Her father was loving but detached and, while he knew about his wife's cruelty to Ellen, he did little to stop it. One day, when she was five or six, after serving her lunch, her mother came in and yanked her comfort blanket from her hands. You're telling the story no one else wants to tell. Over the past forty years, attachment theory —which started with the observation of monkey mothers and their offspring, and then expanded to human mothers and infants — has offered a reliable explanation for why some families will engender a mother line of pain. I remember a college friend insisting that my mother couldn't have meant all the things she said to me simply because she had given birth to me.
Growing up, I thought I was alone— the only girl born on the planet whose mother didn't love her. I continued to struggle with it, even with therapy—breaking off all contact for weeks, months, or years, and, then, going back to the well one more time, peeling off whatever scab had managed to form. Dec 04, Diane rated it really liked it This title caught my attention several months ago, and I knew it was one book I really wanted to read, having been raised by a mother who was emotionally detached, and often verbally abusive. As an artist, I'm mainly an observer even now, separated from the world by a camera lens. Our ideal of motherhood steadfastly denies competition or jealousy, despite evidence to the contrary. Mothers in books were nothing like mine and the moms on television — it was the late s and early s — were women who wore aprons and served dinner with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts. The entire presentation is both fascinating and validating. By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I had a countdown of the days before college — it was more than — and that made my life trapped under her roof seem almost temporary and gave me the illusion of imminent freedom. If you find another book that reads like the synopsis here, please let me know the title. Streep is off-base ignoring the fact that these mothers have mental issues. The concept of "bonding" — despite its lack of scientific basis — has become a contemporary cornerstone of "good" mothering, a way of guaranteeing that every single supposed seed of instinctual nurturance in the new mother will burst into flower. One morning in February of , my phone rang. Not even therapy makes it easy to untangle what the culture tells us a daughter should feel for her mother from what she does feel. And because my mother had never listened to me, I became, with my daughter at least, an attuned and attentive listener. It might be a stranger telling her she had a pretty child, inadvertently setting off a tirade as sudden and violent as a summer storm. The parent of a child, as Deborah Tannen has written, has the power not only to create the world the child lives in but the ability to dictate how that world is to be interpreted. I picked up to hear my brother's voice. There was another pause and then the word "No. She never missed an opportunity to make me feel bad about myself, no matter how kind or loving I tried to be. Mixed in with the anger and the hurt is, almost always, a measure of hopefulness that her mother will become the mother she longs for and needs. I knew I was safe from social exposure. There's no room in the mother myth for the mother who resents all the attention her infant or toddler needs, or who chafes at the necessary loss of freedom and self-focus the transition into motherhood usually entails. Even a mother who has bouts of lacking confidence, frustration, insecurity, etc would NOT be 'mean' through an entire child's life. It's always there, like a tear or a hole in fabric. I envied my friends for the mothers they had. I didn't go and I have never regretted it.
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