. But Mean Mothers is also a narrative of hope, recounting how daughters can get past the legacy of hurt to become whole within and to become loving mothers to the next generation of daughters. The personal stories of unloved daughters and sons and those of the author herself, are both unflinching and moving, and bring this most difficult of subjects to life.

Mean Mothers isn't just a book for daughters who've had difficult or impossible relationships with their mothers. By exposing the myths of motherhood that prevent us from talking about the women for whom mothering a daughter is fraught with ambivalence, tension, or even jealousy, Mean Mothers also casts a different light on the extraordinary influence mothers have over their female children as well as the psychological complexity and emotional depth of the mother-daughter relationship.

About the Author

Peg Streep is both the daughter of a mean mother and the devoted mother of an adult daughter. She is the author or coauthor of eleven books, including Quitting--Why We Fear It and Why We Shouldn't-- in Life, love, and work, Girl in the Mirror: Mothers and Daughters in the Years of Adolescence and the bestselling Necessary Journeys: Letting Ourselves Learn from Life, both with Dr. Nancy L. Snyderman. Streep holds degrees in English from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. She is a blogger for and lives in New York City.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Ed 1st Printing edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061651362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061651366
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peg Streep has been a writer for close to twenty years. While she's written books on topics as various as spirituality, gardening, and mother-daughter relationships, her goal is always to open up the reader's understanding. She believes firmly that books should provide us with information and inspiration, and always strive to enrich life in some respect. In recent years, her books have drawn on the latest psychological research, much of it unknown to the general public, and have sought to provide solutions to the ordinary problems and difficulties many of us encounter on the journey that's life.

Peg is a blogger at and you can read her posts at

Visit her on Facebook:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

167 of 171 people found the following review helpful By R. Mack on December 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have a mean mother and cut off relations five years ago. Others who have mean mothers, or those who know my mom well, are 100% supportive. As evidenced by at least one of the negative reviews of this book, some view those of us who have cut off relations as immature. IMHO unless you yourself have/had a mean mother, you are in no position to judge. Cutting off my mom was one of the healthiest things I have ever done.

What I loved about this book was that it validated my decision and a better understanding of how my mother has affected my life. The first part of the book, in which examples of mean mothers were described, was excellent - well organized, with a lot of very cogent insights. The second half of the book I felt rambled a bit, being rather more descriptive of various stories, and did not drive to any specific conclusions. Therefore, where the book fell a bit short for me was in delivering on the subtitle: "Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt" which is why I rated the book 4 stars and not 5 stars. I don't feel that this part of the story was told as well as the first part, perhaps because we never really do overcome the legacy of hurt - we just move past it. As such, I don't feel the subtitle was warranted.
151 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By crazyjojo on May 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book acknowledges a very painful truth. I have been puzzling over this for over twenty years. Why did my mother insist on insulting me? I don't mean that she was "mean" in the sense that she made me eat nutritious food, or did not allow me to do what I wanted, but that she insisted on demeaning me in front of other people. This book was helpful in exploring how we believe that "all mothers are nuturing". It also pinpointed a truth. When women critize their mothers, the daughters are the ones on trial. My father actually saw my mother insulting me and still did not understand why I was so distant from her. It also discusses the issue of competitiveness with daughters. My mother was horribly competitive with me and it was revolting.

This book helps me understand myself better. Why I shrink from relationships with other women, why I do not like attention focused on me, why I don't trust employers, why I am lonely.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
81 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Streep tackles a topic that many people have trouble accepting: the notion that some mothers just are not loving, caring people. Some are emotionally distant. Some are just plain mean.

What does a daughter do when she realizes her mother doesn't like her? It seems to be the psychological equivalent of getting a dog you don't want and leaving the dog in the yard. Some women move past the experience while others seem to be stuck.

I suspect the phenomenon is more common than many people realize. When I was in college, several of my friends had mean mothers. It was hard to watch their interaction.

Streep handles this sensitive topic well. She describes her own experience just enough to show that she's been there, without forcing the reader to get caught up in the author's life. She tells stories of women who have been through this experience. Some were able to "divorce" their mothers but others took care of their moms as they aged.

What's missing is more about how women grow past this experience of having lived with a mom who didn't want them. She talks about the experience of becoming a mother, but I wonder how many women with "mean moms" opted not to have children. Since the topic is such a taboo, I wonder if psychotherapists tend to be judgmental as well.

Overall, though, the book is well written. The author deserves credit for handling this topic. I think many readers wll relate to her examples.
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on December 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is written not by a psychologist who studies mother-daughter relationships, but by a woman who herself was a daughter of an unloving mother. She knows the subject firsthand. It was very helpful to realize that there are plenty of women who experienced a life with an unloving mother.
The author talks about many aspects of dealing with such a mother (she does not have to be abusive in any way to be classified as unloving. Providing food, clothing and a roof over child's head does not instantly make one a good mother). She also discusses the effects growing up with a mother who is incapable of loving her daughter has on a woman. All that is set in the context of other family relationships (father, siblings) and dynamics.

The book does concentrate on mother-daughter relationship simply because the author writes about her own experience as a daughter (and a mother herself) and other women's experiences she can relate to. As a woman myself I can relate to that also. The chapter about the myth of mother's love we have in our culture was very informative.
It is a very insightful book that put some things in perspective and allowed for a deeper understanding of the subject. Not everything applies to everyone, each mother-daughter relationship is unique, but the author's observations and detailed examples were very useful.

It is not an attack on motherhood and she does not say that if a mother disciplines her child she is a bad mother. A loving mother does discipline her children, an unloving mother, on the other hand, constantly criticizes, embarrasses, makes her daughter feel bad about herself, and treats her daughters as an extension of herself.
The book ended on a positive note that a woman can be free from the unhealthy relationship with her own mother and does not have to repeat her mother's mistakes.

I would recommend this book to any woman whose relationship with her mother is and always has been difficult and painful.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt
This item: Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt
Price: $14.49
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: self-help books, pregnancy ball