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  • Writer's pictureLiz W.

Living Strong After Abuse by Theresa Jackson, MSC - Book Review

"You are not to blame. You did not deserve what happened to you."

living strong after abuse book cover theresa jackson

Living Strong After Abuse

Stop Being a Victim and Start Living

Theresa Jackson, MSC

326 pages

Ⓒ 2021 Busy Bee Media

Theresa Jackson has a background in clinical research which she uses to create self-help books for people who have undergone traumatic life events. Her other books include Loss of a Parent and How to Handle a Narcissist (affiliate links).

Her website can be found here.

What Problem Does This Book Attempt to Address?

The problem this book addresses is clear from the start. Abusive relationships can affect people long after the relationship has ended and diminish quality of life. The goal of this book is to help people who have been in an abusive relationship heal emotionally, regain their power and live their lives to the fullest. The book starts as an informative summarization of the common types of abusive relationships as well as what constitutes abuse. The remainder of the book is essentially a guided 30-day workbook on how to overcome the lasting effects of the abusive relationship using the primary methods of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness.


· Concept explanation: Excellent

· Related stories: Few

· Data references and studies: Below average

· Charts and graphics: None

· Practical application: Strong

First let me start with the first two sections of this book, which are very different from the last part. The first section is about what abuse is. It includes lists of what characteristics are common in emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. I think this is very helpful because sometimes when you are the one being abused, it can be hard to even know it is happening. Having a list can help support someone who may be unsure if their relationship qualified as abusive or not. The next section goes through the most common types of abuse and the different personality disorders that are commonly present in abusive people. I found both these sections to be extremely well written and easy to understand.

The second part of the book is a 30-day step-by-step guide to recovery. I have pretty extensive experience with both CBT and mindfulness training and I was blown away at the quality of material provided in this section. The reader is introduced to a ton of the fundamental exercises used in CBT and mindfulness. This is like getting hundreds of dollars of therapy in a single book. I thought the exercises were explained very clearly so that if you had never heard of them before you wouldn’t be confused. The exercises were cumulative and near the end I felt like the number of daily exercises was too much. I can see someone getting overwhelmed and quitting. But that doesn’t mean that each person can’t tailor it to an amount that is doable for them. Like she says, you are not going to be cured in 30 days, it is a starting point. So do what works best for you.

Writing Style & Presentation

· Tone: Educational

· Organization: Good

· Flow: Good

I really enjoyed the writing style in this book. I find many self-help books to have an off-putting tone, be it either too gentle and delicate or too much of a “suck it up and get on with it” tone. This book was neither of those things. The beginning was written to be educational and straight forward. The author basically says: this is what happens when you have been abused and this is what we are going to do about it. The empathy is there and it is genuine, but it is not overdone. The organization is well thought out and I had no problems with how the book flowed.

Bringing It all Together

One thing done really well was: The 30-day guide is definitely the highlight of this book. Easy to follow with clear actionable steps that all seem very doable.

One thing that could be better: My main issue with this book is the lack of cited references. When the author refers to a study or fact usually there is a mention of the study or book it came from, but there is no bibliography and sometimes there will be data without a reference cited at all.

One main thing I took away from this book was: Abusive people are extremely manipulative and practiced at what they do. There is very little chance someone will be able to spot an abuser before the end of the honeymoon phase of a relationship. If you have been in an abusive relationship, it is NOT your fault for not seeing it before it happened.

Overall Recommendation

Overall recommendation: 5/5

Who I would recommend this book for: Someone who was in an abuse relationship in the past and is struggling with overcoming the emotional trauma from this abuse.

Who I wouldn’t recommend this book for: Someone who is struggling to leave an abusive relationship or very recently left one. I think this book is not intended to be a substitute for professional care in those circumstances.

NOTE: This is a review-only post. There are no discussion questions planned at this time.

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