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The Book that Started It All-


Lemon Moms: A Guide to Understand and Survive Maternal Narcissism

Book #1 in the Lemon Moms Series

If you are confused or hurt by your mother’s behavior, or your relationship with her is less than satisfying or even painful, you can discover how to cope, heal, and take back your personal power.

So, what’s a Lemon Mom?

A Lemon Mom parents by shaming, blaming, humiliating, manipulating, guilting, and belittling. She has narcissistic traits, and she may be on the narcissism spectrum (or have full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder.)

She has trouble emotionally connecting. She finds it hard to show unconditional love, provide a sense of safety or security, or nurture and accept them as they are. Her children grow up feeling “not good enough,” or confused, unloved, misunderstood, unimportant, or invisible, and often think that they don’t matter. When they’re adults, they treat themselves the same way; disliking, ignoring, or neglecting themselves, taking unnecessary risks, being attracted to people who aren’t good for them, minimizing themselves so others can feel good, staying in hurtful relationships, putting themselves last on their priority list, if at all.

Did you grow up in an unpredictable home? Was there frequent drama? Were you preoccupied with your mother? Were you usually confused, trying to figure out why she said or did certain things? Did you take her “emotional temperature” and adjust your behavior accordingly to feel safe? Were inconsistency, lack of supervision, few boundaries, and little parental involvement the norm?

Me too

For as long as I can remember, there was something different about my mother. She wasn’t like other mothers.

My mom didn’t hug, kiss, smile at, spend time with, or play with me. She never seemed happy to see me. She didn’t ask about my school day and wasn’t interested in knowing my friends. She seemed to have no interest in me or anything that I did.

No boundaries, name-calling, invalidation, neglect

My mom called me hurtful names and obscenities and, at times, ignored me, not speaking to me for days, weeks, or even months. I was expected to care for my younger siblings and was often blamed or punished for their misbehavior.

I was not allowed to express feelings, ask questions, or show initiative or curiosity. My feelings were discounted, minimized, or invalidated. She re-wrote my memories, and I was expected to believe her version. I was to obey, stay quiet, and not question.

There’s an unspoken rule in this type of family: don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. If there’s manipulation, power struggles, or cruelty in your relationship, this book can help. If you second-guess your memory, doubt your judgment or sanity, or continually seek your mother’s withheld affection, attention, or approval, this book can explain why.

Her behavior isn’t caused by any shortcomings within yourself. There is nothing—and there never was—anything wrong with you. You are lovable, and you matter.

You can’t change your mother, but you can change your thoughts, behavior, and, most importantly, how you interact with her. When you apply this understanding along with the tools in this book, your relationship can change.

This book helps you reconcile past relational trauma and move you forward even while your mother feels no accountability or responsibility for her hurtful actions. As you update your historical view of yourself, changes begin.


Until now, you had two choices: live on her terms (focusing on her, chasing after her withheld acceptance) or go “no contact.” I suggest you have a third option: decode the hurtful behavior, take back your power, and move on:

  • identify gaslighting
  • understand the differences between PTSD and C-PTSD
  • remove drama
  • set enforceable boundaries
  • identify and shut down manipulation
  • strategize conversations to flow the way you want
  • gain clarity by taking the end-of-chapter Action Steps, or use the Lemon Moms Companion Workbook.


When we were kids, if our mother was emotionally and/or physically detached, if she neglected us, was self-absorbed, wasn’t interested in what we said or did, didn’t care about our friends, wasn’t happy to see us, or didn’t hug, kiss, hold, sing or read to us often, we may have gotten the message that we weren’t important. We accepted that we didn’t matter.

If our mother parented by blaming, shaming, humiliating, intimidating, manipulating, mocking, using hurtful sarcastic comments, lying, or gaslighting, then it’s likely that we often felt like something was wrong with us. As children, we may have witnessed everyone else’s needs, especially our mothers, being more important than our own. And, if you’re like me, you thought you were a burden to her simply because you existed. We were too young to understand that her behavior was about herself and not caused by any shortcomings within ourselves. And now, as adults, we feel “less than,” “not good enough,” or “undeserving” of love or happiness, and we don’t know why.

Growing up in this kind of environment meant that we couldn’t express our feelings or ask questions because mom wasn’t interested in them or they were seen as a challenge to her authority. It didn’t feel safe for us to use our voices or to speak up to share our thoughts and feelings with her.

The result of this type of dysfunctional upbringing is that we never got to experience what it’s like to be seen and heard. We didn’t know the feeling of being validated. We started accepting the feeling that we weren’t good enough and that others’ needs and desires were more valid or important than our own. 

This mindset affects our self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence. It contributes to developing anxiety, depression, and codependency. It’s important to know that when thoughts are connected with feelings, a belief is created. And without intervention, we carry these faulty beliefs about ourselves into adulthood.

