Category Archives: Book Reviews

Why Does “She” Do That

The following quotes of abusive personality types are taken from Lundy Bancroft’s book, Why Does He Do That.  It’s amazing how many GCM woman fit these profiles, but they deny that they are abusive.  Don’t they realize that if they deny they are abusers they are  playing the victim according to their guru, Lundy?

Husbands of GCMers you might recognize a lot of these quotes in your wife.  I am truly sorry if you do.  If you are reading this there is a good chance she has already accused you of abuse.  You may have even taken steps to improve the relationship which is a good thing.  She, however, will never see herself as a contributing factor to your marriage problems.  In the mind of a GCMer, everything is your fault and always will be.  Unfortunately, when it gets this far there isn’t much you can do except take the blame for everything horrible in her life for the rest of your life.  To quote Lundy’s abuser profile of Mr. Right, “Your opinions aren’t worth listening to carefully or taking seriously.”  Of course your opinions are worth something but your GCM wife will not be listening to them and taking them into consideration.  By this time she has been steeped in the cult teachings of GCM.  Remember to love and pray for your wife even when she treats you badly.  As God’s word says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”(Ephesians 5:25).  Be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ.  Tougher times are still ahead.

PLEASE NOTE:  When I have switched the pronouns (examples: he to she or her to him), I have put them in quotes (pg 83, 85, 87. 99, 101).  I jotted down some of the ones that made me think of my sister or other GCMers.  It has been a year since I wrote my review of Lundy’s book and I do not have the book any longer.  I didn’t think I would be making a post of them so I don’t have page numbers for the excerpts.  If you want to find the quote it should be easy if you look under the appropriate heading: Mr. Right, Water Torturer, etc. 

“Mrs.” Right

page 53: “…the abusive “woman” typically considers “herself” the authority on parenting…”  Wow, that is completely my sister and probably a majority of GCMers!  Ladies, all you have to do is switch the pronouns.  Can you see yourself now?  
“tears down, ridicules, and discredits “his” perspective, condescending, focused on telling “him” how to think, wants to impose “her” own ideas.”

“You should be in awe of my intelligence and you should look up to me intellectually. I know better than you do, even about what’s good for you.”

“Your opinions aren’t worth listening to carefully or taking seriously.” How ’bout now?  Can you see yourself yet?

“The fact that you sometimes disagree with me shows how sloppy your thinking is.”

“When you disagree with me about something, no matter how respectfully or meekly, that’s mistreatment of me.”

Water Torturer
“You are crazy. You fly off the handle over nothing.”

“I can easily convince other people that you’re the one who is messed up.”

“As long as I’m calm, you can’t call anything I do abusive, no matter how cruel.”  Surely you can see yourself now? 

“I know exactly how to get under your skin.”

Drill Sergeant
“I need to control your every move or you will do it wrong.”

“I know the exact way that everything should be done.”

“I love you more than anyone in the world, but you disgust me.”

Victim
“Everybody has done me wrong, especially the “men” I’ve been involved with. Poor me.”

“When you accuse me of being abusive, you are joining the parade of people who have been cruel and unfair to me.”  Surely by now you can see yourself?

“”Men” who complain of mistreatment by “women”, such as relationship abuse or sexual harassment, are anti-“female” and out for blood.”

Terrorist
“The children are one of the best tools I can use to make you fearful.”

GCMer, if you see yourself (the hypocrisy and pride) in these quotes, please know there is forgiveness with the Lord.  Confess your sins and trust in Christ to nail them to the cross.  He came to seek and save the lost.  What good news!  Talk to your husband.  Confess your sins to him.  Work things out together.  I can guarantee that neither of you have been perfect in your marriage.  There is forgiveness for you both!  There is new life in Christ!!  And even from this point on neither of you will be sinless.  But God’s word tells us in 1 John, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins…”  You can forgive your spouse today and tomorrow and the day after that, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:31-32).”  If Christ forgave you, you can forgive your husband!!

Shepherding a Child’s Heart

"Shepherding a Child's Heart"My sister would tell me how bad the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart is because the author, Tedd Tripp, says you MUST spank.  Does Tripp really emphasize obedience over God’s compassion and mercy?  I had recently  heard a snippet of his talk on parenting on Wretched Radio.  I was impressed with what I heard; he was very gospel focused, but spanking was not mentioned.  So I finally decided to read the book and see what all the fuss was.

