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on 22 November 2017
Very interesting book and worth every penny
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on 4 May 2017
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on 24 January 2013
I very much liked TVAR and Survivors Speak Out. This book was less useful to me. I found the repetition of "Teddy" to be really irritating: the idea being that some people have their favourite teddy bear (called Teddy in the book) who speaks back to them and is always loving. They then somehow treat their partners in later life like that teddy bear, expecting them also to be always loving, always receptive and very controllable.

I couldn't get on with that theory, or maybe it was just the jargon that put me off.
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on 12 July 2017
Disappointing book as not as well written as previous book, the verbally abusive relationship.

The summary is abusive men believe in an ideal relationship and get angry when a real partner appears in a relationship.
It's effectively about men who can't live beyond the honeymoon phase but repeats the same summary.

Only has a few pages of genuine information.
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on 29 August 2017
Good - thank you.

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on 16 January 2013
I didn't like this book. To me it just didnt say anything. She repeats herself throughout and I kept trying each section to get into it but there was really no substance to it.
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on 21 April 2009
In describing how the controlling mindset works, this is the best book I've ever read: clear in its theories, insightful, convincing, perceptive and not unsympathetic to the controlling person. If you want a view into how such thinking works, this is your book.

On the other hand, it suffers several flaws. Minor ones first: Evans spends time reflecting on the worldwide political implications of her psychological theory that start moving into unsupported vagueness, and that's pages that could more usefully have been devoted to constructive advice, plus over-reaching a bit. Also, she rather over-uses her invented phrases, 'Controller', 'Pretend Person' and so on, which gives the book an almost cultic feel at times. There are times when the book feels a bit over-excited about its theory.

This wouldn't be too bad, but there are two serious flaws: it offers frustratingly little advice on what to do about such situations - saying 'What?' whenever someone makes an inappropriate remark is honestly about as far as it goes - and its structure is rather meandering.

It's a real shame that she speaks vaguely of the 'Controller' throughout and doesn't consider any changes of nuance according to the relationship. Why not, for instance, have a chapter on husband-to-wife control, wife-to-husband, parent-to-child, friend-to-friend, boss-to-employee and so on? All of these are slightly different situations where the same problem can occur, and the victims' options are very different in each. Such a structure would not only be more helpful but would also make the book far easier to navigate and reread. As it is, it's hard to remember what Evans says where; it all blurs into one general theory.

A great theory, to be sure. But in my experience, the best audience for this book is not someone suffering at the hands of a controlling person - there's pretty close to no advice for that - but instead a person who's just woken up to the fact that they've been controlling of others, and is trying to understand themselves and learn how to stop. Someone in my life is doing just that, and for them, it's a book of advice. But most people who want a book about controlling people are likely to be victims rather than perpetrators, and for them, the book's wandering structure and lack of advice is a problem.

It's very well worth reading, but it could have been much better than it is if it was a bit more disciplined and constructive. If someone in your life has control issues, do read it, but don't expect it to solve the problem: unless the controlling person is you, it's background reading rather than self-help.
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on 26 August 2006
This book is has given me many useful insights into the whys and hows of emotionally abusive behaviour. The other reviewers here have effectively listed it's many plus points.

However, the title says "How to Recognize, Understand and *Deal* with People Who Try to Control You

I had hoped for more concrete methods described in the dealing with controllers aspect. The book's concluding chapters seemed to me to consist of many quotes from people congratulating either themselves or Evans on having 'broken the spell'. I found it hard to distil firm techniques that would help me practice spellbreaking. The abuse I witness is very subtle and hard to pin down and confront in the workplace and the methods mentioned seem to me best suited for "In your face" abuse.

Finally so many books and websites on abuse and bullying are overtly gender biased and Patricia Evan's book is no exception. I think a better balanced insight could have been gained from illustrating the patterns of control and abuse with more examples of people abused by female partners or colleagues. When the "typical" gender dynamic is reversed it really does highlight the power and recurring pattern of controlling abusive behaviour.

The path to becoming an abuser is not a "Man thing". It can flow from mother to daughter from wife to husband, even employee to boss! Being a target of abuse is not the female prerogative.

Myself, my father, my partner and her father, have all been the objects of "control connections" from spellbound women and those women in turn were the victims of maternal abuse and neglect.

I feel the book's bias is disingenous because I would have thought it more empowering to recognise and emphasise that abusive behaviour is not gender specific but that it is simply it's own self-perpetuating legacy. More examples of female to male or same gender incidents could've illustrated her points as well as, if not better than the limited spectrum of "typical" abusive relationships she presents.

Also many men, my father included, remain in denial (spellbound) about their situation. This is a good book but its predominately female perspective still allows him to say "This doesn't apply to me" or worse "It *is* my fault - I'm the abuser!"

Despite these misgivings I will still be recommending "Controlling people" to friends and relatives who have found themselves in the thrall of "spellbound" behaviour.
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on 25 August 2013
I found this book very useful and enlightening. The easy-to-read format enables the reader to digest bite-size chunks before moving on to each section. For those of us unlucky enough to be 'blessed' with such difficult people in our lives, this book not only helps the reader to feel less alone in their plight, but gives useful insight, practical advice, tips and guidance in dealing with such controllers. Beware - this book is more than likely to stir up some difficult memories and inner turmoil, but one is so much more enlightened, forewarned, and empowered upon reaching the end of the book.
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on 11 December 2016
I did not find this publication of any great support. It was written from a female only perspective with a cultural bias of American style direct communication. I shall explain -As a Brit stood in a Foyer approached by a stranger who tells me to smile I would not usually respond by using the word "What?" a number of times. This may be assertive indeed but could in some cultures also be considered rather rude. I found the concept of defining the world of others as a control early warning interesting and useful as a tool. I enjoyed George Simon's "In sheeps clothing" helpful for defining and combating controlling behaviours. I would urge readers to consider carefully the culture of the environment they are in and while assertiveness is essential in combating controlling behaviour, good manners and cultural awareness are needed to make this skill most effective. In this global fast paced world of go getting personality it can be helpful to gain assertive skills with respect,manners and grace. I am sure some will find this publication useful but not for me.
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