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

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,582 ratings  ·  176 reviews
Do you know someone who is overly arrogant, shows an extreme lack of empathy, or exhibits an inflated sense of entitlement? Do they exploit others, or engage in magical thinking? These are all traits of narcissistic personality disorder, and when it comes to dealing with narcissists, it can be difficult to get your point across. So how do you handle the narcissistic people ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2013 by New Harbinger Publications (first published March 1st 2008)
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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
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
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You can't "disarm" a narcissist, so don't bother. I was disappointed in this book, I really was looking for ways to better relate to a narcissist, but instead it tells me to put myself in the (in one way or another) abused child of the narcissist, to empathize with them, truly put myself in their shoes. If they were in fact abused and I know what their particular abuse was then yes it would probably make me understand them better, but how to deal with them better, I don't think so. I happen to k ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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.
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 15, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
This deserves a half star or less.

I feel duped and wonder if Wendy Behary has actual, lifelong and personal experience with a malignant narcissist, or if she's just "book smart" and decided to write about dealing with NPDisordered individuals. She encourages the VICTIM of the narcissist to exorcise unrelenting compassion and to approach the narc with humanity.

If you've ever been in an intimate relationship with a narc, you know they are reprehensible, remorseless pieces of crap and do not deser
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mental-health
I found the descriptive information on schemas very useful, but the rest of this book largely frustrating. I agree with the author's advice that I need to stay in the moment and not get lost in the past. What happens when the narcissist in your life is the same family member who created this schemas in the first place? I suppose the same rules still apply, they're just all the more frustrating.

I really did not like the examples used throughout the book. They completely missed some major traits o
Jan 19, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 30, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
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 ha ...more
John Kulm
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly helpful. I flew through the beginning of this book and wished I could just implant all the knowledge. It will forever be on my reference self. I really connected with the schema identifiers, and found it very helpful.
Laura Finger
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lending
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
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because I was interested in what creates a narcissist. There was a lot of references to developmental psychology (such as Dan Seigel's whole brain child) and the impact of schemas that are established in childhood which I found fascinating. There is something in this for everyone, not just people with narcissists in their lives. Loads of tools for general conflict resolution and coping with the narcissistic tendencies of others as well as ourselves.
Shannon Rosser
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. : )
I think this would be a terrific book to read in front of your roommate or ex!
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
A good book but I found the content hard to relate to.
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
For reasons which remain an ongoing investigation between myself and my psychologist, I am continually compelled by narcissists: I’m drawn to them in my social life, and even worse, unwillingly thrust upon them in my professional life where I can’t escape unless I quit my job. Disarming the Narcissist is a good 101 into identifying a narcissist, figuring out it what makes them tick and why they trigger you specifically. Schema therapy doesn’t really resonate with me but this does provide a usefu ...more
Smitha Murthy
This was an interesting read written by a practising therapist with special knowledge on dealing with narcissists. I found the beginning of the book offered a number of insights on the different kind of narcissists we meet in our life, including sometimes, in our own selves. The chapter on the different schemas that we inherit from childhood was particularly insightful, especially to someone like me who is forever intrigued by the paths our mind takes to reach its often chaotic and disjointed jo ...more
This was my first serious read about narcissism. Very few chapters provides insightful information about a narcissist and there are handful of techniques on how to cope. If the purpose is know what to do when you discover you are in relationship with a narcissist, the solution is to get away as soon as possible because ultimately they will not change but if you are willing to make it work because the narcissist is your significance other and you are willing to work REAL hard then this book will ...more
May 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
This might be great, but I'm done reading about others' issues. I'm just gonna get away from these people.
Melissa Dally
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Mostly good if the narcissist in your life is your significant other, I was disappointed by the lack of ways to deal if the person isn't your SO.
Mark Connely
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it. I found the author knowledgeable and her insights and approach were unique and effective. It wasn't simply the same rehash of information on the subject which one seems to hear from so many sources. This is clearly the sort of information one gains in the trenches, in first hand, long term relationship with the narcissist. Surprisingly, I found the book lived up to its title. I got a couple of very powerful and very fundamental (interesting how those two so often apply together) st ...more
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13 likes · 13 comments
“Being mindful means being aware of everything and certain of nothing”.” 4 likes
“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.” 1 likes
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