Book Review: Invisible Chains
Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship
By Lisa Aronson Fontes PhD
What motivated me to read this book?
I came across this book by searching Google with the key words: ‘books for controlling men.’ Fotunately, Invisible Chains was in the top five links offered. The reason I searched for a topic like this is because I’ve been in controlling relationships; I was the abuser. After numerous reflections, I realized the negative effects my behavior had on my partner, and the health of our relationship. Peeking into the book using Amazon’s preview option, I read the preface which stated that this book was written for former women victims of coercive control. Scrolling down further, I read the bio about the author Lisa Fontes. The detail I found the most interesting was the fact that she’s an experienced counselor with a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Ruminating, I thought to myself (1) this person is more than qualified to write about the concept of coercive control (2) Because this book was written by a woman for women, I can build from the perspective of the opposite sex. Excitedly, I purchased this book from Amazon and when it arrived two days later, I flung the cover open and began to read.
What did I grasp from this book?
While reading Invisible Chains, I had epiphanies about what I’d done wrong with my last partner. There were moments in the text when author’s implications were so mind-bogglingly relatable, I questioned rather an act she deemed ‘controlling,’ applied to me; I’d begun to get defensive. As I continued to read, I managed to come to grips with my self-denial. Half-way through, I realized this book wasn’t just another psych book; This was therapy. One of the major lessons I learned from Fontes is that the less-dominant partner isn’t less human, or less deserving of accommodation. Their space, time, preferences, activities, and desires should ALWAYS be respected and abided by. If a person can’t appreciate their partner for who they are, that person shouldn’t be in that relationship; No matter how much of a cliché this statement is, it’s true.
The only thing I wasn’t fond of in this book was the monotonous word usage. It sticks out like a sore thumb after you’ve read a few pages. Understandably so, psychologists and researchers use more careful wording than usual; They want to make sure that nothing is misconstrued or offensive to the reader.
Would I recommend this book?
Indeed! I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s planning on getting into a relationship—even those who are in a relationship right now. I’d also recommend this book to people who are in troublesome relationships that may involve some form of coercive control. This book will enlighten you about how to treat your partner to ensure that you’re not being controlled, nor acting as the controller. What’s vital to know, is that this book mainly focuses on heterosexual relationships. There are two brief chapters that meagerly address LGBT relationships and women abusers. Nevertheless, no matter what your sexual preference is, this book will offer you good advice.