I am really sad that I had occasion to read this book, but I am really glad that I did. The author cuts to the quick about the origin of abuse and gives a sobering prognosis for change in an abuser's patterns of behavior.
What I learned:
* Abuse comes from a sense of entitlement and low opinion of the abused (not always, but most commonly the abused are women)
* Drugs, alcohol, past trauma, or past relationships do not cause abusive behavior.
* The abuser benefits greatly by their behavior, and thus has little incentive to change. They generally have freedom to do what they want when they want, they generally contribute little to the household.
* The abuser is a master at manipulation and diversion, confusing the abused as to what is happening with them.
* Fixing substance abuse problems do nothing to fix abusive behaviors
* Abusers learn how to use couples therapy, psychotherapy, or 12 step programs to their advantage in gaining leverage over their abused partners
* Changing an abuser's behavior requires that they change core value system that is deeply ingrained, and as such, happens very rarely.
Learning all this can be frightening to someone who is in an abusive relationship, but ultimately knowledge is empowering.