Friday, May 04, 2007

Stalking the Soul

Stalking the Soul:
Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity

by Marie-France Hirigoyen, Helen Marx, Thomas Moore

ISBN-10: 1885586531
ISBN-13: 978-1885586537

From the Publisher

In this groundbreaking account—already a national bestseller—Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen lays bare the destructive "hidden" phenomenon of emotional abuse. She argues that while emotional abuse is not as visible as physical abuse, it is equally violent—and perhaps even more widespread. It is a crime whose aim is, she says, "a virtual murder of the soul."
Emotional abuse exists all around us—in couples, in families, and in the workplace. But in an age where moral and behavioral standards are not absolute, society turns a blind eye to this insidious form of violence, tacitly condoning conduct that is both dangerous and perverse.
Illustrating her points with gripping case histories from her own therapeutic practice, plus popular examples ranging from the films of Hitchcock to the personal writings of Einstein and the works of Ovid, Kafka, and Freud, Hirigoyen analyzes the psychology of abusers and their victims as well as the dynamic between them. She breaks down the stages of emotional abuse, a process that begins with seduction and brainwashing and culminates in an open violence that sweeps the victim into a vortex of destruction. Finally, she offers practical advice on how to break free of abuse's vicious hold.
Stalking the Soul is a call to recognize and understand emotional abuse and, most importantly, to overcome it. Sophisticated yet wholly accessible, this landmark account is vital reading for health professionals and victims of abuse, as well as for the concerned public. Marie-France Hirigoyen shows that emotions shape our entire being—indeed our very soul.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
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 abuser who as a "natural manipulator" often attracts others with a dynamic, winning style is 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.