{Book Review} Emotional Abuse: Silent Killer of Marriage – A 30-Year Abuser Speaks Out



Emotional Abuse: Silent Killer of Marriage – A Recovering Abuser Speaks Out


Austin James

“Abuse was the enemy that plagued Austin for over two-thirds of his life, but through great sorrow, the ability came to him to transform himself from the ashes of defeat to a type of cleansing and healing that not only renewed his spirit, but allowed it to soar to new heights!

Austin currently lives in the Midwest and enjoys a quiet, abuse-free life, serving the Lord and helping men and women discover the truth about emotional abuse and ways to overcome it. He enjoys, hiking, backpacking, writing, photography, and for the first time in my life, inner-peace”.

Author information courtesy of Amazon




Austin James spent over 33 years as an abuser without even realizing it.  It took his wife of nearly 30 years getting her fill of the abuse and finally deciding that she’d had enough to open his eyes.  This abuse not only impacted the lives of Austin’s wife, Teri, but their children as well.  It also impacted and made Austin himself miserable for nearly two-thirds of his life before he realized that his abusive behavior wasn’t just a part of “who he was”.  There was a cause for it and something could be done about it!

{Main Characters}

Since this is a non-fiction book designed to help others to understand that they aren’t alone in the fact that they abuse or are being abused, there really aren’t “characters”… only real people impacted by a real issue.  Austin is the abuser in his open and honest account of his life and how he has worked and is still actively working to overcome the causes and results of his abusive behavior.  Teri is now Austin’s ex-wife who suffered Austin’s abuse for nearly 30 years.  Austin also has 2 children that were directly impacted by Austin’s behavior.


As I said previously, this is a true story of the life of Austin James. This is his honest account of his life, marriage, and road to recovery from being an abuser.  He very accurately describes the impact on his life, the life of his (now ex) wife, and his children.

Spoiler Warning! Click this link to see more of the storyline »

Austin starts out his story by giving a brief overview of his life and journey and touches on the impact on the life of his entire family.  He describes the ways in which he was abusive to his wife and children.  He was not a physically abusive husband or father, and not even really verbally abusive.  He was, however, a master at being emotionally abusive.  He had a great skill at making his family, especially his wife, feel that everything in their life and marriage was her fault.  He would sometimes blow up at her over things and at other times he would emotionally withdraw and give her the silent treatment… all the while knowing that eventually she would come crawling back to him and apologize to “fix” things in their marriage. This led to a very dysfunctional family life for all of them.

Teri eventually has enough of the abusive behavior and feeling like she and the kids need to walk on eggshells.  She tells Austin that she wants a divorce and she truly means it.  Despite the fact that this was Austin’s “light bulb” moment… the moment that he realizes that he truly needs help and what he stands to lose… Teri means what she says and follows through with her plan to divorce Austin and move on with her life.  The awesome thing is that Austin does not let the divorce derail from what he now sees that he must do.  He realizes that whether or not his marriage to Teri can be saved he still needs help.

Austin gives a great account of the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse in this book.  Things to look out for in your own personal relationship or the relationship of others that may indicate that there is emotional abuse occurring.  Some of the things that Austin lists in his book that were damaging in his marriage were “lying; controlling conversations; being judgmental  disrespectful, or rude; making condescending and patronizing statements; withholding affection; ignoring promises made; and betraying her trust in him”.  There are many more possibilities, but he uses these to give everyone an idea of the types of things he is talking about.

Austin describes the three cycles of abuse within an emotionally abusive relationship.  These cycles include the “honeymoon” phase… this is the phase where everything is good and loving once a cycle of abuse has been completed.  The next part of the cycle is “escalation” – this is the part of the cycle where the abuse is building up.  The last part of the cycle is “explosion”.  This is the part where the abuse happens – the fit of anger, angry outburst, withdrawal of affection, etc.  Once this explosion happens and things calm down the cycle usually starts all over with things being good and loving again during another “honeymoon” phase.

After Austin realizes that it isn’t Teri that needed fixing and that he can only work to fix himself he runs across a woman speaking on a Christian channel.  She catches his attention for a few minutes and then he goes on about his day.  He later decides to check out her website and finds some videos interviews she had done with a person who had been abusive to his wife.  This person was mostly physically abusive, but also spoke about other aspects of an abusive person that seemed to fit Austin’s description.  This person was Dr. Paul Hegstrom.

Austin contacted the office of Dr. Paul Hegstrom to inquire about the program that he offered, called the Life Skills program, and he found out that there was one offered in his hometown.  Austin then contacted the local chapter of the program and spoke with Jim, the facilitator of the program.  After speaking with Jim about the things that had occurred in his life and marriage, Austin finds out that the program is a 6 months program that doesn’t accept anyone after the program starts because of trust and confidentiality issues.  The program had just started a few weeks prior, so Austin was faced with having to wait nearly 6 months to give this program a try.  After he hangs up with Jim, he decides to call back and inquire about the cost of the program, etc and the facilitator realizes just how serious Austin is about getting help and offers to discuss the possibility with the current members of the program of them to allow him to enter the program late despite their usual protocol.  Jim makes sure that Austin realizes that the group may not allow him to join.  A few days later Jim calls Austin back with the good news that the group agreed to allow him to become a member.  Austin goes on to complete this 6 month program – not once, but twice!

Austin continues to describe abusive behaviors, possible causes, and makes it abundantly clear that the path to recovery from being an abuser is not an easy one and will always be a work in progress.  It is something that a person will have to actively be conscious of and work at for the rest of their life.  There will be times that they may slip and slide back to an old pattern of behavior, but it is important for the abuser to learn the signs and triggers of that behavior and to have the proper tools and the willingness and ability to use those tools to help them be the person they truly want to be.

One of the last sections of this book points the abuser in the right direction on how to find help.  He gives a more thorough description of the Life Skills Program, and even includes a section for people who are being abused.  He describes how he has not only had the help of others in his life to hold him accountable for his behavior, but also how allowing God to work in his life has been a tremendous help to him.

Finally, Austin includes a fabulous resource section for more information and help in dealing with every aspect of abuse.


Mental health; Abuse; Self Help


I was highly impressed with Austin’s open and honest evaluation of himself, his abuse, and the things that he was responsible for in causing his marriage to fail.  This book was a real eye-opener for me as someone who lived through something similar in my previous marriage, but that I was thankfully strong enough to get myself out of.  I have an adult daughter who is living in a similar situation as Austin describes and I fully plan to share this book and the information contained within with her because her partner is also great at using manipulation and making her feel like everything is her fault and that if she would only do things “better” he wouldn’t get so upset and angry and things would be great.  I highly recommend that anyone living in a situation similar to this read this book.  If you know of anyone that you suspect may be in this kind of relationship, consider sharing this book with them!

{Where To Purchase}

{Cost Of Product}

The current cost of this product is $4.74 for a Kindle e-book copy, free to borrow for Amazon Prime members, or $6.55 in Paperback!

(Please keep in mind that I have no control over pricing and that this price is current and up to date as of the posting of this review but it is subject to change!)


*DISCLOSURE* I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


2 Responses to “{Book Review} Emotional Abuse: Silent Killer of Marriage – A 30-Year Abuser Speaks Out”

  1. This book addresses a worldwide problem. It is important to give support to women and men that are abused. How horrible to have to live under those conditions, not knowing when the abuse will strike again. Although you do not see scars, emotional abuse hurts.

  2. This is a must read for me, my daughter was in such a relationship and we both must read this. Thanks for the information on this book I would never have found out about it without your review.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge