The Guide to Spotting, Naming, and Stopping Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships
The lack of language to identify emotional abuse and its devastating effects among couples is a major barrier to recognition and treatment. From Charm to Harm breaks down this barrier by providing simple words and definitions that name and explain harmful interactions between intimate partners. Many of the those interactions are hard to distinguish from the normal experience of being in a relationship.
From Charm to Harm will empower you to recognize and describe emotional abuse tactics and the effects on you. It will provide you with ways to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Determine if your mate is emotionally abusive and how you may be enabling the abuse.
- Find out how and why charm turns to harm when one partner has a deep-seated need to control the other partner.
- Discover why people abuse their lovers, why their lovers allow it, how it happens, and its aftermath.
- Learn how easy it is to get caught up in the oppressive cycle of emotional abuse and how you might be contributing to your own suffering.
- Learn how to stand up to an abusive partner, get treatment for both partners, and make the choice to leave or stay in the relationship.
From Charm to Harm will help you stop emotional abuse and claim your right to be loved and respected.
Amy has written an important book that explains what happens when men and women play out their childhood wounds with their intimate partners. She puts words to the many and varied ways that people hurt themselves and others as a result. Her book is a valuable tool for those involved in emotionally abusive relationships.
—John Gray, PhD., Author of the phenomenal #1 bestseller, Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus
In part one, the story of Susan and Jack shows how charm turns to harm in a relationship from the romantic beginning to the final parting. The story is told from the perspective of Susan who doesn’t understand why she is distressed and acutely unhappy in her marriage to Jack.
Susan is unaware of Jack’s emotional abuse because his tactics are difficult to identify and describe, and she doesn’t see his treatment as abuse. To her, the word abuse is unthinkable, but his manipulation of her thoughts, feelings, and behavior to feed his need to control her is abuse. Deeply conflicted, she struggles to comprehend who is at fault for the strife in their marriage. In her effort to improve the relationship, she enables Jack and contributes to his abuse.
Following the story is a list of all the controlling and abusive tactics Jack uses against Susan. There is also a list of the effects on Susan.
Part two names and defines more than one hundred emotional abuse tactics, the effects on the abused, and their unintentional contributions to the abuse. Each tactic and effect is portrayed with brief stories based on the experiences of real people. Original illustrations depict the interactions.
Part three provides questionnaires to determine if a relationship is abusive, how the abuse is affecting the abused, and how the abused may be enabling the oppressor. Part three also explains how to establish boundaries of protection from abusive mates and get help for both partners.
This book is so profound I have no words to adequately praise it! The author puts into words what I’ve been struggling to understand for all my adult life. To say this book is a life changing experience is a grand understatement. I highly recommend this book to anyone who even slightly feels they may be the victim of emotional abuse. This book should be required reading before people get into relationships with the “charmer”!!! —Christofer
Excerpt from Chapter One
A familiar wave of heat rose from the pit of Susan’s stomach and flushed her face with humiliation. She paused to collect herself and managed to smile at friends gathered around her dining room table. “Excuse me. I … uh … I’ll be right back,” she stammered as she turned away. She hurried down the hallway, slipped into the bathroom, and locked herself in.
Susan’s tears brimmed and spilled down her cheeks. She questioned herself. Why can’t I be clever enough to think of a witty retort when Jack puts me down? He said it was just a joke.
Susan had worked for two days to delight her friends with a gourmet meal and prove her culinary skills to Jack. He waited until she began to serve dinner, the crucial moment when his remark would hurt her most. “Poor Susan,” he said. “She tries her best to cook, but unfortunately, she just doesn’t have it. Eat at your own risk.” He sneered.
The remark played over and over in her head, punctuated by Jack’s usual response when his “jokes” upset her. “You’re too sensitive. Don’t take things so seriously.”
