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The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond [Paperback]

Patricia Evans
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond 4.8 out of 5 stars (19)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2003

In this fully expanded and updated third edition of the bestselling classic, you learn why verbal abuse is more widespread than ever, and how you can deal with it. You'll get more of the answers you need to recognize abuse when it happens, respond to abusers safely and appropriately, and most important, lead a happier, healthier life.

In two all-new chapters, Evans reveals the Outside Stresses driving the rise in verbal abuse--and shows you how you can mitigate the devastating effects on your relationships. She also outlines the Levels of Abuse that characterize this kind of behavior--from subtle, insidious put-downs that can erode your self-esteem to full-out tantrums of name-calling, screaming, and threatening that can escalate into physical abuse.

Drawing from hundreds of real situations suffered by real people just like you, Evans offers strategies, sample scripts, and action plans designed to help you deal with the abuse--and the abuser.

This timely new edition of The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Expanded Third Edition puts you on the road to recognizing and responding to verbal abuse, one crucial step at a time!

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Are you now, or have you ever been, in relationships with family, friends, or mates who have been verbally abusive? Is your happiness with someone you love continually threatened by interactions that continually undermine your self-esteem? Do you feel trapped in a relationship that keeps decaying in a downward spiral of overt or passive-aggressive abuse?

If so, this book could be your life raft, either carrying you toward repair of the existing relationship or the effects of past relationships or offering liberation from your current confusion. Its practical approach can help clear your head and possibly change your life. The only criticism that I and other readers have is that the author assumes verbal abuse is almost always directed by males toward females, which, in my experience and that of others I know, is not necessarily the case. Highly Recommended.


"A great, great book." -- Sonya Friedman, CNN

"A groundbreaking book..." -- Newsweek

"This is a new day in America. The most important thing is to realize that you don't deserve to be treated that way." -- Oprah Winfrey

