Horrible Mothers: Breach of a Sacred Trust









Here are some exerpts from the book: 


Dr. John F. Thie, Jack to me, is my big brother. He died unexpectedly in 2005 of prostrate cancer that metastasized into his bones. He was only 72. I cannot even begin to express the loss I feel every day.
There is no doubt that he was my amazing parent in so many ways. As I say in my fi rst book, he was there for me, and he bragged about me. This is not, however, why I am dedicating this book to him.
Long before I ever even thought he wouldn’t be with me physically my entire life, I planned to dedicate this book to him for what he gave the world. He was certainly a good-enough mother to a movement that taught millions to be independent and take care of themselves and those they love.
He gave birth to a movement with his 1973 book Touch for Health:
A Practical Guide to Natural Health Using Acupressure Touch and Massage to Improve Postural Balance and Reduce Physical and Mental Pain and Tension. He wrote about simple techniques to help people keep the energy flowing in the body in order to maximize their health. His book has been published in 15 languages. When I taught the techniques in Australia in the late ‘70s, a medical doctor took the class because he was going to a “backward country” to help with the medical issues and felt this technique could be used to give these people ways to help each other and themselves after he returned home.
My brother gave these techniques to millions of people through his book, his foundation, his instructors, and through the legacy he passed on to his son, Matthew, who continues his work. He “raised” millions to take care of themselves through such a wide variety of techniques that many who use them today may not even know from whence they originated. He birthed a child whom he loved, taught, nurtured, supported, and deeply believed in all the branches of healing that sprang from his loins and then released into the world. It is this sacred trust to birth, nurture, validate and release freely without credit needed or expected that is the miracle of generatively.
For giving so much to so many, and for being an incredible light in my life, I dedicate this book to my brother Jack:
Dr. John F. Thie

Dr. Lawrence Hedges wrote the forward to Horrible Mothers and says this:  

Horrible Mothers is full of stories about psychotherapy clients who have endured devastating damage at the hands of thoughtless, incompetent, self-centered, and openly destructive mothers and who have been helped in their reconstructive work by Dr. Vieira’s willingness to connect deeply and to off er help and support when needed. If you think this is a subject that should continue to be  overlooked, think again. I strongly recommend you read, introspect, and allow yourself to grow through contemplating some of the horrible ways that mothers can be mothers.


My introduction begins:

Some mothers simply should not be mothers. Some mothers feel that being a mother is a burden. Some mothers, even if they have the best feelings about mothering, are simply ignorant of what it is to be a good mother. Th e eff ect of this ignorance can have a grave eff ect on the children in their sacred care.

As a clinical psychologist working with children, adolescents, and  adults for almost 40 years, I am struck by the lasting damage done by inadequate mothering. Some injuries, like mine from my own mother, had to do with one subject or one incident. Some mothers were just so focused on themselves that there was no room for mothering of the child. (I devote an entire chapter to narcissistic mothers.)

I have come to feel that a book about that damage and how it is inflicted is essential. I realize that I am stepping on hallowed ground— that conventional wisdom has it that mothers deserve credit for the sacrifice of giving birth and providing for another human being. I do not agree. I feel that the very act of conceiving a child brings with it grave responsibility—and that just conceiving and giving birth does not innately earn points against this responsibility. The cold, hard fact is that any child who is not adequately mothered will sustain a “mother wound” and that even if the issues that caused that wound are resolved, a scar will remain. But even so, becoming aware and facing the reality of who your mother is and what she did that aff ected you detrimentally is crucial to avoid perpetuating the cycle into the next generation.

Quotes from

victims of horrible mothering


"I just realized that my mother is a narcissist. My wife and I were recalling our wedding day when my mom did some embarrassing things:

-My mom parked her limo in front of the church so when the bride arrived, they had to get my mom's limo moved so our limo would be there for us to get into after the wedding.

-My mom disregarded the fact that the flowers on the table which were labeled with bridal party names, gave some of these flowers to her relatives.

-When my mom came down the aisle to be seated, she turned around and waved to the to the audience.

-My mom yelled at my wife when the photographer was taking the bridal pictures of her - the bride. My mom felt she was taking too much time and time was running out and wanted the photographer to take pictures of the groom and her family."

Another writes: "I called my mother to tell her I was going into the hospital to have a biopsy for possible uterine cancer. Her comment was that she was sure that I would be OK and proceeded to tell me about her luncheon. I went into the hospital alone, had the biopsy and my mother forgot that I had gone in, never called and never asked me about it. No news was good news or did she really just not care? Would she qualify for your book as a horrible mother? or am I expecting too much?"


Copyright © 2009 Alice Thie Vieira
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