Aug. 30, 2022

Is Jeanette McCurdy REALLY glad her mom died? (The impact of emotional incest and enmeshment)

Former Nickelodeon child-star Jeannette MucCurdy’s provocatively titled new book “I’m Glad My Mom Died” became a near-instant New York Times bestseller after its release in August 2022. The Audible version of the book is narrated by Jeanette herself and details her struggles with disordered eating, alcohol addiction, OCD, unstable relationships and – most notably – her extremely complicated relationship with her codependent, overbearing, and abusive mother.


One review of the book on Goodreads states, “This isn't just a look at how horrifying Hollywood is (especially for child stars) but it's also a harrowing depiction of how manipulative love can be. The way a parent's all-consuming love for their child can be weaponized and watered to grow into something this vile and life-altering is absolute insanity.”


In this episode, I discuss my reflections on the book. Through dissecting Jeannette’s experiences she so bravely shared in this memoir, we’ll dive into what we can learn about parentification, enmeshment (also known as “emotional incest”) and the devastating impact these kinds of toxic family dynamics can have on childhood development that carry on far into adulthood.  


CW: child abuse, disordered eating, terminal illness (breast cancer), hoarding, depictions of OCD, depictions of bulimia/purging, gaslighting, emotional manipulation.


💡 Questions answered and topics explored in this episode:


■ The exploitation of children in the entertainment industry (the trauma faced by child actors)

■ The devastating impact of emotionally immature and “narcissistic” parents

■ How unresolved childhood complex trauma can manifest in eating disorders (like anorexia and bulimia), substance abuse / addiction, OCD and unstable relationships

■ Learning to rebuild boundaries after growing up in an enmeshed family

■ Signs you may have suffered childhood emotional incest (also known as “covert incest”)

■ Signs you were a parentified child (the damage parentification can have on highly sensitive children)

■ “The narcissistic mother” (the long-term effects these traits have on their daughters)

■ Transforming your “inner Critical Parent” into your inner nurturing parent

■ Children of hoarders (the impact growing up in a hoarded environment can have on childhood development)   

■ How childhood trauma can lead to adult identity problems

■ How children of cancer patients can experience post-traumatic stress disorder (parental cancer and its psychosocial impact on children)


📝Recommended resources:


■  I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self by Alice Miller


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