Yes,Virginia, There Are Bad Mothers

The taboos about dissing our mothers, and the myths of motherhood which portray all mothers as loving, serve to isolate unloved daughters. Peg Streep, author of Daughter Detox: Recovering from an Unloving Mother and Reclaiming Your Life

Moving forward after experiencing a childhood with no love and a blatant message of  “I wish you hadn’t been born” is particularly difficult. In addition to the experience of having an unloving mother, the challenge of communicating with others about their experience causes ongoing pain and, at times, rejection from friends and family. Mothers tend to be defended and put on a pedestal, especially by motherless daughters. 

I recently interviewed an unloved daughter. After many years, it was still a difficult story for her to tell and rarely, if ever, told to anyone. It was a relief for this lovely woman to have a non-judgmental listener and an opportunity to tell the unvarnished truth. All mothers have bad days but some are truly bad mothers who leave life-long scars.

Affirmation: I am open to the stories of others.

Coaching questions: How can you remain open to the challenging stories of others? What understanding do you need today? Where will you find it? 

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Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Acknowledging Unloved Daughters

The taboos about “dissing” our mothers, and the myths of motherhood which portray all mothers as loving, serve to isolate unloved daughters. Peg Streep, author of Daughter Detox: Recovering from an Unloving Mother and Reclaiming Your Life

Let’s face it…not all mothers are loving, nurturing, Hallmark card women. It’s difficult to be realistic about mothers, especially dead mothers, who weren’t exempleary. According to Streep, an unloved daughter who was frequently ignored, unheard, or criticized, grows up with an internalized maternal voice which continues to undermine her accomplishments and talents unless there is intervention.

Frequently daughters who grow up with this lack of confidence feel that they are “fooling people” and fear they will be “found out” even when they are successful.

Affirmation: I am truthful about my mother.

Coaching questions: If you grew up with a an external, and now internal, voice that was negative, what steps will you take to become a more confident woman? What difference will this make in your life? If you were an unloved daughter, write your mother a letter telling her how you feel.