Book reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Gaslight Effect

By Ox Drover

I recently read The Gaslight Effect—How to spot and survive the hidden manipulations other people use to control your life, by Dr. Robin Stern. I highly recommend this book to Lovefraud readers.

Robin Stern, Ph.D., is a therapist specializing in emotional abuse and psychological manipulation. She teaches at Hunter College, Teachers College and Columbia University, and is a leadership coach for faculty.

This well-written book is quite reader friendly. Dr. Stern starts off by defining the term “gaslighting” as being “pressured by someone else to believe the unbelievable.” She goes on to show that gaslighting is “an insidious form of emotional abuse and manipulation that can be difficult to recognize and difficult to break … Read more

BOOK REVIEW: Slow Motion

Not long ago, I had an opportunity to meet Dani Shapiro, author of five novels, who just released a memoir called Devotion. The new book is actually her second memoir. Her first, called Slow Motion—A Memoir of a Life Rescued by Tragedy, describes circumstances that Lovefraud readers will find disturbingly familiar.

When Shapiro was a college student in the early 1980s, she was seduced by her best friend’s stepfather. The man, named “Lenny Klein” in Slow Motion (a pseudonym), was a famous, wealthy and aggressive New York City attorney. Shapiro was a beautiful, blond 20-something who, because of him, lost her way.

Lenny Klein felt entitled to take what he wanted. He was a middle-aged … Read more

BOOK REVIEW: The Gentle Art of Verbal Self–Defense

By Ox Drover

The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense was written by Suzette Haden Elgin, an applied psycholinguist and an associate professor of linguistics at San Diego State University. Though first published in 1980, I think it is a nice, easily read and understood book detailing the “hidden” motives in some conversations with just about anyone, whether they are a psychopath or not. It teaches us easily understood ways of deciphering the unspoken messages in language and easy to remember “come backs” that are appropriate for just about any situation where there are “hidden messages” in conversation.

Ms. Elgin wrote:

For every person in this society who is suffering physical abuse, there are hundreds suffering the effects of

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BOOK REVIEW: Perfect Prey

Lovefraud first heard from Liz Cole, author of Perfect Prey—Surviving a Cyber Shark’s Romantic Fraud, back in 2007, shortly after she realized that the guy she met on the Internet was a sociopath.

The guy called himself John Hill, although that wasn’t his real name. Liz wrote:

In my case, John presented himself as:
an Irish born gentleman,
well groomed,
graduate degreed,
retired from the Royal Marines where he performed his tour of duty in the Falkland Islands,
a dutiful and tireless single parent to one daughter, aged 25 completing Medical School in Dublin,
an accomplished chef and restaurateur,
an accomplished sailor,
old-school about etiquette,
strong work ethic and,
a family background rich in details complete

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BOOK REVIEW: A Dangerous Fortune

Editor’s note: The Lovefraud reader “Usedandabused” recently found A Dangerous Fortune, by Ken Follett, in her garage. Although it’s not a new book—published in 1993—she said it was the best portrayal of a psychopath that she’d ever read.

In this breathtaking and complex page-turner, master storyteller Ken Follett portrays a psychopath with sharp emotional clarity that cannot be found in a scientific text. Micky Miranda, the son of a brutal psychopathic South American caudillo of the late 19th century, jumped from the pages into my psyche during his twenty-five year scam of a prominent London banking family. Devoid of compassion and remorse but rife with cutting instincts into the psyches of others, his relationships are nothing more than … Read more

BOOK REVIEW: The Disease to Please

By Ox Drover

When I picked up and started reading The Disease to Please—Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome, by Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D., not everything resonated with me, though I have always tried to “please people,” especially those close to me. There was a great deal of the book, though, that did resonate and validate the similarities between “women who love psychopaths,” as described in the book by that name by Dr. Liane Leedom and Sandra Brown, and “people-pleasers.”

Dr. Braiker is a practicing clinical psychologist with 25 years experience and is author of several books. This one defines “people-pleasers” as:

not just nice people who go overboard trying to make everyone happy. Those who suffer from the Disease

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BOOK REVIEW: In Sheep’s Clothing–Understanding Manipulative People

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (Retired)

Dr. George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D. received his degree in clinical psychology from Texas Tech University and has studied and worked with manipulators and their victims for many years. Dr. Simon has taught over 250 workshops on the subject of dealing with manipulative people. In 1996, he published In Sheep’s Clothing—Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People. This book is in its ninth printing.

The book is divided into two principle parts. Part I is “Understanding Manipulative Personalities” and Part II is “Dealing Effectively with Manipulative People.”

Two Important Types of Aggression

Dr. Simon describes two types of aggression:

Two of the fundamental types of aggression ”¦ are overt and covert aggression. When you’re

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BOOK REVIEW: Emotional Vampires

This book has an appealing title and an appealing theme—comparing people with personality disorders to vampires. But my opinion of Emotional Vampires—Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, by Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D., is decidedly mixed.

The book gives a brief overview of personality disorders in general, and then discusses five types of problem people—antisocial, histrionic, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive and paranoid. The author provides checklists to help you identify the problem personalities, and tips on how to deal with them.

Dr. Bernstein’s writing style is breezy and entertaining, and he uses made-up anecdotes to illustrate his points. To be fair, it seems that the book is mostly written for a business audience, people who come up against personality-disordered individuals … Read more

BOOK REVIEW: Getting It Through My Thick Skull

Finally—the word “sociopath” is being applied to a high-profile case that doesn’t involve a serial killer.

Mary Jo Buttafuoco, wife of Joey Buttafuoco, shot in the head back in 1992 by Amy Fisher, the “Long Island Lolita,” is telling her story. And the first words of the introduction are, “Joey Buttafuoco is a sociopath.”

Getting It Through My Thick Skull—Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know, has just been released. Why did it take Mary Jo 17 years to write the book? Because it was only in 2007 that she realized the truth about Joey Buttafuoco.

Perhaps you remember the case. Mary Jo got shot. The police … Read more

BOOK REVIEW: Trading Places, a true story of overcoming abuse

Trading PlacesPeople who have not been entangled in abusive relationships often ask, “Why doesn’t she just leave?” By reading Trading Places, by Natalie Hutchison and Mary Turner Thomson, you begin to understand.

Natalie Hutchison was reproached as a child, ignored by her first husband, then physically abused by her second husband. Finally, she decided enough was enough. Natalie escaped the abuse, went back to work, started a business, and in 2006 won the Barclays Bank Trading Places award, given to individuals who overcome tremendous personal adversity to turn their lives around.

Natalie had health problems as an adolescent, and she tells how her parents reacted to her medical issues.You see the seeds of self-doubt being planted. This is … Read more

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