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Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
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"He doesn't mean to hurt me-he just loses control." "He can be sweet and gentle." "He's scared me a few times, but he never hurts the children-he's a great father." "He's had a really hard life..." Women in abusive relationships tell themselves these things every day. Now they can see inside the minds of angry and controlling men-and change their own lives. In this groundbreaking book, a counselor shows how to improve, survive, or leave an abusive relationship, with: -- The early warning signs -- Nine abusive personality types -- How to tell if an abuser can change, is changing, or ever will -- The role of drugs and alcohol -- What can be fixed, and what can't -- How to leave a relationship safely

Customer Reviews:

  • This book will make since of the confusing!
    I read this book after finally leaving an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Bancroft's explanations of abusive behavior are right on the mark. After reading it, I found that my relationship was even worse than I thought. He was manipulating me in ways I wasn't even aware of. The manipulations that inundate the abused causes them to overlook or blame themselves for what is happening in the relationship. I finally got answers to all of my questions - like why is he doing this to me? Why can't he see that he's hurting me? Why does he blame me for his actions? This book solidified my resolve in ending the relationship for good. I recommend it to anyone who feels they might be in an abusive relationship. Get some answers to those questions that are tormenting you and get some peace....more info
  • Life Saving Life Altering
    This book has saved my life. I was going to therapy because I was depressed and could not figure out why my husband treated me the way he did. I left my husband of 25 years and I read this book everyday, over and over. It gives me the courage to not fall for his manipulative tactics that have worked on me most of my life. I highly recommend this book to anyone in an abusive relationship. In my situation, my husband proved to be 'text book' abusive. Thank you....more info
  • Great
    I've read the following books: Don't Say That to Me, Emotional Black Mail, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship, the Verbally Abusive Relationship, Stop Walking on Egg Shells, Emotional Vampires, The Gaslight Effect, The Disease to Please. All read in hopes that I could find the cure to make my relationship better. I really wanted to see a therapist, but I couldn't afford it at the time. I would like to add here that If you are looking at the list of books above or Lundy's book, I recommend finding a way to see a therapist. I think that the reality of my situation only sunk in when I heard it from a therapist, that I was being controlled and emotionally abused. My emotional abuse was so bad, that I really questioned my reality, and sometimes wondered if I made the whole situation up ---- and even when I was reading Lundy's book, and could identify with so many of the situations, I still doubted my situation. If having a therapist support me while reading the book was worth every penny. I wish I would've just done it earlier. If you do see a therapist, make sure you see a therapist that specializes in abuse though, I think it really made a difference in my life.

    I digress....

    I read all of the books listed above in hopes that I could learn some "magic" tactic that would disarm my boyfriend from treating me the way he does. As Lundy stated, I thought that I could change to make him stop, and that the problem was me, not him. I really wanted it to be as easy as changing the manner in which I communicated. I believed that it was my fault for being insensitive to his past, and that I should work on myself, and figure out a way to make it better. My nightstand was covered in self-help books, and I still didn't have a magic solution. - Reality Check - After reading Lundy's book, I realize that you can't change a person's values by changing your communication style. It just doesn't work. There were a number of people here who did not like the book because there was not enough emphasis placed on a possible solution. I think that there is a just reason behind that, there is no simple solution on fixing abuse.

    This book really helped me, I can't recommend it enough.

    ...more info
  • Refreshing and chillling read; challenged my preconceptions
    Thank you very much, Mr. Bancroft, for writing this book. As a woman, I found my own attitude that men are "superior" and lack of confidence in my own ability to handle equality was revealed as I read what you wrote. I suspect that many girls and women who have been conditioned to believe this may have the same difficulty seeing the man as a human being with a superior attitude rather than as someone who deserves deference. Hearing Mr. Bancroft express this view of equality in power and status among men and women, and debunk male privilege and the primitiveness of the man-as-status object/woman-as sex object feedback loop that we get into all too much in our culture, really lifted my spirits.

    Now, I would add that the inverse side of this is that the woman must take responsibility for herself and not rely on some sort of primitive expectation that catering to a high-status or apparently powerful man is going to get her through life. Many women do not want to give up this dream, unfortunately, which I think is based in primitive biology and in fact sometimes (albeit rarely) works to enrich the woman and give her status (See Anna Nicole Smith, Laura Bush, to some degree Hillary Clinton.) This means the woman must learn how to earn and manage money, engage in politics and take responsibility for her economic viability independently of a man (or the man in her life.) She must also have the emotional resilence to tolerate objections (and rejection) from many men and women who are invested in and appear to prefer patriarchy as she finds her place in the world. I recommend Harriet Lerner's "The Dance of Anger" for understanding how this responsibility can trigger anxiety in women and Suze Orman's "Women & Money" for some basic information about how a woman needs to look at herself to manage herself economically.

