REVIEW: Khara Croswaite Brindle — Understanding Mother-Daughter Relationships (BOOK)

Colin Jordan
3 min readFeb 9, 2024

“This book will focus on identifying the estrangement cycle for clinical application with adult women as clients working with mental health professionals. This book will serve as a clinical tool to address the challenges of estrangement and adjustment needs of these clients within the spheres of personal identity, relationships, and grief and loss in order to promote personal growth and healing in the therapeutic space,” proclaims Khara Croswaite Brindle, regarding her new book Understanding Mother-Daughter Relationships: Guiding the Adult Daughter’s Healing Journey Through the Estrangement Energy Cycle. She also has stated, “Although I don’t have the lived experience of estrangement in my personal background, I have taken it upon myself professionally to speak for women who seek compassion and understanding from professionals and community members alike, to better understand their challenges and needs when navigating the immensely difficult and defining event of a mother-daughter relationship rupture.”

It’s this kind of generous disposition that supports the more fact-based, statistical, and emotionally insightful narrative regarding the titular estrangement energy cycle. Brindle writes with this surprising finesse, able to juggle multiple tonalities in one and maintain a sense of appropriate objectivity while writing with a personal, and warm undertone. She seems to appreciate the emotional profundity of the mother-daughter rapport, to the point she at times seems to risk raw emotionality, yet never at the expense of clinical expertise. Estrangement from a mother figure, particularly from a daughter, is a uniquely troubling phenomenon.

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Ruptured-Mother-Daughter-Relationships-Croswaite/dp/1538174030

Often animosity arising from said relationships can bubble up, causing a sort of friction unique to both players involved. Familial estrangement remains a particularly taboo topic in polite conversation, with specific, mother-daughter familial estrangement of particular invisibility. That Brindle is able to bring it to the forefront in such a responsible medium is to be seriously commended. “Unlike other losses where we hope to find clarity, acceptance, and healing over time, it is less likely that estranged parents or adult children will feel this type of closure or inner peace regarding their relationship conflict. In fact, it’s not uncommon for adult women who become estranged from their mothers to experience their own grief response, which can make them question if estrangement was the right choice.

With time, they may begin to recognize that their grief response is showing up because of the difficulty of the choice to estrange and resulting feelings of loss that come with it, rather than grief serving as an indicator that they made the wrong choice to estrange,” Brindle writes. “…A parent who is estranged from their sibling could model this response as an expected or even encouraged outcome between their adult children and the same or additional family members… Women may be coming to therapy to work through the experiences listed above or to address the rollercoaster of emotions that estrangement brings. They can have the desire to learn how to brave the cycle and implement new, healthy boundaries in having chosen estrangement from their mothers. Perhaps they are ready to embrace therapy as a space for re-mothering…”

Colin Jordan

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Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer