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Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men Paperback – September 2, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This fascinating investigation into what makes abusive men tick is alarming, but its candid handling of a difficult subject makes it a valuable resource for professionals and victims alike. Bancroft, the former codirector of Emerge, the nation's first program for abusive men, has specialized in domestic violence for 15 years, and his understanding of his subject and audience is apparent on every page. "One of the prevalent features of life with an angry or controlling partner is that he frequently tells you what you should think and tries to get you to doubt or devalue your own perceptions and beliefs," he writes. "I would not like to see your experience with this book re-create that unhealthy dynamic. So the top point to bear in mind as you read [this book] is to listen carefully to what I am saying, but always to think for yourself." He maintains this level of sensitivity and even empathy throughout discussions on the nature of abusive thinking, how abusive men manipulate their families and the legal system and whether or not they can ever be cured. Jargon-free analysis is frequently broken up by interesting first-person accounts and boxes that distill in-depth information into simple checklists. Bancroft's book promises to be a beacon of calm and sanity for many storm-tossed families.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Bancroft, a former codirector of Emerge, the first U.S. program for abusive men, and a 15-year veteran of work with abusive men, reminds readers that each year in this country, two to four million women are assaulted by their partners and that at least one out of three American women will be a victim of violence by a husband or boyfriend at some point in her life. His valuable resource covers early warning signs, ten abusive personality types, the abusive mentality, problems with getting help from the legal system, and the long, complex process of change. After dispelling 17 myths about abusive personalities, he sheds light on the origin of the abuser's values and beliefs, which he finds to be a better explanation of abusive behavior than reference to psychological problems. Bancroft extends his approach to problematic gay and lesbian relationships as well, making the book that much more useful and empowering. This is essential reading for those in the helping professions and highly recommended for all libraries, especially those in communities with emergency shelter programs. Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Books; Reprint edition (September 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425191656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425191651
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,021 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lundy Bancroft has spent the last fifteen years of his career specializing in domestic abuse and the behavior of abusive men and is considered one of the world's experts on the subject. He is the author of The Batterer as Parent and several journal articles on abuse that have appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine and The Journal of Contemporary Psychology. The former co-director at Emerge, the nation's first program for abusive men, Bancroft now practices in Massachusetts while training various state and judicial agencies in dealing with domestic abuse situations.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,046 of 1,065 people found the following review helpful By Groovy Vegan VINE VOICE on February 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
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 Does He Do That" is exceptionally well written, carefully explaining among other things: nine types of abusers; tactics abusive men use to manipulate their partners; early warning signs of abusive relationships; myths about abusers (such as the one that alcohol consumption causes abuse); the legal system and mental health professionals; the effect of abuse on boys and girls; how some families and certain aspects of society grooms boys to be future abusers; and how to help abused women. Bancroft even describes what to look for in men's groups for abusers and how to tell if the abuser is changing for real or is just pretending to change.

Prior to writing this book, Lundy Bancroft had been in the trenches for 15 years as a counselor in an abusive men's program. As a seasoned veteran of dealing with manipulative abusive individuals, Bancroft does an outstanding job of alerting the reader to their tactics and debunking common B.S. claims they make. His stories about his clients and the clients of colleagues are fascinating and provide poignant lessons for the reader. One woman had been in couple's counseling for 6 months with her husband and finally revealed that he was abusing her. Appearing on the verge of tears, the husband told the therapist that he had been in denial about his violence and hadn't been facing how badly it was hurting his wife.
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406 of 423 people found the following review helpful By Kathy L. Owens on March 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lundy Bancroft has captured within this book the heart of one of the biggest problems being involved with abusive and controlling men - the constant and neverending struggle to understand why he can be so cruel when he swears he loves so much. It is at times a very painful read, especially when Mr. Bancroft tackles all the myths women have relied upon to rationalize and somehow justify or downplay the abuse. He has de-mystified these types of men and has explained the source of their actions and mindset with a clarity that can be as frightening as it is freeing. You will not find one excuse you've ever used to justify an abusive partner's treatment that isn't addressed in this book and shown for what it truly is. If you are, or even think you might be in an abusive relationship, or trying to recover from one, this book is an absolute must read. In fact, I would even recommend getting it in hardback; it will become your bible of liberation from the crazymaking created from being involved with an angry and controlling man.
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340 of 356 people found the following review helpful By Kerry A. Bangs on February 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I wondered "why do I CARE why he does it? It's wrong and I deserve better!" But even though my inner voice told me that, I could never really pinpoint the exact ways my husband mistreated me. He was a good man, and he truly believed he had the right to verbally beat me down the way he did. And I thought maybe he was right. He was more educated than I am, he made more money, his family had money. This book helped me give it a name, showed me that I'm not crazy and indeed have rights. It showed, with clear illustrations about other abusive men, that there are a myriad of tactics they use and anger is not their main issue. Control and being the authority on all subjects is their main objective. Being the one in charge, being the one to look good and feel good is their main goal. All the things he said to me to discredit me, to twist counseling around to fit his picture of what was "really" happening, how everything was perfect between us until I just ripped the rug out from under him and left for no reason... these are all CLASSIC tactics of an abuser, both during the relationship and after she leaves.
My counselor recommended it and finally, after lots of procrastination, I finally got it. And it makes me realize how strong I was to leave, and how lucky I was to get away. The emotional/psychological games, how I had to keep my opinions hidden and my feelings a secret just to be the fantasy girl he insisted that I be, the way he would just disregard my opinion about this and still does... it can make a girl feel so isolated, so bad about herself, and deep down...crazy! But this book showed me that not only am I NOT crazy, but that being imperfect is no reason to allow someone to do that to me. We're all imperfect, but we still all deserve better than this.
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385 of 411 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When most women ask "why does he do that," they are searching for an answer that will help them to make an abusive relationship better. This book makes it very clear that the answer to the question has nothing to do with the abusive man's partner, and everything to do with a sick and destructive need for complete control over another human being.
I have read a number of books about abuse and control, and many of them are very good at deconstructing the dynamic between a controller and his victim. The difference for me is that many of those books have been by women who treat victims. This is a book by a man who has worked with batterers. I am not disparaging the work of women (and men) who work with victims--I was once one of them. What I am saying is that, as I read this, I felt a deep sense of validation, that the "other side" of the story, which many books get at through stories with victims, isn't something imagined or theorized. Controllers do know what they are doing. They understand that it hurts. They don't want to change. And I and other victims cannot change them. An outline of the specifics of abusive and controlling men makes it very clear that the "circle of influence" for women does not extend to the abuser. It may sound cliche to say you must save yourself, but after reading the many facets of abuse and the way they surface, a victim will understand will great clarity that her precious energy must be used to care for herself and her children. And pulling back that energy, for me, has been a critical step in surviving.
And for going through the family court system, if that is what a woman chooses to do.
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