    What I don't think many men get is that they appear more attractive, more virile, more manly and sexier to many women (to me anyway) when they have this personal strength of character that men like Mr. Bancroft exhibit. A man who does not oppress women is quite a man indeed.
    ...more info
  • Speedy delivery in great shape
    I am always glad to order through Amazon as (so far) the deliveries have been fast and fine....more info
  • Educate Me
    WHAT A GREAT BOOK!!! Thank you Mr. Bancroft for writing it. It ALL makes sense now. I just figured out that I was with an abuser...and NO, he didn't hit me...YET. I felt the author of this book was explaining my own (just over)relationship to ME! My ex-boyfriend fit this profile exactly and fortunately I ended before he caused me further heartache and pain. I would highly rate this book for any woman who is having difficulty in her relationship (s) and is torn between what is real and what her guy is "saying". Your perceptions aren't wrong and this author will help you see just what is going on. He is straight up and to the point and gives you great examples of what these guys do to throw you off balance. WOW...GREAT BOOK!!! By reading this book, I just saved myself from a life of misery. ...more info
  • Excellent
    This book has been written to help people identify abusive/violent behaviours and how to cope or escape from them: from psychological abuse to physical assault. There's usually nothing wrong inside an abuser's mind. It's amazing to find out why they do that. It has helped me understand why so many women are being killed by their partners- who are described as nice, cool guys. Meanwhile society seems to turn a blind eye on this issue by blaming the victims; as if we had nothing to do with it. What about the children?...more info
  • Highly Recommend
    I have an emotionally abusive father and I was so amazed by this book. It is fabulous. Not only does it describe him perfectly it gives great simple advice. It is a must read for anyone in a relationship with an abusive, controlling man. I am so thankful to him for writing this. It is helping my mother tremendously. Just like Bancroft says my father wears her down emotionally and tries to make her feel that she can't make it on her own. He has driven a wedge in every personal relationship she has, he turns people against her. Then he convinces her that it is all her fault. Everything I read in the book was right on target. I did not expect to like it so much. ...more info
  • Applicable and practical eye opener
    I was surprised to see this book taken off the shelf. I have read a number of verbal/emotional abuse books and found this one to be the best, most honest one. When I first read it, I was shocked; it was as if someone read my mind and created a blueprint of all my experiences. He provides good observations and advice; I found 98% of his checklist to be on point in the relationship I was in, and followed his suggestions. It was the best advice and correct for my situation. Browsing through some of the lower ratings, I found a lot of nit-picking, embittered readers, readers with issues or some with different philosophical views. This is a MUST READ for every person- man or woman, to assess whether personal relationships are healthy or not. ...more info
  • Five stars are too few!
    This book is truly incredible. Mr. Bancroft shows no mercy to the abuser and arms us, the abused, with the knowledge to do the same. Bancroft looks at abuse, and the tactics that abusers employ, from every conceivable angle. By the time I had finished this book, I was ready to accept, and embrace, the heart-breaking fact that the man I was with would in all likelihood never change. This book provided me with both the strength and the tools I needed to walk away for good. And whenever I regret that decision, I simply pick up the book and open to almost any page to remind myself of why I did what I did. As Bancroft states at one point in his book, "naming and understanding are power." Once I realized what was going on, I was able to break free of the torment and paralysis caused by this relationship.

    I cannot thank Mr. Bancroft enough for sharing his enormous knowledge on the nature of abuse with us. It is so refreshing to see the problem tackled head-on, free of any "new age", "the problem lies within us", mumble-jumble. I am so grateful not to be blamed in some direct or indirect way for what I have suffered. I am free to mourn my loss without the tormenting questions of "What did I do wrong?" "What could I have done better?" and "How could I have prevented this?" Bancroft provides the simple but resounding answers, "Nothing", "Nothing", and "You couldn't".

