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Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity Hardcover – November 15, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Helen Marx Books; 1st English Ed edition (November 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885586531
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885586537
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Claiming that emotionally abusive relationships are widespread in marriages, families and the workplace, French psychotherapist Hirigoyen illuminates the subtle, insidious relationship that "emotional abusers" and their "victims" evolve. While recognizing that the "clean violence" of an emotional abuserAwho as a "natural manipulator" often attracts others with a dynamic, winning styleAis hard to prove, she aims to enable those who are being abused to recognize what's going on and get help, and to alert her fellow therapists to the danger signs. Often, emotional abuse builds over a long period of time until it becomes so unbearable that victims lash out in frustration and anger, only to appear unstable and aggressive themselves. This, according to Hirigoyen, is the intent of many abusers: to systematically "destabilize" and confuse their victims (with irrational, threatening behavior that preys on the victim's fears and self-doubts), to isolate and control them and ultimately to destroy their identity. These relentless "predators" are also incapable of compassion or empathy, always blame the victim and never see their actions as wrong. Already a bestseller in France, this clearly written and compassionate book offers sensible advice (get support and leave the relationship if the abuse is personal; take legal action if it is professional), though it may not be easy to execute in every case. A smooth translation, combined with a foreword by Thomas Moore and a jacket blurb from Alice Miller, should help this book find a niche readership of thoughtful self-help readers and therapists. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Already a bestseller in France, this clearly written and compassionate book offers sensible advice…-Cornell University -- Publisher's Weekly, October 16, 2000

Hirigoyen’s book… has sold 360,000 copies and been translated into 17 languages. -Bruce Crumley -- Time Magazine, July 24, 2000

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Customer Reviews

It is very well written.
P. Gardner
STALKING THE SOUL by Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen Dr. Hirigoyen exposes the destructive and hidden phenomenon of emotional abuse in her book, Stalking the Soul.
Flora Newsom
Now that I'm almost healed, I will be getting rid of the many books I accumulated throughout my recovery but I will be keeping this one.
iloveamazon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

148 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Aalea VINE VOICE on March 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Stalking the Soul" will illuminate emotional abuse in a way that will shake you to the core.
Marie-France Hirigoyen has insight that is usually reserved for those who have walked the path. I was impressed with the depth of her knowledge of narcissism and the insidious and covert nature of the disorder.
Emotional abuse is a double-edged sword because it is so hard to prove. You'll go crazy just trying. The abuser is careful to reveal himself only to his victim while showing his false self, the one that hooked you, to everyone else. Manipulation is second nature to the emotional abuser, allowing him to slowly and methodically erode your sense of self and to murder your soul. The latter being their goal. You have become their prey, some'thing' to conquer.
I immensely appreciated and respected Marie-France Hirigoyen careful avoidance and rejection of blaming the victim. She shows in compassionate detail how it is your very strengths and talents that make you perfect prey to a narcissist, not your weakness, as so many other books on the subject will have you believe. Blaming the victim is just another layer of abuse and this author discredits that theory with a few strokes of her mighty pen. She appears to have an intimate understanding of the inner workings of a mental abuser and her knowledge flows freely from the pages directly to you. Where it is the abuser's goal to destabilize, Marie-France Hirigoyen is the friend who lovingly shakes your shoulders and shouts "It's not YOU," leading you back to sanity.
As a reminder, this book was originally written in French and the small translation difficulties should not deter you in any way.
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120 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Southern Gal on September 8, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though I am an avid reader, I have never chosen to write a review before. But this book shook me to my very core. An earlier reviewer said she could only read a certain amount of this book at a time. I had that exact same experience. I felt while reading this book as if I had existed in the middle of a psychological horror movie and was only beginning to understand the real peril in which I had been unknowingly fighting for my very survival. I found out during my marriage that my exhusband had been diagnosed with sociopathic personality traits. He had set out to destroy my reality, which he almost did. I had never had psychological problems of any kind but after months, maybe years of abuse, I contemplated suicide, and I voluntarily signed myself into a hospital for psychiatric help for three days and was diagnosed with reactive depression. After leaving that relationship, within six months I was involved with another cruel, manipulative abuser for over three years. I went to counseling and my counselor told me I was being too hard on myself. I was blaming myself and literally killing myself trying to fix what could never be fixed. I had the physical symptoms: stomach and chest pain, disorientation, self-isolation, and many more. I was holding on by a thread. I never thought it could happen to me...I am fairly bright, I have an advanced degree, and I was very successful in my career. But I so greatly underestimated the capacity for deviousness, duplicity, and intentional cruelty of fellow human beings I so loved and trusted. I see their behaviors and manipulations so clearly in this book. I also learned that some of my own personality traits, so positive in a healthy setting, made me a walking magnet for narcissisitic and passive-aggressive personalities.Read more ›
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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Finally . . a book that TRULY understands emotional abuse. Why abusers abuse, why victims take it, how outsiders respond, how & why many psychologists deal with it incorrectly, and what victims can do etc. This book should be required reading for all people involved in abuse in any way. It could return the power to the victims and render many abusers impotent(i.e., powerless). I'm going to read it again SLOWLY.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Denise-Mary on December 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
to buy this book, then don't. Check it out of your local library. I can pretty much guarantee that you will read this book cover-to-cover, non-stop, as I did. And THEN you will buy it! Why? Because you will want your very own copy to highlight, mark up, to put huge exclamation points by certain lines or paragraphs even as your tears are falling on the pages. You will want to keep this volume by your bedside, so that when you wake up in the middle of the night, weeping from dreams you cannot remember, Marie-France Hirigoyen's wisdom will bring you back to a place of safekeeping, of detachment, of rationality.

This is the most healing book I have read in decades. Perhaps I was simply ready for it. Perhaps you are not. That's okay. Read it in small sections, a page, even a paragraph at a time. Astonishingly, there are even mere SENTENCES in this book, mere one-liners, that will arrest your attention, and you'll find yourself saying, "Yes, YES, that's him/her (the emotional abuser) exactly!" As other reviewers have mentioned, one beauty of this book is that it validates YOU (us). We are not crazy for having loved, and loved well. We were not wrong to have entrusted our hearts (and souls) to others, to have shown our vulnerability and expected the same in return. The author emphasizes that it was our very strengths, NOT weaknesses, that attracted the emotional abuser to us in the first place. The abusers then feed off our energy, because they are emotionally incapable of generating such a strong life force themselves. It is our inner light they find attractive and want to appropriate; yet, after finding they cannot, because each of us must generate that inner light on our own, the abuser's only wish is to destroy or discard. No reconciliation is possible, NOR SHOULD WE WANT IT TO BE.
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