9780062204349_p0_v4_s260x420Reviewed by Alyssa Katanic

Dr. Susan Forward has worked with many clients in her private counseling practice and dealt with their negative attitudes, habits, and life issues that flow over from unresolved, hurtful experiences within their parental relationships. Many of those clients were specifically the daughters of mothers who were unable to healthfully share love with their daughters.

Mothers Who Can’t Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters is Dr. Forward’s latest book that addresses the hurt that many women faced growing up and continue to face within their adult relationships with their mothers, as well as how difficult mother/daughter relationships touch other areas of the daughters’ lives and relationships.

The book is divided into two parts. The first section, Identifying the Mother Wound, looks at different types of mothers, such as the narcissistic mother, the overly enmeshed, the control freak, and mothers who need mothering themselves or who have neglected, betrayed, or battered their children. Many personal stories from clients are contained in these pages and help the reader to identify similar instances in their own childhood, while realizing that they are not alone in their experiences, as many tend to think. It also addresses what effects from such an upbringing may be seen in the adult life of a daughter, such as people pleasing, anger, fear, and the tendency to be a rescuer in other relationships.

Part two of Mothers Who Can’t Love looks into the healing of the Mother Wound. It contains different activities that adult daughters can work through to face and help to overcome the hurts of their pasts. These activities focus on helping daughters to realize and express their worth, their hurts, and the fact that their mother’s behavior and inability to love was not their fault. Such activities include list making, letter writing, speaking it out loud, and verbally addressing the hurt inner child. Again, Dr. Forward uses actual accounts from her clients to show what these activities may look like and what others have experienced while going through this healing process.

Part two of Mothers Who Can’t Love also addresses the present lives of daughters, the relationships that may be possible with their mothers now, and how they desire to live their lives now instead of how their mothers may desire them to live.

So many of us have such Mother Wounds but have not faced them or do not know what to do about them. Dr. Forward helps daughters to come face to face with their childhood and adult relationships with their mothers and advises that the exercises in this book be done in combination with counseling and/or the active support of a loving and trusted friend or family member, as many parts in the book may be emotionally difficult to work through.

Mothers Who Can’t Love can definitely help daughters in their healing. However, it can also serve as a warning to young mothers to beware of how their words and actions can have a life long effect on the little girls whom they are raising.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Alyssa Katanic is a wife and homeschooling mother of 6 children under 10 years old. She loves reading and collecting great books to share with others and knows that one can never have too many!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.