LETTERS FROM WOMEN WHO LOVE TOO MUCH: A Closer Look at Relationship Addiction and Recovery by Robin Norwood
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LETTERS FROM WOMEN WHO LOVE TOO MUCH: A Closer Look at Relationship Addiction and Recovery

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of letters-to-the-author inspired by the best-selling Women Who Love Too Much (1985), along with Norwood's own responses to the broader issues raised by the writers. Norwood reiterates her basic theory, which is that some women become ""addicted"" to either long-term or serial relationships with men that are destructive to their mental and/or physical well-being. Such ""relationship-dependent"" women, she says, are just as ""sick"" as alcoholics, drug addicts, or compulsive gamblers. The reader, however, is struck most by the extraordinary dishevelment of most of the writers' lives. Many were themselves reared by alcoholics or child abusers; their male partners tend to be alcoholics, drug addicts, compulsive womanizers, or batterers; and the women, too, are often alcohol-dependent, binge eaters or compulsive shoppers. As a result, their ""relationship dependency"" tends to get lost in the thicket of other compulsions. For such women, Norwood's advice is to join the appropriate support group--A.A., Al-Anon, Overeaters Anonymous--before working on the relationship per se. In the relatively few cases where a destructive relationship is the primary problem, Norwood advises the establishment of a support group of ""relationship addicts"" based on the ""Twelve Steps"" and ""Twelve Traditions"" pioneered by A.A. But of particular interest here are letters involving problems not raised in the earlier book. Several women ask advice on how to stop using sex as ""a drug,"" while others discuss self. destructive lesbian relationships. One woman writes that she was reared to believe ""that you did all for love, that you sacrificed, that love demanded bending and forgiving and putting up with pain,"" only to find she always falls in love with ""jerks."" And a handful of (frequently poignant) letters from men detail the harm they too have experienced from self-destructive relationships. The letter writers (often highly educated) are, on the whole, articulate and self-aware, and even though Norwood seems addicted to the support group as an all-purpose ""fix,"" many of her analyses and observations are trenchant and illuminating. In all, the legions of readers who devoured the earlier book will very likely be grabbing for this one as well.

Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 1987
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster