""Not to People Like Us"": Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages

Susan Weitzman, Author
Susan Weitzman, Author Basic Books $26 (289p) ISBN 978-0-465-09073-0
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Paperback - 289 pages - 978-0-465-09074-7
Open Ebook - 300 pages - 978-0-7867-2251-8
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Chicago's affluent North Shore provides 20-year veteran psychotherapist Weitzman with abundant evidence of the secret lives of ""upscale domestic abusers"" and their victim-wives. Shattering the cultural myth that emotional and physical violence in the home is confined to couples of a lower socioeconomic class, the author presents vivid case histories that are often excluded from clinical studies and statistics. Lacking a frame of reference for domestic violence in this echelon, health-care professionals ignore the signs, while law enforcement agents and judges go easy on it, she contends. Few believe or sympathize with a well-dressed, bejeweled woman if she finds the courage and self-respect to speak out against her successful, respected, powerful and often charming husband, while battered women's shelters turn her away, assuming that she has many other resources. But according to Weitzman, she doesn't. While often well educated and successful, the ""upscale abused woman"" is typically ignorant of her legal rights, convinced by her abuser that she is responsible for his behavior and isolated by her denial and shame from validating voices and potential assistance. Weitzman's upscale abuser exhibits Narcissistic Personality Disorder, feels eminently entitled and is incapable of seeing his wife as a person in her own right. Weitzman provides excellent practical advice for these women to make choices that extricate them from abuse, and proposes a new language and better education regarding ""upscale violence"" for the professionals who are likely to see it in their work. (Nov.)
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