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Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed
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Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  345 ratings  ·  70 reviews
How can you handle the narcissistic people in your life? They're frustrating (and maybe even intimidating) to deal with. You might need to interact with some of them in social or professional settings, and you might even love one-so sometimes it just doesn't work to simply ignore them. You need to find a way of communicating effectively with narcissists, getting your point...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by New Harbinger Publications
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Polly Trout
This was a useful book -- I'm just going to jot down here the things I want to be able to reference later before it goes back to the library:

Narcissistic Traits: self-absorbed, entitled, demeaning, demanding, distrustful, perfectionistic, snobbish, approval seeking, unempathetic, unremorseful, compulsive, addictive, emotionally detached

Note to self: if you get a crush on one of THOSE again, run. Run and hide.

Traits of "healthy narcissism," e.g., a healthy self: empathic, engaging, a leader, self...more
Jul 15, 2010 Kendra is currently reading it
Something from the book that I found helpful:

"If your narcissist is a spoiled-dependent type, the implications for change are such that more emphasis will need to be placed on setting limits, as well as on enrolling in lessons in tolerating frustration. For the deprived-dependent type, you'll need to place more emphasis on ignoring boastful commentaries and instead pay attention to "ordinary" niceties and thoughtful gestures. Such people will also need to be held accountable for angry outbursts...more
Narcissists are dangerous people who suck the life out of you to survive. They are listed in the Asia II of psychology and mental disorder according to the american mental & psychological disorder criteria. They are everywhere and encountered everyday. The emotional distraction they cause is more devastating than any though they are never put in jail until they turn to physical assault. Therapy fails to treat those kind of people because they constant liars and pretenders. They change colour...more
Some notes -- not a review: There are some communication techniques in here that reminded me of things I learned in a facilitation class I once took. It seems to me that if you're dealing with someone who has NPD, learning how to communicate with them effectively should give you a wide range of communications skills for any difficult situation. The entire topic is treated with compassion, too, which I appreciated. Also, I did find the schema therapy information interesting.
I learned that we all are narcissists, to one degree or another. A healthy narcissism is balanced between self-absorption, or possibly self-care and compassion for others. Working at striking that balance can be a life-long task.

As with many relationship issues, we all end up realizing that we aren't going to change someone else, we only have ourselves to change. It seems the schema study was aimed equally at the 'dealer with the narcissist' as much as the narcissist. The author goes deep into f...more
Kelley (Against GR Censorship)
First of all, the following excerpt should have been put at the beginning of the book because it is so important and not hidden 114 pages in.

"One important note: This approach [Putting Yourself in the Narcissist's Shoes] is inappropriate with anyone who makes you feel unsafe or abused. That's a completely different protocol, often requiring exit strategies and safety plans. If the narcissist in your life is violent, abusive, or threatens your safety in any way, please seek assistance immediately
Liz Henry
Had decent advice, especially good at providing categories of abusive behavior and ways to answer them. I liked the bits of the book that advise the reader to remember their "sturdy self". Yay sturdy self!

I didn't really like the gender politics and had trouble with the idea that the book is helping people stay in miserable relationships. I get that sometimes you're going to relate with people like this, and they deserve compassion, but so many of the examples were to me of women living with fla...more
John Kulm
Really opened my eyes to what people have had to endure when it comes to my narcissistic behavior, and showed me that some of the conflict I've had with other people had to do with their narcissism - even stronger than my own!

The reviews on this book, posted by Goodreads members, are so good - with quotes and info on narcissism - I recommend the reviews as much as I recommend the book!

Narcissism is so intriguing, involving mood swings from feeling grandiose superiority and specialness, suddenly...more
Fabulous book. It helped me to understand what went on in my father's mind and my son's mind as well. Knowing who they are and how they got there has been so instrumental in how to handle my own reactions and hurt feelings. These are people without empathy, and lurking behind it all is having not been able to handle their own feelings of embarrassment and inadequance. I feel sad for them now instead of angry. My new understanding is...I love my family. I don't have to like them, but I do have to...more
If you know a person with narcissistic personality disorder, get away from them as fast as you can. If you have the misfortune of being tied to them, read this book. They cannot be changed, but this book will help you cope.
There are some helpful cognitive therapy techniques, but I found the stories hard to relate to, and the focus on couples a little bit narrow.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I started this book with high hopes, hoping to get some solid ideas regarding how to effectively handle narcissists---even had a notepad and pen at the ready. (I'd recently listened to an excellent interview on NPR with an expert on this subject; that talk was so good that I actually pulled into a parking lot to jot down some things they mentioned. Unfortunately, this book droned on and on and on and many a narcissist I know...and it just failed to make a compelling impression. And hav...more
I highly recommend. Fascinating discussion of schemas. Helps the reader look at herself and analyze her own schemas and figure out how they make it difficult to deal with the narcissistic personality. Offers practical tips/examples about how to best communicate with narcissists in their different forms (eg., bully, entitled...) I think the discussion of schemas is so helpful that reading the book is worthwhile even if you are not currently dealing with a narcissist.
I like Behary's approach to confronting narcissism wherever you may encounter it--from colleagues, co-workers, relations, associates, etc. She explains the roots of narcissism, why narcissistic behavior is so troubling, and helps the reader understand how to best address narcissistic behavior. She explains the need for empathy and compassion, but also champions readers to stand up for themselves and their rights and feelings. Very well written.
More of a marriage/relationship manual that refers to the more difficult self-centered partner as a 'narcissist' than a set of tactics to deal with an actual pathological malignant personality disordered narcissist. A person with diagnosable NPD is unlikely to respond to a good talking-to as many of the examples in this book claim. These illustrated husbands may be jerks but they're not out of reach.
Jul 28, 2013 Tandie marked it as um-whaaaat  ·  review of another edition
I think this would be a terrific book to read in front of your roommate or ex!
Scott Haraburda
Jul 14, 2013 Scott Haraburda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1
Shelves: first-reads
Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Book.