If we believe that we’re fundamentally flawed or undeserving of being loved or treated well, we become a dumping ground for others’ emotional garbage.

Even though we don’t like the way others treat us, deep down, we believe we deserve nothing better. We’ve never seen healthy boundaries in our family, so we don’t know how to set them and use them to protect ourselves. We grow up to unconsciously and silently broadcast the message that we exist to be of service to others and that it doesn’t matter how poorly they treat us. We accept disrespect, unfair or unkind treatment, and sometimes even physical, verbal, and emotional abuse...

What Readers Are Saying…

A brilliantly written book that addresses a unique trauma. It provided the psychological antidote I wanted. Diane Metcalf writes with confidence and clarity. Her compassionate voice will be a soothing balm for many broken and hurting hearts.

Romuald Dzemo

It is almost impossible to find words to describe my reading experience of ‘Lemon Moms.’ At times it triggered emotional responses- I personally relate, having grown up with a narcissistic family member. The author has a brilliant gift to share and I’m especially struck with the grace she shows. All I can say is: “Thank You & WOW.”

Judy Paling

Best Selling Author

While the title of this book playfully refers to “lemon moms,” a play-off on lemon or defective vehicles, this is serious information. Metcalf treats the reader as an intelligent friend, guiding them through experiences that as a child the reader may have been taught to believe were normal. 

Victoria Irwin

Editor in Chief,

Lemon Moms: A Guide to Understand and Survive Maternal Narcissism is one of the best books I have read on this sensitive topic of maternal narcissism.

Anita Oommen

Award-Winning Author

This book is terrific. I recommend it to all my patients who are working through these kinds of issues.

Bernard B.Kahan, M.D.

Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry

Great book!!! Explains a lot about my life and family. Finally got confirmation about my beliefs that I’m not “crazy” for lack of better words!!!! I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for answers.

Sally Clarke

Amazon Verified Purchase


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Goodreads quotes

“Your mother doesn’t need a formal diagnosis for you to determine that your relationship with her is unhealthy.”— Diane Metcalf


The Lemon Moms Companion Workbook

Book #2 in the Lemon Moms Series

Available globally wherever books are sold.

The Lemon Moms Companion Workbook is your safe space for healing.

Your mother doesn’t need a diagnosis to determine that your relationship with her is unhealthy. If you like detailed writing, personal examples, and a touch of humor, you’ll love the authenticity and conversational style.

Combined with the book Lemon Moms: A Guide to Understand and Survive Maternal Narcissism,” you’ll walk through the chaos and confusion of maternal narcissism: what it is, what it does, and how to recover from its devastating effects. Explore and answer thought-provoking questions., then take action-oriented steps to gain insight and perspective for beginning or continuing your healing journey. You can recover and move forward to live your best life!


“Healing” is not the deletion of the pain or the memories. Healing doesn’t erase what happened, and it certainly doesn’t wipe away the memories or the hurt, or your feelings or thoughts about your childhood experiences or of your mother. Healing isn’t about forgetting.

Healing is about reframing your painful and traumatic experiences so that they add depth and meaning to your personal story. If you were able to erase those experiences, you would also erase a huge opportunity for personal growth and development.

In the process of healing, we take painful memories and experiences and create a whole new understanding around them.

Healing means that when we’ve come out on the other side, we have a scar, a permanent reminder of what we’ve survived. It will be a part of us always. After a while, scars don’t hurt. We hardly remember they’re there. Our scars simply become another aspect of our personal story. Without that story or that experience, we wouldn’t be who we are today.


Recuperating from any kind of mistreatment or abuse requires us to be willing to become new and better versions of ourselves. Being able to forgive ourselves is an important part of this process Why? Because we may have knowingly or unknowingly hurt others as a result of our unhealed or unacknowledged childhood wounds.

Healing gives us back the capacity to trust ourselves We then begin to trust our judgment and make healthy and meaningful decisions. We begin to trust others. We become better human beings.

When we self-avoid the healing process, our emotional triggers become more sensitive. When we’re easily triggered we put even more emotional energy into self-avoidance to keep from getting re-triggered. It becomes a cycle of hiding from our pain any time pain is felt. Eventually, we might need the help of substances or certain activities to keep from feeling the pain; alcohol, drugs, food, sex, shopping, gambling, etc. Pretty much anything can serve as a distraction to avoid pain. The result is that nothing gets healed, and the pain and the emotional triggers continue to grow.


LIFE-ALTERING AFFIRMATIONS: Change Your Self-talk, Change YourSELF

Book #3 in the Lemon Moms Series

Available globally wherever books are sold.


If you live with a narcissist, dysfunctional or toxic person, or have one in your life… you already know how much it negatively affects what you think, how you feel, and how you treat yourself. You can change that!

It’s time to take your healing a step further! Start healing the damage by changing how you see yourself. When you change your self-talk, you literally change your mindset and perspective!

