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Stalking the Soul

New or Used: 2 copies from $14.08
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Hirigoyen's book, a best seller in France, paints a chilling portrait of emotional abuse and offers practical advice on combatting it. Ultimately, however, it is a disjointed cross between a self-help book and a semischolarly resource. Abusers, this psychiatrist and family therapist believes, are predators who appropriate another person's life by first paralyzing him or her to prevent counterattack. Practiced in seducing others, they often publicly pass themselves off as victims when, in fact, they are much closer to narcissists. In a section on vampirism, Hirigoyen says that the abuser "needs the flesh and essence of another to fill himself with." This chapter and others reveal her tendency to make rather extreme statements. Of course, much meaning and clarity could have been lost in the translation, and one hopes that further English editions will better relate Hirigoyen's concepts. Not recommended. (Afterword not seen.)ÄPaula Arnold, ingenta inc Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Claiming that emotionally abusive relationships are widespread in marriages, families and the workplace, French psychotherapist Hirigoyen illuminates the subtle, insidious relationship that "emotional abusers" and their "victims" evolve. While recognizing that the "clean violence" of an emotional abuserÄwho as a "natural manipulator" often attracts others with a dynamic, winning styleÄis hard to prove, she aims to enable those who are being abused to recognize what's going on and get help, and to alert her fellow therapists to the danger signs. Often, emotional abuse builds over a long period of time until it becomes so unbearable that victims lash out in frustration and anger, only to appear unstable and aggressive themselves. This, according to Hirigoyen, is the intent of many abusers: to systematically "destabilize" and confuse their victims (with irrational, threatening behavior that preys on the victim's fears and self-doubts), to isolate and control them and ultimately to destroy their identity. These relentless "predators" are also incapable of compassion or empathy, always blame the victim and never see their actions as wrong. Already a bestseller in France, this clearly written and compassionate book offers sensible advice (get support and leave the relationship if the abuse is personal; take legal action if it is professional), though it may not be easy to execute in every case. A smooth translation, combined with a foreword by Thomas Moore and a jacket blurb from Alice Miller, should help this book find a niche readership of thoughtful self-help readers and therapists. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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