Top critical review
Gaslighting as a form of therapy?
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2021
I'm going to be honest here: I haven't finished this book yet. I'm about two thirds of the way through. I'm going to finish it, but it's a strange read that doesn't actually have any healthy answers to the issue of jealousy. What is contained in this book is a collection of worksheets designed to walk through the steps/ideas she lays out in any given chapter. Followed by real life examples of each 'solution' that she has seen in her days as a counselor dealing with jealousy issues revolving around open relationships.
Oddly enough however, nearly all of the stories she has chosen to share are stories filled with gaslighting. Where one partner and this counselor convince the jealous partner that they're not actually feeling what they are feeling.
"Aren't you actually having a much more manageable emotion instead? In fact, isn't that emotion unfounded? If it is founded, don't you want to stop being selfish so your partner can have their 'best life'?"
Then the chapter ends with the jealous partner who originally had the issue saying, "Oh, ok. That makes sense. I can put my jealousy to bed now." Even when their actual concerns and issues haven't been addressed at all. Which makes each story really weird to read and leaves you wondering, how exactly did they reach that conclusion? The only answer to THAT is: By having their concerns invalidated, being gaslighted, and then learning how to 'cope' so that their partner can now continue their hurtful behavior unabated. All while continuing not to address the original concern, and giving no solution for it other than to come back to the gaslighting techniques. To forget that you're feeling what you're feeling.
Reading between all the lines here, using the information provided in these examples, what this book is truly all about is this: How to cope when you were in a previously committed, monogamous relationship and your partner has decided they want an open relationship. You've agreed because, well... what else are you going to do? You don't want your relationship to end suddenly, and abruptly, because your partner now has some sort of 'need' that suddenly can only be fulfilled outside of the relationship. So you have to be able to convince yourself that you're not feeling what you're actually feeling. And that it's not that big of a deal anyway.
One of the most insane examples I can give of this so far would be Chapter 11 - Unlearning Core Beliefs That Generate Jealousy.
Core Belief #1 - "If my partner really loved me, they wouldn't have any desire for a sexual relationship with anyone else." She then outlines 4 steps you can take to pretend to make yourself not feel the jealousy you're feeling. And if steps 1-3 don't work for you? Step 4 is literally to just create a new core belief to replace the one that has been violated for you. (Because if you change your Core Belief, there's no more issue then, right?)
New Core Belief #1 - "My partner loves me so much that they trust our relationship to expand and be enriched by experiencing even more love from others." Which is all well and good. But again, it doesn't actually address the original Core Belief. Because there doesn't seem to be an 'even more love' scenario for the partner who feels violated. They are receiving less love, no matter how you want to spin it. Unless you believe the gaslighting that your partner coming home and tossing you some crumbs of the New Relationship Energy they are getting from their new partner is the same as 'more love.' That partner then is expected to help create the environment where the other partner gets to safely maintain a home base so that they have a solid foundation to come back to, after they are done living their 'best life' for the moment. Until their 'best life' comes calling again. Then rinse and repeat this cycle.
I'll finish the book. I'll give it a chance to tie it all together and make sense. I really will...
But at the end of the day, this seems to be a manual to try to help a person who is having trouble with their partner going outside of the relationship. They don't actually want an open relationship. But they want their relationship to end even less than that. So much so they're willing to try anything to hold it together.
If that's you, then this is your book. If you have self-respect, you're probably going to want to move on.