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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for people overwhelmed by their parental relationships
This is a must read for parents, parents-to-be and people found themselves stuck in a difficult relationship with your parents. If you always hear your mother's voice in your head, if you attend her needs before yours, if you ignore your own feelings and if you find that whatever you do isn't enough for your mother, this book helps you understand all these issues...
Published on 10 Jun. 2012 by June A

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More for the mothers, than their adult children
This is a very light book which assigns personality labels, rather than clinical labels, to 'difficult mothers' (although the book goes to lengths to repeat there is no such thing as a 'difficult mother', only 'difficult relationships').

The book is skewed towards the fact it takes two people to have a bad relationship, so responsibility is blamed on the child...
Published 17 months ago by Rosey Lea


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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for people overwhelmed by their parental relationships, 10 Jun. 2012
This is a must read for parents, parents-to-be and people found themselves stuck in a difficult relationship with your parents. If you always hear your mother's voice in your head, if you attend her needs before yours, if you ignore your own feelings and if you find that whatever you do isn't enough for your mother, this book helps you understand all these issues.

This book does not describe what good and bad mothers are. It introduces the concept of "difficult mothers" and "good-enough mothers". Instead of demonising bad mothers, it simply gives details of the character traits of difficult mothers together with real-life examples and psychological explanations. A list of questions are given in each chapters to help you identify whether your feelings are caused by a difficult mother. Some typical coping strategies are given and most importantly how you might have been affected by them. If you have/had a difficult mother, it's not all doom and gloom. The positive effects of your coping strategies are the things you've gained.

I'm in my late twenties. My mother has always had very high expectations on me yet she always discounts my achievements. Nothing I did was ever good enough to please her. It has caused so much frustration and despair. It was only just over a year ago when I finally realised that my life had been dominated by her and her voice in my head. For example, when I was house-hunting, the first thought was whether my mum would be pleased if I lived here. Whether I liked the place was only a secondary concern. I am now on the road of recovery and am so pleased to have come across this book. This book is different from other self-help books in a way that it does not blame the mother in order to make you feel good about yourself. It lays down the facts in an objective way. It offers explanations to your confused feelings and helps you understand why you feel or behave the way you do. It does not cheer you up immediately but it enables you to clear many confusions and look at yourself and your relationship with your parents (or children) from a different prospective. You feel that you are empowered to live a better life.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More for the mothers, than their adult children, 5 Feb. 2014
By 
Rosey Lea (london, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a very light book which assigns personality labels, rather than clinical labels, to 'difficult mothers' (although the book goes to lengths to repeat there is no such thing as a 'difficult mother', only 'difficult relationships').

The book is skewed towards the fact it takes two people to have a bad relationship, so responsibility is blamed on the child as much as mother and there's a strong undercurrent of "Think of the poor mother", which is quite upsetting if you've been a child victim to one of these people. The author identifies herself as a 'difficult mother', so I suppose her playing the "it's not my fault" card was inevitable.

As a breakdown, the book gives you:

Introduction - A few pages about how hard it is to be a mother, and a breakdown of the book's chapters

Chapter 1 Difficult Mothers: Common Patterns - Restatement and slight elaboration of what was said in the introduction

Chapter 2 The Science Behind a Mother's Power - Complete restatement of chapter 1

Chapter 3 The Angry Mother - This is by far the fullest picture and explanation of a 'difficult mother', the chapters on other
personality types are much shorter and have much less exploration. I assume this is because the author states she is an 'angry mother', so she has the most interest in this type. I did find her statement of how much she enjoyed the relief of "bundling up all the day's frustrations and venting them at a child" quite sick.

Chapter 4 The Controlling Mother - Very short chapter noting a couple of methods of control and extreme situations.

Chapter 5 The Narcissistic Mother - Pretty much identical to the Controlling Mother chapter

Chapter 6 The Envious Mother - Again, same as chapters 4 and 5. These three chapters really are the same thing just restated for padding.

Chapter 7 The Emotionally Unavailable Mother - The effect a depressed mother has on her very young child,

Chapter 8 Am I a Difficult Mother? - A couple of quiz questions and some more 'it's hard being a mother' stuff. (The irony is that a difficult mother would never be self aware enough to know that's what they are!)

Chapter 9 Resilience: Overcoming a Difficult Mother's Power - Short chapter on the child forgiving and understanding the mother.

