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924 of 943 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST-READ if you are or were ever abused by your partner.
This book is by far the best I've read on angry and controlling men, and how to deal with them. Controlling and abusive behavior can be quite confusing as well as infuriating, as abusers tend to use a large repertoire of manipulative tactics such as lying, projection, blackmail, denying being angry, and putting on a "Mr. Wonderful" act to the outside world, etc. "Why...
Published on February 24, 2005 by Groovy Vegan

133 of 164 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but more than worth reading
I'm a lawyer working in the Child Dependency area of family law. I don't hesitate to recommend this book to my female clients who are trying to make sense out of relationships in which they were abused. The book's main strength -- and its a considerable one -- is that it clearly and, as far as I can tell, accurately describes specific abusive behaviors and behavior...
Published on May 25, 2006 by M. Morris

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113 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!, October 9, 2005
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For the past year, this book has been like a bible for me. After 12 years of misery and confusion with my ex, this book answered why, as the title suggests.

But what has prompted me to review this book today is that it helped me spot a controlling man and avoid getting into a relationship with him. I just broke it off with him this morning!! I am ABSOLUTELY sure that if I not had read this book (over and over again), I would not have spotted the warning signs that Bancroft provides in this book. The book has made me very sensitive to controlling behavior, and I was able to see that this guy was controlling almost immediately--after only one date and a week's worth of email. Below, I describe what happened and some of the 4 warning signs I spotted, if you're interested.

On the first, 3-hour date, he talked and talked, didn't ask me ONE question (except if I wanted to go out again), and constantly changed the topic back to him. I initially assumed he was nervous. But, one warning sign Bancroft points out in the book is that abusive men are SELF-CENTERED, and the book exactly described this guy's behavior. Plus, when I looked back at my initial email communication with him (we met online), I noticed that he wrote tons about himself, asked me only two questions, and rarely commented on what I wrote.

Then, after the first date, the guy began emailing me twice a day. He started calling me beautiful and sweetie. He did this after I told him I wanted to take things slow. (I told him this because he attempted to plan two dates on our first meeting-one at his home.) So, this guy raised another red flag pointed out in the book: HE GETS SERIOUS TOO QUICKLY ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP.

Also, the guy told me on the first date that he likes to date only one person at a time. It was like he implied that he wanted me to do the same. I was just getting to know him! He also later said he had this "weird problem with having multiple contacts with different people at the same time," and that he is "highly monogamous." Also, one day early in our email communication, he jokingly asked me whether I was checking out other guys online. Initially, this "highly monogamous" attitude may seem commendable. However, this attitude is actually another red flag pointed out by Bancroft: HE IS POSSESSIVE.

Finally, the last red flag this guy raised was that HE IS DISRESPECTFUL TOWARD ME. Three requests I made to him were not respected.

I told him I wanted to take it slow, but he started calling me beautiful and sweetie and continued emailing me twice daily.

He asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner with his sister and parents--on our second date! (His sister came into town unexpectedly, on the same night he and I planned to go out, and we were invited to tag along with the family.) When I declined and gave my reason, he didn't respond with "OK." Rather, he wanted me to first re-explain my reason.

When I emailed him that I didn't want to continue with the relationship because it felt unbalanced (he appeared to like me more than I liked him), his response was "Wow! All I did is ask you out for a second are killing me LOL [laugh out loud]!!!!!"

One request he ignored (taking it slow), another request he questioned (going out with his family), and my last request was not taken seriously (his "LOL!!!" response to me wanting to end the relationship).

Of course, I don't know 100% that this guy is controlling and some people may think I overreacted, but I wasn't sticking around to find out. And it is not one or two of his behaviors: It was a PATTERN of behavior.

This is literally my favorite book, and I would suggest that EVERY woman read it.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wife receives Wake-Up Call!!!, October 26, 2004
I have been married for six years to a man who has become increasingly abusive--emotionally, verbally, financially, and sexually. I fell into a major depression this year, close to a nervous breakdown. I went to counseling for years and sought intervention from numerous people. My husband told me it was all "me". A social worker told me that he saw warning signs of physical violence in the relationship. I went to the bookstore and discovered Mr. Bancroft's book. It confirmed everything I feared, I am an abused wife! I am a strong, independent, professional, educated woman! How could this happen?! I don't know that yet, but it's done and I'm responding. This book has been an incredible resource for me in answering to the manipulation and control of my husband. I have left him and I am SAFE! I thank God for Lundy Bancroft and his work.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traumatic Bonding (or, This is No Love Story), January 17, 2008
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In the United States, two to four million women are physically and emotionally assaulted by their partners. At least one out of three American women will be a victim of abuse by a husband or boyfriend in her lifetime.

Author Lundy Bancroft was former co-director of Emerge, the first program specifically created for abusive men in the United States. He has worked extensively with abusive men for nearly two decades.

