“Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt” by Peg Streep

****I am currently reading this book, and I’m also living it with my own mother. I highly recommend this book to anyone, particularly any women who struggle every day with the hurt of having their mother constantly reject them, turning her back on them constantly, being overly critical of and looking for things wrong with her daughter, and seeming as if she’s jealous about her daughter having a positive relationship with her father. That part right there, is the most unhealthy aspect of this thinking that some mothers get in to regarding the mistreatment of her daughter(s).
My mother was a fantastic mother when I was a child, but somehow she became extraordinarily jealous, competitive (especially with the love of my Dad, which my Dad still to this very day is unable to see her doing to me) and she is highly critical of every single thing I do. I had to discontinue my relationship with her because I couldn’t handle anymore how she always finds fault in every single thing I do, every single thing I say, no matter what the case is she will find a way to show me that she is disappointed in me for screwing up, and she definitely enjoys belittling me. In many cases, women don’t realize they are acting this way toward their daughter. I wish to God I could get my mother to stop and ask herself why I am saying these things if I don’t believe them to be 100% true. Come on. Don’t be stupid. I have a very extensive education that, I think we both know, qualifies me to be “educated in Parenting” with all of the Child Development classes, Human Development classes, Early Childhood Education classes (which preschool and elementary school teachers focus on). I just want my loving, caring, doting mother back. I must have done something to make her fear she’s going to lose my father’s love. I’m not sure, but there is definitely a reason behind it and I would be willing to be good money that the reason has something to do with my Dad.

Below I have included the description from goodreads.com about “Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt” and again, I very highly recommend this, it’s a fantastic read and completely made sense to me.

An exploration of the darker side of maternal behavior drawn from scientific research, psychology, and the real-life experiences of adult daughters, Mean Mothers sheds light on one of the last cultural taboos: what happens when a woman doesn’t or can’t love her daughter. Mean Mothers reveals the multigenerational thread that often runs through these stories—many unloving mothers are the daughters of unloving or hypercritical women—and explores what happens to a daughter’s sense of self and to her relationships when her mother is emotionally absent or even cruel. But Mean Mothers is also a narrative of hope, recounting how daughters can get past the legacy of hurt to become whole within and to become loving mothers to the next generation of daughters. The personal stories of unloved daughters and sons and those of the author herself, are both unflinching and moving, and bring this most difficult of subjects to life.

Mean Mothers isn’t just a book for daughters who’ve had difficult or impossible relationships with their mothers. By exposing the myths of motherhood that prevent us from talking about the women for whom mothering a daughter is fraught with ambivalence, tension, or even jealousy, Mean Mothers also casts a different light on the extraordinary influence mothers have over their female children as well as the psychological complexity and emotional depth of the mother-daughter relationship…”



  1. Dear Lulu,

    I have been faithfully reading your blog here on WordPress as well as your blog on Weebly for several months. I love both! I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this post about this book, and how much it helped me to know that this book exists. Also, Lulu, I promise you that soon you will have a relationship with your father again; I too had a mother who was very jealous of and competitive with me as well as my younger sister for years and years. She died last year of intestinal cancer and my Dad called me six months ago to apologize for everything–she left my father a letter in a safety deposit box that admitted to him that she had been lying to him for years about my sister and me, and she begged him to work things out with us.and we now have a very strong father-daughter relationship. My mother also wrote a letter to me, I was so afraid to read it for months but I finally did, and she couldn’t apologize enough for how she treated me and my sister over the years, and she admitted she was a coward for waiting until death to fix things. Don’t give up, Lulu.

    Love, Your Faithful Reader,

    Brianna Kelly


    1. Oh Brianna, what a wonderful wonderful thing for you to have FINALLY make its way in to your life! I am so happy for you! I wouldn’t wish anything to happen to my Mom but at the same time, I’m numb to her. I have had quite enough. I cannot believe that she is lying to make my Dad hate me, it hurts so bad and I just don’t know what to do anymore. My best friend intercepted a mean email my Dad set yesterday and she was just very frustrated with my Dad–she said “he’s very stubborn and he’s got a response for every single thing you say, don’t waste anymore of your time Jen, it’s not going to do any good”. I’m done. My kids can have monthly or bi- monthly visits with them, I won’t ever go back and see them as long as this lie continues. I can’t do anything about it. My entire family is not coz.

      Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts with me Brianna, good luck to you, your sister and your Dad.



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