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Original Research

Life stories of young women who experience rejection from their mothers

Selina C. Mosman, Marie Poggenpoel, Chris Myburgh

Curationis; Vol 38, No 1 (2015), 8 pages. doi: 10.4102/curationis.v38i1.1429

Submitted: 20 May 2014
Published:  12 August 2015


Background: When a daughter perceives rejection from her mother, she is bound to be sensitive to rejection for most if not all of her life. Such an experience influences almost all future relationships.

Objectives: The purpose of this research was to explore and describe the life stories of young women who perceived rejection from their mothers and to formulate guidelines to assist them.

Method: A phenomenological interpretive method that is explorative, descriptive, and contextual was used to explore everyday life experiences. Network sampling was used. In-depth phenomenological interviews were conducted with the young women so that they could define the most important dimensions of their life stories and elaborate on what is relevant to them. They were asked: ‘Tell me your life story.’ One of the authors also had a life story of perceived maternal rejection; hence an auto-ethnography was critical and was included in the study. Thematic data analysis was applied.

Results: Themes that emerged from the data were that the young women: (1) perceive ongoing challenges in forming and sustaining relationships in their lives; (2) experience their lives as conflicted because their relationship with the central core of their existence, their mother, is perceived as tumultuous; and (3) experience fundamental links to be missing in their ‘motherdaughter relationship’.

Conclusion: Only a few women were interviewed regarding perceived rejection from their mothers. Further research in this regard is imperative.

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Author affiliations

Selina C. Mosman, Department of Nursing Science, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Marie Poggenpoel, Department of Nursing Science, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Chris Myburgh, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa



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ISSN: 0379-8577 (print) | ISSN: 2223-6279 (online)

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