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605 of 630 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2000
After almost 15 years of being married to an "Anger Addict" (as described in the book), I went to my doctor begging for a prescription for Prozac. After careful and wise probing, she gave me the prescription, but also strongly suggested I read this book. I read it on Monday, I filed for divorce on Friday. Finally, after years of trying EVERYTHING I understood why I was exhausted, hopeless, and no closer to the solution than the day I got married. This book helped me realize: It wasn't all my fault. I could never be perfect enough to stop the verbal "rages". He would have to be willing to seek counseling/therapy in order for the verbal abuse to stop (which he consistently refused to do). And, most importantly, it let me know that the verbal abuse really was doing serious, long-term damage to me as a person. I always thought if he would just "hit me" then I could leave. I learned he'd been "hitting me" (so to speak) for years. If you even THINK you might be in a verbally abusive relationship (it's not always obvious when you're in the middle of it), I highly recommend you read this book. I finally have a peaceful, content life: due in part to the courage and understanding I gained from reading it. And I didn't have to use that Prozac prescription!
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285 of 299 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 21, 2005
buy this book! I was miserable, angry, depressed, anxious and withdrawn from the closest person in my life, my mother, and I wasted five years of my life for a monster. I gave up friends, my Mom and very nearly my life for this man. Finally I couldn't stand it any more and came on Amazon and found this book, which I read avidly, and which helped me chart my course for calmer seas. After living with criticism ranging from "You're worse than Viet Nam" to (said in a malicious, mocking tone) "Everyone loves you, everyone thinks you're wonderful, but I'm your only friend, I tell you the TRUTH" I finally started thinking; Wait a minute...I'm not a bad person, I love him, I always try to help him, make him feel better, do things for him, etc etc, then, after reading the book I realized, (BIG epiphany) that it was he who was wrong, not I. NOTHING I could do or say would make one whit of difference; this was not about the minutiae he delighted in finding, it was about POWER and ABUSE. This book, reading about other women just like me, and abusers just like him, was a revelation that motivated me to end my personal hell, and none too soon, because a few months after the End of the Relationship, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 uterine cancer. Yes, I do attribute part of this to the incredible misery and terror I lived in for so long; "disease" is, literally, a "lack of ease", and I had that in spades. I wrote in my personal journal and wrote and wrote and wrote and finally wrote my way out of his life forever. I lost the most precious thing of all, irrreplaceable, and that is TIME; my mother passed away last July and how bitterly I regret those lost years pining away for this Frankenstein when I could have been spending it with my Mom. Please, if you feel bad about your own relationship in any way, buy this book, it may save your life and a lot of grief in the process. Hindsight is always 20/20, sharpen your vision and your perceptions about your relationship NOW before you suffer any more...NOTHING is worth that kind of suffering!
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203 of 212 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 1999
Being the person I am, and desperately wanting to save my relationship with the man I loved, I picked up this book to find out how I could change myself after my husband accused me of being verbally abusive. What I found out was that *I* was actually the victim of a severe verbal abuser. EVERY aspect of verbal abuse described in this book has been used on me by this man, and I thought that I was the one with the problem - he convinced me of that - it's part of the abuse, as you will be able to understand after reading this book. I left him, and life has never been better for me. I have a long way to go in recovery emotionally, physically, and financially, but by eliminating the abuse from my life, I finally have the confidence I need to heal. Reading this book saved my spirit, and sincerely saved my life. Verbal abusers steal everything important from you...do not let them...read this book and learn how to save yourself
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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 1997
