But I Love Him: Protecting Your Teen Daughter from Controlling, Abusive Dating Relationships

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9780060197247: But I Love Him: Protecting Your Teen Daughter from Controlling, Abusive Dating Relationships

One in three girls will be in a controlling, abusive dating relationship before she graduates from high school--from verbal or emotional abuse to sexual abuse or physical battering. Is your daughter in danger?

Dr. Jill Murray speaks on the topic of dating violence at high schools around the country, reaching more than 10,000 students, teachers, and counselors each year. In every school she visits, she is approached by teenage girls in miserable relationships who, when confronted with the option of breaking up with the boy, exclaim, "But I love him!"

  • Many young women--and their parents--aren't even aware of the indications of a potentially abusive relationship. What's most alarming is that these warning signs are also some of the behaviors that girls find most flattering:

  • A boy pages and calls a girl often--but as a form of control, not affection.

  • He wants to spend all his time with her, but eventually won't allow her to spend time with her friends.

  • He says "I love you" very early in the relationship.

These behaviors can escalate into blaming, isolating, manipulating, threatening, humiliation, and sexual and physical abuse.

In But I Love Him, Dr. Murray identifies these controlling, abusive patterns of behavior and helps you get your daughter out of the relationship without alienating her. You will learn what draws her to this type of relationship, why she has a hard time talking to you about it, the special barriers teens face when breaking off a relationship, and what's going on in the mind of a teen abuser. Dr. Murray will help you show your teen what a respectful relationship looks like--and teach her the importance of respecting herself.

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Review:

Parents of teen daughters listen up: according to Dr. Jill Murray, more than one in three girls will be involved in an abusive relationship. But I Love Him gets to the heart of this scary topic as painlessly as possible. With so much focus on physical concerns these days, it's not often that such emotional issues are confronted early enough to prevent them from becoming physical as well. Murray's constant theme is "love is a behavior", and in her book she shows not only what some destructive patterns are, but how even young teens can break free. Murray is a counselor and a parent, and she uses many real-life examples throughout the book; while many end positively, the few that don't are impossible to forget. When differences between emotional, sexual, and physical abuse are explained, you'll read stories like "My boyfriend used to shove me around and I'd cry. He'd say to me, 'stop being so dramatic. It's not like I hit you or anything.'" That's sad enough coming from an adult; when you see that this girl was only 14, it's even worse.

Happily, much time is devoted to healing, and many clear-cut methods are laid out--this is not a problem likely to "just go away," and Murray emphasizes that this is the time when girls need their parents most deeply. Every parent in this situation is bound to ask why it is happening, and chapters concerning early patterns and family stress are dealt with in a fairly delicate manner--you won't find blame here, just a request to examine your own relationships honestly. Anyone who lives or works with teens is likely to benefit from learning about the issues addressed here; certainly this is not a book to be lightly dismissed. --Jill Lightner

About the Author:

Dr. Jill Murray is a psychotherapist with a private practice in Laguna Niguel, California. She speaks to thousands of students and parents in high schools around the country each year on the topic of abusive teen relationships, a focus she developed while serving as lead therapist at a domestic violence shelter for women and children. Her appearances on Oprah, Leeza, and radio call-in shows have generated overwhelming response from concerned parents nationwide. She lives in Laguna Niguel.

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