Aldo Naouri

Girls and their Mothers Publication date : March 1, 2000

According to the author, a powerful current of violence flows between daughters and their mothers. Since such feelings are often unrecognised, or even hidden and denied, they seem particularly terrifying when they are revealed. Yet these are the feelings that colour every woman’s emotional life and that will condition the nature and development of all future mother-daughter relations. Ultimately these feelings help to explain the immense power that, regardless of age, all mothers retain over every sphere of their daughters’ lives. This influence extends to the daughters’ relations with their partners and with their own children. Mother love has a dark side: for mothers, there is the temptation of trying to produce an ideal double; for daughters struggling to find themselves, there are feelings of pressure and violence. Aldo Naouri explores mother-daughter relations through the history of one family that, as a doctor, he has followed over the years. In a manner that is both personal and sensitive, he recounts his own thoughts and experiences as a practising physician with an interest in psychoanalysis. His study of individual histories and the lively portraits he draws will enable readers to review their own lives, their memories, and the difficulties they have encountered. Women have fought, sometimes against men, for the right to control their own bodies and for the recognition of their right to pleasure. Each woman must now continue the struggle for her own liberation, fighting to become her own woman and learning to trace an individual path.

Aldo Naouri is a paediatrician specialising in family relations. He is the author of Le Couple et l’Enfant (Editions Odile Jacob, 1995), Une Place pour le Père (Le Seuil, 1985), which has become a classic, and L’Enfant Bien Portant (Le Seuil, 1993) a treatise on childcare, among other works.