Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” as Want to Read:
Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.45  ·  Rating Details ·  3,084 Ratings  ·  355 Reviews
More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA.
Kindle Edition, 429 pages
Published (first published 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Why Does He Do That?, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Megan There is actually a note by the author in the book about why he uses the term men. Frankly, a lot of the issues he talks about are mostly specific to…moreThere is actually a note by the author in the book about why he uses the term men. Frankly, a lot of the issues he talks about are mostly specific to men (in that they are rooted in deep seated misogynies and in the differences between women and men). The author does not exclude the possibility of women as abusers, nor does he call every man an abuser (the author is a man, for goodness' sake). There is also a chapter on LGBTQ relationships and abuse. The title makes sense when you read the book, because he is not talking about angry and controlling women for the most part, he is talking about men. It's kind of crazy to imagine that anyone would have a problem with a book being titled with what it is about. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 21, 2009 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a must read for any woman who has been or is in an abusive relationship. Bancroft explains in great detail why some men treat their girlfriends or wives so abhorrently . This book taught me that it's not external influences that causes a man to be mean and angry--like he had a bad day at work, he is stressed about money, his childhood, or whatever excuse he uses--it's a fundamental value system he has about women. He learned this value system most likely from his father or another abusiv ...more
Luxie Ryder
Feb 18, 2011 Luxie Ryder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a lifeline for me during a verbally abusive relationship I was struggling with. What Lundy says is so spot on, that you get a sense he has been a fly on the wall in your house, quietly listening and taking notes, for years. The other thing that struck me is just how very boring and predictable my partner's abusive behaviour was. I was never in any physical danger so my comments only apply to my situation but, once the scales fell from my eyes, nothing my partner said could ever hur ...more
Jun 19, 2015 Amory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book is SO GOOD. Bancroft describes the abuser mentality in a way that demystifies the cycle of abuse for survivors. As someone who works with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as a survivor myself, I recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand and end abusive relationship patterns.

This book also helped me understand and demystify colonial dynamics-- read Said's description of the construction of the Orientalist on the fictional body of the "Orient" and/ or
Lauren McMannis
Apr 30, 2015 Lauren McMannis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish everyone would read this book. If you're like me- you tip toe around the most brutal and disgusting facets of life. You make excuses, or think, "it could be worse." Read this book as many times as it takes. I would have never thought a book so could accurately capture my personal experiences or those I have heard and read and seen. Lundy Bancroft has done humanity an incredible service in publishing this book; I truly hope that we might yet hope for a future untarnished by the things cont ...more
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 thu
Sep 17, 2009 reed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite point from this book: abusive men want to think (and have others think) that their abusive actions spring from complicated and deeply buried traumas in their pasts. But the cause of abuse is actually quite simple and clear - it is the abuser's belief that they have a right to control their partner's actions and thoughts.
MaryannC.Book Fiend
As a victim of physical and verbal abuse during most of the years of my marriage, my therapist recommended this book to me and let me tell you that this book is a tremendous eye opener for anyone wishing for insight into the mind of an abuser. As many other readers have mentioned this book is dead on about the tactics an abuser uses. While he may appear an all around great guy or a leader in the community this accurately describes the types of abuser and many women like myself will see their par ...more
Jan 05, 2009 Zinta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the United States, two to four million women are physically and emotionally assaulted by their partners. At least one out of three American women will be a victim of abuse by a husband or boyfriend in her lifetime.

Author Lundy Bancroft was former co-director of Emerge, the first program specifically created for abusive men in the United States. He has worked extensively with abusive men for nearly two decades.

Bancroft outlines warning signs of an abusive man; ten abusive personality types;
Feb 15, 2009 A rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All women
When I left my husband, I had a tremendous amount of guilt over it. There is a lot of literature on verbally abusive men and their psychology. But Lundy doesn't let them off the hook. He doesn't give them any excuses.

I am so grateful for this book, it really helped me feel better about my decision to leave, and to recognize that the failure of my marriage was not all my fault, and not to feel sorry for my ex (which was something that was holding me back from healing and moving on).
Adaya Lemae
Nov 20, 2011 Adaya Lemae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a survivor, this was one of the first books I read. It was as if Mr. Bancroft knew my abuser was like reading my own story. Lundry Bancroft his the nail on the head with this masterpiece. I don't believe his goal is to target men (being a man himself) but, rather, show the profile of an abuser, which is so common! The cycle of violence plays over and over while the victim doubts herself, questions her own thoughts, second-guesses her self-worth and begins to believe the lies h ...more
Dec 03, 2008 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was possibly the biggest deterrent for me from re-entering a couple recent negative scenarios. I highly recommend it, and I wish I'd found it sooner.
Thankfully I don't have much experience working with domestic violence cases, so my five star rating may not be the same as one from an expert would be. Having said that, I took a brief course in domestic violence a few months ago and the instructor referred to this book as her bible. Now that I've read it, I can see why.

