Customer Reviews: Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He'll Change
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on August 18, 1999
Women Who Love Too Much has totally changed my entire life. I have been in search of a committed relationship for years. I have ended up in abusive, degrading relationships and had no idea how or why; more importantly, how to get out of the pattern. This book literally had my name on every page. It gives real life examples of people the author has counselled. I was able to identify with every one of them. It was so easy to see what was not working for those women when I read their stories. It is always so hard to see yourself and your own mistakes. While reading the book, I was able to clearly define moments in my life when I made mistakes, and then learned what other options there were to those situations. I was able to dissect my entire life to see when and where I learned certain "ways of being" especially in intimate relationships. Ways that were addictive and I could not stop myself. I read several sections over and over until I got every last word and could apply it to my life. The book has a section at the end that teaches you steps you can take to alter current patterns to make yourself well and strong.
I have always been extremely independent, extremely successful in business, popular, beautiful, smart and I make a lot of money. None of this had anything to do with the patterns imprinted on me from childhood that had me choose men who could not love me if they really tried. It is quite ironic. I always attracted gorgeous, successful, popular men, so you would think everything was great. But they did not love themselves and many of their own issues stemming from childhood disabled them to love someone else and treat them well. These were the only types of men I sought out and did not know it. By practicing what is taught in the book and being extremely determined (it is hard work) to take care of me first and not lose myself in a relationship, I was able to turn the whole thing around. I now have the most wonderful man on the planet. We are getting engaged and plan to be married in March of 2000. I feel as though I was blessed from the heavens. He treats me with respect, always thinks of me, does not make demands and simply is my best friend. It can actually be quite scary at times. I am so used to being the one that has to give everything.
There is another very important point I would like to make. I have a 13 year old son (I am only 32). By reading the book and applying the stories to my life and what I went through as a child and how my parents and others treated me, I was able to see how I was repeating some of those patterns with my son. At first this was beyond disturbing. I could not believe that the things that hurt me so terribly when I was young, I was now repeating. The thought that my son might grow up to be one of those men that I had dated, or worse yet, take on the same behaviors I did in an addictive relationship, was horrifying. When reading the book, I also applied the same life examination to my relationship with my son. I have altered our relationship drastically and am looking forward to raising him to be a happy, healthy man that will treat women with love, affection and support. I am giving this book to all of my friends (some men) and family for Christmas. To me, it is the greatest gift you can give someone.
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I received a copy of this book from an ex-boyfriend. He said he's never done much for me before but this will make up for all of it. He told me to read it and I thought I'd glance through it quickly. I sat down and read the first and second chapters and thought that Robin Norwood wrote about me. I was shocked that she knew so much about me! I got out a highlighter and started again. It seemed that almost every other sentence was being highlighted. It was frightening. This was my life and he wasn't an alcoholic! The problem was me. That was 15 years ago. I am still buying copies because I keep having to give mine away to other dear girlfriends (and a couple of guys too). It teaches you a new way of looking at yourself and treating yourself. I thought I didn't have the time to read it, but instead I know now that I cannot afford not to read it and cannot afford not to share it with other women and men. Yes, men also love too much too, in the way that Robin defines. I read the book in two days. I could not put it down. It was so wise. You cannot change your upbringing, but you can change your future. If Robin Norwood reads this, I want to thank her so much for all that she has done for me and for my friends.
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on June 26, 1999
Do you keep hoping that if you just love him enough he'll change? Are you putting up with unacceptable behavior, just hoping he'll wake up and become that person you know he could be? If so, read this book. Perhaps you have been focusing too much on him. This book helped me understand my part in the sad relationship I was in. It made me aware of decisions I had made that got me to that state - decisions I was barely conscious (or unconscious) of making at the time. WIthout knowing it, I had operated most of my life with an assumption that I didn't deserve a relationship with an emotionally healthy man and that any man who was really healthy would not be interested in me. So I kept getting in relationships with men who had problems - problems I then tried to love them enough to fix. I thought if I just loved him enough, he would reciprocate by loving me enough. But it never worked. This one book taught me as much about myself as a year in therapy. WIth awareness came the possibility for change - and I have changed. This book was an important piece of the puzzle for me and played an important role in my becoming a much healthier, happier person.
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on February 26, 1998
After breaking up with someone whom I thought was "the one", I read this book on the suggestion of a friend. I immediately recognized in myself the same patterns described in the book: I was always "falling in love" with the men who were distant in some way, where I ended up "loving" the guy more than he loved me, always hoping that he would change. (Yes, HE was always the problem). Through reading this book in conjunction with working with a therapist, I learned how to focus on myself and my own feelings, getting to the core of the past issues which lead me to think so poorly of myself. I learned to love myself and how to wait for a man who would love, respect and appreciate me. I am now happily married to a man whom I love "just the way he is". I suggest this book to anyone who has been in unhealthy relationships and for those who keep waiting for another's indecisive (regarding committment), disrespectful or abusive behavior to change.
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on November 27, 2009
I agree that this is a very good book and it did change some of my thoughts and bring me some new thoughts too. However, I will say I need to wait and see if it will truly change my life.
I found the first half of the book too verbalizing too. I also need to mention that not every person who loves too much is coming from a family with alcoholic parent. Thus, some advices based on that do not seem to be universally valid.