    (Oh, and he is an excellent writer. He knows not to end sentence with a preposition...a skill possessed by so few anymore. I know this will only mean something to someone who is as fanatical about grammar as I am, but I had to share it!)
    ...more info
  • A Must-Read for Everyone! It will open your eyes!
    This book really opened my eyes. It is not just for victims of abuse. Too often, those of us who have friends, family and neighbors who are going through divorce seriously misjudge the situation. In the past, I've been guilty of thinking that, in many cases, the woman was acting irrationally in leaving her husband. But, armed with the insights from this book I have a very different understanding of how abusive men think and act and why they so often don't appear to be abusive to those of us on the outside looking in. It has improved my understanding of what abuse is and how it affects the victim. If everyone would read this book it would make it much more difficult for abusers to continue their abuse. Unfortunately, our lack of understanding actually enables their abuse. Victims of abuse need our support, not our uninformed judgment and criticism. The insights from this book will be especially helpful to anyone who has opportunity to counsel with couples, whether professionally or otherwise. As a religious leader, I've learned that it can be very difficult to assess the situation when counseling with couples and I am grateful for the priceless revelations offered in this book. On a side note: most of my reading is leadership and self-improvement, but this has been the most important and enlightening book I have ever read! It is the only book I have ever felt compelled to review....more info
  • should be mandatory for everyone
    This book opened my eyes, I realized my behaviors were wrong. I read this to help a friend out with a abusive ex husband and realized I, and nearly every male I know uses some form of behavior outlined in this book to manipulate others. Wow, I gave it to my sister to help her with her husband. I guess it is just learned behavior passed down from generations but I can now recognize mental, verbal, and physical abuse when I see it and knowing what it is is the first step to stopping it. ...more info
  • Why Does He Do That?
    The best book that ever happened to me. I learned so much about why I was taken in by this type of man, and how to avoid the same mistakes. I have given copies to all of my friends, and recommend it to many others. I can't thank Mr. Bancroft enough. ...more info
  • Please read even if you are not sure you are being abused
    I read this book because I suspected I had been abused by my ex. I left him very uncertainly and solely on the basis of my gut and his recent intolerable treatment of me. I was sorely tempted to go back to him because he was kind to me at times.
    Four weeks later, I am vindicated by this book. Also, it has helped me heal because now I understand that it was not my fault, I am not a stupid, narrow minded woman who has no idea how to dress/how to attract men and so on and so forth. I understand that the abusive man is very subtly manipulative and there are really very few things one can do to change him (the author does describe how in the book, though in my case I decided moving on was a better choice). I also know now never to go back to him.
    Thank you, Dr.Bancroft, for publishing this insightful book. This is one woman you have helped very much....more info
  • This book changed my life!
    This book helped me to realize that my situation with my husband was really much worse than I had ever let myself believe. I spent the last 16 years making excuses for his bad behavior. But when I looked at it differently I knew I had to get out. I think the book may have saved my life. My husband has such a sense of entitlement - just everything is his way or no way. This book made me see that it just isn't normal or healthy to be controlled, threatened, and intimidated by your partner. It also made me feel that I wasn't alone - that a lot of people go through the same thing. Within less than a week after reading this book my husband and I separated. I haven't felt more at peace and in control of my own life in years!...more info
  • This book saved my life !!
    My spouse had me convinced our troubles were all my fault...It wasn't until I read this book that I saw my husband for what he is: An Abuser ! I was so depressed I couldn't even function on a daily basis...Reading this book every day is a must! Once I started reading this book it took me 2 years to get out of this marriage. With this book I was able to predict his every move and it empowered me ! When I was reading the chapters about getting out and divorcing my spouse I felt it didnt apply to me until I actually went through with it and what do you know? My abuser reacted just as Bancroft said he would. I call this book my bible LOL it saved my life and I realized I AM NOT THE CRAZY ONE ! I always have an extra copy on hand so that I can give it someone else in need !...more info
  • This book hit the nail on the head...
    During my marriage of 20+ years, I devoured uncountable marriage self-help books. Strangely, I couldn't figure out why NONE of these books seemed to cover the issues that I was having with my husband. Then I ordered this book and realized why. I didn't see these patterns as abuse since I had been raised around it and lived with it for so many years, I just thought they were typical problems people experience in marriage. I acknowledge that marriage takes a lot of work but after reading this book, I realized that 98% of it applied to my life experiences directly and hit the nail right on the head, over and over.
    If fact, as I was reading this book, I would get mad and slam it down, because the abuse was as plain as day and yet, I couldn't see it. This book spelled it out for me and things couldn't have been any clearer.

