Invisible Wounds: A Guide for Women in Abusive Relationships

Invisible Wounds: A Guide for Women in Abusive Relationships
Since it was first published, this compassionate and practical self-help guide by Kay Douglas has helped thousands of women suffering from verbal, emotional or physical abuse.

If you are living in - or recovering from - a destructive relationship this book is for you.

Emotional abuse can take many forms: ongoing mind games, control tactics, put downs, hostile silences, verbal abuse, paybacks, cutting criticism. It can lead to depression, anxiety, addictions and feelings of confusion and worthlessness.
NZ$ 35.00
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With powerful interviews from 50 women this book:
  • Puts into words the confusion and distress of emotional abuse;
  • Explores the impact of emotional abuse on women and children;
  • Offers practical suggestions about how to address the issue of partner abuse;
  • Discusses why women stay;
  • Offers self-reflections questions to help readers make a decision about whether to stay or go;
  • Addresses the healing process after a desctructive relationship ends.


"Kay Douglas's book is the most supportive, realistic, and practical guide for abused women that I have encountered. A woman with this book in her hands is on the path to a new life. The author really 'gets it' about what it takes to deal with a destructive partner and takes the reader step-by-step from the beginnings of grasping what is happening to her all the way to healing once the relationship has ended. Outstanding!"

- Lundy Bancroft, author of Why Does He Do That?, Should I Stay, or Should I Go?, When Dad Hurts Mom and The Joyous Recovery.

"Invisible Wounds is a powerful and engaging book for emotionally abused women. As a survivor and professional, Kay Douglas comes across as warm, knowledgeable, and compassionate. Her positively and encouragement can be found on every page as she walks readers through the process of acknowledging and ending a damaging relationship. This book will be of great value to women who are questioning their partner's behavior and to those seeking freedom from abuse.”

- Lynn Fairweather, author of Stop Signs: Recognizing, Avoiding, and Escaping Abusive Relationships.

“Kay Douglas has written an extraordinary book about a terrifyingly 'ordinary' phenomenon: emotional abuse of women by men. This is so ordinary, in fact, that even those living with emotional abuse often tend to confuse it with and excuse it as normal behavior. This painful confusion about what a woman is entitled to expect for herself and from a male partner comes through most powerfully in these pages. This is the magnificent strength of this book.

It is that absolutely persistent focus on women - and on every woman's right to a life free of abuse and denigration - that makes Kay Douglas' work more than 'just a book'. Invisible Wounds is the strong, wise companion every woman needs who doubts her right to a life free from emotional abuse, and the shame and self-blame that so often accompany it.”

- Dr. Stephanie Dowrick, author of Intimacy and Solitude, Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love, Everyday Kindness, and Choosing Happiness.

“This is a must read for any woman feeling unhappy in her relationship. Using the voices of the women she has interviewed, Kay Douglas carefully describes the various forms of abuse they experienced. She articulates the dilemmas women face when confronted with these experiences and in her gentle and sensitive style opens up opportunities for change. Where this book differs from others is in the attention to safety at every decision point, such an important consideration when abuse or violence is an issue.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book to any woman struggling with a partner who makes her unhappy or unsafe, or who has recently left an abusive partner or is wanting to ensure she does not enter a relationship with another man who uses psychological, emotional abuse or violence against her. Practitioners who want to know how to work with women who live with or have recently left an abusive partner would also benefit from reading this book.”

- Dr. Alison Towns, registered clinical psychologist, specialist interest in the prevention of men's domestic violence against women.

From her own personal and professional journey, and from interviews with women who have lived in emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive relationships with abusive and controlling men, Kay Douglas has written an outstanding and moving resource for women who find themselves in abusive relationships, and for any family, friend, or professional who loves them, or works with them.

Invisible Wounds powerfully and compassionately describes the devastating physical, emotional, and spiritual toll these relationships take on women, and outlines practical, healing, and liberating steps for women to free themselves from the grips of such relationships, and to reclaim their power, their hearts and minds, and even their souls. We highly recommend Invisible Wounds to anyone, man or woman, who wants to better understand abusive relationships and wants to start on the path to freedom and healing from destructive power.”

 - Sue Lauber-Fleming and Patrick Fleming, authors of Shattered Soul? Five Pathways to Healing the Spirit after Abuse and Trauma and Broken Trust: Stories of Pain, Hope, and Healing from Clerical Sexual Abuse Survivors and Abusers.

“Invisible Wounds is an important book. It opens up a rich therapeutic discourse about our choices of partners and unravelling how violence can manifest insidiously in relationships. It is an insightful empowering book for people of all genders.”

- Dr. Hinemoa Elder, author of Aroha.

“Kay Douglas’s book, Invisible Wounds, provides a powerful and intimate look at the experiences of fifty women who have lived with intimate partner violence.  Douglas takes us on a systematic journey through the cycle of domestic violence, from the first time a man hits his wife or girlfriend, through the typical day, the worst day, and the struggles to leave and build a new life. Along the way she identifies warning signs and indicators that women can use to identify abuse when it is just starting. Her book is an excellent resource for any women who thinks that she might be in an abusive relationship but is not sure. She is honest about the barriers to leaving and provides not only tips but resources. 

As someone who has worked on the scholarship of intimate partner violence for more than a decade I found the book riveting to read. I would recommend Invisible Wounds to anyone trying to understand intimate partner violence. A great tool for those who have a friend or family member they are worried about or for someone who is trying to leave an abusive relationship.”

- Professor Angela J. Hattery, author of The Social Dynamics of Family Violence & Intimate Partner Violence.

Invisible Wounds is an extremely helpful tool in helping women stuck in horrible relationships. I believe teen girls would benefit from reading it so they could see how important it is when choosing what man they allow to be a part of their lives. Valuable examples, advice and resources.”

- Dianne Schwartz, author of Whose Face Is in the Mirror?: The Story of One Woman’s Journey from the Nightmare of Domestic Violence to True Healing.

"A bruise you can measure; you can record its color, height, width, location on the body or face and use it as documentation. The invisible wounds that Kay Douglas writes of so expertly and compassionately are not as neatly discovered, but are so much more insidious, pervasive and life-damaging. In this important work that all men and women should read, Douglas uses her empathy, wisdom, and insight to not only tell the stories of abuse of 50 women, but to outline prevention, understanding and recovery tactics for those connected to the abuse. If one billion women in the world have been or will be subject to a form of personal violence, then the crucial nature of this work cannot be overstated. The wish is that a new level of clarity can be reached on the critical issue of domestic violence, in order to assist our sisters, mothers, daughters and friends from the crimes hurled against them in the name of love."

- Michele Weldon, author of I Closed My Eyes: Revelations of a Battered Woman

Number of pages: 260