Top positive review
71 people found this helpful
One of the wisest books I've ever read....
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.