"Shahida Arabi weaves life wisdom and insight with empowering scientific research, not leaving any room for misunderstanding or doubt about the harmful nature of this form of abuse." —THE SHAKTI JOURNAL
Pathological mind games. Covert and overt put-downs. Triangulation. Gaslighting. Projection. These are the manipulative tactics survivors of malignant narcissists are unfortunately all too familiar with. As victims of silent crimes where the perpetrators are rarely held accountable, survivors of narcissistic abuse have lived in a war zone of epic proportions, enduring an abuse cycle of love-bombing and devaluation—psychological violence on steroids.
From how to heal our addiction to the narcissist to how to recognize a covert narcissist, Shahida Arabi's articles on narcissistic abuse have gained renown as some of the most accurate and in-depth depictions of this terrifying trauma, resonating with millions of survivors all over the world and receiving endorsements from numerous mental health professionals.
In this essay compilation, readers can enjoy some of her most popular articles as well as new thought pieces on narcissistic abuse: what therapists have to say about malignant narcissists and how children of narcissistic parents can become trapped in the trauma repetition cycle. Survivors are offered new insights on what it means to be both a survivor and a thriver of covert manipulation and trauma.
POWER teaches us that it is important to not only understand the tactics of toxic personalities but also to recognize and combat the effects of narcissistic abuse; it guides the survivor to learning, growing, healing and most importantly of all—owning their agency to rebuild their lives and transform their powerlessness into victory.
I cannot express how helpful this book has been to me. I checked it out from the library, thinking that it would help me overcome trauma from an old relationship. Little did I know that I would come to realize, in the process of reading the book, that my current partner was also abusive. The book helped me decide to go No Contact with him 2 days ago. It has helped me to release over a decade of deep shame from my old relationship, and to not go there this time around. It explains the way brain chemistry tricks us into becoming addicted to abusive partners and how when we are triggered into a traumatic response, even a decade later, the brain shuts down higher processing. I am trying to no longer feel that it is my fault for not understanding what was happening to me. I am trying to let go of all the shame I have for not seeing my abusive partners for who they really were, and for not leaving sooner.
Arabi's essays are very readable and cover a wide range of topics from how to recognize a narcissist to how brain chemistry works in an abusive relationship to how to heal.
If you have been or think you might be in an abusive relationship, READ THIS BOOK! If you know someone who is/has been though this and you want a better understanding of what they went through, read this book.
Nonsensical conversations from hell. If you think you’re going to have a thoughtful discussion with someone who is toxic, be prepared for epic mindfuckery rather than conversational mindfulness. Malignant narcissists and sociopaths use word salad, circular conversations, ad hominem arguments, projection and gaslighting to disorient you and get you off track should you ever disagree with them or challenge them in any way. They do this in order to discredit, confuse and frustrate you, distract you from the main problem and make you feel guilty for being a human being with actual thoughts and feelings that might differ from their own. In their eyes, you are the problem if you happen to exist. Spend even ten minutes arguing with a toxic narcissist and you’ll find yourself wondering how the argument even began at all. You simply disagreed with them about their absurd claim that the sky is red and now your entire childhood, family, friends, career and lifestyle choices have come under attack. That is because your disagreement picked at their false belief that they are omnipotent and omniscient, resulting in a narcissistic injury. Remember: toxic people don’t argue with you, they essentially argue with themselves and you become privy to their long, draining monologues. They thrive off the drama and they live for it. Each and every time you attempt to provide a point that counters their ridiculous assertions, you feed them supply. Don’t feed the narcissists supply—rather, supply yourself with the confirmation that their abusive behavior is the problem, not you. Cut the interaction short as soon as you anticipate it escalating and use your energy on some decadent self-care instead.
This book may have saved my life. When I was reeling from the fallout of an abusive relationship and finding myself absolutely gobsmacked that my circle of friends was falling prey to the charms of my toxic ex-girlfriend and cutting me out of their lives, I felt like my life was ending. Thank goodness I found Arabi's blog. I was finally able to understand what had happened to me during the relationship and why people who had been my friends for years suddenly started dropping me like a bad habit. This book collects many of her essays and became my lifeline as I rebuilt my life. Armed with the knowledge she provided I was able to reframe my experiences and start to heal from months of abuse, both during and after my relationship. More importantly for me as a man, she speaks in a gender-neutral tone that validated my experience at the hands of a narcissistic woman. The majority of malignant narcissists are men, so being a male victim was an additional way in which I felt isolated and marginalized, even within the community of narcissistic abuse survivors. Thankfully, Arabi is aware of this and tailors her messages in an inclusive way. I've highlighted pages and pages of passages that will serve as my cliff notes as I continue on my path of recovery. Highly recommended.