    During the month that I was reading this book, my husband was really on his toes, being a good boy. I didn't hide the fact that I was reading it. In fact, I would recommend things to him from the book for him to try to improve on areas of our relationship. But even though he was being on his best behavior, I KNEW it was a front and that things would go back the way they were. So 1 year ago this month, I left him and haven't look back since. I never realized a person can be SO happy and fulfilled, even while going through a divorce (I am like all smiles in the courthouse ~ amazing!).
    Then I gave him the book and told him to find himself in it, and if he couldn't, then to realize that he's been living in denial all these years and needs professional help. Of course, he hasn't read it AND he won't get professional help. But I am on my way to a healthy and fulfilled life, without being abused any more.

    This book made THE MAJOR difference over every book I had ever read. I was in shock at how true almost every single paragraph was to my life. Thank you SO MUCH for making this book! If you are even reading about this book, then deep inside you know in your heart that there is an issue that needs to be solved in your life. I encourage you to buy this book right away and let your eyes be opened. I was crying not because I was unhappy or abused, I was crying at how exactly truthful this book was to my life when NO OTHER BOOK relationship book even came close. I was crying at how could this intelligent, successful woman I am be so blind to what was going on in my life. Please get this book....more info
  • Why Does He Do That? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men
    This book is a GODSEND to anyone that is in, getting out of or having left a Domestic Violence relationship. This book was recommended to me by one of my D.V councellors. I had so many questions, doubts, fears and this book addressed each one of them. It is almost as if the book is written especially about you and the experience you are having. This is the insight, knowledge and understanding the Author has of Domestic Violence and the men that are perpetrators of this crime. PLEASE if you are living in fear, get this book TODAY!!...more info
  • The bible about abusive behavior and how to see through it clearly
    In Feb. of this year my child and I escaped from my husband's abusive behavior to a domestic violence shelter. The shelter staff fortunatley invited me to a teleconference by the author Lundy Bancroft who summarized the behavior of an abusive person which fit my husband almost to a T so I bought the book.

    This book helped me to see clearly. I'm a pretty logical person and had only been in the abuse for 3 years and had tried marriage counseling before deciding to leave. I knew he wouldn't change but my emotions were all over the place and I asked myself all the time "Why did he do that?" "Didn't he know what happiness he was missing out on?" etc.

    After finishing the book I understood why he had acted that way and I also noticed more subtle forms of emotional and verbal abuse he had used on me. I had no question that I could never go back to him. If I hadn't read the book I'd be questioning myself more.

    I lent the book to my brother's friend who is a guy that was being abused by his wife. This guy I viewed as pretty much destroyed and thought he'd never leave his wife. I knew that if he read the book he'd be able to leave her. Happy news he read the book and has left her.

    In addition to victims others should read this book like lawyers, judges, marriage counselors, police, teenagers, etc.to be able to see through the lies. Many abusers are very cunning and can mislead law enforcement, courts, and marriage counselors.

    I just can't recommend this book enough. I donnated my copy to a local domestic violence shelter and am going to buy another one to lend....more info
  • He hit the nail on the head!
    My husband and I have two teenagers and have been married since 1991. We met in '86 and have had a turbulent relationship from the very beginning. I broke it off with him numerous times due to his self-centered, abusive nature but wound up pregnant in the process. When the second one came along, he wanted to get married; my decision to go ahead and take the plunge (into hell) was the biggest mistake of my life. Twenty-two years later, his abuse has only gotten worse and trying to get out of the situation has proved far more complicated than I ever could have imagined.

    If Mr. Bancroft's book would have been available at the time I was considering marriage, I think my life would be completely different right now. I am amazed by the accuracy of the information he has presented. Living with an abusive man for over twenty years, I can confidently say I have never read a book that so perfectly describes my husband's abusive, bizarre, childish behaviors and the thinking behind them. I always knew he had a problem with women but didn't completely understand the reasons behind it.

    The book can be a real life saver for any woman considering a relationship or marriage. It's dead on so, after reading it, if you find yourself discounting, minimizing, or questioning any of the the information, be forwarned, you're headed for TROUBLE!

    ...more info
  • Traumatic Bonding (or, This is No Love Story)
    In the United States, two to four million women are physically and emotionally assaulted by their partners. At least one out of three American women will be a victim of abuse by a husband or boyfriend in her lifetime.

    Author Lundy Bancroft was former co-director of Emerge, the first program specifically created for abusive men in the United States. He has worked extensively with abusive men for nearly two decades.

    Bancroft outlines warning signs of an abusive man; ten abusive personality types; the role of addiction in abuse; what can and cannot be changed in abusive men; and how to get out of an abusive relationship safely.

