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Disarming The Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed Paperback – 17 Apr 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger (17 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572245190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572245198
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.1 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 335,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"For the practicing clinician there is perhaps no other group of clients more difficult to work with or that generates more fear and feelings of inadequacy than narcissists. In Disarming the Narcissist, Behary has provided both the theoretical knowledge and practical advice necessary for clinicians to understand, empathize and, thus, help this challenging group of clients and their partners. Her "disarmingly" straightforward, accessible style and impressive clinical experience make this a very valuable book indeed."--William M. Zangwill, Ph.D., director of EMDR Associates

Book Description

The second edition of a title that has sold 75,000 copies. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

239 of 240 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bates on 1 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because my ex is a paid up narcissist and, as a psychologist myself with a grounding in CBT and a familiarity with both schema therapy and Jeffery Young's book (something frequently referred to by the author), I thought this book came with good credentials. I have to be honest at this point that I haven't read it cover to cover to yet, because it has yet to engage me, but I have speed read my way through.

However, my gut reaction was such that I wanted to write a review. Personally this book seems based on a dangerous premise - that it's good to see the world from the narcissist's point of view and that you can help them to change. In my opinion narcissists are excellent at seeing the world from their own point of view anyway and I think that sympathy and empathy for them is potentially quite harmful for the sympathiser. It keeps you where they want you - involved with them. Furthermore, narcissists are notoriously reluctant to engage in the process of change - why should they when they're so great anyway?

Whilst I can see the utility of giving people strategies for dealing with the unavoidable narcissists in their lives (close relatives, co-parents, colleagues etc), I think there's a lot to be said for the mantra of a lot of survivors' groups out there of simply getting as far away from any avoidable narcissists as you can (and that would include partners and supposed friends). Ms. Behary seems to give a lot of examples of interactions with the latter group in which the non-narcissist is supposed to be empathic for the narcissist's plight and help them on the road to change.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Kat on 27 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a 37 year old daughter of a narcissistic father. I have tried and tested every suggested 'empathetic confrontation' and communication strategy recommended in this book, and many more besides, and they have had a long term success rate of about zero. When you grow up with this, you get very creative at dealing with these people. I had learned most of these methods by my late teens, and learned that none of them worked. And still I continued - what a sad useless waste of my time that was!

What Wendy fails to understand here is the extreme levels of deviousness intricately in-bedded in extreme narcissism. The only thing you are doing using these tools, is poring more good energy after bad, wasting many more years out of your life, and above all giving the narcissist an insight into what he/she has to do to (what they will see as), playing a different game of getting you to do exactly what they want you to do = forgive them for everything and anything.
They will sit there and pretend to listen, with their ears firmly closed and their eyes firmly shut. All the while martyring to themselves on been brave enough to suffer this hell, whilst trying to hurry you through to the part where you, once again, forgive him/her for their appalling behaviour. That is the ONLY thing they are interested in. Being left in peace to be their awful selves, and get away with it. Preferably without everyone disappearing on them.

I was also interested to note that there were no long term case studies providing evidence that these theorized methods of confrontation and communication have had any success rate. Why? Because they don't exist. If they work, they work for 5 minutes - that's it. An extreme narcissist has a very similar personality description as a socio-path.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ange on 5 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I felt the book gave lots of tips on healthy communication, but I found it clashed with my belief that anyone with healthy self esteem would end a relationship with a toxic person, not work on ways to make the abusive behaviours more tolerable. Good for anyone with their heart set on staying with a narcissist, but not for anyone wanting to work on their self worth to avoid such people.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Micio on 22 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very simple version for a very complex subject.
Too much indulging and forgiving for a very dangerous issue , that can cause big damages,for those who deal with this type of personalities.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mansel on 5 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the second book on narcissism that I have read recently, the other being Hotchkiss'.

I agree with the previous reviewer on the book's premise, and its danger: I too often feel asked to adopt the narcissist's perspective. This is different, though, from understanding the narcissist, the focus of Behary's book. While adopting the perspective demanded in an argument may be a prelude to giving up on one's own, understanding the narcissist, and oneself, may be the first step in understanding how to act wisely.

Nevertheless, the book is silent on the fundamental question: what is the evidence on the likelihood of change for a narcissist? Trying to understanding how to wisely engage with a narcissist may be of limited value if this chance is small enough.

Overall, I found Behary's book more substantial than Hotchkiss'. I would have liked to know more, if possible, on the neurochemistry of the narcissists themselves, not just those who deal with narcissists: is there any evidence that narcissism is susceptible to chemical treatments, for example? I would have also appreciated a more level treatment of the other clinicians mentioned in the book, whose mention often felt like book endorsements for them: rather than just listing pages of schema, mention of their empirical validity would have also been appreciated.
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