Bancroft outlines warning signs of an abusive man; ten abusive personality types; the role of addiction in abuse; what can and cannot be changed in abusive men; and how to get out of an abusive relationship safely.

First among 17 myths Bancroft dispels in his book is that the victim of the abuser plays any part whatsoever in the abusive behavior of her partner.

Bancroft writes: "Part of how the abuser escapes confronting himself is by convincing you that you are the cause of his behavior, or that you at least share the blame. But abuse is not the product of bad relationship dynamics, and you cannot make things better by changing your own behavior or by attempting to manage your partner better. Abuse is a problem that lies entirely within the abuser." (pg. 19)

Bancroft explains why therapy escalates abuse rather than alleviates it. "You can't manage an abuser except for brief periods. Praising him and boosting his self-opinion may buy you some time, but sooner or later he'll jump back into chewing pieces out of you. When you try to improve an abuser's feelings about himself, his problem actually tends to get worse. An abusive man expects catering, and the more positive attention he receives, the more he demands." (pg. 43)

With all this confusion in abusive relationships about what is and isn't genuine love, Bancroft offers: "Genuine love means respecting the humanity of the other person, wanting what is best for him or her, and supporting the other person's self-esteem and independence. This kind of love is incompatible with abuse and coercion." (pg.65)

Most abusers cheat on their partners; it is a large part of their sense of entitlement. Charming and flirtatious when he chooses to be, he plays his women, friends and lovers, against each other. He uses women with no regard for the effect of his behavior on them.

Bancroft lists red flags for women entering into or already in abusive relationships; we can all be abusive on occasion, but watch for ongoing patterns that will not change even when confronted about the behavior.

Bancroft advises skepticism in the victim not yet ready to leave, and describes what to watch for: "giving you some extended room to be angry about what he did, rather than telling you that you've been angry too long or trying to stuff your angry feelings back down your throat," nor will he make excuses or try to offer rationalizations for his behavior. (pg. 133)

Bancroft discusses why it is actually more difficult to leave an abusive relationship than a normal relationship that has run its course. "The longer you have been living with his cycles of intermittent abuse and kind, loving treatment, the more attached you are likely to feel to him, through a process known as traumatic bonding." (pg.134)

Recommendations are included for finding help-legal advice, support groups, therapy for the abused partner, hotlines and organizations to assist women in abusive relationships.

The book concludes with a call to action for society--to not look the other way when we see abusive behavior, to offer support to abused partners, to take a second look at the kind of behavior we encourage with the current trend to objectify women. Awareness and sensitivity to this epidemic of domestic violence (and make no mistake, emotional abuse, too, should be considered violence) can go a long way to eliminating it.

~abridged from Spring '08, The Smoking Poet
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read this book, December 22, 2002
For many years, I asked how could he do that, and is it really me? I worked on learning not to get upset with his cruel, unfeeling and manipulative behavior becasue he avowed he loved me; he said it was just something wrong with me that I could not perceive that.

If that sounds familiar at all, please read this book. There really are men who need to belittle and control you all while claiming you're the one with a problem. I lived in a marriage like that for 30 years, doubting my perceptions and sanity. Ten years after getting out of that, I am happy and know even better after reading this book, it was NOT me.
If you wonder why does he do that, you CAN be free.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't say enough about this book., September 11, 2005
This book is, without a doubt, the most useful book I've ever read in my life. I read it about two years ago, and still think back to it often. At the time, I was involved with an abusive man and stuck in the cycle of trying to figure out why he acted the way that he did, and how I could improve the relationship. Now I'm not with him anymore, and I won't say it's just because of this book, but it certainly helped. And now that I really understand the dynamics of abusive relationships, I can be confident that I won't fall for it again. Since I read the book, I have met many men who in the past I would have given a chance (well, probably a bunch of chances) and largely because of what I learned from this book, I don't and won't.

The great thing about this book is that it makes it really hard for you to stay in denial, thinking he could change, he just has a bad temper, etc. It does that because what he says makes so much sense that you don't just have to take his word for it, you can use your common sense and see that it's true. And having that knowledge is the only thing that makes it impossible to manipulate me like my ex did. It is truly amazing how transparent it all became once I read this book. The last time we spoke, he tried to manipulate me like he always did, only this time it didn't work. And so he tried every tactic he had, one right after another, like he was going down a list. It would have been kind of funny if it wasn't so evil. He finally gave up and hung up on me when I started telling him about himself.

This book is so important that I wish everyone would read it, not just people who have dealt with abusive ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? This is the only book that I recommend to people on a regular basis and the only book that I can say really had an impact on my life.

