#BookBuzz Ghost Mothers: Healing From the Pain of a Mother Who Wasn't Really There by Kathryn Rudlin
A book with a powerful message.
Kathryn Rudlin's Ghost Mothers: Healing from the Pain of a Mother Who Wasn't Really There is a candid two-fold portrait: one, of a childhood devoid of the genuine unconditional love of a mother and, two, of the resolve of one woman to take control of her life.
The monsters came to get young Kathryn, but she woke up in time to dodge their grasp and ran to her sleeping mother in the next room. Sobbing, she woke her up. Like other children her age, Kathryn wasn't brave enough to go back to her still-dark room where she was sure the monsters were waiting. Instead, she needed her mother to hold her and reassure her that the monsters would never get her. But Kathryn's mom gave no such reassurance. There were no hugs or words of comfort. Grudgingly, she gave Kathryn room on the bed with her, but should Kathryn move and disturb her sleep again, she was heading back to her room.
Stiff as a statue, her little hands clenched tight into a fist, Kathryn lay next to her mother but refused to sleep. How she wanted her mother's arms around her. How she needed her mother to shoo all her fears away. The monsters were too big for Kathryn to fight on her own. How she wished she had the help of her mommy.
The events that night foreshadowed the difficult years Kathryn had with her mother. As a housewife, her mother was always physically present to take care of Kathryn and her siblings while their father was away at work, but she never was emotionally available for them, especially for Kathryn. On the contrary, she expected Kathryn to take care of her and demanded her blind obedience. She was quick to use guilt to move Kathryn to her bidding, and many of her words haunted Kathryn forever, yet for so many decades, Kathryn was in denial she was in pain.
All these changed the moment Kathryn gave birth to her daughter. She fell head over heels in love with her, and she finally admitted to herself that her mother never did love her as a mother should. Her mother was a classic case of narcissism, and Kathryn has been her victim all along.
Growing up without the love, care, and support of her mother has resulted in numerous issues. Kathryn was plagued by emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental problems—all caused by her painful past. As much as she wanted to empower herself, she realized how deeply wounded she was, and recovery wouldn't be quick and easy. Kathryn, however, didn't give up on herself and found a way to truly recover from her ghost mother.
In Ghost Mothers: Healing from the Pain of a Mother Who Wasn't Really There, Kathryn shares 6 proven ghost-busting strategies to create a life free from the pain of having a ghost parent. More importantly, Kathryn gives victims of ghost parents hope—healing is possible. And so is love.
There is no doubt that this is the best book written on this subject, and I have read many of them. Kathryn Rudin has written this for the daughter not just for the therapy community. Her insight and her helpful advice not only allows daughters like me to be comforted by the acknowledgment of someone understanding our pain, but she is extremely helpful with advice for moving on.
If you are struggling with a ghost mother, you need this book. I would never give up my copy and will re-read it again and each time in the coming years that I will undoubtedly need it to get me through as this is a lifetime struggle of accepting your mother's flaws but not carrying them on in your own life. A challenge, but one that is doable with this book. A big thank you to the author for writing this amazingly helpful book. So glad I found it. — Ali Sanford
For anyone with a "ghost mother", as Rudlin so aptly describes, this book is a real find. I have sought therapy for a few years now in an effort to deal with this confusing and pain causing kind of mother. There are a few really super good books out there but I really feel this might be the last one I have to read. I loved that Rudlin shared her personal journey in a way I could really connect to. My toolbox of strategies now includes the wonderful suggestions provided in "Ghost Mothers". For anyone with this kind of issue, I applaud your effort in seeking the way out of suffering. Try this one! — Margie Jo Rovarino
Kathryn Rudlin, LCSW is a mental health professional, and a professional writer. Since 1988, she has worked in California as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, having completed her Masters Degree in Social Work at The University of Denver, a Bachelors Degree in Psychology at The American University, Washington DC, post-graduate courses in family therapy, and clinical supervision, and was personally trained by Dr. Karyl McBride in her recovery model for daughters of narcissistic mothers.
Ms. Rudlin has worked at every level of therapeutic treatment to include foster care, alternative schools, residential treatment, wilderness therapy, and psychiatric hospitalization. Currently, she is a therapist in private practice in San Diego, specializing in counseling and education for daughters with ghost mother issues, in addition to providing training on this topic to mental health professionals.
The book Ghost Mothers was inspired by the many years Kathryn spent trying to create a positive relationship with her illusive mother. When years of effort led nowhere, she found ways to move past this pain and eventually recognized her passion for helping others do the same.