The Emotional Terrorist: Growing up with a Borderline Parent @ArabellaBarbour #memoir #books

the emotional terrorist


Title: The Emotional Terrorist: Growing up with a Borderline Parent


Author: Arabella Barbour


Genre: Memoir, Mental Illness


Publisher: Sandpeddler Press


Book Blurb:

The Emotional Terrorist is an extraordinary memoir of resilience and revelation. Traveling the world as corporate gypsies’, Arabella’s parents are a charismatic pair while in private her sadomasochistic mother tortures her with calculated cruelty, yet idolizes her brother. The worst part is no one else sees what is really going on; even her father is spellbound. In fact, the façade her mother has erected for others is so dazzlingly charming and flamboyant a charade, that no one would ever believe she is capable of the unspeakable abuses she commits. In the wake of a near death experience, a revelation rips away the veil and Arabella sees clearly for the first time. Her mother’s intense inexplicable behavior distinctly fits the description of a certain type of personality, or rather personality disorder, known as borderline.


What Readers are Saying:

The Emotional Terrorist is important, beautiful, deep, poetic, gripping, and informative. — Sylvia Cary, LMFT, licensed psychotherapist and author, Los Angeles.


This just goes to show that a memoir doesn’t have to be written by someone “famous” to be a page-turner. The writing is punchy and vivid; you will not be bored. Actually, it’s like staring in horrified fascination at the proverbial slow-motion car wreck, complete with skids, slides, multiple collisions, and several end-over-end flips — except that by the time you’re halfway through, you know the driver and all the passengers (especially the poor little girl in the back seat). There’s heartbreaking betrayal along the way but, ultimately, the story is one of triumph, because some people never understand what has happened to them and why. Congratulations to the author not just for figuring it out and surviving (and managing to raise a great kid), but for dwelling on the positive present instead of the tragic past. — Doowop Dan on Amazon


NN Light Review:

This book is a very difficult read but it is extremely well written.  You are taken deeply into the traumatic life of the author and if you have any empathy what so ever, you feel every physical and emotional pain she suffered as a little girl – on throughout adulthood.  Writing this had to be cathartic for Barbour, I am certain, and putting out a meaningful story for others to hopefully learn from is a brave endeavour.




That a person’s behaviour can be diagnosed later has little comfort for the little children who suffer the harm from being raised by a parent who appears to be simply evil.  A child is innocent and just a victim in this type of relationship.  A child has no power, no understanding and only acute suffering.  It is why every child must be taught to speak out if someone is abusing them in any way and must be heard.  No one can dismiss claims of abuse simply with ‘But your Mother wouldn’t.’




This was a very grim read but if this book can help just one child and save someone from this horrible situation, then this book has done an incredible job.  A very well written work that is worthy of a read by every parent or would be parent.



 NN Light Rating: 4 stars





Johannesburg, South Africa 1953

One of the things Mom found attractive about Dad when she was his secretary in Johannesburg was how handsome he looked in his white lab coat. Dad was in the veterinary supply sales business and he felt the white coat reassured his clientele that he knew what he was talking about. Mom was beautiful and talented. She had dreamed of being a star on the stage and screen and often lamented the tragedy of not realizing this dream, and the great loss to her would-be public. After they fell in love and got married they moved to neighboring Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia where the economy was booming. Dad got his inheritance early from Granny and started up his own veterinary supply business. At that time Rhodesia was one of Britain’s few remaining colonies in Africa, and is where my brother and I were born at The Lady Chancellor Home. Although it used to be said the sun never set on the British Empire, our empire had been crumbling for quite a while. South Africa was a jewel about to slip off the royal crown and later our birthplace would become known as Harare, Zimbabwe.


Before we were born Dad read to Mom after dinner in the evenings until one day he caught on that she was reading ahead during the day while he was at work.


            “He never read to me again, Ha!” Mom chuckled with amusement.


Dad periodically drove Mom back to Johannesburg to see her family. These trips involved long hours of driving through vast expanses of nothing, albeit the odd sighting of a lion, and lasted well into the hours of darkness. On one of these trips, they reached the border to find the Limpopo River had overcome its banks. The bridge had flooded, washing a car making its crossing into the river. The driver was struggling to swim against the current. A handful of stranded bystanders stood powerless outside their cars watching her flailing efforts. Mom became incensed recalling this incident, because Dad dove into the river and saved the woman.


“What if he’d drowned?  Then where would I be?”  Mom added, “Hero my arse!  He did it for the attention, to feed his massive ego. You should have seen the smug smile on his face when everybody clapped; it was an unforgivable risk to take!”


This was one of those things that festered in Mom’s brain until it reared up to the surface, as unexpectedly as the Limpopo swamped its banks. Dad always said Mom was like a dog with a bone. Eventually I think she was like a dog with a whole back yard full of buried bones. She could sniff around at will and take her pick of one to dig up, and then have a good ol’ chew, sometimes for days at a time.






The FIFTH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL Beverly Hills Book Awards® recognized The Emotional Terrorist by Arabella Barbour in the category of MEMOIR as a finalist.


The competition is judged by experts from all aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. They select award winners and finalists based on overall excellence.


For more information please





Buy Links:  











Author Biography:

Born in a British colony in Africa, ARABELLA BARBOUR has lived on five continents and traveled the world. She lives in North Carolina with her neurotic, yet adorable adopted dog husband, Oliver, who loves the ladies, hogs the bed, and snores enthusiastically.



Social Media Links:












Want to leave a comment? All you have to do is click below and comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s