The most helpful part is chapter 10, "the road to recovery". In this chapter, the advices I appreciate the most are:
1. Make your recovery a first priority.

"It requires a total commitment to yourself. This may be the first time in your life that you have regarded yourself as truly important, truly worthy of your own attention and nurturing. Also required is the willingness to continue to spend time and money to get well. If it seems wasteful, consider how much time and money you have spent try to avoid the pain either from being in our relationship or from having it end. Recovery requires that you be willing to invest at least that much in getting well. " This maybe the hardest challenge for me and for many women, we always put our family, job, etc ahead of our own personal need.

2. Stop managing and controlling him.
"It means stepping out of the role of encouraging and praising him, watching him, it means detaching. You may continue to care about him, but you don't take care of him." My understanding is to stop swirling around him as if he is the center of universe, where treat yourself as the center of your own universe. "Say and do nothing. " Stop hating, nagging or supporting or helping him, let him find out if you are the important one for him. This actually works a little for me . I stop to support him , and then he gets really angry, after a big fight, he was actually a little nicer to me.

"One of the implication of letting go of managing and controlling others is that you must relinquish the identity of `being helpful'. The identity of `being helpful ' is an ego trip. If you really want to be helpful, let go of this problem and help yourself." I still do not think being helpful was managing and controlling him, I was trying to help, but from his point of view, he may think that is the case. This book makes me understand that.

3. Learn to not get hooked into the games. .
"You respond in a way that will end the game". Do not get into meaningless fights. Save the energy and take the responsibility for your own personal growth. This is hard, I need to work even harder on this.