Tedd Tripp’s overview of parenting: “It involves being authorities who are kind, shepherding your children to understand themselves in God’s world, and keeping the gospel in clear view so your children can internalize the good news and someday live in mutuality with you as people under God.” – [page xvii]  I would say this sentence clearly states what his emphasis is throughout the entire book.   Tedd Tripp does an excellent job of emphasizing the relationship needed between parent and child as well as the gospel being the foundation of parenting/discipline.

Do I agree with everything Mr. Tripp wrote?  No, and most of what I don’t agree with comes from the part of the book on spanking.  I agree with spanking as a way to discipline (teach).  I agree that we need to take God’s Word seriously.  “If you fail to spank, you fail to take God’s Word seriously.  You are saying you do not believe what the Bible teaches about the import of these issues.  If your child has not obeyed, he needs to be spanked.” – [page 149]  I do not agree though that every time your child disobeys he needs to be spanked.  We know from the New Testament that discipline will be painful at the time, not that it has to be physically painful though.  I do believe Tripp has the proper interpretation of Proverbs 22:15 as the rod being something used to “spank”.  But since it is Proverbs, I do believe the point is not the method, but the severity of sin in a child.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
(Proverbs 22:15 ESV)

Proverbs is considered the Book of Wisdom (compared to Leviticus which is the book of the law).  Our hearts are wicked and we definitely need discipline, but does this verse say we have to spank or we are not obeying God?  I just don’t see it as a command to spank, but wise instructions for a parents’ need to discipline their children.  Mr. Tripp didn’t necessarily say it was a command though (although I have seen GCMers put those words into his mouth).  And when you take the comment in light of everything else he wrote, I would think he would agree: if there is a problem where you can’t spank because of anger or some like reason, don’t spank!  He does not neglect compassion and mercy like some GCMers will try to convince you of.  GCMers really blow that one comment out of proportion because they are anti-spanking.  They blow it so far out of proportion that they have to go on a mission to tell people the book is so bad it shouldn’t even be read, so bad it should be thrown away and so bad they have to hide it in libraries and book stores.  Really, it is overkill.  They really focus on that one comment way too much.

Mr. Tripp is definitely emphasizing the need for discipline and consistency, which I whole heartedly agree with.  While I agree with his how’s of spanking in regard to any form of discipline from parents: done away from people, tell them what they have done or failed to do, remind them that discipline is not being done because you are angry but to bring about restoration, communicating with the child about exactness of what is to come, hugs and talking about why it is important to be restored, praying with reminders that in Christ there is forgiveness of sins and Jesus can help the child to obey.  What I don’t agree with is pulling down the pants.  I found that the best word to describe it for me was, “icky” – that sounds like a word GCMers would use.  If I spanked I would not do that part (I know parents who do this but I don’t think worse of them for it).  I also wouldn’t tell my child he wasn’t “sweet” enough after a spanking if he was angry.  Hebrews 12:11 says, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (ESV).  Mr. Tripp thinks as soon as the spanking is over that it is later already.  I don’t agree.  I can understand his need for starting fresh and moving on, but that can’t be done if the other one is not ready yet.  “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  (Ephesians 6:4 ESV)  Maybe that would be a good time for instruction or some time alone so you don’t provoke your child to more anger?

I must note here that Mr. Tripp does say that spanking is for the times when the child is disobeying the parent.  He does not state that it needs to be done for every sin a child commits (which I think is how the GCMer may interpret him). Therefore, I am not offended by these chapters like GCMers would be because I know when used rightly (and Mr. Tripp does use spanking as a form of teaching/discipline correctly -i.e. not in anger, to teach the child, etc.) spanking can be an effective way of discipline.  Disagreeing with a few sentences does not weigh as heavily as a book fraught with errors on every page.  There is also a big difference between an author who does not understand the gospel and one who does!

Mr. Tripp’s chapters on communication are excellent.   He also notes the difference between a punitive approach and the Biblical approach.  GCMers would believe that all spanking is punitive.  But when teaching is part of spanking it is not punitive.  The punitive approach is a way to control behavior but it doesn’t address sin, repentance and forgiveness.