Chapters 3 to 9 all contain 'audit questions' for the adult child to consider. I would STRONGLY suggest you don't attempt the questions without professional guidance as they're terribly triggering. E.g. the chapter on Angry Mothers ends by telling you to describe your reactions to your mother's anger and imagine the worst result you can possible imagine, followed by considering whether you are her are likely to die from her explosions. This isn't stuff you can just play with for a few minutes then switch off and do the school run.

Just as a couple of extra observations, the book doesn't include anything about handling difficult mothers, there's no tricks to a better relationship or improving communication. It's also in American English and very short (double line spacing, large font etc). The majority of the references used are teenage girls talking about their parents.

There's fuller, and much more supportive, information available for free online for adult survivors of difficult mothers. This very forgiving overview seems more aimed at the difficult mothers themselves.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult book to put down, 18 July 2012
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This review is from: Difficult Mothers: Understanding and Overcoming Their Power (Hardcover)
I really do recommend this book to anyone who had negative experiences with their mother in childhood. It's easy to read, and to follow the recommended steps, and I found the process both healing and cathartic. It's a well-written and researched book, full of useful knowledge, and something that I know I will continue to dip into in years to come.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Finished It,and I Feel Better Already!, 8 Sept. 2012
By 
C. M. Collier "myopia1" (Liverpool,england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Difficult Mothers: Understanding and Overcoming Their Power (Hardcover)
I simply can't praise this book highly enough.I have just finished reading it,and I feel better already! The best bit is at the end,and it's called,Resilience : Overcoming a Difficult Mother's Power.What I have learned is that my struggle is not actually with my mother,but with myself and the attitudes I have adopted,and that I can rewire my brain;literally changing my mind!
I feel much more peaceful,and the examples quoted in the book show that I am not alone.This book really has changed me,and given me insights into my past that I could not have worked out by myself.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to difficult mothers, 2 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Difficult Mothers: Understanding and Overcoming Their Power (Hardcover)
I've been reading a fair few books on this subject over the past year for various reasons. This one definitely offers a good overview of the subject matter, offering a typology of mothering styles which many people struggle to come to terms with. It has a series of checklists at the end of each section which offer food for thought and is written in an easy and accesible style.

If you are looking for something quite in-depth regarding difficult mothers, it probably isn't the book for you, as it doesn't discuss each type of difficult mother in much detail, nor how the different types manifest themselves other than to offer a few illustrations. But if you have started to question your own experiences and want to find out more then this a really good starting point and will help you to understand you feelings are not unreasonable, and that you are not alone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly outstandingly insightful book, 19 Nov. 2013
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This book is well written and is a quick and easy read but left me open-mouthed. I have used the insights it gave me to improve almost all my relationships. Thoroughly recommended, even if you don't think you have or are a difficult mother.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel bad.., 13 May 2014
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.. to say I identified with this and I bought it out of frustration but it's really clear to read, not only makes me feel better through identification, but also guides me towards some positives for once. Most self help books sort of demonise the source of your issues.. but I liked the way this tried to take the positives from it. Definitely would recommend for the children of frustrating mothers!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empowerment from an unexpected source, 21 April 2014
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I am still taking in the information found in this book but have so far found it so frighteningly accurate that I'm pretty confident it can do nothing but help me move forward. It was as though whole pages were written by the author as though she had met MY mother, not hundreds of mothers!

A completely fascinating and life changing read.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wished I had read this 50 years ago!, 6 Aug. 2012
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The perverse power and long lasting influence that a parent, particularly a mother, can can exert over a child is well known. To those readers, like myself, who have found the written work of Oliver James helpful in coming to terms with the past and sorting out their lives, they will find this book another valuable addition to the library. It is well written and is backed up with sound research. I found particularly helpful the use of examples that were grounded in real life. Thus there are references to the types of comments and beliefs that difficult mothers constantly use which, for me, contained some frighteningly accurate echoes from my own life, and these are then explained so that it becomes possible to understand the motive behind those comments. It is not an easy read in that it can open up issues that may have been hidden in the recesses of the reader's conscience but it is ulitmately a rewarding exercise. To sum up, it is not for the faint hearted and it does warrant re-reading and reflection provided that the reader comes prepared with an open mind. Overall I found it to be one of the most valuable books that I have read in many years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I definitely recommend for people who have a difficult relationship with their ..., 9 Oct. 2014
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Very well written and very helpful. I definitely recommend for people who have a difficult relationship with their mothers - it's worth reading. It opened my eyes to a lot of things and helped me come to terms with my own mother's difficult relationship.
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Difficult Mothers: Understanding and Overcoming Their Power
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