December 10, 2011
Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft
As a precursor, this is about abusive men mainly. That's not to say women aren't abusive too, this just doesn't happen to be a book written on that topic. It could also to a smaller extent be applied to lesbian relationships as well.
Bancroft splits it into several parts. The first part covers the nature of abusive thinking and the most helpful part of this section is identifying the types of abusive men. Bancroft takes care to explain that a man may not be one certain type, but rather can be a mix of several. I especially like how he explained the actions of each type. The next section is the Abusive Man in Relationships and it helps explain how the abuse begins, how it effects everyday life, and what happens when you break up. The third part is the Abusive Man in the World and it shows how they interact with the legal system, gain allies to their side, and how they are as parents. The last part of the book is Changing the Abusive Man and don't be fooled by the title. While there are a few rare cases that the abusive man changes, it is not highly likely and this chapter will only be helpful to a few. Bancroft finishes off the book with a listing of resources for people in abusive relationships.
This book was much better than the others because it doesn't focus on blaming the victim. It acknowledges that these abusive actions are never acceptable and tries to explain how it happens and gives validation to those experiencing it. And there are parts that some people can skip over. If you don't have children, the abusers as parents won't be relevant to you. If your abuser fails to see that anything is wrong or blames everything on you, you probably won't find the part on changing the abusive man helpful. And it is ok to skip those sections. This book should be used to focus on the relevant areas to your situation and to help with those.
A compassionate book with a lot of information, this one should be a go to book before all the others on this topic.
Why Does He Do That