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12 Heartbreaking and Powerful Books On Domestic Abuse

This article showcases our top picks for the ‘Books On Emotional Abuse’. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below).

We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.


See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill

This product was recommended by Tal Shelef from Condo Wizard

This book is a great eye-opener for people seeking to learn more about domestic abuse. It doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable topics and questions. It deals with asking things like why and how society creates abusers and why they can’t seem to protect its victims. It also delves into the depths of the culture and how power and gender plays into normalising abuse.


Healing the Trauma of Abuse by Mary Ellen Copeland MS MA

This product was recommended by Sabrina Romanoff from DrRomanoff

This book encourages self-confidence, self-image, and healing. The book is holistic in it’s approach to help women looking to heal their minds and bodies. The book also helps women in the processing of identifying their traumatic experience as abuse, which is often kept in the shadows and not openly discussed. The best part about the workbook is the assignments that can be worked on between therapy sessions, to enhance treatment.


Don’t Hit My Mommy! by Alicia Lieberman

This product was recommended by Sabrina Romanoff from DrRomanoff

This is a far-reaching and highly accessible book for working with young children exposed to trauma. While geared towards providers, the book shed light on working with individuals who are perpetrators of abuse and violence to help them consider the impact she or he has on others. This book helps with the process of changing families and breaking the cycle of violence.


Tree of Lives by Elizabeth Garden

This product was recommended by James Kent from TreeofLives

Domestic abuse victims will find inspiration in the true story of a young artist named Ruth, an abused daughter of a violent narcissist, an enabling mother and abusive siblings who perpetuate a legacy of violence perniciously passed down through generations. Underneath it all lies a horrific secret, buried for decades. Ruth’s redeeming strength and inner vision help her to overcome the effects of being stymied at every turn by men who seek to maintain power over her. This novel is used by therapists for adult children of abused children.


Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft

This product was recommended by Kaitlyn Short from Best Company

Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men is a book focused on understanding the abuser. Victims of domestic violence often believe that they deserve abuse because of gaslighting, manipulation, or other forms of control. This is one of the sad consequences that keep victims from seeking help. However, this book seeks to direct the attention back to the source of the problem—the abuser. Lundy Bancroft’s book helps women understand patterns of abuse and find the confidence to flee abusive situations.


TO KILL OR BE KILLED by Joni Ankerson

This product was recommended by Natalie DeYoung from WildBlue Press

This is a powerful, first-hand account of sexual abuse caused by the author’s ex-husband, who was a state police officer. Twelve years of enduring domestic violence at its absolute worst. Constant abuse, control, manipulation, and threats. Sadistic sexual deviance and sexual violence. It was only going to end one way: someone would die in our bed and someone would go to prison for murder. This is my story about domestic violence, resilience, reckoning and survival.


Playing Dead by Monique Faison Ross

This product was recommended by Natalie DeYoung from WildBlue Press

Playing Dead is such an important title when discussing abuse because it really shows the progression. Faison Ross details the relationship from the beginning, noting small changes along the way that were signs of what was to come. The author also includes her numerous legal steps to keep her abusive husband away: injuctions, police warnings, and even arrest. Despite these efforts, he continues to become moew abusive. One fateful Monday morning, Chris kidnapped Monique in front of her children and drove off on a nightmarish car ride that involved car crashes and rape. He mercilessly beat her on the head with a shovel and abandoned her brutalized body in the woods in the rain. He left, presuming she was dead…but was she?


Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence by Mari McCaig MSW

This product was recommended by Rachel D. Miller from Focht Family Practice

Not all survivors of domestic violence can afford or have access to the trauma-focused therapy needed to recover from their experiences. This book can be the resource they need to begin their healing journey on their own. The chapters on guilt are particularly useful and empowering.


Coercive Control by Evan Stark

This product was recommended by Rachel D. Miller from Focht Family Practice

Too often the discussion of domestic violence focuses on physical assault missing entirely the patterns of power and control which make it so incredibly harmful. In Coercive Control, Evan Stark lays out the insidious nature of abuse and the ways in which power is wielded without ever having to resort to physical violence. To truly understand domestic violence, one has to grasp the role of coercive control.


Traumatic Divorce and Separation by Lisa Fischel-Wolovick

This product was recommended by Rachel D. Miller from Focht Family Practice

There is a myth in our society that abuse stops once the relationship ends. This ignores the ways that abusive partners utilize the family court system to continue to abuse and to maintain contact, and power and control over a former partner. Lisa Fischel-Wolovick exposes bias and problems with the courts’ approach to custody when there is a history of domestic violence in the relationship. She expertly discusses the ongoing trauma inflicted on both survivors and their children by both the perpetrating parent and the complicit family court professionals.


Overcoming the Stigma of Intimate Partner Abuse by Christine E. Murray

This product was recommended by Rachel D. Miller from Focht Family Practice

After leaving abusive relationship, survivors are forced to navigate the stigma that is attached to having been abused. This book, using direct quotes from survivors, provides insight into the experience of domestic violence, the impact of societal and systemic stigma and the ways in which survivors rise and overcome.


Dangerous Exits by Walter DeKeseredy

This product was recommended by Sonya Schwartz from Her Norm

The title says it all. It is a book about an abusive relationship and domestic violence against women in rural areas. These issues are increasing nowadays, making this book a great help to people who are experiencing it. This book also tackles all the hardships a woman who had undergone violence experiences when she decides to leave the abusive relationship.

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