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105 of 105 found the following review helpful:
A gem--very comprehensiveApr 21, 2002
By Jill Minor
This book has been very helpful to me in recovering from an abusive marriage. In fact, if you only have the money for one "recovery from abuse" book, this one is the one to get. It covers every type of abuse, even spiritual abuse, which was very relevant to my experiences in a bizarre cultic marriage in which I was beaten over the head with the Bible and told to "submit" all the time. The tone that the book is written in is wonderful. It is neither "oh, you poor pathetic baby" or "get over it, toots" but strikes exactly the right tone--empowering and empathetic but not patronizing or overbearing.
The book helps you not only analyze what happened to you and why, but gets you into the healing process. This book helped me quit beating myself up for ending up with and staying with an abuser (and having SIX children with him into the bargain), for still having feelings for my abusive husband, and for being tempted to go back. Some of the exercises at the end of the chapters were kind of silly, and I skipped them, but some were excellent. The exercise that helped me the most was the one that helped me to look back and remember why I fell in love with that chump to begin with. It WASN'T because I am brainless.
The absolute best thing about this book, in my opinion, is the final chapter. Prior to reading it, I had no idea how in the world I managed to marry an abusive control freak and was scared to death of getting hooked by another one. This chapter really helped me feel capable of choosing another partner who is not abusive. The author tells you exactly what danger signs to look for. I missed every one of them the first time, but I won't miss them again!
88 of 89 found the following review helpful:
An Invaluable Help in the Healing ProcessAug 28, 2008
It's My Life Now fills an important gap in the literature on domestic violence. There are several great books out there that help bring the abused to the point of recognizing that they are in an abusive relationship that they must escape. These books help clarify the patterns and cycles that are common to so many abusive relationships. When searching for help and healing myself, I largely encountered books that told me how to get out, get safe, and (had I any children) get custody. But at that point, I had already fought my way out of my abuser's grasp and was searching for something to help me untangle the webs of control, humiliation, and verbal abuse I had endured. I was also struggling with difficult feelings of guilt, loss, and anger that I needed some guidance to process. That is where this book came in: the practical guide to regaining yourself after enduring abuse and/or violence.
What is so valuable and remarkable about this book, compared to many others, is that it walks the abused through the complicated (and admittedly frightening) time AFTER she gets out of the relationship.
It begins with the typical identification of abuse and abusive behaviors, but as this book is written for those who have already left their abuser, this list serves a different purpose. In an incredibly reassuring and helpful chapter that addresses the feelings of love for the abuser that may still remain, we are asked to make a list of the qualities that were attractive in him in the first place. Then, we return to the initial chapter's list of abusive behaviors and make a list of what type of abuses were committed and with what frequency. The positive list serves to reassure the abused that she had compelling reasons for being attracted to the abuser, while the abuses list reminds her that the abuser (however charming) is not who he seemed. There are many more simple, journal-style exercises that I found important for gaining insight and perspective.
The book addresses key issues I encountered in the uncomfortable period that ensued within one week or two of leaving my abuser. The author also recommends that readers return to these topics and exercises one month later, for comparison. (Perspective is everything.) I have emphatically recommended this book to the women I have met in domestic violence support groups, who have returned nothing but praise for the usefulness, pertinence and clarity of It's My Life Now. I have found it invaluable in my own process and will continue to refer to it when I require strength or guidance.
38 of 38 found the following review helpful:
Just what I needAug 02, 2001
By Victoria S.
I'm reading this book right now, and I felt it was written just for me. Believe me, if you are coming out of any kind of abusive relationship (remember, it does not have to get to the point of physical abuse to be abusive), this book will help you deal with your loss and your recovery. I broke up with whom I thought was the love of my life 2 months ago. Been through hell. I too thought it was insane to love and miss so much a person who was constantly putting me down and hurting me in many ways. It had to stop. But once you're out, STAYING out could be pretty tough. It sure is for me. This book is guiding me through the loss I'm suffering and so far it's been THE GREATEST help I received. It's been like reading my soul. I need to THANK the authors, you've helped a great deal.
30 of 31 found the following review helpful:
Not for someone stuck in the healing processJan 01, 2009
I was looking for a book that dealt with healing after you left the relationship. The main focus of this book was on issues relevant to someone who has decided to leave and the time immediately after. Loving again was addressed in the last chapter and while very good on warning signs of a potential abuser and how to determine if you are ready for a new relationship there was nothing on how to get from "I am safe now" to "I am ready to start looking for a new relationship." The author points out that you have to feel worthy and have good self-esteem but not how to get there. What it did include was very good but most people would have come across that material in a book on abusive relationships. Beverly Engel is my favorite author on abusive relationships.
34 of 36 found the following review helpful:
It Is Helpful, Plain and SimpleMay 01, 2002
This book is the kind of instructional manual that every woman escaping from an abuser needs to read. Every thought, fear, or impulse an abused woman may have is discussed in this very calm, very helpful book.
The authors don't shy away from the darker stuff, and they write in a very straightforward, no-nonsense fashion. Yet the book leaves the reader with an undeniable sense of hope and excitement, as this book makes the reader realize that a new, better life is possible.
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