I was in a relationship for 3 years that during the entire time, I was confused as to why I felt the way I did even though 'he' never did anything and I was 'just imagining things'. Well, my friends gave me this book and I was stunned. I thought verbal abuse was very obvious to the victim--like yelling or sarcastic remarks. Well it's not and unfortunately I experienced all forms of it in my relationship. It can be subtle abuse or outright. It can make you feel like you're insane. Normal conversation can erupt into the verbal abuser accusing you of meaning something you never meant, then he denies ever getting mad, you repeat what he first said and he denies ever saying and says you're just picking a fight, etc. If this has ever happened then read this book--it will save your sanity. I cannot begin to describe how helpful this book has been. Verbal abuse comes in many forms--and the abuser will always deny they did anything wrong and will blame you for everything. Don't be conned anymore by the abuser into putting up with their abuse because 'it's your problem and you need to work on yourself'. It's not true--they have the big problem, you need to recognize it, protect yourself, and if it's bad enough leave the relationship. There is an entire chapter on how to respond to the different forms of abuse. So if it's your mother you can finally stand up without giving in to the guilt. I have recommended this book to many, many people. I wish I had read this years ago so I would have never put up with what I did. If you can recognize it, you can stay away from it. This will expain what is going on with them--finally someone who explains what is happening! I think this should be required reading in highschool so everyone can stay clear from these people. Get it! Now
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2001
I grew up with a raging narcissistic and verbally abusive father. At 23, I married the same type of woman. At 42 I was in a relationship with the same type of woman again. Being very analytical, I tried to understand why I could not make it work and thought it was my fault. After a few years of group therapy I still did not have the answers. Then, I read this book! WOW! Even though it was written from a womans perspective about how they are abused by men, it clearly explained the feelings and motivations associated with verbal abuse. Finally after years, I was able to walk away knowing she was the verbal abuser, not me. When you know how, and for what reasons, a person is verbal abusive, you can then identify that type of person and easily avoid them. This book was so helpful to me that I bought a number of them and gave them to people I thought might have a similar problem. This book is a lifesaver. Thank you Patricia Evans, your insite into the verbal abuser is incredible. Buy the book and set yourself free! I did.
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83 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2000
I have been married for 14 years and have often struggled greatly with understanding the dynamics of my relationship - why this hollow, detached feeling ? why the almost constant hurt and confusion?
I happened upon this book by accident and found a great deal of the content it contained to spell my marriage out very plainly. However, as a husband and being on the end of some viscious verbal and physical abuse from my wife I found it disturbing and offensive that my gender has been labelled the one's who 'dish it out'. I can agree that as a man I am stronger and able to absorb the physical abuse much better than a woman would, but the hurt and pain that this causes along with the humiliation of the verbal abuse I believe would be comparable to that felt by a woman. A more unbiased approach would help to reach more of us in need of help.
The startegies in this book have helped me understand my wife's reality, albeit with a great deal of grief.
My marriage may well be over because of the stand that I am making towards my wife in that she cannot continue to behave in this manner towards me and in front of my children, but after reading this book I am now more confident in the knowledge that what I am standing against has nothing to do with who I am regardless of how much I am told it is my fault. I am far from perfect but even an imperfect specimen does not deserve to be treated in this way.
I found this a good starting point in getting my being back into order.
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82 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2005
I didn't think I was a victim of verbal abuse, because two of the strongest elements were a desire for control on the part of the abuser, and dependency on the part of the victim. My husband is just as willing to concede control as to exercise it, and I am a very independent person who would frankly be just fine if he walked out tomorrow. I have chosen to stay in this marriage because of current circumstances with our children. However, I was in a situation where my spirit was dying day by day as a result of a defeating communication pattern in our marriage.

