Slavery Is Alive and We Are Not Well

Slavery Is Alive and We Are Not Well

How to Recognize and Escape Inter-Personal Control

Authors Ethel F. Quiring and Hugh W. Savage

Review by Carla Dippel

With compassion and conviction, therapists Ethel F. Quiring and Hugh W. Savage expose the destructiveness of control in their book Slavery is Alive- And We Are Not Well: How to Recognize and Escape Inter-Personal Control. Though humanity has worked to abolish slavery in obvious forms throughout history, Quiring and Savage candidly discuss the intangible but very real forms of slavery that develop between persons, often under the guise of “relationship.” Writing from a firm belief that “the truth shall set you free,” the authors bring understanding of the control dynamics to the reader in order to empower and encourage true personal and relational freedom.

With the use of story and frequent sprinklings of reality-based examples, the book’s eight chapters build upon each other to paint a comprehensive picture of destructive control. The authors’ intent is to help the reader beyond painful coping and towards “optimal functioning”- the freedom to thrive as a human being! They begin by describing optimal functioning in terms of being a “relater.” This way of being requires two dynamics: a growing sense of personhood (all that an individual is and has the potential to become), and dialogue (interaction that is focused on seeking to understand the other person’s reality.)

Persons who are not aiming to relate will most likely take on the role of either controller or victim as a way of survival. The game of control destroys personhood and true relationship as the controller casts aside acceptance and understanding and does whatever is necessary to maintain the law and order of their own warped reality. Savage and Quiring delve into the mindset of both the controller and the victim, detailing why they develop, their characteristics, the wide array of tactics employed, the levels of control, and how victims choose to cope with the control. The workings of the control game itself and its impact on all involved are also brought to light. And as they have witnessed the misuse of Scripture by many controllers, the authors seek to redeem theological misinterpretations throughout their portrayals with straight-forward and truth-based explanations.

The final chapters sound out a strong message of hope- victims can escape the game of control and work towards a life of true freedom and relationship. The steps of escape are outlined along with the emotional and psychological dynamics that can be expected while moving through the process. The writers’ invitation to freedom is also extended to controllers who have a genuine desire to change- no person is excluded from the possibility of optimal living. Choosing love and truth destroys the control game, and this choice exists for everyone.

For many people, the deceptive nature of destructive control makes it difficult to identify in the first place. Slavery is Alive and We Are Not Well offers a profound depth of understanding that turns the floodlights of truth on the malicious web of inter-personal slavery and clears a path to freedom.

Why I recommend this book.

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