Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity

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9781885586537: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity
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It is possible to destroy someone simply with words, looks, and innuendos: the term for this is emotional abuse or moral harassment, and the evidence is mounting that this a major epidemic in our culture. In this landmark study, already a bestseller in France and forthcoming in over ten countries, the author analyzes, with numerous examples, the specific features of an abusive relationship -- and cautions against complacency. She demonstrates a deadly process at work among couples, families, and in the workplace, a process that sweeps its victims into a downward vortex that can even lead to suicide. Until now the subject of emotional abuse through perverse violence has been largely neglected. This noteworthy and well-documented book is a practical guide for its victims and for people wishing to help them, as well as for health professionals. Written clearly and vividly, Stalking the Soul will engage all those who choose not to remain indifferent to a painful and surprisingly widespread problem in our society today.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Claiming that emotionally abusive relationships are widespread in marriages, families and the workplace, French psychotherapist Hirigoyen illuminates the subtle, insidious relationship that "emotional abusers" and their "victims" evolve. While recognizing that the "clean violence" of an emotional abuserAwho as a "natural manipulator" often attracts others with a dynamic, winning styleAis hard to prove, she aims to enable those who are being abused to recognize what's going on and get help, and to alert her fellow therapists to the danger signs. Often, emotional abuse builds over a long period of time until it becomes so unbearable that victims lash out in frustration and anger, only to appear unstable and aggressive themselves. This, according to Hirigoyen, is the intent of many abusers: to systematically "destabilize" and confuse their victims (with irrational, threatening behavior that preys on the victim's fears and self-doubts), to isolate and control them and ultimately to destroy their identity. These relentless "predators" are also incapable of compassion or empathy, always blame the victim and never see their actions as wrong. Already a bestseller in France, this clearly written and compassionate book offers sensible advice (get support and leave the relationship if the abuse is personal; take legal action if it is professional), though it may not be easy to execute in every case. A smooth translation, combined with a foreword by Thomas Moore and a jacket blurb from Alice Miller, should help this book find a niche readership of thoughtful self-help readers and therapists. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review:

Already a bestseller in France, this clearly written and compassionate book offers sensible advice...-Cornell University -- Publisher's Weekly, October 16, 2000

Hirigoyen’s book... has sold 360,000 copies and been translated into 17 languages. -Bruce Crumley -- Time Magazine, July 24, 2000

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