June Hunt’s booklet “Verbal and Emotional Abuse” is BAD
Ps Jeff Crippen’s review of Verbal & Emotional Abuse: Victory Over Verbal and Emotional Abuse, a booklet by June Hunt.
Why is this book so bad and even harmful to abuse victims?
1) It gives way too wide of a definition of abuse and as a result ends up making recommendations that might work in a difficult marriage (drawing of boundaries for instance) but which will NEVER work in a marriage to an abuser. Remember, always remember, the abuser is an ABUSER, not a person who sometimes commits abusive acts. The abuser is a person who has a profound sense of entitlement to power and control over another and who feels fully justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control. Boundaries are meant to draw a line and clarify consequences for crossing that line and they can work effectively with a “normal” person, training them toward more positive behaviors. But you are not going to “fix” an abuser by the use of boundaries. Furthermore if a victim draws boundaries with the kind of abuser we deal with, they may well get themselves killed. I may not have stated this as clearly as some of you could, or as Dr. George Simon or Barbara Roberts could. But I do know that Hunt primarily relies upon boundaries to “fix” the abuser and the relationship.
2) Hunt’s goal is to “fix” the abuser. For example, listen to her response to the question, “How can I deal with the hurtful things my husband says to me?” Answer:
When things are peaceful between the two of you, ask him, “If we could have a better marriage relationship with each other, would you want it?” WHEN HE RESPONDS AFFIRMATIVELY” [caps are mine so you don’t miss that phrase] …say, “I want that too. But sometimes we get into verbal battles that are not the best for us or for the kids. So I’ve decided just to step out of the room when that happens in the future and then come back later. I’m going to do this because spoken words cannot be taken back any more than toothpaste that has been squeezed out can be put back into the tube.” (pp 70-71).
Now, I have to ask June Hunt, what kind of person are you talking about? Because the kind of abuser, the ABUSER, that we deal with day in and day out would not let the victim get past “If we could have a better marriage…would you…”. And that’s it! Immediately he would start playing the mind games, announcing the accusations, and so on. June, this just ain’t gonna work with these dudes! In fact this kind of talk will be ammo in his arsenal and he will see it as weakness and a point to attack her on. June, you are not knowledgeable of the abuser mentality. You are assuming he is a GOOD person! Abusers are not good people.
3) Hunt is waaaaaay back in the dark ages in this field. Check it out (from page 88-9):
Anger Management is Mandatory. People who have difficulty with anger control may express their anger in two ways. If you vent your anger at someone else, your anger is explosive, but if you keep your anger bottled up, your anger is implosive. Explosive anger is outwardly abusive, while implosive anger is inwardly abusive. Both are damaging to relationships….Be aware [she writes to the abuser] when you are feeling irritated or aggravated. Take note when a sudden feeling of anger explodes in your mind. Discover your trigger points… Restrain angry thoughts and actions. Turn your thoughts toward Christ (asking him), “Lord, may I have your peace?”… Train yourself to keep a lid on your anger until your agitation is calmed down.
Crikeys!! One of the first things we learn about the abuser is that anger is NOT his problem! (See our post Anger Management is not the answer.) June, stop writing and teaching this stuff. All you are doing is giving false hope to the victim and full-blown ammunition to the abuser.
4) Finally (and I could give many more examples of bad teaching in this book), you notice in #3 above that Hunt is approaching the abuser as if he is a Christian, desirous of obeying Christ. That further pumps the gasoline of enablement on the fires of abuse.
This book definitely makes the list on our blog of resources that will not help an abuse victim or anyone desirous of learning about abuse.
Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,
and the writers who keep writing oppression,
to turn aside the needy from justice
and to rob the poor of my people of their right,
that widows may be their spoil,
and that they may make the fatherless their prey!