Abusive Relationships Self-Help Books

Many women and men are entangled in difficult and abusive relationships where they may be physically or emotionally battered. It is extremely difficult to sort out the mixture of feelings one can experience in such situations, spanning the extremes between love and hate.

When you have lived much of your adult life with a partner who is abusive or controlling; when you have children who need and love and depend upon this partner - the costs of leaving and the costs of staying seem very high.

The self-help books listed below are excellent resources to help you deepen your understanding of your situation and to explore the options that are available to you. They also provide comfort and encouragement that you are not alone in this difficult struggle.

Recommended Self-Help Books on Abusive Relationships

Battered Wives by Del MartinBattered Wives

This classic self-help book includes excellent critical summaries of the legal and political status of battered wives and the extent to which their immediate predicament must be understood in broad political terms. Del Martin argues that the basis of the problem is not in husband-wife interaction or immediate triggering events, but in the institution of marriage, historical attitudes toward women, the economy, and inadequacies in legal and social service systems. Volcano Press

The Battered Woman by Lenore WalkerThe Battered Woman

Many women in abusive relationships have benefited from this excellent self-help book which addresses the myths and realities of abuse. It includes a number of personal stories of battered women which clearly show the kinds of coercive techniques often found in battering relationships. This is a sympathetic and compassionate book which takes seriously the complex difficulties battered women face in moving ahead with their lives. HarperCollins

Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents by Nina W. BrownChildren of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents

A 50 Greatest Self Help Book

Millions of adults grew up with immature, self-absorbed parents who made their children responsible for their physical and emotional well-being, expected admiration and constant attention, and reacted with criticism and blame when their slightest need went unmet. In this accessible self-help book, Brown helps grown children come to terms with the results of such an upbringing, including tendencies to overcomply to others needs, withdraw when someone needs nurturing and lack self esteem. New Harbinger

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melodie BeattieCodependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

In this memoir, Melodie Beattie talks about her drinking problem, her recovery and her work as a counselor. She combines real-life stories with clear explanations of the codependent syndrome. Hazelden


The Emotionally Abused Woman: Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself by Beverly EngelThe Emotionally Abused Woman: Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself

If you feel unfairly criticized, controlled by others, or are afraid of being lonely, you could be suffering from emotional abuse. This compassionate self-help source book guides you through a step-by-step recovery process to help you heal the damage done in the past. Ballantine Books; Reissue edition

Getting Free: You Can End Abuse and Take Back Your Life by Ginny McCarthyGetting Free: You Can End Abuse and Take Back Your Life

This self-help book offers solid counsel for women who find themselves in physically abusive relationships. It offers help with the difficult decision of whether to leave or to stay. Finding resources and what to do after you leave are highlights of the book. There are also sections on abused teens and abused lesbians. The book includes a large number of useful exercises for readers. , Seal Press, 4th Edition

I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape by Robin WarshawI Never Called it Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape

A Ms. Magazine survey reveals that 25% of college women polled have been the victims of rape or attempted rape; 84% of the victims were acquainted with the attacker. This self help book includes realistic and practical advice on how women can protect themselves and how men can prevent this type of rape. HarperPerennial

Self Help BooK: You Don't Have to Take it Anymore by Steve StosnyLove Without Hurt: Turn Your Resentful, Angry, or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate, Loving One

If you're always walking on eggshells around your partner, Stosny is writing for you. The CompassionPower founder and relationship expert draws examples and exercises from his experience working with couples as he discusses core values, anger management, resentment, power struggles, and reconstruction. 2008, Da CapoPress

Self Help Book: Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira KirsenbaumToo Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship

This self-help book offers a focused way to deal with the agonizing decision about staying in, or getting out of a troubled relationship -- one critical issue at a time. The book is sympathetic and filled with anecdotes that show how other people have responded to similar problems. 1997, Plume Books

Trapped in the Mirror by Elan GolombTrapped in the Mirror

Author Golomb reminds adults who were children of narcissistic parents about the destructive legacy they have been given. Children of narcissistic parents, who were forced to conform to parental thinking, often have a distorted view of their true capacities and a diminished sense of self-worth which may interfere with their search for autonomy, their work and school performance, and their other adult relationships. Perennial Currents

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond by Patricia EvansThe Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond

The author interviews forty verbally abused women and describes categories of verbal abuse with clear examples of effective responses to the different types of abuse. Adams Media


When Love Goes Wrong: What to Do When You Can't Do Anything Right by Ann Jones and susan SchechterWhen Love Goes Wrong: What to Do When You Can't Do Anything Right

The authors warn that a woman married to a manipulative or an overly critical man is in a potentially dangerous situation: even men who have never been physically violent toward their partners may become abusers. The writers offer clear advice on how to escape and where to find emergency support. Perennial