Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

When Me Batter Women: New Insights into Ending Abusive Relationships

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

When Me Batter Women: New Insights into Ending Abusive Relationships

Article excerpt

When Men Batter Women: New Insights into Ending Abusive Relationships. Neil Jacobson & John Gottman. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1998. 301 pp. ISBN 0-684-81447-1. $25.00 paper.

In this book, Neil Jacobson and John Gottman present evidence of types of abuser, dangerousness, and the likelihood or unlikelihood of change in most circumstances from a decade of research with 200 cases. At first, the emphasis on wellestablished facts that relate an abusive history to continued abuse, the importance of emotional abuse in prognosis, and the need for accountability of abusers in law may seem somewhat bleak. Certainly, the work of Jacobson and Gottman confirms many insights gained from previous research. However, the importance of this research lies more in its humanity and concern with reducing the continued acceptance of a climate in which abuse is still possible, if not encouraged.

The clinically based research seems to confirm two distinct types of abuser. What is important in this respect is not so much the typology itself but the physiological evidence given to distinguish abuser categories. The two types (the Cobra and the Pit Bull) identified by Jacobson and Gottman react differently in abusive situations and seem to have different objectives and motives for the abuse. For instance, although the Pit Bull is characteristically jealous, dependent, and aroused when angered, the Cobra seems to lash out dramatically and to be physiologically calmer when aggressive. This provides the therapist with material from which constructive approaches to the abuser and the abused can be taken. It may be that women living with Pit Bulls leave the relationship more often. …

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