I recently read two recently published books about marital abuse, especially emotional abuse, and I recommend both of them. Unlike the many written by psychologists and marriage therapists, these are both written by women who have suffered such abuse.
I have previously met the authors of both books, although not while they were enduring the abuse. They are wise, strong women and excellent writers. Their stories make their advice so much more personal and touching.
Jennifer Gardella, PhD takes an unusual approach to the topic in Domestic Violence Awareness: Listen For The Whispers of Abuse. She writes for those of us who want to help our friends escape the demands, criticism, ridicule, insults, gaslighting, victim blaming, and love bombing of emotional abuse in their relationships. She tells us what to watch and listen for and how to help.
Jennifer’s voice is so kind and caring. She understands why it can take so long for someone enduring this sort of abuse by a loved one to recognize it as abuse and start to make a plan to get her life back. She knows the abuse doesn’t stop just by leaving, either.
As awful as Jennifer’s experience was, there is no anger in this book, only a keen recognition of the many forms and consequences of emotional abuse and a loving approach to getting women to safety. By speaking to those of us outside the marriage who could help, she comes across as a tuned-in friend to anyone in such a situation.
Jennifer acknowledges that men abusing women is just one of four variations, all of which are happening in opposite and same sex relationships, but she sticks to the one she experienced. This 123-page, easy-to-read book is not just her personal opinions. Her book is well researched. It’s one you can trust.
Wren Menzie’s book, The Narcissist You Divorce: 7 Action Steps to Divorcing a Narcissist and Rebuilding Your Life, is a great companion. It’s 238 pages of detailed action steps for ending a marriage to a narcissist inflicting emotional (and sometimes physical) abuse.
Not all abusers are narcissists, and not all narcissists are abusers, but Wren had the misfortune to twice marry emotionally abusive narcissistic men, She’s spent a lot of time learning about both Narcissistic Personality Disorder and emotional abuse. And she tells her own story quite engagingly.
Wren’s book is designed to help you safely leave a narcissist who is abusing you and reeling you right back in with love bombing (tears, flowers, gifts, compliments, and promises) when you’ve had all you can handle. She writes, “Once you decide to leave, even if you say nothing to anyone, it’s as if your partner can suddenly read your mind.”
Wren devotes her first chapter to the decision to divorce. The rest of the book is details about her seven action steps for getting free. Laying the Groundwork for a New Beginning. Find Your Battle Allies. Timing is Everything. Telling the Narcissist. Taking Charge. Neutralizing the Narcissist’s Tactics. Moving Forward and Rebuilding Your Life.
If you have been walking on eggshells in your marriage, I hope you will pick up both books: Domestic Violence Awareness: Listen For The Whispers of Abuse by Jennifer Gardella, PhD and The Narcissist You Divorce: 7 Action Steps to Divorcing a Narcissist and Rebuilding Your Life by Wren Menzies.
And if you’ve had friends deny the abuse and shrinking self you can see with your own eyes and felt helpless, as I have, I strongly recommend Jennifer Gardella’s book, so we can help a lot sooner and a lot more effectively. No one, male or female, deserves abuse, especially not at home.