The author has penned a well written book on how to spot and name abusive tactics in interpersonal relationships and how the one being abused contributes to the abuse. A must read for anyone who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship. Thank you Ms. Bear for sharing your knowledge and experience on this important topic. —D. Kay Mitchell
How to Use the Book
- Flip through the book to find the tactics and effects that may be happening in your own relationship and how to get help.
- Use the book to get support from family and friends by helping them comprehend the hidden nature of emotional abuse and the harmful effects of it.
- Share the book with loved ones who are emotionally battered to help them gain relief and take action.
- Help young adults be alert to the hazards of involvement with an abusive person.
- If you are in the process of divorce, take the book to your legal representatives to educate them about your abusive mate, so they can better represent you.
- Psychotherapists can use the book as a therapeutic tool to help clients gain deeper insight into their experience with abuse and work toward recovery.
From Charm to Harm is available in hardcover, softcover, and e-book formats and can be purchased through online book retailers and local bookstores.
Questions and Answers
There are many books on the market about emotional abuse. Why should someone buy your book?
Over the years, I had a steady stream of women and some men coming into my practice who complained of anxiety, depression, and despair. After questioning them, I realized that many of them were in emotionally abusive relationships and didn’t fully realize what was happening. That’s because they had no way to recognize and describe the emotional abuse tactics that were being used against them. How can you protect yourself if you don’t know what’s being done to you? In From Charm to Harm, I created words and phrases that would enable victims to recognize and describe emotional abuse tactics and their effects.
Why did you take this approach?
Like any behavior, emotional abuse can be broken down into specific actions. To recognize and describe those actions, you have to be able to see the tactic, realize its purpose and intended effect. Otherwise, you will struggle to understand what’s happening and who’s at fault. Abusers often blame their victims and convince victims to blame themselves.
A common mistake is thinking the behavior is something entirely different than what it is. You try to reason with your mate, or have a rational conversation to reach a resolution to the issue. But you and your abusive mate have different objectives. You want to reach a resolution. Your abusive mate wants to gain control over you. You have to understand that or you can’t protect yourself.
What was your motivation in writing this book?
After helping hundreds of women and some men who had been in emotionally abusive relationships, I knew that I had to broaden my reach to those who were suffering in silence. So, I thought, what is the single most important thing I can do to help reach a wider expanse of people who are in the same situation? And that’s how I came up with the idea for my book. I also had a lot of encouragement from my clients to write a book on the subject. They wanted to contribute to helping others so they allowed me to use their stories in my book.
You interviewed a lot of women and men for this book. What did you find most surprising?
What I always find surprising is the way people cling to old beliefs about themselves and others that keep them stuck in negative and harmful thinking and behaviors. There is a term in From Charm to Harm called “Fictional Thinking.” For example, fictional thinkers might think their partner loves them and really doesn’t mean to treat them badly. Truth: How can you intentionally and repeatedly hurt a person that you love? How can you discount their feelings, accuse them of things that are not their fault, belittle them in public, call them hurtful names if you love them? This is not love.
Another surprising thing is that when we were children, we never played with people who weren’t nice to us, why do we do it now?
How should people use the quizzes in your book?
Emotional abuse is often hard to spot in a relationship. Most abusers don’t take responsibility for mistreating others, and they commonly pin the blame on abuse recipients. The abused one may be overcome with self-doubt and confused about what is causing the trouble.
Asking yourself specific questions and contemplating the answers will help you gain clarity about your relationship. If you answer yes to any of the questions in the three quizzes, there may be emotional abuse in your relationship. A qualified psychotherapist who is experienced in treating emotional abuse survivors can help you and may also be able to provide treatment resources for your partner.
Is the book helpful to people who have relationships with abusers who are not their partners, such as parents, siblings, or adult children?
Absolutely! Many of the emotional abuse tactics and effects discussed in From Charm to Harm are the same in any abusive relationship.
Written with mastery by a woman who personally understands the devastating effects of emotional abuse and professionally understands how to guide individuals who are hurting to a place of hope and healing. Clear, compassionate and complete! —Phyllis