My Mother, My Mirror by Laura Arens Fuerstein.

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My Mother, My Mirror by Laura Arens Fuerstein

AUTHOR:  Laura Arens Fuerstein, Ph.D
TITLE:  My Mother, My Mirror
PUBLISHER:  New Harbinger Publications
ISBN:  9781572245693
CATEGORY: Relationships

In My Mother, My Mirror, an experienced psychotherapist, Laura Arens Fuerstein explores how mothers unwittingly pass on their self-esteem and body image issues to their daughters and shows readers how they can break the cycle.

This book encourages the reader to understand and forgive her mother and build both a stronger sense of self and a stronger relationship with her mother.

  • Can you sometimes hear your mother's voice telling you how to act, think, or feel, such as, "It isn't ladylike to sit that way?"
  • When people contradict your statements about your physical flaws or shortcomings in abilities or talents, do you assume they agree with your assessment but are just being polite?
  • Do you worry you will pass along limiting thoughts to your own daughter?

Alice had her looking glass, the Evil Queen spoke to the magic mirror on the wall and J.K. Rowling explored the Mirror of Erised in her Harry Potter novels. What did they have in common? All of these mirrors represented distortions of mothers and the offspring who gazed upon them.

But the carnival mirror can be smashed and replaced with a glass that reflects a truer self. Laura Arens Fuerstein helps readers to identify the distortions, confront their source, safely feel the emotions they stir, and move beyond them to better understand the mother who generated the image, helping the daughter to let it go and avoid passing it on.

Examples include such famous mother/daughter pairs as:

  • Little Girl Mother and Mini Momma Daughter (Judy Garland)
  • Jealous Queen Mother and Snow White Daughter (Jacqueline Onassis)
  • Stage Mother and Show Girl Daughter (Natalie Wood)
  • Out-at-Sea Mother and Adrift Daughter (Princess Diana)
  • Spirit-Dampening Mother and Spirit-Dampened Daughter (Eleanor Roosevelt)

These carnival mirror images are often implicated in eating disorders, body image and sexual problems, substance abuse, depression, and parenting, career and marital issues, especially when the daughter marries a male version of her mother.

The five thought links help help readers move past unhealthy inherited self-perception.

  1. Separating mother and daughter self-images.
  2. Uncovering hidden anger at the childhood mother, often based on viewing her inaccurately as either ideal or pathetic.
  3. Uncovering hidden love for the childhood mother, which might be unexpressed due to fear of rejection
  4. Uncovering hidden sadness related to the childhood mother from either physical absence, such as death, or from withheld nurturing due to the mother's distraction or preoccupation.
  5. Blending the earlier thought links to home in on a truer self-image.

At the end of each chapter, My Mother, My Mirror provides thought-provoking questions for reflection, writing touch tools to record feelings the chapter evokes, and reading touch tools that link the chapter with insightful literature. This perceptive book from a leading expert in women’s issues is making a fundamental difference for generations of women.