Why is it Always about You?: The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism
Author: Sandy Hotchkiss
Publisher: Free Press ( New York )
This book uses easy to understand language to explain what narcissism is, how unhealthy narcissism develops and how to arm yourself against it.
What I liked best about this book was the way the author describes the early stages of child development where narcissism is a normal development phase from which a child in an empathetic environment can go on to form a healthy separate “Self”. Hotchkiss then goes on to explain the results of going through the same development where the parent is not empathetic and the forming of a separate “Self” does not take place leaving the child with the illusion of their grandiosity and omnipresence. In this case they see the parent and all other suitable objects as extensions of themselves.
She also looks at narcissism that can develop during teenage years, the effects of narcissism in old age and the way in which it has been accepted in the workplace.
The final thing of value I found in this book was a description of parental attitudes that create Narcissistic children. Most of the attitudes are based around the parents own needs and feelings rather than that of the child. At the root of these attitudes is the conditioning of the child to expect special treatment.
Despite one amusing story where a Narcissist wanted to show his superiority over his Therapist by peeing in her bushes this book spells out a very serious and important message… there is nothing you can do to change the Narcissist, the only one you can change is yourself to either accept your life with them or move on to a life without them.
Narcissism: Denial of the True Self
Author:Alexander Lowen, M.D.
Publisher: Touchstone (New York)
Lowen uses real patient cases to demonstrate what narcissism feels like for sufferers. He focuses on the denial of feelings which makes Narcissists appear “inhuman”, their over investment in their image and cravings for power and control.
He defines a spectrum of narcissistic types (ordered in terms of narcissistic disturbance) with the Phallic-Narcissistic character (those who live to seduce others) being least disordered and the Paranoid Personality (who believe they are all powerful and others conspire against them) being most disordered. He also gives an outline of each of these types. Borderline personalities sit in the middle of the scale.
Lowen explains the types of upbringings that result in the development of the adult narcissism, why they need to seduce and manipulate others and why they see themselves as special.
Essential Papers on Narcissism (Essential Papers in Psychoanalysis)
Author: Andrew P. Morrison
Publisher: New York University Press ( New York )
Technical… that’s the best way I can describe this book. As such I frequently stopped to look up technical references online or words I’d never heard before in the dictionary.
The book covers work done by Sigmund Freud, Annie Reich, Heinz Kohut, Otto F. Kernberg and many many others. It explains that work on narcissism and NPD has been a slow process and that all is not completely understood with the condition. It looks at different theories of how harmful narcissism which leads to a person objectifying others and seeing themselves as special is created i.e. is it during the early years of life as normal development is thwarted by poor parenting? Or can it be the result of having good looks, success and special treatment in later years?
The stages of child development where the creation of unhealthy narcissism is described was hard for me to fully comprehend and I was only able to understand what was being discussed in this book when I read “Why is it Always About You? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism” by Hotchkiss.
It provides a diagnostic framework to identify someone with NPD and some examples that highlight how damaging, deceptive and needy sufferers can be. How they make the choice in determining which object to “love” and explains that Narcissists are sensitive to failure and require reassurance and attention from others to keep up their view of themselves as special.
The book also covers the type of treatment that works best for those with NPD. It confirms that the outlook isn’t good for those who are high up on the narcissistic scale. Those lower down on the scale may benefit from Psychotherapy but it is clear that they will never be “normal”. That at best they can learn how they came to be a Narcissist, the effect their condition has on others and gain a little empathy.
This book shows that anyone who thinks they can do a bit of research and use their learning to help or change the Narcissist(s) in their life is in for a rude awakening. The book clearly show’s the difficulties professionals face in treating those with NPD. I as mere reader, someone with my own issues and with a personal attachment have no chance to help the suspect Narcissists I know and would end up placing them or myself in danger if I tried.
The following books also discuss Narcissism and NPD:
Narcisstic Personality Disorder
Author: Kent Daniel Glowinski
Publisher: Booksurge Llc
The Narcissistic and Borderline Disorders: Integrated Developmental Approach
Author: James F. Masterson, M.D.
Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry
Author: Albert J. Bernstein
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional
The Destructive Narcissistic Pattern
Author: Nina W. Brown
Publisher: Greenwood Press
Enough About You, Let’s Talk About Me: How to Recognize and Manage the Narcissists in Your Life
Author: Les Carter
Publisher: Jossey Bass
Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move on
Author: Cynthia Zayn and Kevin Dibble
Publisher: New Horizon Press
Children of the Self-absorbed: A Grown-up’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents
Author: Nina W. Brown
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-absorbed
Author: Wendy T. Behary
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Help! I’m in Love with a Narcissist
Author: Steven Carter and Julia Sokol
Publisher: M. Evans& Co Inc
Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
Author: Karyl McBride
Published: Free Press
Trapped in the Mirror
Author: Claire Golomb
Publisher: William Morrow
Identifying and Understanding the Narcissistic Personality
Author: Elsa F. Ronningstam
Publisher: OUP USA
Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited
Author: Sam Vaknin
Publisher: Narcissus Publications
All About Me: Loving a Narcissist
Author: Simon Crompton