Most helpful positive review
312 of 315 people found the following review helpful
a very important book for me
on November 10, 2011
I have always carried with me the feeling that I grew up without a mother, even though I had a mother. My mother was physically present (she even stayed at home and did not work most of the years of my childhood) and certainly not a malicious person by any stretch of the imagination. So this was a crazy feeling to carry around with me as an adult. This book confirmed for me that I am in fact not crazy to feel this way, and explained very clearly how and why many daughters enter adulthood with the feeling of being motherless or under-mothered, how this affects them in their adult life, and finally gives very practical advice for how to recover.
This books is clear, well-written, nuanced, and organized. In chapter two, The Many Faces of the Good Mother, it provides a clear, balanced picture of what it looks like when a mother is meeting her child's needs fully (not perfectly!). Other recovery books have helped me to see that abandonment and neglect exist on a spectrum (i.e. just because you weren't left as a baby on someone's doorstep doesn't mean you weren't abandoned on some level as a child). This book helped me to refine my understanding even further and hone in on the specific holes that I experienced in my relationship with my mother--holes that are still affecting how I function as an adult, and how I function as a mother myself. It isn't about blame or resentment, but about having clarity and taking responsibility for your needs so that you can move on. The book is very affirming in telling the reader: if it is still bothering you, then it is still bothering you. It's not over and done with until you feel finished with it. This book is written to help you move on so that you can think about other things.
I found some (not all) of the recovery exercises and suggestions to be a little on the cheesy side, but as I'm by now a seasoned reader of self-help books, I have developed a high tolerance for this kind of thing. I'm sure that different readers will take what is useful for them. As long as the book can benefit me hugely overall I don't mind if it throws out a few suggestions that I'm not crazy about. I definitely rate this book as a very important one in my overall journey in recovery because I firmly believe that there are very important issues specific to the mother-daughter relationship that need to be handled separately. Finally someone did (very gracefully, I might add), and I am really grateful! The world desperately needs its "good enough" mothers, and this book is one good tool for finding your way back to what that means when it was not modeled for you. Really, what could be more important?