223 of 225 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enourmously helpful book on difficult subject
Many of us have experienced emotional abuse at some time or other in work, family or personal relationships without actually being aware that it was happening. Emotional abuse leaves you feeling down trodden, depressed, feeling guilty and sometimes even leaves you doubting your own sanity because the aggression is so subtle and devious that you can't pin point specific...
Published on 13 April 2001
2.0 out of 5 stars sexist
I found this book annoying mostly because it's sexist. Some of this could be down to the translation where the translator has said they have added gender specific pronouns to replace the French 'on' and that victims of abuse can be either male or female. But nearly EVERY example given represents women as victims and men as emotional abusers. It reminds me of racists who...
Published 2 months ago by J. V. White
Most Helpful First | Newest First
223 of 225 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enourmously helpful book on difficult subject,
By A Customer
This review is from: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse (Hardcover)Many of us have experienced emotional abuse at some time or other in work, family or personal relationships without actually being aware that it was happening. Emotional abuse leaves you feeling down trodden, depressed, feeling guilty and sometimes even leaves you doubting your own sanity because the aggression is so subtle and devious that you can't pin point specific episodes and therefore cannot name it. All you know is that you feel awful and unhappy. The worst thing is, that because most people do not know that emotional abuse is a documented pathology which is generated by precise behaviour mechanisms that affects many, victims usually feel an incredible loneliness and believe that it is their fault if they find themselves in this situation. This leads to a state of acute emotional confusion and depression. Emotional abuse can effectively lead to a total erosion of a person's identity
Marie France Hirigoyen treats the three cases of abuse in the workplace in the family and in personal relationships in separate chapters in a style which is easy to read and avoids complicated psycho-jargon. She also includes transcripts of testimonies: of real people who have lived real situations. In her book, Marie-France Hirigoyen explains what emotional abuse is, the mechanisms between the victim and the aggressor and how to recognise it when it happens. More importantly, perhaps, readers who have suffered emotional abuse will realise that they are not guilty, that it is not because they are weak and useless that they find themselves in such a situation and that they were not imagining the constant, but subtle aggressions they suffered on a daily basis. Although Hirigoyen talks about how to get out of it abusive relationships and how to understand why they happen, the book does not provide a miracle solution for avoiding emotional abuse or getting over it. However, reading it is certainly a fist step towards understanding why it happens and can give readers the courage they need to finally put a stop to a painful and extremely dangerous relationships that can affect physical and mental health through the accumulated stress of having to deal with constant abuse.
For me, this book enormously helpful and perhaps the best part for me was the relief I felt at reading the testimonies of other victims who had lived exactly the same experiences as me. This helped me to understand that I was not alone, that I was not guilty and allowed me to finally feel the anger which many victims have so much trouble expressing. Coupled with specialised therapy for victims, this book gave me the will to start again and to define the boundaries of what I am ready to accept and not in relationships.
If you have ever felt that something in a relationship was not quite right, if you have ever lived a situation of cold looks, unsaid reproaches, insinuating accusations and confusing arguments where you are always made out to be in the wrong without having the possibility of explaining yourself, then it is probable that you have suffered emotional abuse. And reading this book could rpovide you with some of the answers you are looking for.
Be warned, however, this book is tough and can be emotionally trying as it brings to the surface feelings that you may have tried to avoid. I strongly suggest that more fragile readers consult a qualified therapist as well as read the book to get the support they will need.
I find myself recommending this book to many people, be they victims, aggressors or people who have been close to both. I am weary of saying things like "it has changed my life" but what I can certainly say is that it has given me a new perspective on the way I approach relationships.
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest descriptions of emotional abuse,
This review is from: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity (Paperback)This book is an eye opener to how our society puts on blinders to emotional abuse to the extent that even the victim can be forced to feel that they need to tolerate the abuse and that's its something they did wrong to trigger it or that they are the weaker one's. It helps to demystify these falsified claims and whilst psychologists and society seem to favor the abusers (without realising they are easily being manipulated and seduced themselves) and say that the abuser suffers from a mental illness, Marie- France Hirigoyen states that psychiatric illness does not cause abusiveness. It arises from dispassionate rationality combined with an incapacity to respect others as human beings. Whatever society may think the simple truth is that there is no reason for abuse and victims are not to be held responsible for it.
