The first book specifically for daughters suffering from the emotional abuse of selfish, self-involved mothers, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? provides the expert assistance you need in order to overcome this debilitating history and reclaim your life for yourself. Drawing on over two decades of experience as a therapist specializing in women's psychology and health, psychotherapist Dr. Karyl McBride helpsyou recognize the widespread effects of this maternal emotional abuse and guides you as you create an individualized program for self-protection, resolution, and complete recovery.
An estimated 1.5 million American women have narcissistic personality disorder, which makes them so insecure and overbearing, insensitive and domineering that they can psychologically damage their daughters for life. Daughters of narcissistic mothers learn that maternal love is not unconditional, and that it is given only when they behave in accordance with their mothers' often unreasonable expectations and whims. As adults, these daughters consequently have difficulty overcoming their insecurities and feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, sadness, and emotional emptiness. They may also have a terrible fear of abandonment that leads them to form unhealthy love relationships, as well as a tendency to perfectionism and unrelenting self-criticism, or to self-sabotage and frustration.
Herself the recovering daughter of a narcissistic mother, Dr. McBride includes her personal struggle, which adds a profound level of authority to her work, along with the perspectives of the hundreds of suffering daughters she's interviewed over the years. Their stories of how maternal abuse has manifested in their lives -- as well as how they have successfully overcome its effects -- show you that you're not alone and that you can take back your life and have the control you want.
Dr. McBride's step-by-step program will enable you to:
(1) Recognize your own experience with maternal narcissism and its effects on all aspects of your life
(2) Discover how you have internalized verbal and nonverbal messages from your mother and how these have translated into a strong desire to overachieve or a tendency to self-sabotage
(3) Construct a step-by-step program to reclaim your life and enhance your sense of self, a process that includes creating a psychological separation from your mother and breaking the legacy of abuse. You will also learn how not to repeat your mother's mistakes with your own daughter.
Warm and sympathetic, filled with the examples of women who have established healthy boundaries with their hurtful mothers, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? encourages and inspires you as it aids your recovery.
After 26 years of practice, therapist McBride discovered a distressing commonality with her female patients: a narcissistic mother. I had treated scores of women who shared many of the same symptoms.... oversensitivity, indecisiveness, self-consciousness, lack of self-trust, inability to succeed in relationships, lack of confidence... and a general sense of insecurity, McBride writes, and she ties these traits to growing up without a nurturing maternal figure. According to the author, as many as 1.5 million American women have narcissistic personality disorder and can be detected by their self-absorption, inability to empathize and fixation with looks and appearance. McBride presents specific steps toward recovery that daughters of any age can use as they grieve for the love and support they didn't receive, set healthy boundaries with their mothers and access an internal mother as a source of self-comforting. The author provides parenting tips as well as advice on maintaining healthy love relationships and friendships--all of which tend to be weak points of the daughters of narcissistic mothers. An excellent bibliography rounds out this revealing book, which ends on a hopeful and pragmatic note. (Sept.)
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September 22, 2008
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Excerpt from Will I Ever Be Good Enough? by Karyl McBride
INTRODUCTIONOur relationship with Mother is birthed simultaneously with our entry into the world. We take our first breath of life, and display the initial dependent, human longing for protection and love in her presence. We are as one in the womb and on the birthing table. This woman, our mother...all that she is and is not...has given us life. Our connection with her in this instant and from this point forward carries with it tremendous psychological weight for our lifelong well-being. Oddly, I have never wanted to believe this.First, being a feminist-era mom myself, I didn't want mothers and women to bear so much responsibility or ultimate blame if things go wrong. Certainly many factors other than mothering shape a child's life. Second, I didn't want to face how feeling like an unmothered child had such a devastating effect on me and my life. To acknowledge this meant I had to face it.While doing research over the years, I have read many books that discuss the mother-daughter bond. Each time I read a different volume, unexpected tears would stream down my cheeks. For I could not recall attachment, closeness, memories of the scent of Mother's perfume, the feel of her skin, the sound of her voice singing in the kitchen, the solace of her rocking, holding and comforting, the intellectual stimulation and joy of being read to.I knew this was not natural, but could not find a book that explained this lack. It made me feel somewhat crazy. Was I delusional, or just a chick with a poor memory? I could not find a book that explained that this phenomenon of feeling unmothered could be a real deal and that there could be mothers who are not maternal. Nor could I find a book that discussed the conflicted feelings that their daughters have about these mothers, the frustrated love, and even sometimes the hatred. Because good girls aren't supposed to hate their mothers, they don't talk about these bad feelings. Motherhood is a sacred institution in most cultures and therefore is generally not discussed in a negative light. When I decided to write a book on mothers who don't mother their daughters, and the pain this causes girls and adult daughters, I felt as if I were breaking a taboo.Reading books about the mother-daughter bond always gave me the sensation of a deep loss and the fear that I was alone in this suffering. Experts wrote of the complexity of the mother-daughter connection, how it is rife with conflict and ambivalence, but I felt something different -- a void, a lack of empathy and interest, and a lack of feeling loved. For many years, I did not understand and tried to rationalize it. Other members of the family and well-intentioned therapists explained it away with various excuses. Like a good girl, I tried to make excuses and take all the blame. It was not until I began to understand that the emotional void was a characteristic result of maternal narcissism that the pieces began to fit together. The more I learned about maternal narcissism, the more my experience, my sadness, and my lack of memory made sense. This understanding was the key to my beginning to recover my own sense of identity, apart from my mother. I became more centered, taking up what I now call substantial space, no longer invisible (even to myself) and not having to make myself up as I go along. Without understanding, we flail around, we make mistakes, feel deep unworthiness, and sabotage ourselves and our lives.Writing this book has been a culmination of years of research and a soul journey that took me back to when I was a little girl who knew something was wrong, feeling that the absence of nurturing was not normal, but not knowing why. I am writing this book now in the hopes that I can help other women understand that those feelings were and are not their fault.This does not mean that I want you to blame your mother. This is not a journey of projected anger, resentment, or rage, but one of understanding. We want t