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Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People Who Try to Control You Paperback – February 1, 2003

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Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People Who Try to Control You + The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Expanded Third Edition: How to recognize it and how to respond + The Verbally Abusive Man - Can He Change?: A Woman's Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media; Third Edition edition (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158062569X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580625692
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

An interpersonal communications specialist, Evans (The Verbally Abusive Relationship) has written a timely book that not only helps readers free themselves from controlling types but also seeks to explain the occurrence of verbal abuse, battering, stalking, harassment, hate crimes, gang violence, tyranny, terrorism, and territorial invasion. What she calls a "compelling force" overcomes these controllers; because they sense the overwhelming "psychic pain, distress, and discord permeating the world," they must impose a twisted kind of order on their friends, lovers, and acquaintances. Often, she continues, people with good intentions end up doing the opposite of what they would need to do to realize a goal or fulfill a need. This is a compelling work, but it belongs in the hands of counselors; lay readers who feel controlled will find it worthwhile but hard going. Public and academic libraries with special collections on relationships should also strongly consider. Susan E. Burdick, MLS, Reading, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"...the most important thing is to realize that you don't deserve to be treated that way."-Oprah Winfrey (advance praise for Controlling People); "A groundbreaking new book."-Newsweek

Customer Reviews

The book is very insightful and easy to understand.
Pamela J. Ehmig
This book will definitely help you understand what's underneath the behavior and how to influence the controller to better behavior.
Gail A. Olson
Patricia Evan's latest book, Controlling People, will change lives.
John Haroldson, Esq.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

539 of 558 people found the following review helpful By V. Cleveland on August 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Patrician Evans has developed a wonderful and plausible theory as to why certain people are compelled to control others.
All people have four internal functions available to them to use as internal guidance: their ability to think, their emotions, their physical sensations and their intuition.
Controlling people (CPs) have suffered some kind of emotional or physical trauma as children or adults that has caused them, as a defense, to shut down one or more of the first three functions. Oftentimes, the only function they use is their thinking function. This leaves them feeling empty inside. And it's a tough way to live.
For this reason, they are attracted to "four functioning" people. Once they feel secure with another person, they project their idea of a perfect person into the other person. The don't see the person for who she/he really is.
People can tell when they're in the presence of a CP because they will be defined by the CP (for example, "you're not hungry!") as if the CP can know another person's internal reality. They will not be listened to, the conversation will frequently make no sense and the CP will most likely be verbally abusive.
CPs see others much as children see their teddy bears: the perfect friend who knows exactly what the CP is thinking, who never talks backs or disagrees and who has no separate needs of their own.
CPs build their sense of sense of self from the outside in--not the inside out as is normal. Their personalities are constructs created by themselves to win the love and admiration they seek. They don't come from a place of deep authenticity. They have no sense of themselves. They need to anchor inside another person. Without that anchor in another, they feel lost and adrift, almost as if they are going to die.
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183 of 192 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Mccullough on January 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a psychotherapist in San Francisco, I am delighted to recommend this book to my clients. Evans has a gift for presenting profound insights in a simple and clear manner that everyone can both understand and employ. As in her other two books ("The Verbally Abusive Relationship" and "Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak Out"), she identifies and explains a problem that is right under our noses. Evans helps the reader learn how to break free from someone who is pretending to know how he/she thinks and feels. And, rather than demonizing controllers, she explains with compassion their desparate need to connect and to experience closeness. It is quite possible that at least some people who try to control us are simply unskilled in how to connect in which case this book is a powerful educational tool. And, in helping one escape the backward connecting attempts of controllers, the book guides controllers with deeper psychological problems toward getting the professional help they need. In either case, Evans encourages us to insist on being seen authentically, i.e. as one reveals him/herself to another, not as the "pretend self" controllers try to impose on us. This book is for anyone who wants to live with their eyes open. As in her other writings, Evans has given us a book about clarity and freedom.
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157 of 171 people found the following review helpful By Karen Elizabeth on October 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is awesome. It offers understanding where no one else does. I truly believe it is new groundbreaking insight into the world of the Controlling Person. I say this with confidence because I, like the reviewer "Alliasus" here, have also read stacks and stacks of psychology and self help books in all-out effort to understand my Controlling Person husband of 18 years.
En route, I gained lots of helpful insight, but, NO insight, at all, as to why he is the way he is. On this basis I can say I don't believe this information existed until Patricia Evans wrote this book. I think this is all-new insight, and counselors and lay people alike really need to read it!
I think when people begin to discover this book there will be no stopping it. Because there are legion of us out here who live in relationships that make no sense. Our partners act awful and senselessly, but yet, we know in our hearts they are not evil at heart, and our hope in humankind says there must be some sense to this? Well, there is. Patricia Evans finally makes sense of it in this book.
What a relief, to have the pressing mystery solved. When you are a woman and this is your marriage, the mystery rather takes over your whole life. It is a major epiphany to finally get the light of understanding. Therefore, I understand exactly why yet another well-read reviewer here says that this book is second only to the Bible. I know just what she means. The Bible is the most important book in my life too. I know I will always have this book (Controlling People) right up there on my list of most important books I have ever read in my life. Bible-Lovers: this doesn't mean Patricia Evans has Bible quotes in here. There are none.
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98 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Cymry on May 1, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So many books on "verbal abuse" (including some of Evans' previous works) attempt to instruct their readers in the fine art of defensive verbal comebacks, one-liners and linguistic turnarounds on the assumption that what is said is what's happening, and if only a person can formulate an effective reply, that person can defend him- or herself from verbal attacks.
But while some of these books remain useful, they ultimately failed in their attempts precisely because the initial assumption was wrong. The essence of verbal abuse is not in the words, or even in how they are said, but in the intention to control.
Controlling verbal behaviors often do not fit any previous definitions of "verbal abuse". "Have a nice day," for example, can be an attempt at control, depending on its context and intention. (For a stark example, see the case of Beth Friedman's accuser in the "Betrayal of Trust" episode of "The System" on CourtTV, 2003.)
The differentiation of controlling behaviors from old concepts of verbal abuse is the central insight, theme and focus of "Controlling People" -- an ironic double-entendre. It is, as well, a major step forward in the literature on this subject.
Evens' analysis of how controllers get to be that way is at once non-comprehensive and brilliant. It's non-comprehensive in the sense that there are surely other scenarios that could produce the same pattern of behaviors she describes.
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More About the Author

Patricia Evans is the bestselling author of five books, including The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak Out, Controlling People, The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change? and Victory Over Verbal Abuse. She has appeared on Oprah, CNN, national radio, and in Newsweek and O, The Oprah Magazine. She has spoken to groups throughout the US, Canada, Madrid at the "Commission for the Investigation of Violence Against Women" and in five cities in Australia. Patricia lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and can be reached via her website at