I seem to recall another  trouble my sister had with this book (maybe I have remembered this incorrectly) was that parents are taught to be the Holy Spirit in the lives of their children and they always know what is in their children’s hearts.  This is not how Tedd Tripp presents it at all.  He knows that our behavior will be from what is in our hearts (see Luke 6:45), therefore we have to teach our children about sin, forgiveness through Christ, and knowing and glorifying God.   The only thing that might come close to this is on page 86.  The mother “sensed” the daughter was not really having the heart to go with her nods of agreement.  He states the mother  “administered correction” and the girl’s “resistance quickly melted behind a torrent of tears.”   If she did receive a spanking I can see why my sister would think that Tripp knows what is in his child’s hearts all the time after only “sensing” something wrong.  I don’t believe Mr. Tripp meant the girl received a spanking here because it is in the chapter on communication and he mentions Proverbs 9 which has to do with the way a mocker handles correction, rebuke and instructions.   It sounds like the mother used God’s words which the Holy Spirit used to convict the girl of her mocking and scoffing ways.

Would I recommend this book to others?  Yes, and maybe with the few minor caveats mentioned above – I don’t think there is any book out there I don’t recommend with cautions…except the Bible.  I have no problems recommending this book because Mr. Tripp definitely has a focus on the gospel at all times: forgiveness of sins through Christ Jesus!  I think the reason GCMers hate this book so much is because they believe all spanking is punitive and abusive.  This is not a book about abuse!  Far from it!  It is not a book that people need to be warned not to read.  His theology is sound even though I disagree with a few minute points of application he made.

Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft

*Notes: I know this book polarizes people.  If you found this site because you love this book and you hate my critique of it, please don’t comment about how I must be an abusive man myself or that I am a woman who hates women.  There is enough of that on Amazon.com.  If you go there you will find many reviews of the book and in the comment section of the one star reviews is where you will find those kind of responses.  So all readers, if you are interested,  go there because you aren’t going to find that kind of nonsense here.
Second note, I do know there is abuse out there.  I do recommend leaving during physical abuse and even sometimes with verbal abuse (with the hope of reconciliation).  But bad communication skills are not abuse.
Fourth note, I tried not to get too personal.  I didn’t go into great detail because I don’t want to on the world wide web!
Fifth note, I have not read all of the book because…. (Update: by the time I had written this post, I had read most of the book – minus a page here and there.  As I have stated in the comments section, nothing in my review changed.) 

Head Explosion!!!

That is the way my family members felt when we tried to read, Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft.  This is a book my GCM sister read and loved.   This book was recommended to my sister by people on GCM.  It too has a cult-like following.  If you disagree with it and you are a man, it is because you are an abuser.  If you are a woman and hate the book it is because you have a low view of women (see my notes above about Amazon).

My sister wanted my parents to read it.  They tried.  My mom made the suggestion that all men should put duct tape over their mouths so they wouldn’t be accused of abuse.  My parents, my other sibling and myself, which makes a total of four of us, tried to read it.  None of us could make it the whole way through the book!

First of all, where are the footnotes?  As I was reading I kept wondering where Mr. Bancroft got his information.  Where are the footnotes for the studies he mentioned (page 26 for one example)?  How did he know what was myth and what was reality?  In a book like this you would think there would be footnotes!  Most often he based everything on his experience instead of any scientific study.  So wives who read this please keep in mind this is one man’s opinions and might not reflect reality.

My family got the impression that Mr. Bancroft believes only men are abusers (although he does state that women can be abusers, the reader is still left with that impression nonetheless).  He doesn’t know my sister!  While reading this book, my other family members could see my GCM sister in the abuser role.  We could easily sub he for she and she for he and so much of it fit their situation.  She was manipulative  and very controlling (especially through the separation and divorce).  Neither were very nice to the other during their entire marriage.  I would rather call them both sinners than abusers.  But if she wants to call him an abuser, I would have to call her one too.  She fits Mr. Bancroft’s descriptions of an abuser just as much as my brother-in-law.

