When a man showers all of his attention on a woman, it can feel incredibly romantic, and can blind her to hints of problems ahead. But what happens when that attentiveness becomes domination? For certain people, the desire to control leads to jealousy, threats, micromanaging—even physical violence. Lisa Aronson Fontes draws on both professional expertise and personal experience to provide practical guidance and support for readers who find themselves trapped in a web of coercive control. Understanding this destructive pattern and why it occurs is the first step toward repairing or ending a relationship that has become toxic. Readers get vital tools for determining if they are in danger and if their partner can change—and for getting their freedom back.
“I wish I’d had this book in my youth, when I was the victim of coercion that whittled away at my self-esteem. This book should be in every women’s center, police station, and therapist’s office. It cuts through the jargon, gets to the heart of the matter, and provides tools of liberation.”—Magdalena Gómez, author of Shameless Woman
“The first comprehensive guide to overcoming coercive control. Dr. Fontes provides simple tools to assess your own or a loved one’s relationship and offers practical steps to getting free, illustrated with real-life stories. The writing is sharp and evocative and the research is impeccable. A pathbreaking work.”—Evan Stark, PhD, MSW, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs
“Dr. Fontes makes the dynamics of coercive control understandable to everyone. In plain language and with clear examples, she describes the tactics of domineering individuals and their effects on victims. Dr. Fontes is particularly thoughtful about including diverse couples and families. After reading this book, no one will be able to ask, ‘Why does she stay?'”—Juan Carlos Areán, Director, National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities
“This book reveals hidden dimensions behind relationships where one partner is controlled by the other. Dr. Fontes explains the dynamics of coercive control and deciphers the pattern so we can all understand it. Read this book and reclaim your life.”—Rabbi Efraim Eisen, marriage, family, and child therapist, Amherst, Massachusetts
“This book is gripping and nuanced. It will be extremely helpful to anyone grappling with issues of coercive control. As a therapist with decades of experience, and a person who has been in coercive relationships, I learned a great deal. The stories of women and men from wide-ranging backgrounds pulled me in deeply. Complex, profound ideas are expressed in easy-to-read language. A ‘must-have’ resource!”—Janine Roberts, EdD, past president, American Family Therapy Academy
“Fontes’s writing is clear and vividly illustrated with real-life stories from her decades of work helping abuse victims become survivors. Invisible Chains is a hopeful book that shows a way out of coercive control relationships and illustrates the promise of healing and recovery.”—Jeffrey L. Edleson, PhD, Dean and Professor, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley
“This powerful and informative resource delivers essential information in a nonjudgmental and sensitive manner. People who work in the legal and criminal justice systems need this book to help keep victims and their children safe. The book is easy to read, but in no way simplistic. I will be placing a copy of this book in our office library as a resource for our attorneys and advocates.”—Ismael R. Ozanne, Dane County District Attorney, Madison, Wisconsin