Shahida Arabi’s book Power is an absolutely outstanding, insightful and, indeed, powerful examination of power: how narcisstic abusers use it to harm and even destroy their targets and how victims can access their inner power not only to heal, but to thrive and become more of who they are meant to be. In this way, Shahida provides a detailed roadmap for survivors of narcissistic abuse to access their authentic power at each stage of their recovery and to dismantle the “atomic bomb” of the false and corrosive power that narcissists have wielded against them. Each essay in her book builds on the next and yet is a gem of analysis and ideas for moving forward and working through the many layers of trauma that abusers leave in their wake: everything from understanding the reasons why narcissists tear their targets down to how early childhood abuse can set the stage for narcissistic abuse decades later. Shahida’s encyclopedic grasp of the myriad aspects of both narcissism and recovery from narcissistic abuse make this book, along with her other books, articles, and videos, essential components of your recovery. She never oversimplifies either abusers or targets, but rather plumbs the depth of the incredibly complexity each and the dynamics between them. Her style is both highly informed and deeply empathic. And, the example she sets with her devotion to educate and assist survivors all over the world is inspiring and a true beacon of possibility and hope. Whether you are just beginning your healing process or well on your way, I cannot recommend Power highly enough, it will likely play an important role in assisting you in the critical process of diving back into the ocean of your own power, and learning how to “swim” as easefully as possible into your own strengths and goodness as you set the boundaries, goals and next steps that you need to create a life that is more vibrant, creative, supported, and powerful than you can imagine!
Great book for anyone wanting to understand the inner workings of the narcissist as well as a profoundly supportive perspective for survivors of this abuse. As a victim of this kind of abuse I really appreciated how she helped me take my power back, ignore and even transcend victim shaming, while regaining my power step by step. I’m very grateful for this book. It will remain in my library as a resource for years.
As others have pointed out, it gets repetitive towards the latter half. The whole thing could have used better editing, and the layout feels unprofessional. That said, there is some good material included. People should view this "book" as raw material, like a melon. You don't eat the rind. You don't eat the seeds. But there is some fruit in there to be utilized.
An excellent must-read about power in relationships (parent-child, romantic and friendships) that feature narcissistic abuse. An eye-opening and refreshing read that helps identify signs of abuse early; and equips, inspires and advocates for victims/survivors, as well as those who want to care for and support them.
The book is factual, scientific, psychological, nurturing, uplifting. It will be a wake up call for many women (and men) who read it and identify the emotional abuse they are experiencing or have experienced - and it will hopefully pave a way out. (It seems too many people suffer endlessly trying to 'fix' what they think is 'incompatibility' but is actually abuse that has no fix except leaving and going No Contact.) There are also many resources for healing and mental health provided.
Even if you haven't experienced narcissistic abuse (though as you read, you'll probably recognise traits you've seen in others), this book provides tools for life as power forms the heart of inequity and mistreatment. The book is good for supporting others or simply to equip yourself.
The majority of this book is framed from the narcissistic partner being the abuser, but there is validation throughout the book (even whole chapters) dedicated to being raised by a narcissistic abuser (such is the case for me). The information in this book is incredible and has already been a cornerstone of my healing journey since going No Contact in March 2020. Highly recommend this validating read to anyone who is a survivor of this abuse. The language and psychology is very approachable to boot!
I found that the essays got to be rather repetitive, which is why I ultimately didn't finish this book. The essays are well written and I appreciated some of the language the author uses to describe emotional abuse. After most of the way through I felt like the author didn't have anything new to add.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This is a hard read, but I appreciate the education, and hope offered that a person who suffers this type of trauma can regain power over their own lives and go on to live a rich, rewarding and peaceful life, even though they may never fully recover. It's good to be aware. It helps one be more sensitive when you're talking with or listening to someone who has suffered this type of abuse.
