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Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite
''Melody'' (not her real name) survived a relationship with a man she believed to be a psychopath. In Breaking Free of Manipulation, she offers us a brief but useful combination of a personal story of her experience and advice for those who may face a similar challenge. Writing under a pen-name, and using fictional names, she wisely disguises identities to avoid defamatory comment or personal hurt to persons who may be connected in some way to the story. This does not detract from a story that others who walk in Melody's shoes may find reassuring.
Melody presents this book as a work of non-fiction about relationships. In her opening, she is careful to ensure that the reader understands this book is based on personal experience, and it is not the work of anyone with professional qualifications or recognized expertise in diagnosing or recommending ways to deal with psychopaths. Melody's goal is to assure others who walk on her path that their experiences are not unique, and that their fears and feelings are entirely valid. She presents, in plain and simple English, information she has uncovered by various means about the habits and behaviour of psychopaths and the likely effect on their victims, and she offers advice on how to defend oneself and how to escape and heal. She notes, correctly, that a fairly commonly-held view that psychopaths are violent, or engage in criminal behavior, is not valid. Like the ''Eddie'' in her story, most psychopaths inflict hurt through psychological manipulation. They play with their victim's self-esteem. They set up scenes to confuse and cause victims to mistrust their own judgements and beliefs. They toy with emotions. Their methods are often so subtly cruel that their victims misread this behavior and doubt themselves.
In a world where it is believed between 1 and 2% of individuals have psychopathic tendencies, one can reasonably hope not to suffer as Melody did, but forewarned is forearmed. And anyone already in a relationship with a suspected psychopath may well find, in Breaking Free of Manipulation, reassurance that their fears are founded and comfort that it is possible to break free and mend. If just one person is helped to find a way through the fog and into the light, Melody's efforts in writing this story will be proven worthwhile.