Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in Their Struggle for Self” as Want to Read:
Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in Their Struggle for Self
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in Their Struggle for Self

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  476 ratings  ·  60 reviews
In this compelling book, Elan Golomb identifies the crux of the emotional and psychological problems of millions of adults. Simply put, the children of narcissist -- offspring of parents whose interest always towered above the most basic needs of their sons and daughters -- share a common belief: They believe they do not have the right to exist.

The difficulties experience
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 28th 1995 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1992)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Trapped in the Mirror, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Trapped in the Mirror

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,136)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
"You know you're an idiot!" I'm talking to the face in the mirror. If you haven't already decided that I am indeed an idiot, some of you may now be thinking that a narcissistic parent is responsible for my "powerfully self-hating negative inner parent"(55) -- also known, by those who worship at Our Lady of Jargon, as "negative introject"(55). Well, forget about my poor old mother, who happens to be narcissistic; and accept this explanation for my self-deprecation: I bought Elan Golomb's book; I ...more
Ryan Holiday
The idea that this author is in any way justified in writing a book on healing or conquering narcissism is laughable. The book is filled with countless examples of her own insanity--like the time she cracked her skull and insisted on seeing an Eastern meditative healer instead of a doctor. Of course, her parents intervention was proof of their narcissism.

This is a fascinating topic but an awful book. Most of the anecdotes come from group therapy that she ATTENDED instead of led. The book bills i
Paul King
I would say this is fundamentally the most painful book I've ever read as it hit me so personally about my own upbringing. The truths about the particulars that children of narcissists suffer are a daily struggle for me. What a wonderful gift that Golomb has given - even if not every idea works for you, it gives a group of very lost souls a means to navigate the emotional holocaust that is so often at play.
Linda Robinson
Another first - I picked this book up before lunch, and read it through my meal, sat in the car reading in my parking lot, and now have finished it in my favorite reading chair, without taking off my coat. There are a couple of reviews I read here that are my reactions as well. The book is cross-eyed hard to get into, but I think this is because the subject matter is difficult, especially for someone who had narcissistic parents. There's not much sense to be had in that brand of childhood. But t ...more
(Recommended to me by my therapist). An excellent treatise on the influence of narcissistic individuals in those for whom abuse and negativity feels more like normal behavior than dysfunction. The author is a well-educated clinical psychologist who herself is the child of two narcissistic parents. Adeptly weaving her experiences with those of her friends, patients, and other individuals, she helps us to recognize the thought patterns and unintentional, automatic reactions to challenges that ever ...more
I'm giving up on this one half way through. What I hoped would be an exploration of adult manifestations of surviving (or trying to survive) a narcissistic family system (or parent), is actually an inarticulate series of caricatures of destructive individuals that, despite the reality of their situations, seem more like titillating psyhco-drama than explanatory case studies. Golomb manages to be both flippant and melodramatic, all the while making sweeping generalizations but failing to present ...more
Michele Winship
For any child who has grown up in a home with narcissistic parents, this book provides real insight to the family dynamics that can create damage that lasts for a lifetime. Recommended by my therapist,Trapped in the Mirror allowed me to look from the outside in and understand more about my own family dysfunction.
Jessie Marie
I agree with those that found Trapped in the Mirror difficult going and time consuming to read because of the fact that it hits so close to home. I also agree that Golomb's tangents don't always work and are sometimes cumbersome. She reaches in all directions with her comparisons, to her own dreams, and once to a Mobius strip--it gets a bit sprawling.

But sometimes this manner really works for me, and allows me to remember experiences I've had myself, but through incorporating both intellectual a
I'm torn between three and four stars. So many of the descriptions of certain emotions/behaviors in this book were so exacting for me that I wanted to pull out a highlighter, just to make the point abundantly clear to myself (people who know me and the way I treat books will be shocked at this urge... and will not be surprised to know that I resisted the highlighter). The confirmation of these emotions and actions and why I experience them is illuminating and gratifying.

