THE WENDY DILEMMA: When Women Stop Mothering Their Men by Dan Kiley

THE WENDY DILEMMA: When Women Stop Mothering Their Men

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kiley's bestselling Peter Pan Syndrome (1983)--all about immature men--was of primary appeal to women looking for labels to pin on the lousy guys in their lives. This time Dr. Dan addresses those women directly, telling them to grow up--again with a chatty, padded-out mixture of common sense, derivative psycho-babble, and cheerily simplistic jargon. Who are the Wendys? They're insecure women who feel inferior, who fear rejection, who are obsessed with social approval. . .and who therefore wind up in mothering, eager-to-please relationships with Peter Pans. Kiley provides a quick quiz to determine how much of a Wendy you are; with blurry case histories, he illustrates the ""Wendy responses"" to problematic relationships--denial, overprotection, possessiveness, complaining, judgment (""I'll solve it by telling him what to do""), martyrdom, punishment, and ""hitting bottom."" Then he describes how a Wendy can become an independentminded ""Tinker""--by accepting the ""Wendy within you,"" by confronting central (parental) dependencies via psychodrama, by letting down defenses, by substituting ""adult love traits"" (sharing, realism, give-and-take, etc.) for those Wendy responses. And this new Tinker is then urged on to new/better relationships, to therapy, and to ""moralistic self promotion""--some of which is good old-fashioned ego strength, some of which is gimmicky self-assertion like the truly obnoxious ""Garlock Gambit"" (devised by Mrs. Kiley, neÉ Garlock). As before, most of what Kiley offers is hyped-up rehash of fundamental mental-health/marriage-counseling principles. But, also as before, there's nothing downright wrongheaded or dangerous here, with a few (not enough) warnings about the difficulties of psychological change; so those attracted by the catchy Kiley phraseology (and his TV-talk-show appearances) might find some sound advice amid the verbiage.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Arbor House