Really helpful and offers a lot of insights and additional resources if you want to explore more. Great chapter about being raised by a parent with narcissistic personality traits and how it affects children, about toxic shame and trauma repetition. Also covers difficult relationship from biochemical point of view.
Fast read if the material is familiar... worth the read just to read the concept language. Best chapter was on pathological envy. Read this if you have any doubt in your mind about whether the behavior of a narcissist is intentional or not.
Great read for when you are emotionally prepared to start recovering from traumatic relationships. My interests were geared toward family issues not love interests but I still found the book to be quite helpful.
This whole book is written with a lot of compassion; Arabi has been through abuse herself and makes it very clear that abuse is not the victim's fault, that it has lasting effects, and that we are all resilient and powerful enough to come out stronger on the other end (with a lot of work).
The most useful chapter was on the neuroscience of being in a toxic relationship, but I think it might have been even more helpful to have that essay at the beginning of the book rather than at the end. I know very little about neuroscience, but Arabi broke it down at a very accessible level to help me understand our choices and feelings at a chemical/hormonal level.
I was annoyed by the inconsistent gender pronouns in this book -- sometimes Arabi would use 'he' for the abuser and 'she' for the victim but then other times would say 'he (or she).' I definitely would have appreciated if she had just used 'they' for both the abuser and the survivor. I also got the sense that, while each individual essay was edited well, it wasn't edited as a whole book, meaning that essays got repetitive toward the end.
Overall, this book was incredibly informative. If you have been in a close relationship with someone emotionally abusive, this book could be a helpful part of your healing process. If your close friend has been through emotional abuse, then this book could help you be a more empathetic friend to them.
Although I knew a lot of the theory behind the subject of narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder from a lay person’s point of view, the book is not overladen with it. In fact the author stays away from the theory and offers a more humanistic perspective. This book is a very good starter and all rounder for someone starting out on their journey of discovery. Even so, I found it very useful to die a knowledge revision or tune up. She sources from a variety of experts in the field and gives references to a number of her own articles and even an NPD victim/survivor music playlist, as well as other good reputable websites and sources. One thing I would urge however is to exercise care with the NARP programme by M Toni’s Evans as I have seen some quite negative reviews about how some were treated on discussion boards. That said, the author found it very beneficial to her and so others will have too. What I like about her references is that the author is keen to stress what may work for one may not be the right source for another. She is balanced but she is firmly in the court of victims of narcissists. I say victim as I share the same opinion as the author on the terms that are overly focussed on and the fact that victims are often shamed and seem as weak. It is entirely the opposite. You have to be a warrior to survive 26 years of that form of abuse We are far from weak and in fact isn’t that the entire reasons INFJs and introverts particularly seem to attract narcissist? You attract them because you have something they can only dream of having in their false personalities. We feel and care. To those who want to speak on behalf of narcissists as human beings, yes they are and no I do not subscribe to vengeance. In fact although I am no contact now for several years, I can forgive as that is a process taken at my one pace, that I owned, in the form of forgiveness that I have defined for me. I think if it as clearing out the poison they left in your heart to leave room for loving, wonderful empathic friends, lovers or even a conversation with a stranger. If you want to develop this further, think of it as letting it go when you have gone through the therapy and had a real understanding of just exactly what they did to you. You need to be fairly healed and in fact it can be part of or towards the end of your journey. I found further reading of the late but great Archbishop Desmond Tutu although he retired some years ago before he recently passed. There is a Guardian article he wrote which is a nice précis of his book on the subject of forgiveness. Remember you own it: your form of forgiveness, in your own time, at your own pace and the narcissus don’t even play a part in it as you will never get an apology. It’s like a state of Grace you can get to: a stare where you think of a person and feel nothing. You want no part in revenge or justice if that is impossible anyway. They’re just a plot point. Somebody you used to know. The irony is you never come close to knowing the narcissist not the true hidden face.