The saddest part of this book is that it ruins families (the GCM website is not the only destructive thing in my sister’s life; however, it is where it started).  A Christian knows that salvation is not possible with man, but possible with God.  God works miracles in  the hearts of those who repent and put their trust in Christ.  But according to Bancroft, once an abuser always an abuser (of course his definition of abuse is anything that makes the woman upset! Why do I say this?  Page after page describes the different kinds of abusers.  By the time you get done any man will fit the abuser profile!  Actually, any woman too.  I know my sister fit at least 2 abuser profiles really well).  He will state that a man can change but quickly pulls that hope back from the reader.

Overall the woman is going to be left with little hope after reading this book.  “My experience with abusive men is that small or even medium-level improvements generally slip away over time…”  “Sometimes when a woman reports to me that her abusive partner has been doing better, it turns out that he hasn’t been doing anything at all.  He isn’t swearing at her or scaring her, but he also isn’t spending time with her, talking to her, or showing her any affection. (page 349).”  So not talking to your wife is abuse, gentlemen!  You better always show her affection, but not too much because then she will think all you want is one thing and that is abusive too!  Mr. Bancroft even says that the “abuser” may wait two years before he starts testing you.  So even though he is perfect for two years and starts to act in a way you don’t like after TWO years, it is him clearly being abusive?  It couldn’t possibly be that he is a sinner doing what a sinner does?  Where is the grace?  I can say with 100% confidence that the wife is not perfect either.   How can I say such a thing?  Because ALL humans sin!  We must do what Christ did: FORGIVE!  After two years your spouse does something you don’t like, it is not abuse!  No person can live up to the expectations in this book.  Nobody but Jesus is perfect!

This book should not be treated in high regards by any Christian.  It is dangerous in the wrong hands.  It leads to destruction instead of reconciliation.  It is very possible for a woman who is unhappy in her marriage to come away from this book thinking she is abused when in reality she just isn’t happy with her marriage.  Another reason a Christian should not read this book for marital advice; on page 87 Lundy says, “You may be sorely tempted to have a secret affair, since your partner shows you so little kindness or tenderness.  A positive sexual connection may be especially affirming to you, because of how sexually degrading the Drill Sergeant tends to be.  But cheating on him can be deadly if he catches you.  Consider holding off on seeing other men until you have gotten yourself safe.”  Does that sound like what a Christian should be doing?  If a Christian women is reading this book and already is getting the impression she is abused and she is in a low mental state, she may actually think it is important that she have a positive sexual connection – which of course would be adultery.  Where is the focus for the woman?  On having a satisfying sexual encounter.  Where should a Christian woman’s focus be?  On Christ.  On how to handle trials in a way that will be pleasing to Him amd not necessarily to self.

What does this book scream to people who know both the husband and wife well? Women are to be in control of EVERYTHING.  It makes a controlling woman even more controlling and if you don’t like it then you will be labeled as an abuser.  There is very little grace or forgiveness for a husband.

This book makes a woman paranoid.  My sister started to see abuse in everything my brother-in-law did and wrote (of course the GCM people encouraged that because that is what they do.  If you can’t see abuse they will help you find it!  Nice of them isn’t it?).  She would share e-mails with me from him and the only thing I saw is confusion on his part.  She didn’t want to hear that though.  She tried to twist things around.  She wanted to see abuse.  Her GCM friends already told her she was abused so obviously everything he did was abusive.

Again, as I have stated in a previous post, I want to emphasize to all readers: DO NOT GO TO GCM FORUMS WITH YOUR MARITAL PROBLEMS!!!!!  They will tell you, based on Mr. Bancroft’s book, that if you don’t support her 100% (and this means that if you say anything nice about the husband or if you say she has faults too) then she will be unable to talk to you because “you don’t understand” – the book says so (page 369).  You too will be cut out of her life for as long as she is in this cult-like place.

If you are unhappy in your marriage, http://www.rickthomas.net/ would be a great resource to start with.  I have been impressed with the articles I have read on this site.  Mr. Thomas is Christ centered in everything and that is hard to find in counseling!  They do have a recommended book list for marriage here.  I have not read any of them though.  If you think you are abused, they would be a great resource to start with.  They should be able to point you in the right direction.