Vilma Reynoso

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September Book Review: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Marie-France Hirigoyen

“The goal of abusive conduct is to destabilize the other person and make them doubt themselves and others.” – Marie-France Hirigoyen

Stalking the Soul

The (destructive) art of making someone doubt themselves is only the beginning of emotional abuse. If a person is able to make another doubt what they just witnessed, heard, or felt, then that person has just gained control over the other, and thus, committed the very misunderstood but definitely widespread and deliberate act of emotional abuse. Often, emotional abuse builds over a long period of time until it becomes so unbearable that victims lash out in frustration and anger, only to appear unstable and aggressive themselves. The intent of many abusers is to systematically confuse their victims with irrational, threatening behavior that preys on the victim’s fears and self-doubts. The end result is an erosion of the soul or spirit.

Marie-France Hirigoyen in Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity brilliantly and clearly demonstrates the dynamics of emotional abuse. Her book identifies emotional abuse in couples, in families, and in the workplace. She explains thoroughly what emotional abuse is, what an abusive relationship is, the consequences of living with abuse, and ends her book with practical advice on how to handle this type of abuse. What I especially found fascinating about Hirigoyen’s book are the several dialogues she included between partners in an emotionally abusive relationship. I found this part of her book very poignant.  I recognized my past abusive relationship in these dialogues and realized how damaging the process of control is and how it almost destroyed me.

As one the best books I have read on the subject of abuse, I highly recommend Dr. Hirigoyen’s, Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity to anyone who seeks to learn what emotional abuse is, or anyone who wants to identify if their current relationships are abusive. You will not be disappointed!

A bit about the author, Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen:

Ms. Hirigoyen is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and psychotherapist specializing in mobbing, a form of bullying. Marie-France Hirigoyen does research on psychological violence and has published several books since 1998. In 1999, she participated in creating a law against workplace harassment, which led to a debate about workplace abuse in France. To learn more about Marie-France Hirigoyen, visit her website: Marie-France Hirigoyen (Please note it is in French).

To purchase a copy of Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen, please visit Amazon.

Lastly and most importantly, if you think you are in an abusive relationship, or you feel that something is not quite right in your relationship, the chances are high that you are being abused. Seek help. It is there and free for you. Contact The Crisis Center or call 888-247-7472. Stop the slow and poisonous erosion of your identity now.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


3 Comments

What is Abuse?

Abuse is all about control.

Abuse is something that happens when one person believes they have power over another and exercises that power. Abuse is not only physical. It can be psychological, spiritual, verbal, emotional, financial and sexual for starters. Domestic violence is a result of the abusive mindset and the behaviors associated with that belief. According to The Women’s Crises and Family Outreach Center (TWCFOC), an organization that is dedicated to ending domestic violence in the lives of all people and empowering those victims of abuse, “domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Domestic violence happens when one person believes they are entitled to control another. Assault, battering, and domestic violence are crimes.”

How do you know if you are being abused or have been abused? Here are some examples of abuse:

  • If you have been coerced or manipulated into doing something you did not want to do, you have been emotionally abused.
  • If you are afraid of your partner and feel like you have to “walk on eggshells” to not anger them, you have experienced psychological abuse.
  • If you have been pushed into a corner, you have been physically abused.
  • If you have been called a name, you have been verbally abused.
  • If you have been held against your will or made to do anything because of your partner’s religious beliefs, you have been abused.
  • If your significant other has punched you in the face, you have been physically abused.
  • If you were forced to have sex without your consent, you have been sexually abused.
  • If you are in an intimate relationship where you are not “allowed” to have or spend money, you are in a financially abusive relationship.
  • If you have been made to feel that if you do not do something or give something you will “pay,” you have been psychologically abused.
  • If you feel deflated, always tired, confused, depressed, scared to make a decision for yourself, or feel like you are losing your mind, you might be in an abusive relationship.
  • If you think you are being abused in any way, you probably are.

If you are experiencing at least three or more of the above examples of abuse, chances are high that you are in an abusive relationship or situation. You are not alone!

Please contact the Women’s Crisis and Family Outreach Center for confidential and compassionate assistance. There is no charge to speak to a counselor, and they are open 24 hours, 7 days per week.

1-888-247-7472.

 There is only one YOU. Get help before it is too late! 

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso