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G Unmothered: Healing a painful childhood Written By Jordan Rosenfeld ilroy author Phylis Mantelli has found her “passion” in helping young girls to mend their relationships with their mothers, or to mend their own hearts if that is not possible, through speaking and mentorship in her church. She comes by this work honestly, having grown up in a highly dysfunctional home with a mother who was mentally ill and struggled with alcohol addiction. The story of her childhood and how it led her to help others heal is the subject of her newly-published memoir, “Unmothered: Life With A Mom Who Couldn’t Love Me.” Though her childhood was tumultuous, her book, she said, “Isn’t a bashing of my mother. It’s a love story about learning how to love your mother in spite of [challenges]. And if you can’t, if it’s a dangerous situation, to honor yourself.” As far back as she remembers, life with her mother was complicated for her and her two siblings. “My mom 10 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN was a very up or down kind of person. We didn’t know what we were coming home to.” They couldn’t bring friends over for fear of what they’d find. And the only clue they’d receive that their mother was in a decent mood, was if she’d been cooking. “When I would smell chocolate chip cookies or bread, I knew it would be a good day,” she said. At the age of eight Mantelli’s life was sent into tumult. Her mother had begun an affair and become pregnant with another man's child. She didn’t want her husband, a long-distance truck driver, to find out. So she packed up her house and moved while he was away. “I came home from school and there was a big moving van in front of the house and two men were carrying out the couch. When we walked in, the whole house was empty.” When her father returned from work away, she said, “He came home to an empty house and no family.” In an age when there was no Internet, smartphones or december 2018-january 2019 gmhtoday.com