The Story Behind Ghost Mothers : Healing From the Pain of a Mother Who Wasn’t Really There

Ghost MothersThis book is based on my personal experience as the daughter of a ghost mother, my journey to heal from growing up this way, and my professional work as a licensed therapist for over 20 years. The imagery of “ghost mothers” came to me in a dream in which I was chasing a woman who had something I desperately needed. I chased her for a long time, and through some bizarre scenery. I chased her until I was out of breath, but when I finally caught up to her, she disappeared in an explosion of white, silky mist.

After waking up I continued to think about this dream until I realized it encompassed how I’ve spent much of my life, chasing the image of my mother, and longing for her to provide what I needed. Then it occurred to me that this idea of an amorphous mother captured not only the essence of my pain, but that of all daughters struggling to understand a mother who was unable to effectively nurture or love them. I had finally found a way to illustrate not only the pain, but also the strategies needed to heal from a mother who wasn’t really there, to share what I’ve learned in my personal and professional journey; what it takes to finally come to terms with who your mother is, and who she isn’t.

The reality of getting this book written and published came together when I met a literary agency quite by accident, she liked the concept and coached me every step of the way in organizing my ideas and getting it published, what an amazing journey.




Kathryn Rudlin, LCSW has credentials as both a mental health professional, and a professional writer. Since 1988, she has worked in California as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), having completed her Masters Degree in Social Work at The University of Denver, a Bachelors Degree in Psychology at The American University, Washington DC, post-graduate courses in family therapy, and clinical supervision, and being personally trained by Dr. Karyl McBride in her recovery model for daughters of narcissistic mothers.

She has worked at every level of therapeutic treatment to include foster care, alternative schools, residential treatment, wilderness therapy, and psychiatric hospitalization. Currently, she is a therapist in private practice in San Diego, specializing in counseling and education for daughters with mothering issues, in addition to providing training on this topic to mental health professionals.

Kathryn is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Endometriosis Association, and the Unity Center of San Diego. As a professional writer she has published articles in the NASW California newsletter, San Diego Woman Magazine, and is a widely read contributing writer for New York Times Company, on the topic of troubled teens. In addition, as has written a workbook on effective group therapy with adolescents, created bi-lingual learning materials for children, and was co-owner of Clinical Inspiration, a company that developed continuing education materials for mental health professionals. Recently she edited Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat’s award winning book, Voodoo in My Blood: A Healer’s Journey From Surgeon to Shaman.

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