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Awaken From It. Break Free of It. Heal From It.

by Katherine Fabrizio

Pub Date: March 8th, 2023
ISBN: 9798986614809
Publisher: Makers Mark Press

Psychotherapist Fabrizio offers a self-help book about mother-daughter relationships.

The author writes that her tumultuous relationship with her mother inspired her to write this book, which aims to help others “break free, guilt free” from dysfunctional dynamics. She defines a “Good Daughter” as a deferential woman with poor boundaries and little confidence and a “Difficult Mother” as a controlling, critical figure who’s impossible to please and may have a personality disorder or addiction issues. Difficult Mothers, she says, may have experienced shame and trauma that perpetuate a cycle of pain in their parenting, also known as “intergenerational wounding.” Motherhood itself can be a trigger for buried trauma, she writes, leaving a child torn between attaching to their mother or simply trying to survive her. In adulthood, Fabrizio asserts, Good Daughters often suffer from depression, anxiety, body-image issues, sexual difficulties, and/or relationship problems. The author discusses Difficult Mothers’ common defense mechanisms as well as their “Good Daughter Traps,” which involve weaponizing inferiority, guilt, self-doubt, and mixed messages. Fabrizio uses illustrative case studies to illuminate psychological concepts, including implicit and explicit memories, false core beliefs, unconscious agreements, and symptoms of mental illness. Ultimately, the author encourages readers to shift from trying to control their mothers to claiming their own power instead. The lessons contained in this book might have been imparted in fewer pages, but Fabrizio does effectively break down complicated family dynamics by sorting them into easy-to-understand categories. She also provides actionable suggestions, such as healing rituals, mind-body visualizations, and other exercises. Scripts for countering unsolicited advice, insults, and disagreements may give daughters more agency, while boundary-setting guidelines may help curb future violations. The author emphasizes that understanding one’s mother is not synonymous with excusing her, but she also does an admirable job of balancing empathic psychoanalysis with personal empowerment: “Whatever solution works for you, whether you even want a relationship with Mom, arming yourself with insight will help,” she asserts.

An accessible and holistic approach to healing parental wounds.