There are many other good points, which may be studied in many other self help books. I do think this is a good book and worth five stars even if it is not all perfect.
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on June 30, 2002
I first read this book years ago after a painful divorce. Fast forward 8 years, and here I am in the same situation yet again with a different man. When I first read this book, I did not take the information in it to heart, probably because it struck too close to home for me so I denied the truth in it. This time, with two children to raise, my recovery is absolutely essential, so I forced myself to read it and remember and deal with it. This book is absolutely on target for any woman who endured a painful, demoralizing childhood. Robin Norwood explains exactly why it affects us into adulthood (and for us it's much different than for men -- she explains this, too), why we keep choosing painful, debilitating relationships and why we can't walk away from them even when the pain is literally destroying us. I highlighted so much of this book to re-read and study later that my highlighting pen almost gave out. The book explains how we actually get addicted to pain and chaos, and why we choose the types of men we do, and why we're terrified to lose even a disastrous relationship. It also looks at how we hide the truth from ourselves and why. If you fit the description of a woman whose childhood was shredded by the pain of a highly dysfunctional family, and now you keep landing in one unhealthy relationship after another with men, this book will definitely help you, but you also must find a good therapist. You WILL heal in time, but you have to step out into the unknown and stick with it. As Robin Norwood so beautifully points out, with this type of love addiction,your future is sure to be painful no matter what. But it can either be the temporary pain associated with dealing with your problems and your subsequent recovery, or it can be the same kind of pain you've got now, magnified over years and years. Identifying your problem is the first step in solving it. This book will help you do that.
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on July 15, 2001
"Women Who Love Too Much" is a revealing examination of dysfunctional behavior performed in the name of so-called "love."
According to Norwood, "women who love too much" are characterized by low self-esteem, a need to be needed, a strong urge to change and control others, and a willingness to suffer. They respond not to being loved, but to being needed. Such women tend to be the product of emotionally unavailable parents and continue the pattern by forming relationships with emotionally unavailable, distant men. Norwood examines this behavior repeatedly, not only through portraits of women who fit these characteristics, but interestingly, through honest portraits of men who have been partners in such relationships.
Norwood's recommendations for countering this behavior include seeking help, making your own recovery the first priority in your life, finding a support group of peers who understand, developing a spiritual side through daily practice, stopping the practice of managing and controlling others, learning not to get hooked into games, courageously facing your own problems and shortcomings, cultivating whatever needs to be developed in yourself, learning how to become self-honoring, and sharing with others what you have learned. Overall, the focus is on self-development rather than seeking a solution in someone else who will love you as you think you want to be loved.
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on February 23, 2005
letting a man in your life treat you like crap and bending over backwards to make him happy? oh boy, do you need this book.. helped me understand why i seek emotionally unavailable men and then suffer for it.. taught me a few lessons on what NOT to do, raising my son.. it was also an important step in the process of selfrealization that helped me get over my ex husband cheating on me. i recommend to every woman.
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on July 29, 2006
This is the best book out there for women who feel they are trapped in an abusive or substance abuse tainted relationship. It helps you understand how you ended up in the relationship in the first place, and then helps you proceed to put YOUR life back together, and to take care of YOURSELF. Yes! It really is OK to do that. More than OK, it's mandatory. Not only for yourself, which IS your primary concern, but to be honest, your getting your act together again actually helps plant the seed for your dysfunctional drug addicted or abusive mate to maybe start making the changes in his life that must take place for him. This is a MUST READ!!!!!! If you are in one of these types of relationships this is THE BOOK to read! There are some others I recommend as well, Claudia Black's "It Will Never Happen to Me! and the book "Perfect Daughters" by John Ackerman, and also the book "Codependant No More" by Melanie Beatty. These are all MUST READS for any of you out there seeking help and guidance in respect to your various dysfuntional relationships. I just got a call from an old friend who I never expected in a million years would call me and tell me she and her husband were splitting up after years of secretly keeping from us that she was in a drug-infested and emotionally unavailable relationship. I am taking my personal copies of all of these books to her today. That's how strongly I feel. Help YOURSELF, because when you try to help him, you just make it easier for him to stay the way he is. It's the truth. HE is the ONLY person who can help himself, and he has to get to a point where he is ready to do that. It can take a really long time for some men, and some men never get there, not even for the women and children in thier lives. But, YOU CAN have a happy life. Yes....whithout him. You can, you really can, and you will be well on your way if you're willing to do some reading and take the advice of other women who have been through it. Now is the time to invest in yourself. Do it. You wont regret it! Your happiness depends on it, and maybe even your life. Read. You wont be sorry you did.
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on May 27, 2002
I am 20 years old and just came out of a very unhealthy relationship. Talking to a dear friend of mine I discovered that there might be more to why all these things happened and why I still wanted to be together with the guy in question. She recommended this book to me and now I am on the path to recovery. I must warn you though, the truth hurts, especially in these matters. I have gotten so mad at this book that I have thrown it accross the room several times. But it is helping me deal with these issues and I am glad that I have realised this now before I let myself get hurt even more. Please read this book!
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