    First among 17 myths Bancroft dispels in his book is that the victim of the abuser plays any part whatsoever in the abusive behavior of her partner.

    Bancroft writes: "Part of how the abuser escapes confronting himself is by convincing you that you are the cause of his behavior, or that you at least share the blame. But abuse is not the product of bad relationship dynamics, and you cannot make things better by changing your own behavior or by attempting to manage your partner better. Abuse is a problem that lies entirely within the abuser." (pg. 19)

    Bancroft explains why therapy escalates abuse rather than alleviates it. "You can't manage an abuser except for brief periods. Praising him and boosting his self-opinion may buy you some time, but sooner or later he'll jump back into chewing pieces out of you. When you try to improve an abuser's feelings about himself, his problem actually tends to get worse. An abusive man expects catering, and the more positive attention he receives, the more he demands." (pg. 43)

    With all this confusion in abusive relationships about what is and isn't genuine love, Bancroft offers: "Genuine love means respecting the humanity of the other person, wanting what is best for him or her, and supporting the other person's self-esteem and independence. This kind of love is incompatible with abuse and coercion." (pg.65)

    Most abusers cheat on their partners; it is a large part of their sense of entitlement. Charming and flirtatious when he chooses to be, he plays his women, friends and lovers, against each other. He uses women with no regard for the effect of his behavior on them.

    Bancroft lists red flags for women entering into or already in abusive relationships; we can all be abusive on occasion, but watch for ongoing patterns that will not change even when confronted about the behavior.

    Bancroft advises skepticism in the victim not yet ready to leave, and describes what to watch for: "giving you some extended room to be angry about what he did, rather than telling you that you've been angry too long or trying to stuff your angry feelings back down your throat," nor will he make excuses or try to offer rationalizations for his behavior. (pg. 133)

    Bancroft discusses why it is actually more difficult to leave an abusive relationship than a normal relationship that has run its course. "The longer you have been living with his cycles of intermittent abuse and kind, loving treatment, the more attached you are likely to feel to him, through a process known as traumatic bonding." (pg.134)

    Recommendations are included for finding help-legal advice, support groups, therapy for the abused partner, hotlines and organizations to assist women in abusive relationships.

    The book concludes with a call to action for society--to not look the other way when we see abusive behavior, to offer support to abused partners, to take a second look at the kind of behavior we encourage with the current trend to objectify women. Awareness and sensitivity to this epidemic of domestic violence (and make no mistake, emotional abuse, too, should be considered violence) can go a long way to eliminating it.

    ~abridged from Spring '08, The Smoking Poet
    ...more info
  • Total Lifesaver!
    This book has changed my life forever! It's totally amazing. I liked it so much I bought another copy and gave it to my friend. She in turn has told others and are now asking them to read it. I credit Lundy for the knowledge I have today about abusive men. This book is a clear indication of when you're in the danger zone! Thanks Lundy....more info
  • Excellent
    Unique and well written, it holds your interest and provides very thought provoking ideas that make a lot of sense. Starts out kind of vague as it makes reference to later chapters a lot, but the further into it you get, everything comes together so you can see the whole picture. Makes excellent points, well researched and clearly presented. Definitely worth reading for all women, and even teenage girls before dating....more info
  • Why Does He DO That????
    This was one of the finest learning books I have ever read / studied. I have already lent it to two people and have recommended it to five or six others as a "must have" for their libraries.
    When I was a psych major in college, 40 plus years ago, "abuse" was not a topic. I'm glad that this now is being addressed.
    When I was "browsing" among the self-help titles in the listings, this book "jumped out at me."
    I'm really, really, REALLY glad that I got this book.
    A.J. in Scottsdale, Arizona...more info
  • Every Woman should be born with this book
    I have bought several copies of this book for other women. I have told many women about the content to help them in situations they have been in with controlling men. This book allows people to regain self confidence through knowledge.

    Parents buy this book for your teenage girls. It will be the best purchase you have ever made. Whether they are in an abusive relationship or not, this book will teach them not to get in one. Hats Off to Lundy....more info
  • Best Book on Abuse that I've read!
    As a Co-Chair of a County Domestic Violence Task Force I recommend this book to anyone who is involved in, knows someone involved in or is involved in the advocacy movement for victims of domestic violence. Lundy Bancroft has put together what I call the "Bible" on this subject....more info
  • why does he do that
    This is a book on abusive relationships. There so much good information in there. I recommend this book to any woman who is currently in an abusive relationship or starting over after an abusive relationship....more info