Weber ably shows the ways abuse may be revealed, stopped, and put in the past with healing and reflection.
Debut author and psychologist Weber understands abusive relationships, having worked as a therapist in prisons, courts, and private practice for decades. People often deny that abuse is happening, Weber explains, because of fear of physical violence or losing resources, an inability to accept that another’s behavior is profoundly unhealthy, or many other reasons. One of the guide’s most helpful features is a list the author provides of instances, behaviors, and scenarios that show various forms of abuse, whether sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, or even financial. Weber also depicts the typical stages of abuse—the explosions followed by resolutions, promises to change, and apologies, which quickly build tension toward the next, potentially bigger, explosion. Weber offers suggestions for stopping abuse, even in relationships where the abuse victim desires to work toward change. Asking the abuser to live in a separate household for a period of time to allow safety, peace, and therapy is one of several suggestions the book offers. Additionally, Weber emphasizes the importance of requiring an apology and full accountability for the behavior if the relationship is to be reconciled. The abuse victim must change behaviors as well, such as requiring better treatment and refusing to allow controlling behaviors. Through anecdotes about clients’ stories, Weber illustrates how these damaging behaviors can proliferate, as well as how difficult it can be to recover from them. Weber reinforces that abuse is separate from, and sometimes simultaneous with, love: “Remember that abuse is about power and control, not love. You can love them, they can love you and still abuse you.” The handbook may offer a key to self-discovery, whether the reader is searching pre- or post-abuse. While some client stories are difficult to read, they shed light on the importance of identifying abuse early before marriage, children, and other life circumstances make it difficult to break free of toxic and dangerous situations.
A valuable guide for any reader enduring or recovering from an abusive relationship.