Customer Reviews: Love Without Hurt: Turn Your Resentful, Angry, or Emotionally Abusive Relationship Into a Compassionate, Loving One [LOVE W/O HURT]
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on February 10, 2013
I can certainly understand why this book is not popular with everyone. It is comforting to believe that we are victims of other people's abuse, and that it is 100% THEIR responsibility to change (that is exactly what most books on this subject will tell you). However, this book will pull that rug right out from under you, and not everyone is ready to give up their victim identity quite yet.

I don't think that Dr. Stosny is making excuses for anyone, or condoning abuse at all. What he is doing is helping us learn how to see deeply into the problem, and to learn how to be more compassionate towards ourselves, and the other person. I think that in the long run, compassionate is much more powerful than holding onto a victim identity.

I say this as someone who grew up with an abusive father. No, I take that back. I grew up with a wounded, hurt father. None of the other books on abuse really helped me understand what was behind my father's behavior or to look at my own behavior. Stosny talks about the core pain that drives abusers, and the way they really feel underneath the hard exterior they project on the world. I don't have to believe this, I simply have to look inside myself to see how this is true. I am not an abuser because I do not have the power to be one. But many of these same emotions are inside me.

By seeing the inter-connectedness that we all share as human beings, we can really begin to heal. This book is honest, practical and points the way to some genuine solutions to some of our most difficult problems. I highly, highly recommend it. But be prepared to have your comfort taken from you, and be prepared to be challenged to look at your own lack of compassion.
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on July 12, 2011
The Stosny book can't be compared to anything else I've read because it has something all other books lack: true insights, and solutions. Abuser programs have abysmally low success rates. I asked our local abuser program "Why do you do this with it almost never succeeds?" Because these men won't change without help and low success is better than no success, they said. It's true that most abusive men, without help, worsen.

Stosny explains why abuser programs don't work, and why almost no men will go into them unless court-ordered.

I have read many books on abusive relationships. The Patricia Evans books described the dynamic accurately from the woman's point of view. They lacked in-depth understanding of why a man does something so unacceptable and destructive, and they lacked solutions. Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft was the clearest and most lucid book I had read, but it too lacks solutions. Stosny's methods, which are grounded in solid science and his long experience, including experience with court-ordered abusers, truly offer a way out. No other book has the depth of insight or the effectiveness this book has.
Stosny's Boot Camp, a three-day workshop teaching how to end abuse and save a realationship is much easier to assimilate than the book, I recommend that if you are suffering. This training can prevent abuse and prevent divorce in the vast majority of cases. I think it would prevent road rage, child abuse, suicide, and murder, which spring from a common root. I just wish it were available in more forms (for instance, as pre-marital counseling and pre-parenting counseling) and available to everyone who needs it. Long live Dr. Stosny, he saved our marriage and I will be grateful to him as long as I live. I wish I could give this ten stars.
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on May 2, 2011
For me, the most helpful thing about this book was the focus on resentment. It can build over time to the point that it can be difficult to tell who is the 'abuser' and who is the 'victim.' That's why I think it's important to read the whole book and apply it all to yourself. You'll probably see yourself in both 'roles.' Yes, the book focuses differently on men vs. women. Let's face it, the culture in which most of us were raised hasn't changed all that much over the last couple of generations, in spite of what we all think. In fact, those of us whose parents split during the 'divorce generation' of the 70's & 80's may find a lot to identify with when Stosny talks about fear of abandonment and issues of trust and attachment in marital/committed relationships. The idea of getting back in touch with your own core values is the absolute key. It's a long-term process of retraining your responses, changing the way you see your partner, and most importantly, the way you see yourself. In no way does this book excuse abuse. In fact, Stosny point-blank tells the 'abuser' that the 'victim' may never forgive, and indeed doesn't owe it to the 'abuser.' If (not when - he gives no guarantees) a relationship is on the road to recovery, he covers relapses, recriminations, starting the process over, re-establishment of trust, etc., as a _minimum_ several-months-long process. As to the reviewer who was upset over the descriptions of physiological reactions, that was something that really made me feel this book was for me -- yes, I felt and feel those reactions. Nobody should expect one book to work for every relationship or individual. There are issues that are personal to me that aren't covered here, either, but there is enough there to make a start. Certainly, the anger and resentment and pain that build up in a deteriorating relationship (whether or not there is physical abuse or even severe emotional abuse) will poison all parties involved if nothing is done. I don't know how anyone could argue with the idea of increasing the compassion one shows to all (including the self), and solution-focused problem-solving as opposed to blame-finding. How would that be different if one is not married, gay or not a parent? I don't know if my partner will want to read this at all, but I am already finding a lot of benefit by changing how I react, and I'm working on this with our children, too.
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on November 23, 2013
Thank you Dr. Stosny for transforming the pain of your childhood abuse, into a system that provides hope and produces change for all of us. I've read many books over my years as a Couples Therapist, and until I read 'Love Without Hurt," only 3 other books had impacted me in a way that changed my life. I recommend your book to all of my couples, even if they are not actively engaging in various forms of abuse. You have so beautifully and clearly explained a person's core values/motivations, how to set appropriate boundaries to match those core values, how to recognize the 5 signals when you move away from your core, and how compassion will bring you back to center and therefore, back into your power. You made it clear that anyone can be lured into the victim/aggressor dance, and that it is important to move out of unconscious reactivity, and into conscious intentionality. I ask my clients to buy their own book and use it as a journal--complete the exercises in the book and personalize their experience. And it is important to read both sections. I could see elements of myself that needed "adjustment" after reading each section.

Ralph Butcher, Imago Couples Therapist, San Ramon, CA
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on June 3, 2015
One of the best books I have read to date regarding relationships. Really makes you think about what the motives are behind some of the toxic actions that influence relationships. I highly recommend this to anyone regardless of the state of your relationship.
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on October 2, 2014
This book is AMAZING for anyone who feels like they are "walking on eggshells". There is recovery possible after verbal and emotional abuse and this book can help; it explains why traditional counseling fails in these situations. Highly recommend
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on March 15, 2014
Stosny is my hero! 20 years of Domestic Violence Counseling entered a whole new focus after reading his book. I now include his 12 week workshop on Compassion Power in my 52 week program. Not all perpetrators of domestic violence are psychopaths and those who are not will get it.
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on November 21, 2011
This book contains the most practical advice I've ever seen on this topic. It puts into print what all of us in these relationships sense but have trouble believing - IT'S NOT OUR FAULT! And there are options, you just have to have the courage to take them.
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on March 2, 2014
Honest, straight forward, hopeful. Terrific strategy and very clearly outlined. If verbal abuse is affecting your life, even and especially those who are inflicting the abuse, this is an eye opener. You can overcome this and learn to manage your emotions. Behavioral therapists are also equipped to help you identify your emotions and learn the process of managing emotions. Do not give up!! Get help. You can be a loving, kind hearted person - and it starts internally.
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on April 4, 2012
Highly recommended.Complexity of the feelings and emotions that lead to the ruined lives and relationships explained in the plain English. Advice is solid, definitely worth reading.
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