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

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  7,140 ratings  ·  804 reviews
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 i
Paperback, 408 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Berkley (first published September 30th 2002)
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erl it sounds like you are in an abusive relationship. The book addresses every point you mention. Nobody deserves to be abused. He keeps bringing up what…moreit sounds like you are in an abusive relationship. The book addresses every point you mention. Nobody deserves to be abused. He keeps bringing up whatever you did in the past not because you "hurt him" so terribly, but because he enjoys manipulating and controlling you. You cannot control him. Of course he should change- -no one should be an abuser. But he probably won't. Read the book, and call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799 SAFE. Call this number even if he doesn't beat you. They will refer you to local resources. I wish you strength. (less)

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Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Thomas by: linny
A fantastic book about abusive relationships that clarifies misconceptions about abuse, provides compassionate support to victims and survivors, and discusses the societal factors that contribute to violence in relationships. I love how Lundy Bancroft dispels so many myths about what makes abusive people abusive: that they do not know how to express emotions, that their abuse stems from issues with alcohol or from mental illness, that they are abusive because they were abused themselves, etc. Ra ...more
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Elle (ellexamines)
“It is not his feelings the abuser is too distant from: it is his partner’s feelings and his children’s feelings. Those are the emotions that he knows so little about and that he needs to get in touch with.”
He reframes abuse as something not done because of bad feelings, but because of a lack of empathy for the feelings of others. He reframes the problem of abuse as not one of anger, but of the actual conscious choice to abuse partners.
“The sad reality is that plenty of gentle, sensitive
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
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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).
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A straight-forward and essential look into the mind of an abuser and the tactics that abusers employ, full of compassion and excellent insight for people who are currently being abused. It's a deeply necessary book with the only short-coming imo being Bancroft's insistence that men abused by women are extremely rare. We can and should discuss the disproportionate effect that IPV has on women and children and the way that the male abuser's mindset and rights are supported by the patriarchy while ...more
MaryannC. Book Freak
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relationships
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
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Adaya Lemae
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Todd Mika
Sep 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
For many, this book is regarded as a drawing back of the curtain, a revelatory book exposing the truth behind male behaviors that are abusive. I've read this book in depth before, and on a second read I can't stress enough how many errors there are about male psychology, fed to the reader in comforting, easy-to-swallow coatings of commiseration over abusive male behavior, with very few alternatives for what "nonabusive" behavior looks like by contrast.

Despite claiming to be very progressive in
SISTERS Magazine
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
May 24, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Stanley Hall
May 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
I think this book should be required reading for everyone. Even if you are not an abuse survivor or know an abuse survivor (you probably do), Bancroft does an amazing job of breaking down the abusive mindset and explaining why it's unlikely they will change.

I was enraged by a lot of things in this book (the chapters on the effects of spousal abuse on children and abused women dealing with the legal system were particularly difficult for me to read) but it made me realize that if I'm that angry
Oct 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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?
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jeremy Gutner
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lundy Bancroft is an author and a counselor specializing in relationships of abuse, generally when a male partner is abusive of a female partner. I didn’t realize until I finished a book and researched the author that Lundy is a man. Bancroft has decades of experience working with abusive men and their victims, writing books, and giving speeches across the country. He is definitely a major expert in his field, and he dispels tons of myths in this book. I love that he includes and references tons ...more
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Domestic Abuse Bo...: Batterer's Intervention 9 70 Jun 12, 2014 06:21PM  
A must read for every women 1 53 Dec 17, 2009 11:53PM  

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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

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Karen M. McManus, the bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying, Two Can Keep a Secret, and One of Us Is Next, doesn’t shy away from secrets and...
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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.”
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