Most of the reviews of Avoidant and Bad Boyfriends are positive, some embarrassingly so (“You saved my life / marriage /sanity!”) — I read the reviews and the few really negative ones I ignore because they are vastly outweighed by 5-star reviews. But there are some common themes, so I’ll address the three latest one-star reviews here.
1.0 out of 5 stars
Reader Use Discretion and vet the author!
Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition
I am a Licensed Therapist specializing in Attachment Injuries and Trauma this book can be damaging for anyone dealing with an attachment injury. Use discernment when reading.
It’s threatening for a professional (licensed!) therapist to have possible patients reading the truth and starting to heal themselves. In her world, each patient is to be swaddled in bubble wrap and gently coaxed back into healthy attachment patterns through her no-doubt-caring therapy. I get a lot of fan mail from therapists and marriage counsellors who direct their patients to my books to get a head start on understanding their issues, but perhaps they recommend it for only their most robust clients. This theme (Appeal to Authority) appears frequently. I can imagine there might be people triggered by some parts of the books, but it’s not nearly as triggering as real life in a relationship with a dismissive partner. Therapy is great for those who can afford the time and expense. My books are cheap and can be read anywhere.
Other outraged reviews go after the chapter on abusive relationships (see an early version here), citing the discussion of combative relationships where (typically) the unexpressive male strikes out physically while the female is psychologically and verbally goading him. Today’s presumption that the male is entirely at fault fails to consider all of the dynamics of these troubled couples. Would you rather be shoved or slapped in anger, or continuously sniped at and undermined by your partner? The stereotype of the abusive husband and the suffering victim is common but not every angry male is entirely in the wrong, or every battered wife a completely innocent victim. Abuse comes in all types, sizes, and sexes. The belief that only women are abused is semi-sacred, and the effort to squelch any contrary voices (“cancel culture”) is similar to the search for heretics.
Reactions from dismissives in denial (or their partners who want a cotton-candy solution to their problems) are also common. Our next one-star review is an example.
You’re coming too close to describing how I contribute to my relationship problems…
1.0 out of 5 stars
Skip this one, not worth the read or money. Very biased and inaccurate.
Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2020
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not worth the read. I would give it no stars if that was an option. It condemns avoidant attachment style people. It’s another “opinion” based dating book, which I should have realized by the name. I thought it would give more constructive insight to the underlying wounds which produce the avoidant attachment types and understanding of triggers for this attachment style. It’s very narrow minded and shames anyone with this attachment style. The author never guided his subjects to working with their own insecurities and understanding that any attachment dynamic is a result of their own inner needs of attachment that of which stem from the developmental stages in early childhood. He essentially said avoidant style people are hopeless and abusive. Which is in fact not a fact or truth at all. My opinion is you can chalk this one up to another bad advice book that is not based in any actual research or fact and dangerously compartmentalizes humans into a this or that category while damning them to a negative life sentence behavior. I wish I could return this book.
On the contrary, being partly dismissive myself, I understand and sympathize with those people who can’t form good attachment bonds in later life because their earlier experiences forced them to develop a defense mechanism to save themselves. This is described in great detail in the books, but this reader demands a presentation so tactful that avoidants will feel righteous in continuing to devalue and dismiss significant others to stay safe. Avoidant is a splash of cold water and describes the harm this defense mechanism does along with some practical methods for coping with it and learning to feel more secure with intimacy.
Our next one-star review is of the “I have my guru and you’re not as good!” variety. There are people emotionally invested in attachment books they’ve already read who find my presentation jarring. A book that is quite good and presented largely to soothe the anxious-preoccupied, Attached, is often cited as better, by those same people enabled by such kid-gloves treatment to avoid looking at their own need to become more secure in themselves. As for Gottman’s books, I plug them and excerpt from them a lot because they are very good. Gottman built on academic attachment experts and my books were substantially complete before I had read any of his books. He’s got a good cottage industry going, and I view his work as especially accessible and valuable for couples with problems. Avoidant is directed to the seeker of self-knowledge and the partner who is feeling alone in his/her concerns about living with an avoidant.
1.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed in the United States on December 20, 2019
This book labels people and limits the mind of being open to possibility. HEAVILY referenced Gotman and inappropriately and without sound evidence attempts to build on Gotmans work.
Just read Gotman’s work which is based on sound evidence.
Lordy, lordy. These people can’t even spell the names of their gurus correctly. Attachment issues are complex and every individual is a different mix of reflexes and habits, a fact I made clear at several points. Everyone has modes of reaction that mimic the more extreme kinds of insecurity, but only in specific situations or with specific people that trigger them. But I discuss them as types because it’s fair to say most people exhibit a preferred attachment style under most conditions, and it’s very useful to recognize this.