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Difficult Mothers: Understanding and Overcoming Their Power Hardcover – May 7, 2012
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The most intelligent and lucid account I’ve read of human psychology. — Carol Gilligan
Apter . . . risks the wrath of anyone who romanticizes ‘mother love’ as instinctual and universal by describing, candidly and cogently, the framework in which children experience their most significant attachment. — Huffington Post
This sound, intelligent book is a good starting point for a self-examination. — Publishers Weekly
Apter’s advice will help readers make sense of difficult mother-child relationships and develop strategies for reshaping responses and expectations. . . . Anyone with a problematic maternal relationship will find empathy and therapeutic approaches for healing. — Library Journal
About the Author
Terri Apter is a writer, psychologist, and retired Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge. Her nine books include The Sister Knot and What Do You Want from Me? She lives in Cambridge, England.
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I am not a psychologist by trade but try to keep abreast of the academic literature regarding developmental trauma. For those healing from a difficult relationship with their primary caregivers, I highly recommend this book alongside Bessel van der Kolk's The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma and Allen's Coping with Trauma: Hope Through Understanding. Together, these three books will pave the way for healing, and they are especially appropriate for individuals who may not have access to professional help.
What I couldn't have predicted was how this book would shed new light on events, which had deeply hurt me during my formative years. Suddenly, I found possible explanations for my mother incoherent behaviour. Also I was able to see my own reactions to her and my interaction with other people in that same new light.
I desperately needed this book on my teens and twenties, when I couldn't make sense of my mother actions. From what I know now, I couldn't have done anything to placate her, however I could have saved much of the energy I spent trying to appease her. And I could have found my own peace much earlier.
In summary, I can only praise this book and I would recommend it to anyone struggling to find their own voice or peace, under the disturbances of a difficulty mother.
And then, the office closes. "Just read the brochures..."
That's what the chapters felt like. "Yes! I'm connecting with someone who deeply gets this life-long charade... And 'all' we need is an arrow pointing to 'say this'... 'Do that'... for we have lived with "this" for a life time and are very (!!!!!!!) weary. We don't want to hurt her; we want to take care of ourselves and draw a boundary with good tape.
Holding a difficult parent in our soul can become complete frustration. Not only are we tired of the lifelong battle, we may want to end it well (if possible) or concisely say our thoughts... and since "over" is there, we want a simple examples of what needs to be done. Something to say... Something to write... It's not there.
It's not there.
Excuse me, while I appreciate the linguistic and research skills used to truly show why we hurt, I had hoped just as much (if not more) to read the "overcoming" part. It's not there, and since THAT IS WHAT I NEEDED!!! I can only give 2 stars.