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I would like to share with you all a book review of something I’ve been reading this week. It’s called ‘Escaping from Emotional Abuse; Healing from the Shame you don’t deserve’. It’s by Beverley Engel, an internationally recognised psychotherapist.
It’s available January 2021, from Kensington Publishing Corporation, New York.
She offers a five step plan for people who are being emotionally abused. The aim is to recognise the abuse, accept it, understand it, work through it and hopefully improve or leave the situation. She recognises emotional abuse as a form of domestic violence. She aims to empower the reader by helping them to work through the issues they are facing.
Beverley goes into great depth about forms of abuse. she covers childhood trauma and an understanding of the abuser themselves. In this way she aims to help you understand that the abuse you are receiving isn’t because you deserve it, but because the abuser themselves are projecting the shame they feel onto you.
It cleverly works through the process with you encouraging you to write down your experiences and process what is happening to you. She also interweaves stories from clients she has worked with to show how the forms of abuse take place and the effects it has on the people enduring it.
My only fault with this book is that it’s mainly aimed at domestic situations and some of the client examples are quite extreme. I would of liked to have seen more on narcissism specifically; as they are people who damage many of those around them. Some of the most abusive people I have come across were disguised as friends at the beginning. I also think people that have been through domestic violence in anyway are far more vulnerable to people like this. The road to recovery is long.
Obviously I understand the seriousness of emotional abuse within relationships, whether it’s husband or wife or parent and child. It’s an intense situation that can cause extreme damage but emotional abuse can extend outside this setting. Perhaps Beverley could write about narcissism and friendships in her next book. Just a thought…
So, do you need to have suffered emotional abuse to understand this book? Absolutely not. It’s so in depth and covers a range of perspectives that it’s an excellent insight into emotional abuse. For me this is a topic I am passionate about, I am interested in promoting the wellbeing of others and it’s something I write about here on this blog. I am always looking to improve my understanding and knowledge on the subject so I can help others. I have been in controlling relationships in the past myself and have suffered from abuse so I chose to review this book because I believe it will help others.
This book might appeal to someone who has a family member who is being abused and is trying to understand what they’re going through and how to support them. It might even appeal to someone who is interested in psychology. Often people say things like ‘why don’t you just stand up to your abuser or leave?’ I think this book will help you to understand why and just how damaging abuse can be.
I think something I found really engaging was the way she gets you to work through your emotions. For example I’ve always viewed anger as a negative emotion, however she points out that it can be positive too. Anger can give you the energy to protect yourself and leave an abusive situation. It’s also a clearer thought process than confusion, which is often a symptom of emotional abuse (eg. gas lighting in particular). Often abusers don’t want you to get angry because it helps you to process what is happening to you.
Beverley, talks about emotional abuse being a prison of shame. So ask yourself why are you in a prison? Are you a bad person? Or a criminal? Probably not. The aim of keeping you in a prison of shame is to control you so that give into their every want and demand. Abusers demands are often unhealthy or even unobtainable so it is important to recognise what is happening before more damage is done.
With all these things considered then I would highly recommend this book wether you are currently being abused, have recently left an abusive situation or have experience abuse at any stage in your life.
Emotional abuse can be incredibly subtle and difficult to decipher especially at the beginning. This book is a tool for you to regain your confidence and control over your own life. It aims to empower you and I think that’s exactly what it does.
Thanks for reading.