Paperback, 292 pp.
Translations include French, Turkish, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.
Audiobook (second edition): 7 CDs, 9 hours, $39.99
Audiobook (first edition): 6 CDs, 6.5 hours,
A Guide for Under-mothered Adults
If your mother was too tired, too busy, or too checked out to provide all the nurturing you needed for a strong foundation, this book is for you. It will help you identify what was missing, how this relates to your mother’s own history and make-up, and what you can do now to fill the holes that were left by the mother who wasn’t fully there.
Healing is different for everyone but may involve:
- identifying and grieving what you missed
- coming into a caring relationship with the child inside of you and learning to mother yourself
- meeting some of your earlier unmet needs with partners
- in-depth work with a psychotherapist
- opening to the archetype of the Good Mother, possibly taking a spiritual form
- proactively going after the support, mirroring, guidance and other mothering functions that were not sufficiently provided
Although not a workbook, there are questions and exercises throughout to help you reflect on your own experience.
The second edition expands the scope of the book to cross the blurry line dividing emotional neglect and abuse. A new chapter explores how emotional abuse differs from unintentional emotional neglect yet intersects with more purposeful withholding. It looks at the long-term effects of both emotional neglect and emotional abuse.
Readers will also appreciate the new chapter, “What’s wrong with Mother?” which combines information about the most common mental health disorders suffered by emotionally absent mothers with everyday descriptions. It answers questions like Why is Mother so distant? Why does she give to everyone but me? Is she “crazy” or just immature? Why is she always so angry?
Other additions are related to dissociation and parts work, inner dynamics of unlatching from Mother, and expanded discussion of options for relating to Mother now, along with the thorny question of forgiveness. The second edition adds approximately 65 pages of text; both editions will likely be available for some time.
Author Interview (2010)
Author Interview 2 (2017) (expanded edition)