There’s so much victim blaming in every society. Most of the people claiming to heal the victims actually re-traumatize them. There are only few people who are actually doing the work of healing and uplifting the victims. One of them is shahida arabi. Power surviving and thriving after narcissistic abuse is one of her excellent works. The author speaks to the victim with profound compassion and deep understanding of their pain. She is careful not to victim blame. For a person to heal from narcissistic abuse it’s vital that they stop blaming themselves. The abuse was NOT your fault. You have to accept this. We are human and sometimes things happen to us which are beyond our control. We can get helpless and very vulnerable.This is part of being human. The author teaches you that there’s nothing wrong with being a victim or survivor. I agree with her This book will educate you about: • Myths about Narcissistic abusers • Dating emotional predators and learning about the red flags • How to engage in self care • How narcissists financially abuse you and what to do about it • Why you become addicted to toxic relationships • More importantly it will teach you about codependency. Society blames you for being a codependent and bringing abuse upon yourself but the reality is very different.
This book is exhaustive and will help you build your narc radar, which is extremely important for you to build so that you can protect yourself from future abuse. You have to read this book.
This is an invaluable book for someone who went through a bad break up/abusive relationship or just feels about him/herself. I am going to leave it on my Kindle bookshelf to re-read every time I feel down. Packed with practical advice and real life solutions this book will make you feel so much better and perhaps will give a way more positive outlook on something that was negative before. A must read. Shahida is an excellent (self help book) writer.
I’m sad this is the last book of Arabi’s that I had left to read because I have read all of the others she has published. I am never disappointed. This one definitely my favorite if I had to choose. I now follow her YouTube and IG lol because I can’t get enough. Her work has saved me and helped me make sense of what I went through and suffering from. I hope she has more books coming out because I think she has more to say
BRILLIANT! As someone who was raised and abused by a narcissist, I saw my mother on every page. It explained what my mother did and why. It explained why I reacted the way I did. It taught me what to look for in people. I think everyone should read this book for the education, especially before they get married.
This is the book to read after leaving your narcissist
This book addresses the characteristics of narcissists as well as their victims. And, offers oodles of resources for reclaiming your life, many of them free. I am 15 years out and dealing with family relationships and this book had so much to offer.
I found myself starting to highlight a few lines or a paragraph here and there, that really resonated with me, to revisit later. Suddenly, I realized I was highlighting entire pages. Beautifully written, clear, concise and comprehensive, even for those that have not experienced this type of abuse. Thank you!
A book everyone should read, but an absolutely necessary read if you’re an abuse survivor. I’m immensely grateful to Arabi for writing such powerful, vulnerable, informative, and healing essays. This book isn’t treatment, but it lays everything out on the table and gives you the tools to begin/continue the healing process.
Shahida has online essays that were originally recommended to me after I went through a horrible break up which resulted in me having to try for a restraining order. The restraining order didn't work. he abuser laughed. He seemed polite and undisturbed during court. I had six police reports and descriptions of incidents. I also had a letter he left me on my porch copies of emails, messages and texts he left me all with abusive language and wishes for my death. Grandiose phrases naming himself in the place of God in a letter was read out loud. After breaking up with me he seemed to become obsessed with getting me back, spreading rumors about me to my friends, etc, in a n effort to isolate me. Only one person came forward and trusted that I was not the one somehow at fault for the abuse. I found this book after the friend told me about her essays. While I knew what the abuser was doing was wrong, his effectiveness in almost completely isolating me and even his ability to manipulate officials were surprising to me. I grew up in the area. He was from out of town but he was charming and convincing. I had to do a lot of praying, talking and reaching out to people, some of whom decided to turn their back on me forever but at least a couple of them have said they wished they had been there for me. I needed this book full of ideas for how to cope. The author explains that abuse is never the victims fault. Shahida also writes empowering words of encouragement throughout. She describes the tactics of narcissists and how to recognize and cope with the deceptions. I had to get through the abuse and seeking safety almost completely alone, but since I've been through the abuse I have received the much needed support through her words. I finally got distance when I talked to my landlord about legally keeping him off their property for disturbing the tenets. i would be able to call the cops who could legally remove him for trespassing at that point. I have continued to document every time he has attempted to contact me even though only a couple of the officers I have spoken to took me seriously. Going through an abusive relationship can cause many to feel really harmed and alone through it. I eventually reached out to womens support groups and one is called 'ARMS.' I have been able to move on by doing something everyday that I love to do reclaiming myself and who I am as I look forward in hope of better things to come in the future.