Difficult Mothers : Understanding and Overcoming Their Power, Hardback

Difficult Mothers : Understanding and Overcoming Their Power Hardback

2 out of 5 (1 rating)


Mother love is often seen as sacred, but for many children the relationship is a painful struggle.

Using the newest research on human attachment and brain development, Terri Apter, an internationally acclaimed psychologist and writer, unlocks the mysteries of this complicated bond.

She showcases the five different types of difficult mother-the angry mother, the controlling mother, the narcissistic mother, the envious mother, and the emotionally neglectful mother-and explains the patterns of behavior seen in each type.

Apter also explores the dilemma at the heart of a difficult relationship: why a mother has such a powerful impact on us and why we continue to care about her responses long after we have outgrown our dependence.

She then shows how we can conduct an "emotional audit" on ourselves to overcome the power of the complex feelings a difficult mother inflicts.

In the end this book celebrates the great resilience of sons and daughters of difficult mothers as well as acknowledging their special challenges.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Family psychology
  • ISBN: 9780393081022



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I kind of skimmed this book in order to get it off the shelf before my mother visited, so maybe I missed this part, but I don't understand why the focus is restricted to the maternal relationship. Why doesn't Apter address the role of non-mother primary caregivers in a child's life?<br/><br/>The descriptions of the different types of difficult relationships people have with their mothers seem overly narrow and rigid (although perhaps I only think this because my own relationship challenges aren't described here). <br/><br/>Although Apter cautions readers not to assume that our disappointment in our mother's responses is necessarily her fault, it seems to absolve grown children of the responsibility to interact with their mothers as though their mothers are adults.<br/><br/>This seems like a fine book, but it didn't do it for me. Eventually I'll learn that self-help books are always going to leave me wanting.

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