Sep 01

“Mother Hunger” And Similar Resources

McDaniel is the first clinician to identify Mother Hunger, which demystifies the search for love and provides the compass that each woman needs to end the struggle with achy, lonely emptiness, and come home to herself. Publisher, Mother Hunger

Books about aspects of mother hunger, using terms other than this, have been the subject of previous posts and include The Emotionally Absent Mother, Updated and Expanded Second Edition: How to Recognize and Heal the Invisible Effects of Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jasmin Lee Cori and both Mean Mothers and Daughter Detox by Peg Streep.

Following are several other books of interest on related issues, including the new Mother Hunger.

I. Mother Hunger: How Adult Daughters Can Understand and Heal from Lost Nurturance, Protection, and Guidance by Kelly McDaniel (2021)

From the blurb:

With Mother Hunger, McDaniel helps women break the cycle of destructive behavior by taking a fresh look at childhood trauma and its lasting impact. In doing so, she destigmatizes the shame that comes with being under-mothered and misdiagnosed. McDaniel offers a healing path with powerful tools that include therapeutic interventions and lifestyle changes in service to healthy relationships.

II. Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters: A Guide For Separation, Liberation & Inspiration by Karen C.L. Anderson (2018) 

According to the publisher, you’ll learn the following:

  • Why mother daughter relationships can be toxic
  • How to heal and transform your mother “wounds”
  • The art of creating and maintaining impeccable boundaries

III. Difficult Mothers: Understanding and Overcoming Their Power by Terri Apter (2012)

Part of the publisher’s summary:

She showcases the five different types of difficult mother―the angry mother, the controlling mother, the narcissistic mother, the envious mother, and the emotionally neglectful mother―and explains the patterns of behavior seen in each type. Apter also explores the dilemma at the heart of a difficult relationship: why a mother has such a powerful impact on us and why we continue to care about her responses long after we have outgrown our dependence. She then shows how we can conduct an ’emotional audit’ on ourselves to overcome the power of the complex feelings a difficult mother inflicts. In the end this book celebrates the great resilience of sons and daughters of difficult mothers as well as acknowledging their special challenges.

Selected quotes from Apter’s Difficult Mothers:

Accepting a mother’s [or anyone’s] anger by concluding that it is justified is a way of making sense of a difficult relationship. But this acceptance comes at a great cost, for it means that we see their cruelty as our shame.

Some children [and adults] conclude that a parent’s [or partner’s] anger is justified. It can be more painful to believe that a parent is uncontrolled, unreasonable, and spiteful than to see yourself at fault. It can be more painful to look on confusion and chaos that to make sense of a parents behavior by concluding that you deserve her punishment.

…(I)f you find that time after time, a partner or close friend disappoints you by being just like a difficult parent, then you would do well to consider whether you are selecting someone who helps you reproduce that difficult relationship.

Jun 25

“Emotionally Absent Mother”: Jasmin Lee Cori

Under-mothered. Mother wound. Attachment issues. Emotionally absent. Childhood emotional neglect. Checked out. These are just some of the terms that can be associated with the kind of mothering that therapist Jasmin Lee Cori describes in her updated book, The Emotionally Absent Mother, Updated and Expanded Second Edition: How to Recognize and Heal the Invisible Effects of Childhood Emotional Neglect (2017).

As the publisher asks, “Was your mother preoccupied, distant, or even demeaning? Have you struggled with relationships—or with your own self-worth? Often, the grown children of emotionally absent mothers can’t quite put a finger on what’s missing from their lives. The children of abusive mothers, by contrast, may recognize the abuse—but overlook its lasting, harmful effects.”

Cori has many insights regarding emotional neglect by moms. A few pertinent quotes:

The hardest abandonment to face is when the other is right there.

It is not that people intend to be emotionally absent. They just are, for a great variety of reasons.

A child will cling to an abusive parent rather than be abandoned. What a young child can least tolerate is being left alone or feeling invisible.

In Cori’s updated edition of The Emotionally Absent Mother is a new chapter called “What’s Wrong with Mother?” From her site: “It answers questions like Why is Mother so distant? Why does she give to everyone but me? Is she ‘crazy’ or just immature? Why is she always so angry?”

Some of the long-term effects of a mother’s emotional neglect, according to Cori, are listed below.

1. Holes in your sense of value and self-esteem.

2. Feeling undernourished and emotionally starved.

3. Feeling as if you don’t have enough support. 

4. Difficulty accepting and advocating for your needs.

5. Feeling Disempowered.

6. Loneliness and feelings of not belonging. 

7. Not knowing how to process feelings. 

8. A pervasive sense of scarcity. 

9. Depression.

10. Addictive behaviors. 

How as an adult do you grasp what this means and heal from it? Cori’s intro to what you can expect regarding the process is provided below.

Healing is different for everyone but may involve:

  • identifying and grieving what you missed
  • coming into a caring relationship with the child inside of you and learning to mother yourself
  • meeting some of your earlier unmet needs with partners
  • in-depth work with a psychotherapist
  • opening to the archetype of the Good Mother, possibly taking a spiritual form
  • proactively going after the support, mirroring, guidance and other mothering functions that were not sufficiently provided