The only problem is that it's so frustrating hearing the myths presented as truths everywhere you look, on TV, other books, in conversation, everywhere. I just wish everyone would read this book.
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All of your questions will be answered with this book., February 25, 2004
By A Customer
If you are looking for a book to help explain emotional abuse, THIS IS IT. This book is unique in many ways, but perhaps the most helpful to me is when he mentions that marriage counseling will not and does not deal with is the emotional abusiveness of your partner. I am not discrediting marriage counselors, just that this is a whole new ball park, and I'm sad to say, this is the only book I've come across (and I've read a lot) that gets down to the REAL reason "why he does that". Please read this book. If this problem exists for you, you will find relief in the essence: "I could never put a name to what he's doing that makes growth in our relationship impossible. NOW I can put a name to it".
It explains in detail the many "personalities" an emotional abuser may adapt. One may apply or all may apply to the person in question. The most important aspect of this book for me, was, I now have the confidence and knowledge in an area that an abuser most definately and absolutely does not want you to know about him. This is the bible of all books tackling emotional abuse. Arm yourself with the knowledge and insight you will get from reading this book. Quite a feat, Mr. Bancroft. Thank you!
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Highly Recommended Read, March 23, 2005
This has to be one of the better books on the subject of emotional/verbal abuse. I think this book is best read after one of the Patricia Evans books. Patricia Evan's Verbally Abusive Relationships does a slightly better job of explaining exactly what verbal abuse is, but this book goes behind why the other person does this. Lundy does a fantastic job of explaining why in the world someone wants to abuse the person they are involved with.

Now, honestly, this book is written towards the female assuming the male is the abusive partner. The book explains why women are left in the lurch, and confused by a man's actions when they are emotionally/verbally abusive. Lundy is also very honest about the chances of that man changing and how you may be able to tell he is changing. He is also frank that most men do not change.

This book will completely validate the victim's feelings and let them know what their cycle of thoughts is, and the book will help you feel validated. One of the harder aspects of being in a relationship of someone that is an verbal abuser, is that the other person tries to redefine your reality. Lundy does a terrific job of explaining what the victim's thought process might be.

He takes a very analytical view of the abuser, abuse cycle, and the mentality of the persons involved with the abuser. He gives the sides of all parties involved. He also gives the victim a good idea of how to respond, and what to expect. Honestly knowing what is going on, and being aware of the situation can be enough to help a victim to get through the situation.

I liked the throroughness of the book, and what he felt were the positions of all parties involved. He goes into debt on the mindset of all parties, and helps to explain why each person does what they do in that situation. This book can be very validating for the victim, and gives them idea of what to expect in the future. This is a must read if you are interested in the subject of verbal abuse.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book explains it all., June 10, 2004
I have been in a relationship with a violent man for 20 years His family is the same way - they all feel very "entitled" and that their violence toward everyone (sometimes their wives) is justified and they were the victims who were "driven" to act this way. The abuse isn't just physical - it's emotional, mental, manipulative.....insidious. After reading countless books, this is the book that finally explains it so clearly for me. I am amazed at how Mr. Bancroft KNOWS the games, the vulgar phrases, the attitudes and more. I cry when reading it sometimes because it's as if he is writing about my husband and his family. I know that it wasn't just me, that I wasn't too sensitive or crazy. When I begin to feel weak and "guilty" about my leaving him, I just pick up the book and it helps get me back on track - moving forward with my children toward a healthier and happier life.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jerks and Manipulators Beware, June 7, 2006
This is a fantastic book. I read it, recommended it to anyone who would listen, lost the book, (I believe it was stolen and don't even mind--(education is good for you)), and I am ordering another without batting an eyelash. It was fascinating reading. A former friend had been treating me like the retarded stepchild but he seemed like the nicest dude in the world. Honey, I have seen the light. Read this book closely. You will see people in it and it will open your eyes. Oh, my God, it will have you erasing people from your address book with a glad heart. Now, I found better books for the aftermath of your hurt feelings, but for sheer recognition of rat-[...], this will make you feel like Sherlock Holmes. If you're even researching a book like this, I am so sorry, honey, but I understand. It's a shame that you just can't show your soft side in this world. I'm still nursing the knife wounds in my back. Just remember, if they're putting you through some things that have you trying to do some heavy research and soul searching, digging through your childhood, they don't give a damn about you. And you know what, you think you love them, but you don't. Loving somebody unconditionally isn't noble, it's suicide. Save that level of pure agape for your children.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the most revealing book I've ever read., November 12, 2005
This book is a MUST for anyone who thinks they may be married to an abusive or controlling man! After a long term marriage my confidence in my own judgement was spent. I just couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. This book helped me realize how my ex had selfishly and intentionally manipulated my emotions and best intentions to satisfy his own desires. He had increasingly only feigned concern for me. Now I understand his moodiness, sense of entitlement and ability to hurt me without remorse.

Understanding the thinking that drove his behavior has helped tremendously. Instead of continuing to blame myself for being so stupid, and fearing letting anyone get too close, Bancroft has given me the tools to believe in myself again.

This book not only explains how someone can strip you of your self-esteem while you don't realize what is really happening, but gives tools to guide you through any future relationships. It outlines danger signs and different kinds of abusers so you can move forward with confidence.
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