She also challenges society who only responds to physical forms of abuse and neglects the destructive consequence of emotional abuse at times not even giving this abuse an existence in society. Yet emotional abuse is still about wounds, bruises and scars the only difference is that they cannot be seen by the eye because the victim is not getting battered on the outside but on the inside. Yet the crime of battering someone is the same. She challenges professionals themselves who follow conventional myths and states that without the right help, a therapist themselves may intensify the victim's destructive process.
She argues that emotional abuse is a criminal act of clean violence with the dangerous and destructive intentions of murdering one's soul.
It's the best book describing what emotional abuse is and how damaging it is. Nobody as been able to describe such a 'hidden' phenomenon issue so accurately. The book is divided in three sections: emotional abuse, which covers the private life and abuse within the workplace, the abusive relationship and finally consequences of abuse.
The chapter on abusive relationships in particular is of extraordinary therapeutic value exposing the true psychology of the abuser and giving the victim an understanding to their confusion and paralyses to always react to such torment and suffering. It is a must for victims, professionals and the public with an interest to this topic. An eye opening book that will reveal the answers to the questions always asked.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great overview, but it isn't a 'Self-help book',
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity (Paperback)'Stalking the Soul' is an excellent explanation and exploration of emotional abuse. The first few chapters include clear and easy-to-read scenarios, which perfectly illustrate the points being raised. I came away from the book feeling frustrated for the victims of emotional abuse, as it is so difficult to recognise and remedy that there seems very little can be done.
Although I think the book is excellent, it might not be the best book if you are going through emotional abuse yourself and want really clear guidelines as to the actions you should take.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book to read on abuse,
This review is from: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity (Paperback)I have a particular interest in abuse of people having seen the consequences in so many of my patients. Ms Hirigoyen has produced a masterpiece here helping victims understand the abuse process. I agree with other reviewers that there is less emphasis on how to deal with these often appalling situations but I am afraid that is the point about the narcissus abuser who actually cannot be tamed or changed. It is the equivalent of trying to stop another eating or drinking. Abuse is the life blood of the abuser. Escape is the solution and the problem for sufferers that is the victim is that escape is very difficult and guilt and shame will pervade their lives unless they can get insight as given in this marvellous account. My only criticism would be the absence of reference to church/ministry or spiritual abuse which is an equally large field and perhaps even more damaging. There are few good books on this latter subject (see Ken Blue, Healing Spiritual Abuse)and I think Hirigoyen might have opened the door here for those so afflicted.
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tool!,
This review is from: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity (Paperback)I was first recommended the French original of this book 6 years ago. It first helped me help myself, and is now helping me help others. The fantastic thing is that every single one of those that have been recommended the book, come back with testimonies of how it, often single-handedly, enabled them to break free from abusive relationships, whether in the family, at the workplace or in a relationship, whether man or woman, French, English or Swedish!! I have also recommended it to a civil rights lawyer who found it very useful in several harassment cases. It is easy to read, meaningful and does not waste time on psychojargon, it just says it as it is!! It should be compulsory reading for all social workers and psychotherapist! Read it!!
