The best books to read if you think you are being emotionally abused

Who am I?

I was in an emotionally abusive marriage for 20 years but didn’t realize what was happening to me. I tried to twist myself into a perfectly shaped pretzel to make my husband happy. It didn’t work. Reading some of these books gave me the courage to seek a restraining order and divorce my husband. Since then, I became a domestic violence advocate, author, blogger, and mental health counselor. 


I wrote...

A Journey Through Emotional Abuse: From Bondage to Freedom

By Caroline Abbott,

Book cover of A Journey Through Emotional Abuse: From Bondage to Freedom

What is my book about?

In my abusive marriage, it wasn’t until my husband became physically abusive that I started really looking at what was happening to me. I moved from wondering why he was angry all the time to realizing I was being abused. I wrote this book to help others through the hard road I had to travel: seeking help from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, lawyers, police, and my church.

I describe my journey with the court system, social services, getting a restraining order and seeking full custody of my kids. I help readers think through the hard questions: Should I leave? How could I do it safely? What will my friends/family/church say? What is best for my kids? Having someone who has been through it themselves walk alongside you is invaluable.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

Caroline Abbott Why did I love this book?

When I was in my abusive marriage, I spent days/weeks/years wondering WHY my husband acted the way he did. Was it my fault? Lundy Bancroft answers these questions better than any other. 1. Abusers like being in control. 2. They are convinced that it is OK to treat you badly. 3. Most of all, they get what they want by their abusive behavior. 

The clarity I gained from this book was amazing.

By Lundy Bancroft,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this groundbreaking bestseller, Lundy Bancroft—a counselor who specializes in working with abusive men—uses his knowledge about how abusers think to help women recognize when they are being controlled or devalued, and to find ways to get free of an abusive relationship.

He says he loves you. So...why does he do that?
 
You’ve asked yourself this question again and again. Now you have the chance to see inside the minds of angry and controlling men—and change your life. In Why Does He Do That? you will learn about:
 
• The early warning signs of abuse
• The nature of abusive…


Book cover of The Verbally Abusive Relationship, How to Recognize It and How to Respond

Caroline Abbott Why did I love this book?

When I was in my emotionally abusive marriage, I didn’t fully realize I was being abused. I finally called the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and they recommended this book. It does an excellent job of explaining what verbal/ emotional abuse is, and how to recognize it. Reading this book set me on the path to finally getting the help I needed and getting free from my abuser.

By Patricia Evans,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Verbally Abusive Relationship, How to Recognize It and How to Respond as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You deserve respect.

In this fully expanded and updated third edition of the bestselling classic, you learn why verbal abuse is more widespread than ever, and how you can deal with it. You'll get more of the answers you need to recognize abuse when it happens, respond to abusers safely and appropriately, and most important, lead a happier, healthier life.

In two all-new chapters, Evans reveals the Outside Stresses driving the rise in verbal abuse - and shows you how you can mitigate the devastating effects on your relationships. She also outlines the Levels of Abuse that characterize this kind…


Book cover of Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

Caroline Abbott Why did I love this book?

Many of us are taught that to say “no” to someone is unkind and un-Christian. When we can’t say no to others, we are in danger of being taken advantage of -  even being abused. This book explains the reason why we need good boundaries, how to enforce them, and how to become responsible for our own lives and happiness.

By Henry Cloud, John Townsend,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Boundaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Join the millions who have learned how to take control of their lives by setting healthy boundaries with their spouses, children, friends, parents, coworkers, and even themselves, in order to live life to the fullest.

Do you feel like your life has spiraled out of control? Have you focused so much on being loving and unselfish that you've forgotten your own limits? Do you find yourself taking responsibility for other people's feelings and problems? In Boundaries, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend teach you the ins and outs of setting the boundaries that will transform your daily life.

Boundaries, a…


Book cover of Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Caroline Abbott Why did I love this book?

Many people who are abused by their intimate partners learned to accept this behavior in their childhood. This book describes how a narcissistic parent twists the minds of their children to make the narcissist feel better. It helps de-mystify the sometimes non-sensical actions of the parent, helps the adult child set appropriate boundaries and find healing.

By Karyl McBride,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From experienced family therapist Dr. Karyl McBride, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? is an essential guide to recovery for women with selfish, emotionally abusive, and toxic mothers—designed to help daughters reclaim their lives.

The first book for daughters who have suffered the abuse of narcissistic, self-involved mothers, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? provides the expert assistance you need in order to overcome this debilitating history and reclaim your life. Drawing on more than two decades of experience as a therapist specializing in women’s health and hundreds of interviews with suffering daughters, Dr. Karyl McBride helps you recognize the…


Book cover of A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church

Caroline Abbott Why did I love this book?

When I was in the process of leaving my abusive husband, I sought help from my church. Sadly, my pastors had no idea what they were dealing with. Instead of helping me, they sided with my abuser. This book, written by a pastor, helps churches understand the evil that abusers perpetrate, and how they can and should help the abused partner.

By Jeff Crippen, Anna Wood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Cry for Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ!

In many Christian circles this may be a taboo subject--spoken of in hushed tones or behind closed doors. But it is a very real problem that must be brought into the light of Scripture.

Abuse in the church takes different forms; but it is alive and active even in "nice" families in our churches. Typically, the abuser is male, usually a husband--and his character is that of a manipulating deceiver. Countless women and children--even many faithful pastors--have been abused by these deceivers.

Have you, or someone you know, been a victim? Has an…


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Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay

By Kate Darroch,

Book cover of Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay

Kate Darroch Author Of Death in Paris

New book alert!

Who am I?

Living on Devon's gorgeous coast, I'm melding my lifelong love of reading Cozy Sleuths with my love of writing and years of living in foreign climes to write Travel Cozies. I also have a Vella Heist serial Found Money starting on Vella soon, and a Cozy Spy series They Call Him Gimlet coming out in the Autumn.

Kate's book list on humorous murder mysteries

What is my book about?

This is a recovery and redemption novel about forgiveness, full of warmth and compassion, which stirs the heart as it navigates sensitive topics delicately yet realistically. The riveting sobriety journey of Eric, an alcoholic newly recovering in AA, who falls in love with Lily, a woman haunted by memories of domestic abuse.

The emotional roller coaster of their journey unfolds by the sea on the gorgeous Devon coastline in England. This is a super-sweet story of strong friendships and complex, flawed, yet caring people moving toward committed love. Visit the compassionate community at St Michael's, where this old-fashioned love story is part of everyday life in a community which reflects your own. This is life as it should be.

Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay

By Kate Darroch,

What is this book about?

This is a recovery and redemption novel about forgiveness, full of warmth and compassion, which stirs the heart as it navigates sensitive topics delicately yet realistically. The riveting sobriety journey of Eric, an alcoholic newly recovering in AA, who falls in love with Lily, a woman haunted by memories of domestic abuse.

The emotional roller coaster of their journey unfolds by the sea on the gorgeous Devon coastline in England. This is a super-sweet story of strong friendships and complex, flawed, yet caring people moving toward committed love. Join the compassionate community at St Michael's, where this old-fashioned love story…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in psychological abuse, domestic violence, and life satisfaction?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about psychological abuse, domestic violence, and life satisfaction.

Psychological Abuse Explore 22 books about psychological abuse
Domestic Violence Explore 63 books about domestic violence
Life Satisfaction Explore 197 books about life satisfaction