Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
At Home. At Work. With Friends
Combining clinical analysis with psychological profiles of famous narcissists, here is an indispensable guide to recognizing, coping with, and ultimately overcoming the destructive behavior of narcissists.
Everybody needs some healthy narcissism. But in a society obsessed with appearance, wealth, and status, it's easy for problematic narcissists to thrive. Many people who seem to "have it all" are suffering from one of the most common-and overlooked-personality disorders today: high level narcissism. Typified by an obsession with perfection, a desperate need for admiration, and a willingness to use and exploit others for personal gain, high level narcissism can spell devastation for anyone who crosses the narcissist's path.
In Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life, psychotherapist Linda Martinez-Lewi presents an in-depth and supportive plan for identifying, understanding, and dealing with high level narcissistic behavior in those close to you. Martinez-Lewi helps you to liberate yourself from draining personal relationships with narcissists, and shows how to regain a sense of peace, balance, and well-being.
Drawing on detailed profiles of famous narcissists, including Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright, Armand Hammer, and Ayn Rand, as well as expertly rendered case studies from her private practice as a psychotherapist, Martinez-Lewi shows how to:
- understand where narcissistic behavior comes from; u learn to spot narcissistic traits, even in the early stages of relationships;
- realize why attempting to change a narcissist is fruitless; and
- protect yourself from the narcissist's opportunism, manipulative behavior, and lack of empathy.
This book's title makes a promise it doesn't keep. Martinez-Lewi, a marriage and family therapist, devotes more space to describing what she calls the "classic high-level narcissist": charming, manipulative, needing to maintain a facade of perfection and power. But one can't always free oneself from narcissists (at work, for instance) except emotionally, which is the focus of her advice, when she gets to it. For the first 160-odd pages, the reader is treated to a melodramatic, vitriolic and metaphor-heavy ("we have been through the forests and thickets of the inner and outer world of the narcissistic personality") outpouring of loathing for these "impossible" people. The juiciest parts of the book describe historical figures such as Ayn Rand, Pablo Picasso and Frank Lloyd Wright as prisoners of their own narcissistic personalities. As for her plan to free oneself from narcissists, she makes it sound more like a battle plan than self-help, involving guerrilla, spy-counterspy and cat-and-mouse strategies. In the end, it amounts to being true to yourself and practicing meditation to stay grounded.