Clinical Psychologist Stephan B. Poulter demonstrates in THE MOTHER FACTOR: HOW YOUR MOTHER'S EMOTIONAL LEGACY IMPACTS YOUR LIFE (Prometheus Books, $18.95) that most of us will never understand the complex legacy imparted by our mothers or its far-reaching impact on our lives. The initial bond formed at birth becomes the foundation from which our emotional development, communication style, and personality type evolve through adulthood. No other relationship in our lives has the potential to shape us like the one we share with our mothers, and the more we understand the emotional components of it, the more choices and opportunities for relationship change and personal growth will be available to us.
Poulter defines the mother factor as our emotional development, functioning, and ability to form meaningful relationships in family life, in social life, and with intimate partners. It is an emotional template started with the mother-child relationship that influences our feelings of frustration, love, fear, and hope; our mothers' style of parenting as the template for our emotional disposition and our core sense of who and what we are in the world; our emotional functioning as consciously and unconsciously shaped by our mothers.
The mother factor can work for or against us. Poulter shows that in order for it to work for us, we must understand the pervasive influence of our mothers. By focusing on our mother factor from many different angles and perspectives, Poulter strives to give us a more complete view of our own legacy. Once we have these new and crucial insights, we will have the personal power to make different choices, to let go of old self-defeating patterns, to take new and positive action, and to have a deeper sense of fulfillment.
"This entire investigation into your mother factor is for the sole purpose of gaining new, valuable insight and clarity, which will open more options to your life," Poulter explains.
He also explores how our emotional connections in adult relationships are based on the "style" of our mothers. Poulter defines the five styles of mothering as:
- The Perfectionist Mother- whose family must look perfect in every way
- The Unpredictable Mother- whose ups and downs can create lifelong anxiety and depression in her son or daughter
- The "Me First" Mother- whose children come second or last
- The "Best Friend" Mother- who's now in vogue but can wreak havoc
- The Complete Mother- who provides guidance and shows compassion to her child
THE MOTHER FACTOR makes clear that no matter what type of mother we have-- and most mothers are a combination of the above--her style of mothering affects our lives in ways that should not be ignored. Through an investigation of the strengths, insights, and liabilities that derive from each mothering style, Poulter seeks to help us transcend the mysterious anger, anxiety, depression, and shame that we feel and achieve the kind of relationships we deserve. Dr. Poulter demonstrates how the internalized "rulebook" we inherit from our mothers is a very powerful force, as well. These unspoken rules govern our work, relationships, emotions, separation, and independence. Unless we become aware of the rules that guide our behavior, thoughts, and beliefs, we won't have the ability to make our own choices.
Dani Levine, PhD, Clinical Psychologist and President of The S.T.E.P. Group (School Placement and Educational Placement), says THE MOTHER FACTOR "brilliantly captured the reality that although we are products of our mothers' legacy, we are not prisoners. Dr. Poulter not only offers insight, but also provides the tools to escape the fate of falling into maladaptive patterns. I would recommend this book to the masses, as we are all in relationships today that have been influenced by our mothers."
Stephen B. Poulter, PhD (Los Angeles, CA), is the author of three previously published books including THE FATHER FACTOR, which was praised by NEWSWEEK and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, among other publications, and received widespread attention with author appearances in ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel FOX & FRIENDS. He has practiced as a clinical psychologist specializing in family relationships for twenty-four years.