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book described my life:,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity (Paperback)Emotional abuse is very insidious and distructive. Many books that I have read focus on physical violence. This is the first one that I have come across that is based entirely on the damaging effects of emotional abuse. The book described my life and made me realise that I wasn't going mad. From the first stages of our relationship where my husband was the most caring attentive man that I had ever come accross to the reality of the real person who was so cold, vindictive,emotionless and guilt free. He made me a target for all his anger and venom. He was a clever illusionist and to the outside world he was the perfect husband and father. My children and I also took part in this illusion as to play happy families in company was always a break from the normal torment behind closed doors. Indoors we were victim to a cruel vindictive man who's personality could swing so dramatically none of us knew where we were from one day to the next. The book helped me stop trying to understand the abuser from my view point and realise that they see things in a very different way. Women who are emotionally abused often can't get out because their confidence is shattered and they feel so much grief because they are constantly yearning for the nice guy that they met to come back. Brief viewings of this nice side of their personality holds you in for years and years and years. After reading this book it helped me realise that I had to let it go, give it up, experience the grief and loss of the ideal. I wanted a happy family life but to stay in this situation would eventually destroy me. What is more frightening is the damage that is done to the children. One of my daughters also became a target and her view point and hard persona was born from being picked on.. Beware though the abuser is out to destroy those he can't emotionally control. Remember to the outside world he is a nice guy, often attractive and charismatic. Be ready for neighbours, friends and associates to turn against you. He will weave a web of lies about your character in such a subtle way others will find hard not to believe. My husband got friends feeling sorry for him even though they knew he had done some bad things, infiltrated teachers at my daughters school and mothers in the playground. My advise would be for every young woman to buy this book so you can recognise an emotional abuser before they hook you in and destroy you self worth. Beware abusive personalities do not have two heads. They are usually attractive, charismatic and have a way of making you feel special and needed. It is not until they have hooked you that you start to see glimpses of what's underneath.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Saved My Life!,
This review is from: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity (Paperback)Although my friends had told me that I was being emotionally abused, and I had my suspicions, I did not realise the extent of the abuse until I read this book! I had begun to feel as though I was going mad - and everything really was my fault!! This book made me swear on many an occasion - just with the sheer similarities to my own situation. It was almost as if the book was written about me. The frightening thing about that however, is the realisation that there is such a set pattern, almost, to how all abusers work. Please read this book if you think that you may be in a controlling or abusive realstionship - it will confirm that you are not the one in the wrong and hopefully it will give you the confidence to set yourself free!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stalking the Soul,
This review is from: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity (Paperback)Just to say that you can also be emotionally abused if you are a man and the same difficulties apply in finding the strength to get out of the relationship. So anything that can bolster that is much appreciated!
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity,
This review is from: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity (Paperback)BRILLIANT! This book is an eye-opener. I can't emphises enough how important this book is for people who were emotionally abused. If you feel that something is wrong in your environment, if you feel you don't belong to yourself anymore, if you are robed of your energy and authonomy of your own desicion making process than you MUST read this book. Many of the things the author speaks about I felt but was unable to explain until I read the book and got wider perspectives. As the author is French the book is written in higher level than the regular self-help books and has extensive academic backgorund, all of which are added bonuses to the style and contribution given by Marie-France Hirigoyen. It took me four days to read it and after that for about a month I was not well as it opened my eyes to twisted world of emotional abuse. The book helped me to understand and finally feel that there was nothing wrong with me but with ones who are trying to break my spirit, as the author puts it.Also it gave me an insight to accept that there is no need to understand others' behaviour, it is enough to see through it and to move away. Even though it is not neccessary to understand the behaviour of the abuser it is important to know that abuser will never ever change under any circumstances and that abuse is his/her main form of existance even when it is practised by closest familly member. This is revolutionary book, THANK YOU FOR WRITING IT MADAME HIRIGOYEN! M
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bullying Exposed,
This review is from: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse (Hardcover)Details the various forms of bullying that take place at work, relationships and within families. Each chapter is set in a different scenario. The various descriptions are easy to read and understand as they are not written in psychological jargon that stops the layperson from gaining insight.
Whereas the other books such as Martha Stout and Hare try to offer the Bad Seed explanation this steers clear of making claims to descriptors. It is useful for practitioners and for those affected to identify the forms of abuse they are experiencing. Often people are unable to articulate their oppression as there are few concepts to describe its impact. This book however is succinct and can therefore be used by a victim of bullying to point to the form it has taken, ostracism, sexual, too much work, too little work, belittling comments, ignoring the worker, the disciplinary process all used to belittle and attack the integrity of the worker and bring them down to a base level. This is the basis of all bullying to gain power through bringing down those who are overly attached or overly competent in the work place.
Therefore if you are trying to bring a bullying case at work for example, this book will be invaluable in your ability to explain the forms of bullying. Most people tend to perceive it as some school boy demanding pocket money. This shows the sophisticated nature of emotional violence. It is far more extensive than demanding money with menaces, it can involve the complete emotional and physical degradation of the victim.
It can also be undertaken by men and women, by those who have power and by subordinates. This is worth a thousand of the works by those unveiling "sociopaths." This provides an anchor point for debate rather than another attempt to extract the cash from those who have already been victims.
It offers no solutions but it does illuminate that which has been hidden.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Marie-France Hirigoyen (Paperback - Sep 2004)