Introducing book #3 in the Lemon Moms Series: Life-Altering Affirmations, Change Your Self-talk, Change YourSELF!

You can’t change others, but you can absolutely change yourself! When you go from unsupportive inner dialogue to affirming who you are as your authentic self, every day, research shows that you literally change your self-identity.

By using healing affirmations, you will begin to:

  • reinforce a new self-narrative
  • see yourself differently
  • adopt a broader definition of your “identity”
  • adopt a broader definition of your roles
  • define things like “success” differently

This book shows you the research:

  • explains how and why affirmations work
  • teaches you, step-by-step, using a simple formula, how to write effective, action-oriented healing affirmations of your own.

You’ll also learn how to:

  • apply the four daily fundamentals to change yourself
  • make your healing affirmations resonate highly
  • use particular steps to make them the most powerful and effective


Comes with over 200 pre-written healing affirmations! 

Use them as-is, or personalize them using the steps and dedicated space provided in each chapter to make them your own.

Examines emotional regulation, self-validation, boundaries, self-trust, safety, security, and discovering your authentic self.

Aligns with the topics discussed in book #1, Lemon Moms: A Guide to Understand and Survive Maternal Narcissism:

  • gaslighting and confusion
  • betrayal wounds
  • blame
  • rejection
  • shame
  • scapegoating
  • grief
  • emotional abandonment
  • anxiety
  • anger
  • triggering
  • C-PTSD
  • and cognitive dissonance.

Don’t wait any longer. Start moving forward today!

I AM: A Guided Journey to your Authentic Self

Book #1 in the New Series: Be You and Own It

Available globally wherever books are sold.


It’s impossible to live your best life if you struggle with low self-esteem or self-confidence. So create a life filled with joy and purpose by learning to develop a positive inner dialogue to benefit your body, mind, and spirit!

When you change your self-talk, you literally change your mindset and perspective! When you go from unsupportive inner dialogue to affirming who you are as your best self, you literally change your self-identity.

By using positive affirmations, you:
-reinforce a new self-narrative
-see yourself differently
-adopt a broader definition of your “identity”
-adopt a broader definition of your roles
-define ideas like “success” differently

As you use this beautiful workbook journal, you’ll learn how to replace the negative thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that keep you stuck and hold you back. You’ll recognize your unsupportive inner dialogue and replace it with validating, affirming self-talk to change yourself and your life.

You’ll learn how to determine your current vibrational state and, using a step-by-step approach, how to raise your vibration with positive affirmations. First, you’ll discover the six essential traits of the most potent affirmations and then how to re-work them to be the highest vibrating they can be.

You’ll acquire four fundamentals to incorporate into your daily affirmational practice, making it a highly personal and powerful package for manifesting the life you want. Then, as you begin writing and speaking your most individualized, powerful, and highest vibrating affirmations, you’ll start to uncover your true, authentic self and your highest potential.

Write inside the book • Inspiring prompts and activities •  Expressive Journaling  

•Interactive Activities

  • Explore characteristics that you want to change about yourself and your life.
  • Explore your intentions and determine what you will accomplish by changing.
  • Use the guided step-by-step instructions to make your very first affirmation resonate highly by the time you’re finished.
  • Investigate new thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that you want to create.
  • Explore the unique character traits of your authentic self and discover how to receive them.
  • Understand where gratitude fits into your practice, and create a dynamic gratitude list.

• Inspiring Prompts

Unpack your new insights, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, then connect them to your unique, personal affirmations.

• Expressive Journaling
Deepen your understanding of self-love and self-compassion to use them in the real world. With self-compassion and positive self-talk come the self-acceptance and confidence to move forward into your best life.

•Write in the book-This workbook journal is packed with 99 exquisite pages; a lovely place to dream, plan and explore your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Use the dedicated areas to answer questions and write and re-work your affirmations. And there are pages devoted to keeping track of new insights and creating gratitude lists. Transfer your polished affirmations to the special area in the back if you desire to cut them out for use in your daily practice.

What Readers Are Saying…

This book is an amazing guide for anyone who has been affected (infected) by a toxic relationship!! Diane Metcalf skillfully outlines so many great strategies for changing one’s negative, destructive thought patterns to positive, empowering affirmations! It really is a must-read and ‘must share’!

Patti Emminger

Amazon Verified Purchase

Excellent book on creating your own affirmations and with some amazing affirmation examples too. I love how the book helps everyone with affirmations and if your life has been touched by trauma this is the book for you. You will learn to talk to yourself and get out of the rumination, anxiety, and overthinking cycles. I absolutely loved it and highly highly recommend it.

Diana B

Amazon Verified Purchase

There are different sections for different types of affirmations according to the situation. Each section has an introduction, then lists many affirmations. They work best if you read them aloud daily. Your thoughts will start to become more positive, and you’ll start to feel better and believe in yourself more.

C.L. Piper

Amazon Verified Purchase

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