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Books about manipulating/abusive partners

(18 Posts)
MyBrainIsOutOfTune Tue 27-Sep-11 16:33:32

I have mostly been lurking in this topic, but I wondered if you could help me out with this.

A very close friend of mine was in a relationship for years with a man who gaslighted her to the point where she would agree with him that black was white if he said so. It's been years since they split up, but she still feels the effects, as her self esteem was non-existent by that time. She is mostly doing well and can see much of his maneuvering for what it is, but she still excuses lots of things because she wants to be fair, and he wasn't the only one at fault, and so on.

Because they have children together, she is still forced to deal with him on an almost-weekly basis. She would prefer for them to stay friendly, or preferably business-like, about the whole thing, with a clear understanding of who has the children when, who has to pick them up, when they have to be delivered, etc. He makes this impossible. Ever since they split up, he's been fighting for every inch when it comes to the children. He cancels appointments at the last minute, changes appointments just to show he can, has the children as little as he can get away with without having to pay extra child support, and generally tries to manipulate her in every way still possible to him. She is fed up with it, but does not know what to do because while she doesn't want to give in, she doesn't want to be unreasonable either.

I was wondering if you could recommend an informative, not too academic, book about manipulative/abusive people. As he is a very articulate and charming man, he still manages to make her feel uncertain when he gets going in an argument. Even councellors and other outside people that she's turned to for help fall for his 'misunderstood' routine (hell, I fell for it myself hook, line, and sinker for years angryblushangry). If she had a book outlining the strategies of such a person, maybe she could turn to it when she began doubting herself and be reassured that she isn't imagining things.

I'll have a look around on amazon, but it would be really helpful to me if you could recommend books that you have read and found useful - there are just so many books out there, you knowwink

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I would also say forget being friendly. Business-like, yes. Disengage, disengage, disengage. Just talk about the children, finances (or the problem at hand). Nothing emotional, no small-talk - not interested - just another way of controlling her.

And don't let her worry about being reasonable. She already is, he isn't, won't ever be, lost cause. I think those books will help her understand where he is coming from and why she will never "win" (I use that term loosely as she doesn't need to win - she is great, him not so much).

MyBrainIsOutOfTune Tue 27-Sep-11 17:11:18

Thank you, those look really interesting.

I think she has realised that they can never really be friends (which she would have preferred, because she is a nice person), and she tries to keep it matter of fact. Problem is, he then has to make every silly little detail into an argument - or, for something completely different, suddenly acts extremely nice and friendly to make her feel she's acting unfairly harsh and maybe things will work out after all (and then he of course uses the concessions gained during this 'friendly' period for what they're worth for the next hundred years). It must be very confusing to stand in the middle of it, because she never knows what to expect from him.

I agree that he is a lost cause, and I keep telling her. Rather forcefullywink She thinks so too, mostly, and then he goes and does something to make her unsure againconfused

teafanatic003 Tue 27-Sep-11 18:31:27

whats gaslighting??

MyBrainIsOutOfTune Tue 27-Sep-11 19:07:37

Wikipedia is your friend: Gaslighting

I'm reading the Evans book. It's certainly illuminating.

MoChan Wed 28-Sep-11 09:51:34

Those that have read these books, may I ask a question...?

Do they deal with how to get over the trauma of having been in a past relationship with someone emotionally abusive, or are they just an analysis of how those people behave - I mean, is there a self-help element, or are they just studies?

MyBrainIsOutOfTune Wed 28-Sep-11 18:25:16

I'm halfway through the Evans book now. It's very self-help minded, not academic at all (some might find that negative, though). It talks about verbal abuse, how to recognise it, how it usually makes you feel, and so on. It's directed towards women in abusive relationships, so I would assume there is advice on how to handle it in the next half of the book (there's also a chapter about having children with an abuser). Even though I'm not in an abusive relationship, and my friend luckily has ended hers years ago, it's a real eye-opener to read. So much of what she's told me, and what I've seen with my own eyes, falls into place all of a sudden.

I guess everybody should read something like it, really, because then we'd be able to pick up on troubling behaviour much earlier. As I said, my friend's partner had me fooled for years; even though there were elements of his behaviour towards her that I found odd and I thought I wouldn't have wanted in a partner, she seemed perfectly happy with him. She actually thought she was, too, until it was over, and she started to understand how brainwashed she had beensad

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 28-Sep-11 20:35:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MoChan Wed 28-Sep-11 20:52:37

Thanks. I plan to read both of the books mentioned, and have been intending to for a while. But I am also looking for material that might help someone get past the traumatic effects having been emotionally abused in the (reasonably) distant past. Are there books like that? Sorry to keep asking questions.

St Lundy
Patricia Evans

Reposting those links to the books as I had to have the others removed. Apologies!

BertieBotts Thu 29-Sep-11 13:19:53

I bought the Lundy one after being apart from XP for a while - I did find it helpful in that it was giving me "proof" that it wasn't my fault/he was the unreasonable one, and sort of permission to feel angry about it.

Have you looked into the freedom programme by WA?

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Thu 29-Sep-11 23:24:40

Pat Craven's Living With The Dominator was used in the first and second refuge I was in. It does take a while to sink in, ime, but does explain everything without using complicated terminology. We were given abridged versions in the second refuge, and it was like a lifeline to me, when I was wondering if it would be easier to go back to my abuser again.

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Fri 30-Sep-11 00:01:00

Living with the Dominator is also what the material from the Freedom Programme is taken from.

For getting over an emotionally abusive relationship, I've found (and added to my basket) It's My Life Now

garlicslutty Fri 30-Sep-11 02:06:50

Those books are compulsory reading! I haven't done the Freedom Programme myself yet, but intend to. I'd also recommend assertiveness training. My relationships left me with very little in the way of boundaries and self-respect; the two things that need to be rock solid when dealing with a manipulator. I can honestly say the course I went on changed me for the better.

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Fri 30-Sep-11 02:27:52

Makes a note for assertiveness training

Cheers Garlic grin

MoChan Fri 30-Sep-11 11:48:26

'It's My Life Now' sounds like it's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. Thanks for sharing the info. I'm going to look for all the books mentioned on this thread, and look into the freedom programme (which I have not previously heard of) and assertiveness training.

mathanxiety Sat 01-Oct-11 22:57:53

There is nothing like getting a good solicitor and hammering out a cast iron agreement, with every minute of the DCs' life all through the year accounted for and every protocol for communication, proper notice, how communication is to be effected, what it may consist of stated in plain language.

That is what I got, and though it still didn't stop exH (a lawyer with Ishoos) from taking me to court on contempt charges, with accusations of trying to run roughshod over the agreement and steal his time with the children biscuit, reference to the 20ish page agreement in the responses that I filed made it possible for me to fight him every inch of the way. That and perhaps the fact that in our fourth appearance in front of the judge he lost his temper and made an absolute fool of himself. He dropped the case and so far hasn't taken it up again. Fingers Xd.

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