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4.4 out of 5 stars26
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67 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2006
I'm pretty sceptical about American self help books, but the reader reviews looked good so on impulse I bought. I am so pleased I did. As I expected I recognised my ex, but unexpectedly also recognised myself which has made me look again at my current relationship. Even better, I tried using her 'emotional language' on my teenage children with great results - peace and goodwill reign at home. The book is non-judgemental and recognises that all human behaviour is on a sliding scale with no one being perfect. There are lots of techniques to help people communicate better; some are a bit cringe-making, but at least she recognises that. Overall, an interesting and easy - but not simplistic - read that I've already found really useful, which is why it gets 5 stars.
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80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 1998
Read 'em all - Women Who Love Too Much, Men Who Hate Women & the Women Who Love Them, Love Addictions, etc. - but Bryn Collins' book is the end-all, be-all for identifying, avoiding, and healing from emotionally devastating "relationships." Without distracting psychobabble, Collins nails emotional unavailability, in all its forms, precisely on the head. Book contains clear examples, explanations, instructions - and practical (and do-able) solutions, with Bombeck-like wit and insights. Emotional Unavailability is the advice your mother and all your friends would have given you, if only they'd been blessed with Bryn Collins' ability to spark understanding and activate your light bulb. Best book EVER for emotionally-starved lovers past and present, this book should be required reading for entering into an intimate relationship.
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69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2005
If you seem to be doing all the work in your relationship for very little return then this book has your name on it! It made me realise that I was literally banging my head against a brick wall and in the process feeling that the reason I was so frustrated and angry was because I was such a "bad" person! At last a book that says I am not going mad and there is hope for the future. Brilliant book, clearly written with a good checklist for spotting potential future emotionally unavailable partners. If every mother bought this book for her daughter the world would be a happier place!
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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2004
This book is completely unputdownable!! Collins' understanding of emotional unavailability in its various forms, its' devastating effects on relationships, and helpful chapters on how to avoid it, are spot on. If you are in a relationship that isn't working yet you can't put your finger on precisely why, you could do a lot worse than give this book a whirl. I bought it to help me understand my emotionally unavailable partner, and was shocked to find not only him but also myself inside it. I only wish I'd discovered it 20 years ago!
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 1998
Bryn Collins' book makes talking from emotions and listening to how other people talk about feelings seem so easy. It's not just the examples of the various kinds of unavailable people - been there, married them - but it's also how she made me understand that how people talk about their feelings is how they feel their feelings and that I don't have to fix 'em because I didn't break 'em, which I've spent much too much time in my life doing. Her book came into my life just in time for me not to reject the right guy because he wasn't "exciting" enough. This is a great book for everyone.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2008
Fundamentally, this is an interesting and useful book, because it provides a very descriptive overview of the personality types that are emotionally unavailable. My problem with it, however, is that there are better books on this subject available.

When we encounter relationship issues that seem as inexplicable as they are frustrating, we need help in understanding the true nature of the problem. Often, we also need to see that a partner's dysfunctional behaviour may have nothing to do with us. So this book does a good job of explaining what you're up against. In that sense, it will make many people feel a lot better and stop them blaming themselves for something that isn't their fault.

While many, if not all, of the personality types listed exist in some form or another, the reality is that you cannot categorize everyone who exhibits certain character flaws into a set range of groups. It is too simplistic. In the final analysis, this classification only helps you understand the problems rather than providing effective strategies for dealing with them.

What you may really need is help on is evaluating the seriousness of the flaws we are exposed to. What often motivates people us to read books such as this is the need to determine whether a relationship can be salvaged or whether, for our own sake, we need to cut and run. The danger of the generalised profiles in this book is that they can lead us to form an exaggerated perception of flaws we encounter, or, conversely, to normalise behaviour that is totally unacceptable. So, don't rely on it alone.

When we are the victims of unreasonable behaviour, we need to evaluate whether the perpetrator has one of three things:
1. A character flaw or psychosis that can relatively easily be addressed through therapy
2. A true personality disorder that may or may not be helped by sustained therapy over time
3. Serious mental illness that may never be overcome

At the end of the day, we're all human, so we're all flawed to a lesser or greater degree. So what this book fails to provide an adequate continuum of behaviours across each personality type in order to help you evaluate the extent of certain the seriousness of certain signatures behaviors.

I wish the book did more to help the reader address the problems. For instance, what are effective communication techniques to engage someone with serious issues? How should you set and maintain boundaries in such situations? What is an appropriate response to unacceptable behaviour? Another minor gripe is that this book seems aimed more at women than men. But men can equally be the victims of emotionally unavailable women.

I don't want to be too hard on this book, because it has much to offer. Above all, it could be the catalyst you need to start taking control of a difficult relationship problem instead of being a victim.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2008
I don't know about you, but being in a relationship with someone who's "emotionally unavailable" can have you wondering about your own sanity. Whenever you try to explain your feelings things somehow become twisted with the result being you end up confused and doubting your own senses. Having been with someone like this for a very long time, this book finally gave me the insight I needed to understand what was happening. I've read a few books like this, without much success, but this one I couldn't put down. I very much recommend it as it really is on your side and will help you clear your mind.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 1998
Describing emotional unavailability is like trying to describe the wind - but Bryn Collins does it beautifully and precisely. She not only knows the reader's mind, she knows the reader's heart. This book is lifesaving serum for anyone who has suffered and tried to come to grips with the poisonous bite of emotional unavailability in a relationship. Bryn Collins should get a standing ovation for the lives she will change with this book.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2006
I have just completed reading this book as part of a research project in communication. It stands as a beacon amongst what now appears like a mass of mediocrity. Now, as I approach my mid-fifties - I can identify so much within this book - where I suffered whilst emotionally awakening during my thirties - where those closest to me have/are still suffering with their isolation - where I am still experiencing difficulties in being truly there for those close to me (and myself). It is very easy to read and will captivate your interest from cover-to-cover.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2008
I believe one of the other reviewers referred to this book as one of those "american self help books." I am cautious with such books mostly since despite being a native english speaker, I tend to notice signficant cultural differences when reading them (as a European). This can tend to make the reading experience not so satisfying.

With this book I did notice such differences in the earlier"case study" chapters. However, I stuck with it since I figured the book didnt receive such positive reviews from others without grounds. The later chapters I found to be very interesting, eye opening, and most importantly, helpful. The chapters on emotional location and tools for change were great. I found myself talking to my peers about this book. If you find the content pages of the book inviting and are searching for a book which may suggest ways to change existing habits of communication (which may not be functioning very well) then I fully recommend it.
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