"I used to be an ordinary mom": The maternal identity of mothers of women abused by an intimate partner

Keren Gueta, Einat Peled, Nili Sander-Almoznino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mothers of children who suffer various problems tend to discuss their experience as a crisis in their maternal identity, regardless of whether the children are young or adults. However, the maternal identity of mothers who are aware that their adult daughters are being abused has not yet been explored. This study aims to examine the construction of the maternal identity by Israeli women whose grown daughters have been subjected to intimate partner violence (IPV), in the light of cultural representations of motherhood and domestic violence (DV). Thematic discourse analysis of in-depth interviews with 11 mothers identified discursive strategies that they used to negotiate a troubled maternal identity following their daughters' IPV experience. The mothers asserted a positive maternal identity by referring to common discourses about DV and motherhood, in a bid to bolster their "good mother" identity, to reframe motherhood, and to assign responsibility for the abuse to the abuser, to their daughters, or to the patriarchal social structure. The implications of these findings for motherhood and maternal identity theories and for professionals working in the field of DV are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-466
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume86
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

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