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A mother-daughter writing team share their own experiences and those of some of the thousands of other women who have participated in their national workshops on healing the daughter-mother relationships.
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Julie Firman is the mother of two daughters, Dorothy Firman and Frances Firman Salorio, her coauthors on Chicken Soup for the Mother & Daughter Soul, and one son. She and her daughters lead workshops on mother/daughter relationships at conferences around the country.
Dorothy Firman, Ed.D., is a psychotherapist, author, speaker and trainer who has worked in the field of mother/daughter relationships for more than twenty years. The Firmans reside in Massachusetts.
We Are All Daughters
We are all daughters, and that fact alone includes us in a world full of many things: pain, fear, expectations, anger, hurt, love, pride, joy, disappointment, fulfillment and much, much more. Being a daughter and having a mother is one of the most profound experiences of a woman's life. It can be a wonderful, empowering experience or a frightening, disabling one.
How can there be so much pain in these women's lives, brought on by that most crucial relationship: a relationship in almost every case based initially in love? These are not unusual comments. These are not unusual feelings and problems. The hurt that these women feel is all too common in the mother/daughter relationship. It permeates and colors this essential connection, and it does not end there. The hurt and pain experienced in the mother/daughter bond is carried into the whole of a woman's life, a burden from the past―haunting, limiting, debilitating.
"You know, my mother is definitely the weak point in my life in this world. It's just the most confusing, most unfulfilling relationship I have. I work on myself so much and have so many beautiful, loving friends, it just doesn't seem right that I can't reach my mother, that I can't show something real with her, you know. It just doesn't seem right that I can't communicate with her at all."
"I realize how much emotion there is attached to my mother. What I'm really experiencing is just intense, intense abandonment from her. It reminds me of so many times when she wasn't there. Times when she didn't show any interest, when she didn't take me seriously.""I feel so much guilt and pain. I need to stop acting like a doormat for my daughter. I come from a very insecure place in relation to my daughter . . . maybe because of my relationship to my mother."
"My daughter is far away. She has no need or want, no desire to be with me. I still function. I go about my life. But the hole is the hole and the longing is there, and I feel bad about it."
"I'm angry and resentful and guilty. I'm playing both roles, pleasing my mother and my daughter. I need to bridge the gap between the generations and find my own identity in the middle―between my mother and daughter. I'm lost. Can I find my separate identity?"
But this does not have to be the case. As adult women―daughters and mothers―we have a unique opportunity. We can turn and face our lives in a way that will change us. We can transform the mother/daughter relationship and we can transform ourselves. For every woman who experiences the pain of the mother/daughter relationship, there is the promise of finding the joy.
"My mother died of cancer several weeks ago. She had a relapse from the lymphoma we thought was cured. As she became sicker, she recognized the right to loving treatment and I recognized the joy in giving it. I remember thinking, You've been guilty long enough, Mommy. Now you just get love. We found out she was dying only ten weeks before she died; we didn't know it would be quite so short. I said to myself that I never wanted to be one of those people I'd seen in group therapy, telling a blank wall all the things they wished they'd told their dead mother. I knew I only had so short a time to settle all the scores, to end at peace after so many stormy years, to make sure my mother died knowing how deeply I loved her, to find a gift worth giving her in her dying. I knew she had always wanted and not had enough in her life.
"I began to care for her lovingly. I would stroke her head and feet, rub her stomach when it hurt. As she lost the ability to speak and began to be more and more dazed, I would sit with her and tell her how much she was loved. My mother died really knowing how much I loved her. I know she understood and was at peace with all the joys and pain of the relationship we had had, having forgiven and blessed each other."
It is the movement from pain to joy that has inspired us to write this book. We are a mother and daughter. This work is the culmination of our own journey together. Like the many women we have encountered, we sometimes found ourselves immersed in pain, alienation, confusion and longing. We struggled to transcend this impasse. We began to talk, then we began to communicate, then we began to find our love again. We have, since that time, shared this healing journey with thousands of women. We have never met a woman who did not long for the reconnection to loving and being loved. We have never met a woman who was unable to move closer to that love, and so to her own wholeness.
If you are a woman between the ages of seventeen to one hundred, you will find yourself in this book. Whether your relationship is difficult or wonderful, current or long past, a next step awaits: one that will take you closer to the truth of your best self. And if you are a man who cares for women, you will find out more about us. We offer this work to all who choose to grow and become more whole.
¬2003. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Daughters and Mothers by Julie Firman, M.S., and Dorothy Firman, Ed.D. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
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Book Description Crossroad Publishing Company, 1990. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0826404928
Book Description Crossroad Publishing Company, 1990. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110826404928