Helping us to understand self-absorbed people, Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-absorbed provides useful information about narcissism. Of interest, this word comes from Narcissus, the Greek mythological figure who falls obsessively in love with his own image upon seeing his own reflection in a pond.

I found this book to be quite valuable since I believe we all have had narcissistic tendencies a...more
Aug 26, 2013 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People dealing with narcissists
Recommended to Michael by: Goodreads
Note: I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Well, what I did not like about this book was that quite often I felt Wendy was repeating a lot of information she had given previously chapter after chapter, there was even a point where upon picking it back up after setting it down, I thought I was reading a chapter I had already read (turns out I hadn't).

The other problem I had with this book was the underlying tone of bias against men. Yes, I read her explanation for her use of the male pronoun,...more
Wendy Behray offers some practical advice for dealing with difficult people who are of the self-consumed, me first variety.

Behray relies on two decades of counseling work specifically with narcissists and thus, her book contains advice based on direct experience for dealing with narcissists.

For me, the most helpful aspect of her work includes usage of the concept referred to as Schemas; a set of explanations for a given behavior based on some past event or collection of events that contributed...more
I imagined this book to be a "How to Deal with the Assholes in your Life", and got it to serve that purpose. In fact, it made me look inside myself and figure out why the assholes bothered me so much. It also gave me tools to communicate with difficult people and not allow unacceptable behavior. I borrowed this book from the library but plan on purchasing a couple of copies. One for my husband and me, and one for another family member dealing with the same narcissist. I highly recommend this.
Shannon Rosser
I've read a lot of books about narcissism, as I've had to deal with a pretty bad case with a relative. See me if you or anyone needs some of my collection...once you've absorbed what makes these disturbed people tick, you don't ever need a reminder. : )
This book is packed full of information to help you understand what goes on in the mind of a narcissist. Suggestions for empathetic dialogue were helpful. However, In the case of the Perilous Narcissist, I can say first hand that the examples and suggestions are not effective tools. Yet I still gained a tremendous amount of insight by reading this book as I can now understand how to look at the narcissist in my life through the eyes of a wounded child instead of seeing this person as merely self...more
Stuart Wasserman
I found this book fascinating and hard to put down. While the relationship I'm in is not necessarily with a narcissist she does have certain qualities that may overlap. The discussion of schemas is extremely helpful and Ms. Behary gives many great tips on how to deal with these difficult people. Perhaps the most useful thing in the book is her giving exact conversations that may happen with a narcissist so that I could see precisely what kind of language would work best. I strongly recommend thi...more
Laura Finger
I was thrilled and a little bit relieved to win this in a Goodreads giveaway. I've recently ended a relationship with an overt maladaptive narcissist. Thanks to Behary, I learned how to put a name on what I'd been going through for the past year.

As part of my healing, I learned why I'd felt manipulated and ignored during our relationship. This was a blessing for me, because it's helped me move on.

But to be blunt, what I needed most was to learn what I was doing and allowing that caused me to b...more
Shauna Durbin
This book Was seriously life-changing. I read through it one time just to read it Because there was so much good information in it. I'm going to go back and read it through a second time actually doing the exercises. I think this book is a tremendous help for For those who love a narcissist. It gives very Helpful causes on why the narcissist does not play well with others and how The person who loves them can deal with it. Another thing I liked about this book is the fact it is encouraging and u...more
Roxane Lapa
Books in the psychology genre can sometimes be quite dry, but the the author is a very gifted writer which made it a pleasant read.

I like that the author treats narcissists with compassion, seeing beyond their douchebaggery to the real issues at heart.

The advice in the book is good - some of the communication examples work in theory, but might not be so successful practice if tried verbatim. This is not really a problem though because the point is they are just examples, and from that you could...more
Sarah Nicholson
This is an insightful and quite compassionate look at narcissists and narcissism in its various guises.
Extremely helpful if anyone is currently living with an unreasonable narcissist!
A must read for anyone in a narcissistic work or family relationship.
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“This limits, or even eliminates, their capacity to be empathic and remorseful. You may have heard the term “narcissistic injury.” This refers to the dynamic wherein, for a narcissist, saying a simple “I’m sorry” is like saying, “I am the worst human being on earth.” 0 likes
“You press your internal mute button, power off your schemas, and take a full, unexasperated breath. If appropriate, you masterfully hold the narcissist accountable, or you move on. Where, formerly, your “noisy” mind would have had you feeling flustered, furious, full of self-doubt, or helpless, your distress now slides away like a fluffy omelet departs a well-prepared pan.” 0 likes
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