This detailed book contains a wealth of practical information on domestic violence. Offering both depth and breadth, this book has the potential to assist victims of domestic vi
Mar 13, 2010 Shanon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Validation. This book made me cry, scream, sigh, and laugh. It has been a major stepping stone in getting me to where I am currently in my life. I would recommend this to anyone who has ever been in any kind of abusive relationship.
Mar 16, 2012 Abby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about abusive men.The author worked for many years as a counselor/therapist with abusive men, and he put everything down that he's learned about them and I'm pretty convinced he has unravelled the mystery of these sort of guys - which really isn't that much of a mystery, as it turns out they all behave in pretty predictable patterns.

I never would have read this book (or even made it past the first chapter) if there wasn't someone close to me who is getting out of an abusive relation
SISTERS Magazine
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something I think is a universal truth, though maybe not a very popular idea: I believe that men, in their general position of greater physical and economic power, are at great risk of abusing that power thereby abusing women, children, elders and all people ‘weaker’ than them. Those of us in potential positions of being abused could do well to recognise some of the abusive behaviours which are common in many in positions of power. In turn, this could a ...more
Feb 03, 2016 Niki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, non-fiction
This book contains good, straightforward advice for dealing with abusive relationships. However, it also promotes terrible generalisations.

Some iffy things this books claims:
- If a man slaps a woman, it's always abuse. If a woman slaps a man, it's not always abuse.
- People are either gay or straight, and are either men or women.
- Men are only very rarely victims of abuse by women, and if this happened more often than is currently known, the author would have heard about it by now. There's no nee
Aug 29, 2014 Maddee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this after seeing it quoted on tumblr a lot, especially in relation to abuse and manipulation in activist communities. It's really well-researched (drawing on the author's work with around 2000 men in abuser programs at the time of writing) and pretty scary. Abusive mentalities are named and reiterated on every page and it seems like the author wants this book to be useful for women in abusive relationships as well as educators, people working with abusive men, and family membe ...more
Oct 10, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Out of all the books I've been reading on the subject, Lundy Bancroft's Why Does He Do That has probably been the best of them. Its not perfect, but it helps explain and accurately portrays so much of the physical/emotional/verbal abusers actions. Even if your abuser is not a physical abuser, this book still helps greatly. It should be noted that this book can be helpful for all situations where abuse is involved, even if it isn't an intimate relationship.

As a precursor, this is about abusive me
Aug 03, 2013 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an absolute must-read for women who have been in abusive relationships of any kind, or anyone who knows a woman who has been. It is written by a therapist who works with abusive men, and it's clear how much experience he has with the mind games and tactics that abusers use. As a result, this book really delves into the thinking process of abusers, so that all of the tricks that get confusing for the abused to handle (to the point of her thinking that she is crazy) are clarified. Thi ...more
Stanley Hall
Oct 18, 2010 Stanley Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read a lot of books on psychological abuse and domestic violence but this is the best!
I was hooked from the Introduction.
The author has decades of experience working with battering males, and he leaves them no excuses.
I love chapter 2 where it shatters all the myths of why people abuse. Chapter 3 explains the abusive mentality that is essentially summed up by "entitlement". The chapters just keep getting better too.
One of the best points from this book is when it points out that anytim
Oct 31, 2012 Feather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lundy Bancroft gave me the understanding I have longed for when it comes to abusive men. He doesn't give the generic, just leave them, they won't change but proceeds to explain the mind games they play and how to tell if they are really wanting to change or not. His 15 years of experience counseling abused men provides the necessary understanding that even psychologists and the court system doesn't understand. He also gives women of these abusers comfort as they may be abandoned by friends and f ...more
May 24, 2014 Tozette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers with an interest in domestic violence, criminality or victimology.
An interesting read that resonates strongly with some of my own experiences.