On the other hand, many
This book was interesting. I read it because my stepdaughter asked me to. She said that in her opinion, her mother is a narcissist and the book is geared for the adult children of people with this condition. It makes me more compassionate as my stepdaughter has had many life problems which my husband and I have helped her with repeatedly. She is now doing well - holding a job, living on her own. It gives an interesting and a bit disturbing view of what her childhood may have been like and why so ...more
This is a very interesting book. It should be noted that every person is multifaceted, and reading this book gave me glimpses of insight into my own experiences throughout my life. While no one experience listed here fits perfectly into my own pattern growing up, there are shadows of patterns that I learned a tremendous amount from. It took me a little while to get through this book because it was very thought provoking for me. There are occasional swear words, so if you're sensitive to that...m ...more
This book was given to me by a friend who thought it was great. It didn't live up to my expectations at all. This is not a thoughtful piece of academic literature written by an expert in the field. It's definitely not a clear, thoughtful path to self-healing. It's a psychologically damaged woman writing about her scarring childhood and exposing the problems of her friends and relations as supporting evidence of her own personal theories. Some of the conclusions are just incredulous. A narcissist ...more
Insightful, personal, scientific, and deeply relatable delving into the reasons, motivations, consequences, and recovery related to being the child of a narcissistic parent. I'm stunned this author has not written more! She's shockingly personal while maintaining scientific fervor.
Patricia McGuire
Finding a book that clearly and concisely helps the child of a narcissistic parent understand their experience is a daunting task. I have read many; this book is another. Writing one must be challenging. There are flaws in the structure of the book--I'm not sure that it was the most effective way to organize the information by blending clinical observations with the author's own personal history, making the conclusions weaker from the perspective that the reader might doubt the authors ability t ...more
Robin Adler
Disarming the Narcissist was more useful in terms of what to do when you have identified a narcissist in your life. Trapped in the mirror seemed like it was just a series of stories about narcissists.
Written by a psychologist who had a narcissistic father. Helpful information and insight into how to recover from living with one or more narcissistic parents.
This book was very healing to read. I admire the author a lot for her generosity (on so many levels) in the writing of this book.
I saw this book recommended on Psychology Today so I had high hopes. Well a few chapters at the beginning were helpful and well organized. I found that the second half of the book seemed like emotional purging and less instructive. I found her to be judgmental of her friends in the very same way she claimed her parents were of others. This book needed tighter editing. I wanted to finish it but didn't see the point. The chapter "How to find and heal yourself" was more about how the author tried t ...more
Fabulous....really fabulous book on such a difficult subject. Helped me a lot.
Helpful information if you've ever lived with a narcissist person.
Joni Watling
This was a difficult read, partially because of the style of the writer and partially because sections of it felt like a kick in the gut. I saw myself mirrored in many stories and patterns, which was uncomfortable and sometimes made me quite nauseous. At times, the author comes across as a whiner stuck in a loop of negative story telling. I imagine the process of writing and revisiting the topic from her own life to write this book served as a healing balm so I had to get to a point of just lett ...more
Michelle Renee
I went to this book on recommendation that it had actual scientific merit. I was very disappointed. It's more like a journey through one woman's blind spots, hypocritical judgments of her friends and patients, and self-pity. It's not what you're looking for if you're into philosophy or science, but it would be beneficial for a hackneyed psychologist needing something nonthreatening to pawn off on narcissistic clients. I rarely give one star, but this was so useless.
Interesting to see the wide range of responses to this book--and the virulence of some of the negative reviews. Sounds like people were taking it personally.

This book gave me a lot to think about, though I did find the author obtrusive and kind of meandering at times. I didn't come out of it with clear takeaways, except that I would like to read some less personal books on the subject. A good introduction, though.
Aj Mcguire
I thought the book helpful, basic information, but the personal stories went on too long. More helpful in realizing what it means to be in a relationship with a Narcissist but not very in depth as to what to do about it.
My father happens to be a narcissist and I struggled as a kid and teen to live with his arbitrary rules and opinions. I carried around a lot of stress and guilt. This book changed my way of thinking. It helped me understand that there is a name for what my dad is and it erased any feelings of responsibility. You can't change someone's interpretation of the world. I thank Golomb for writing this book. I am sure it helped many other people who were victims of this pathological self-centeredness.
Stacy Daniel
This book was recommended to me by a psychologist and hit me on so many levels that it actually took me almost 2 years to read. As an adult who grew up in a home like this, I can relate with the fact that the effects are certainly lifelong, which is why I could only handle this book in very small doses. But I'm glad to have a better understanding, and to know that Im not completely alone in it. However, I didn't feel like there was much focus on how to fix the damage within me.
Just a bunch a chapters about various "patients" of this psychotherapist. I don't like that style in psychology books-- it seems phony. In this case it's also narcissistic--one is about the author herself. Few insights. There are plenty of better books on the subject out there. This one is NOT worth it.

NB: the Goodreads' description bears virtually no resemblance to this book.
James Klagge
I read this a while ago, but often think back to it. Anyone with a narcissist in his or her life--family member, relative, friend, work colleague--needs to read this book. It keeps you from going crazy. You may try in a million ways for years on end, but you will NOT be able to change a narcissist. You need to learn how to deal with a narcissist to protect yourself. This will help.
This book for adult children of narcissistic parents who are trying to live life to the fullest. The examples are from the author's own experiences and from her friends and acquaintances. The experiences and insight the author provided were interesting and at times eye opening, but the author's writing felt all over the place and disjointed.
This book was extremely interesting and eye opening! She provided real examples of children of narcissists and the issues that arise from being trapped in a revolving destruction pattern of self-denial and unworthiness. A definite read for anyone who's parents were the least bit narcissist!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 37 38 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Great Read 2 3 Jun 03, 2015 12:41AM  
  • Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents
  • The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family
  • The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
  • The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness
  • Narcissism: Denial of the True Self
  • When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life
  • Political Ponerology
  • Why Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism
  • Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry
  • The Emotional Incest Syndrome: What to do When a Parent's Love Rules Your Life
  • Secret Survivors
  • In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People
  • Toxic In-Laws: Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage
  • For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence
  • Bradshaw on the Family: A New Way of Creating Solid Self-Esteem
  • The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive
  • Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship

Share This Book