Patricia Evans describes two "realities" in which partners enter into conversations, largely driven by cultural upbringing, that defined exactly what causes the communication problem between my husband and I. I was able to underline descriptions on almost every page that are exactly the conversations and resulting cognitive responses on my part that are causing my death of spirit. And she provides real coping responses to those situations as they arise that I could apply immediately.

As other reviewers commented, I was just about to go on meds due to my inability to cope with my situation. I finally have my first practical tool to deal with the underlying cause - three counselors were unable to help us. Most significant is the realization that my husband and I are truly coming into conversations from two different worlds, that the situation is not my fault, and that I am not insane in perceiving what is happening as irrational - I can finally recognize what's happening and respond to it in a manner that maintains my dignity and self-worth.

My situation is one that does not require immediate walking out. I don't know if we'll be able to save the marriage for the long-term, but I am better equipped to assess my situation on an ongoing basis. I couldn't be more thankful for this book.
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 1999
I have experienced the confusion, self doubt, hurt and almost every one of the types of verbal abuse listed in the book. I am SICK of being lied to by abusers who were taught to abuse at their father's knee....then they blame it on you! I am so relieved to find out that no matter how hard I try, I will never talk, act or think "right" enough to please this sick man who only seeks for power and control over me. His lies are exposed with this book. His powerlessness and fear of his own feelings are his problems, not mine any more. I will NEVER take his abuse again. The more I defend myself and speak the truth, the more abusive he becomes. He says I have a "mouth" and am the "bitch", but they are really his defects. I have filed for divorce and will NEVER try to have a discussion or healthy interaction with this crazymaking male again. Thank you Patricia Evans for being a light in the darkness. I will NEVER get involved with an abusive man again. I am committed to believing in my perceptions and feelings again. No more knife in the stomach feelings from him threatening to hurt or leave me. No more believing his twisted lies. No more trying to be mutual with an anti-mutuality, antisocial, destroyer and controller. Everything he says to me is merely his projection of his own issues and hang ups onto me. I refuse to accept it. After you have been abused for so long, it destroys any love and trust there once was. His "nice guy" act that he puts on for his parents, his children and everyone else in the world, which was what initially attracted me to him, is NOT what I live with at home. He is his worst self at home behind closed doors. I want to tell everyone the truth that he is abusive, not a "nice guy" at all and never cover up for his tortureous meanness again. I have been so manipulated, controlled and lied to. Thank you again Patricia for giving me the power and the information to free myself from this hell! I feel sorry for his next victim who believes his "nice guy" act. He admitted, "Who has the energy to keep up that kind of a facade?" two months after the wedding, when he made a decision to be withholding and countering instead of empathetic when I tried to share something with him. I have been trying to get someone who isn't interested in loving, understanding and being mutually involved in the realtionship to care instead of control and abuse. What a waste of my time. This book has empowered me and set me free! He almost completely destroyed my spirit, self belief and self esteem. Rather than try to extrapolate love, from an emotionally deal,unavailable person, I am focusing on the hurt and anger I feel at how abusively I have been treated. Good bye abuser! There are so many good qualities about me that I need to remember and honor, and so much love, warmth, caring and understanding I have to give - first to myself so I can heal my still bleeding wounds. I send my love and concern to all women everywhere who have suffered this abuse. It's not right and we shouldn't put up with it. There is no justification for it - EVER. Let's stop loving, serving and enabling these men who hurt us. It's supposed to be about LOVE, not hurt. I still believe there is a man out there who is healthy, who knows how to love and who won't treat me this way. I pray we will find each other some day.
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67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2000
I am a pastor and discovered this book when I was counseling a parishioner who was in a terrible marriage. It changed her life; she left him, got divorced, moved to a new town, and is now remarried and, as she puts it, "The happiest I've ever been." I DO NOT find the book anti-male, as one reviewer suggests. I think it merely recognizes that the vast majority of abuse is male on female. One of the wonderful things about the book is that it includes a descriptive checklist: Is this, or this, or this, for example, true of your relationship. My experience is that many women in verbally abusive relationships don't know there's anything wrong happening. This book allows them to name a problem they've FELT but not had a name for. Since that first parishioner, I've given this book to innumerable women (and one man). The person has ALWAYS thanked me profusely, and told me, "It changed my life."
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2005
Two days ago this book arrived on my doorstep and that night I skimmed it and read some large passages from Chapters 1 & 2. I identified so strongly with the description of Reality I & II, and could see the contrasts between my partner and myself, the lack of mutuality and goodwill from him, the destruction of intimacy ..... It seems ridiculous to say this, but the concept that I'm not a horrible or unreasonable person, ie pointing out that the accusations the perpetrator hurls at me are not valid, was a revelation. He had managed to make me feel so bad, he'd ground me down so I responded to accusations that I knew deep down weren't true, as if they were true.

Then I read the bit about techniques to handle this. Well, last night he phoned me and I can tell you it was an eye opener. I could see how much abuse was really going on, so much of it I'd never seen for what it was. So instead of my usual reaction of desperately explaining myself I used some of the responses given in the book. I had to go to the extent of saying emphatically "Don't talk to me like that!" Wanna know the reaction? He went totally ballistic, he absolutely couldn't bear hearing me stand up to him, he began hurling abuse, swearing and screaming down the phone, and then of all things told me (or rather screamed and shouted at me in a wild rage) he had to end our relationship so he could "get some sanity"!! It was the most appalling display of someone so out of control and talking absolute rubbish and crap. I am hurt, very hurt, and sad that someone I've loved for many years has been prepared to end it like that in a barrage of abuse, however at the same time when it happened I was in some way thrilled. I can't explain this other than to say that he went out of the relationship as he lived it, and he will now have to live with that memory forever. Also for me I could see so starkly what was happening and realised even more I needed to leave a man who I thought was damaging me before I read the book anyway, for all sorts of other reasons. This book has made it so much easier for me to get away from a relationship I had been agonising over for a long time, and one where I had taken him back on many occasions after abusive behaviour.

As for those who criticise the fact that this book is from a female perspective,and the way the data was collected, I have nothing but contempt for that view. More than 98% of domestic violence is perpetrated by men on women. Isn't that a good enough reason for the authors perspective? If not, what about the fact that to this day there are still few countries or states in countries of the western world that have a zero tolerance policy on domestic violence toward women. We've been working on this issue politically for decades and still today women are getting bashed in their droves. I also think, that if you are one of the rare men to be serially abused by your female partner, or of any other sexuality in a relationship, this book is still relevant as it defines mature realities and relationships in a very useful way. From this I could see clearly that my relationship never had a hope from the start because of his fundamentally flawed standpoint.

Well, all of the above for what was only to be a quick review, seeing as I have read only a small proportion of the book! I'll get back to ya when I've finished it.

PS In view of the reaction I received from my partner (which I point out was over the phone) when I used the techniques and stood up to him, I suggest caution to any woman who is in fear of physical abuse, or who has already been physically abused by that person. If you want to try out the techniques with someone like this, either do it on a phone call, or introduce them gradually at times when you have better access to help or to others nearby.
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