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Most of us are aware that name calling is verbally abusive. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Place to Start June 23 2004
By Becky
This book was instrumental in helping me realize what was going on in my marriage--I recognized my (ex)husband and myself on almost every page!
I became frustrated, however, when I'd try some of the techniques Evans suggests for responding to VA and end up being abused even more. Saying "Stop it!" or "Cut it out!"was tantamount to telling him "Step it up!"
I had to go to other sources of information to find guidance on what to do if I needed to get away (and I did). She does mention that staying could be unwise if the abuser threatens physical harm or if the victim feels "stunned" or "shocked." Perhaps detailed advice about how to summon the strength to get out goes beyond the book's purpose. That's why I feel this book should be supplemented with others about abuse and recovery from it.
I'd also like to see some mention of the importance of balance. What is and isn't *abusive* can be ambiguous. Sometimes it isn't the words themselves that are abusive;rather it's the intent behind them that needs examining.
An example is found in a list of discounting statements on page 92: "You read things into my words". I've said that to my abuser because he DID tend to interpret things I said in negative ways when I knew I meant nothing negative at all. Does my saying that make me abusive? Was I discounting him or was I trying(in vain) to *make* him understand me and what he was doing to me? I found this confusing.
I'd also like to see a revision that includes male victims and their stories. I agree that they deserve to be specifically included.
In summary: this book is great in that it validates the VA victim's experience and helps him/her realize that they aren't going crazy!It gives some responses that may or may not be effective in stopping the abuse, but at least offer better alternatives to becoming hysterical, deeply depressed, and even more intimidated.
Alone, however,it's not enough.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crystalizes ungraspable experiences June 29 2004
By A Customer
Pick up this book if dealing with your partner brings up feelings of your ineptness in his/her eyes, invalidation, FEAR, oppression, disenfranchisement to feel your feelings, a sense that you're a nuissance to your partner, or you feel stripped of your confidence and sense of self worth. Verbal abuse is not only overt, but covert which can be most damaging due to its insidious nature. If you're having feelings which you can't name, but are signals that somehow something is destroying your sense of wholeness as a person - pick up this book. It will help you name the feelings whose identities escape you. But, do pick up complementary books as this one serves to "identify" and not so much give explanations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book ended the "craziness" in my life April 18 2004
By Gail
Reading this book literally saved my life! I spend years believing that all the rages, anger and blaming were all due to me and my shortcoming. I begin to feel as if everything I did was wrong, how I dressed was wrong, how I thought and felt were wrong. Anything and everything could become a battle and it was always my fault, or so he said!!! I lived in a state of confusion, fear and my main goal in life was to "keep my abuser from getting angry." Living on eggshells in no way to live and you ultimately fail at it anyway...the rages and name calling always returned no matter what. My life felt out of control until a good friend recommended this book to me! This book saved me from years of continuing abuse and confusion as to why this was happening to me. It described the abuse I was receiving and I begin to understand the "whys" of my abusers madness. It was validation to me and it helped me end the craziness, and the daily abuse, I was living with. Leaving an abuser isn't always easy, but it's easier than living with one.
This book brought sanity back to my life and I will always be grateful for Patricia Evans for her insightful and well written words.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Verbally Abusive Relationship June 23 2004
By A Customer
This book changed my life. It helped me to identify and analyze my own verbally abusive relationship. If I would have known about the dynamics of an abusive realtionship earlier in my life, I believe I could have avoided the trap or be able to leave at an earlier point of this relationship. It has become the most important book of my life.
It is geared towards male and female verbal abuse but focuses more on the women's point of view since they often suffer far more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had read this 3 years ago!!! June 14 2004
By k_a_od
A close friend lent me this book after hearing for a few years details of my relationship with my X-boyfriend....I wish I had had this at the beginning of our relationship and I would have gotten out *so* much earlier!! Finally, someone quantified the insidious behavior I had dealt with from my X, including example quotes that my boyfriend and I had actually said to each other!!! Most people at this point know of overt verbal and physical abuse, but the other verbally abusive stuff included in this book, like witholding, put-downs disguised as jokes, put-downs disguised as trying to be helpful...I've never read that anywhere else. I knew I was miserable and but didn't want to get out since the "resume" read right, his public persona which I initially fell for was completely charming...I wanted to try to "fix" it, figure it out, but couldn't put my finger on what was going on, and a lot of the blame got put on me...I highly recomend this book to those out there dating, or anyone else in a relationship who is miserable but can't put their finger on why exactly.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Subject ; Extreme Anti-Male Bias
Evans had a golden opportunity to address the issue of verbal abuse but failed miserably in every conceivable manner. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2007 by beyelie
2.0 out of 5 stars Not For Christians
As a Christian woman, I can tell you this book helped me identify that my husband's behavior had nothing to do with submission, but was/is verbally abusive. Read more
Published on July 16 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opener (for anyone in an abusive relationship)
The book may look at verbal abuse from the outlook of women, this doesn't mean that men cannot benefit. I'm a man and I found the book extremely helpful....
Published on June 22 2004 by BasicGuy
5.0 out of 5 stars A book suitable for both parties in a relationship...
I can't understand why two not helpful reviews remain on top, If I had not read the book, those reviews would not help me at all. Read more
Published on June 21 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent advice on a little-understood topic
This is an excellent book for anyone who is dealing with a spouse who is verbally abusive. The screaming, namecalling, silent treatment, and other emotional abuse that many people... Read more
Published on June 20 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars The reason to read this book...
The reason to read this book is obvious from the first page. It is EXCELLENT.
The author, Patricia Evans, has taken the topic of verbal abuse and presented a thorough... Read more
Published on June 20 2004 by Carol
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book.....provides all the ammo any woman
could ever need to build a solid case against her husband or any other man. Would strongly recommend to any woman seeking to end a relationship. Read more
Published on June 15 2004 by nosuchthingasordinary
5.0 out of 5 stars breakthrough book for women in unhealthy relationships
This book has enormous power for women wondering what is wrong with their relationships. It identifies and describes several types of behavior men use to confuse, control and abuse... Read more
Published on April 22 2004 by M. Naegeli
1.0 out of 5 stars Worse than awful: This book is damaging to society!
I agree completely with the post by Warren Gray. This is a lopsided, bigoted, biased diatribe, penned by an obviously predjudiced person, totally without objective method or... Read more
Published on April 21 2004
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