The author of this book has experience in running assorted workshops and prison-mandated programs for men who abuse their wives or girlfriends, so a lot of it is anecdotal and casual, and should of course be taken with a grain of salt. The writing style is a little simplistic in places, which makes it feel condescending - despite assertions that the abuse of women by male partners (as an overwhelming majority of domestic
Aug 12, 2014 wrench rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really valuable resource for people in abusive relationships, especially women.
There are some great things about the way this book is written:
- The author emphasises again and again that the person who most understands the situation, and knows the right call/s to make is the woman herself. There are sections where he's like, will he get physically violent? I cant answer that, here are some warning signs, but they may not be accurate for your situation, you are the best judge of this. W
Brandon H.
If you are or know someone who is in an abusive relationship this book is a must read! Lundy Bancroft's wisdom, insight and experience on the subject matter confirm that he is an expert in these matters and not only would the people involved with an abuser or victim do well to read this book but also the courts, professionals, pastors, and people in positions of authority.

Mr. Bancroft exposes many of the myths and lies most in society believe about abusive men. They are not the typical hot-tempe
Sophie Bradbury
Jan 13, 2013 Sophie Bradbury rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book describes the attitudes, behaviours and techniques used by abusive people, the benefits they get from being abusive, and the myths and excuses they use to justify their behaviour. It helps you to recognise whether you are being abused, whether a person is likely to abuse you in future, and, most importantly, reassures you that you're NOT crazy.

Bancroft's writing is eloquent and easy to understand. He doesn't tell you what to do or what to think, he simply explains what is happening.

Jessica Zu
Aug 04, 2011 Jessica Zu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For anyone who feel oppressed by spouse, boss and/or colleagues, this is a wonderful book to read, in particular for those who feel frustrated by intimate relationships. It is accurate, professional and right to the point. It tears off the oppressors multilayer of excuses, justification and rationalization of their oppressive behaviors. For the oppressed, this is a wonderful to gain some clarity in the mind. It also provides many resources for those who need help and for those who want to help. ...more
Aug 02, 2016 Alaa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Honestly. I want to give this book to everyone I know. It is so, so, so important in the way it lays out abuse, it's effects, the types of abuse, ways to deal with it whether you are the one being abused or someone you know is abused and the origins of abuse.

Bancroft is so so so comforting and validating in this book. Always placing the blame where it rightly belongs and doesn't give any excuse to abusive behavior.

It's the first book I read on any sort of violence and I am so glad I did becaus
Oct 29, 2009 Lucy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book...what can I say? It's fantastic. It helped me a lot, pretty much became my bible for a while. It offers a better look into the mindset of abusers than anything else I've encountered.

Would I recommend it? A consummate YES. If you are being, or have ever been, abused by a partner (emotionally, physically or sexually), read this book. If something's off in your relationship but you're scared to slap the 'abuse' label on it, read this book. If you know someone who's being or has been abus
May 07, 2011 Roberta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Reading this book was very much like a synopsis of my marriage; I stayed too long. I've discovered that a great many angry and controlling men "do NOT have the capacity to recognize their faults,"
and thus, torment their wives, and blame them! for everything! to hide from their sick selves; willfully! Which leads to narcissistic entitlement and little, to no, remorse, which explains why they never change: sociopathic personality traits.
Thus, I have grown to believe, for peace of mind, women are b
Mar 05, 2009 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women, helping professionals, victisms/survivors, friends/family, teachers
I really believe this is the best, most practical book on the subject of abusive relationships.
When all I thought I had were books, this one was the strongest voice of sanity!

Answering questions bullet point style like:
What does abuse look like... types/patterns of abusive behavior
Facts and Myths about abuse
What causes abuse?
What about the kids?
How to decide about leaving?
Is he really changing? How do you know?
How to make a safety plan?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Domestic Abuse Bo...: Batterer's Intervention 9 32 Jun 12, 2014 06:21PM  
A must read for every women 1 36 Dec 17, 2009 11:53PM  
  • The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond
  • The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help
  • The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing
  • The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life
  • Why Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism
  • It's My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence
  • Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them: When Loving Hurts and You Don't Know Why
  • Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love
  • How Can I Get Through to You?: Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Men and Women
  • Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
  • What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety
  • The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, Surviving It
  • Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move On
  • Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
  • Healing Trauma
  • How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved: Describes 8 Types of Dangerous Men, Gives Defense Strategies and a Red Alert Checklist for Each,
  • Anticlimax: A Feminist Perspective on the Sexual Revolution
  • Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality
Lundy Bancroft is an author, workshop leader, and consultant on domestic abuse and child maltreatment. His best known book is Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (first published in 2002). With 20 years of experience specializing in interventions for abusive men and their families, he is a former co-director of Emerge, the first counseling program in the United Stat ...more
More about Lundy Bancroft...

Share This Book

One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you—as will happen to any abused woman from time to time—he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.”
“The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as
obvious. In fact, even among women who have experienced violence from a partner, half or more report that the man’s emotional abuse is what is causing them the greatest harm.”
More quotes…