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Freeing Yourself From The Narcissist In Your Life: At Home, at Work, with Friends Hardcover – 21 Mar 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: J P Tarcher/Penguin Putnam (21 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585426245
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585426249
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.4 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Linda Martinez-Lewi holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She is a licensed marriage family therapist. Dr. Martinez-Lewi is the author of "Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life" and an expert on the narcissistic personality disorder. She offers Telephone Consultation to whose who are having psychological and emotional issues with narcissists. Dr. Martinez-Lewi has extensive clinical training and experience in narcissistic disorders. She has worked for many years with clients who are dealing with relationships with narcissists. Dr. Martinez-Lewi writes a daily blog/podcast that provides valuable information about the narcissistic personality and offers support to her readers and listeners. Check out her blog: She has written numerous ezinearticles on all facets of the narcissistic personality. Dr. Martinez-Lewi grew up in Los Angeles, has lived in the Pacific Northwest and now resides in the San Diego area. Visit her website:

Product Description


"The author, psychotherapist and licensed marriage and family therapist has written a guide making it easier to recognize, cope with and ultimately overcome the destructive behavior of high-level narcissists, whether they be lovers, work colleagues, friends or parents. Drawing on detailed profiles of famous narcissists including Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright and Ayn Rand, she points out that trying to change a narcissist is impossible and reveals the steps that must be taken to expel such destructive individuals from our lives."


"5 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM…. FREEING YOURSELF FROM THE NARCISSIST IN YOUR LIFE By Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D. (Tarcher/Penguin) According to the psychotherapist author, narcissists are people with extreme senses of superiority who possess no empathy. Martinez-Lewi believes that high- level narcissists are unlikely to change, so she offers methods for readers to maintain personal boundaries, remain psychologically secure and live the life they choose.

1. As our culture has emphasized financial success and fame, we have begun rewarding high-level narcissism

2. There is such a thing as healthy narcissism. He or she "has a firm realistic sense of self.’

3. "A successful narcissist deludes others into believing he is genuinely interested in them."

4. To withstand an eruption of ego from a narcissist, one must be psychologically grounded. "A grounded individual is secure and calm; he feels solid at his center."

5. The world of a narcissist is often complicated. To combat being part of that world; simplify your own.


This book's title makes a promise it doesn't keep. Martinez-Lewi, a marriage and family therapist, devotes more space to describing what she calls the classic high-level narcissist: charming, manipulative, needing to maintain a facade of perfection and power. But one can't always free oneself from narcissists (at work, for instance) except emotionally, which is the focus of her advice, when she gets to it. For the first 160-odd pages, the reader is treated to a melodramatic, vitriolic and metaphor-heavy (we have been through the forests and thickets of the inner and outer world of the narcissistic personality) outpouring of loathing for these impossible people. The juiciest parts of the book describe historical figures such as Ayn Rand, Pablo Picasso and Frank Lloyd Wright as prisoners of their own narcissistic personalities. As for her plan to free oneself from narcissists, she makes it sound more like a battle plan than self-help, involving guerrilla, spy-counterspy and cat-and-mouse strategies. In the end, it amounts to being true to yourself and practicing meditation to stay grounded. (Jan.)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. Kingston on 4 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book to evaluate and then hopefully to pass on to someone who is struggling with a relative who is somewhat narcissistic. The book (as its write-ups say) is filled with interesting case studies which helpfully reveal and highlight narcissistic tendencies. For some, that will be good enough reason to buy the book.

However, ultimately, I found the book disappointing for five main reasons:

Firstly, it consciously focusses almost entirely on "high-level" or "super" narcissists who manifest the various narcissistic tendencies in their more extreme forms. It also mostly deals with those in positions of considerable wealth, power or influence. But most of us -- my contact included -- are likely to encounter narcissism in a less extreme form and such situations are covered only very briefly, though it could be argued that the same extreme tendencies would simply be manifested in more diluted form.

Secondly, the book was relatively very thin on what its title conveyed: how to handle, even be free from, the power of a narcissist, and my contact needs a good deal of practical help in that department. In all, three sections are designed to help you recognize and understand the narcissist, which is indeed helpful, but when it comes to other practical measures, the one final section basically says: "OK. You know the narcissist. Now know yourself and to yourself be true. Oh, and I also recommend various practices of Eastern religions to keep your own equilibrium."

Thirdly, although the case studies were helpful and very interesting, their contents were frequently repetitive, the same points being made repeatedly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. C. Rees on 1 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Martinez-Lewi has given us two books in one. Her many years as a therapist have honed her incites into the complex attributes of the narcissist. Her language is direct and sometimes florid, given the subject matter. She has given us a complete picture of the high-level narcissist and his/her predatory behaviour. One immediately thinks, "stay away from such people". Upon reflection we know too many people who possess these attributes who are in positions of power and influence. Many would say that they are the driving force behind Western progress, while others suggest that the worship of such individuals is highly destructive to a healthy and compassionate society. We cannot avoid such people and must learn to work with them without being destroyed. Martinez-Lewi offers us a bleak perspective for bringing these people down to earth as too many people continue to be willing to play their game. Perhaps a second book will present a path of direct action which will help re-direct such people and make them more productive. At least this book will give people who follow such leaders a better understanding of what they are in for. The last segment of her book offers a personal agenda to help people rise above their insecurities and become self-enlightened or as Abraham Maslow said years ago, "by becoming self-actualising" they can control their fate and have no need for some high-level narcissist who offers them some form of salvation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By thomas beggs on 9 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I would agree with P Kingston's review.

I have never reviewed a book before but felt somehow I should for the one.

This is because I was having a difficult time with certain personality types at work and thought this book would help me find a way to feel better and more empowered in my work relationships.

The book was helpful to recognise certain narcissistic behaviours and the author also touches on the kinds of weaknesses in individuals that become victims of narcissists. However IMO this information could be more practically -and thouroughly - delivered.

I found the book to be a bit a strange. This is because the author has focused a lot on the so called 'high level' narcissists, and uses examples of prominent 'successful' individuals. Perhaps it is her dramatic writing style but sometimes it comes across as if the author seems rather in awe of their "power". e.g.


"THE POWER LURE: A unique energy, not unlike sexual energy, surounds the mighty. When a powerful man or woman enters the room, the seas part. Everyone quiets to hear his words, to observe his next move. Many are transfixed by his presence alone. Associating with a person who weilds power can be intoxicating, like taking a strong drink or drug, or feeling the persistent pull of a compelling sexual attraction. Powerful people are treated differently. They are royalty, gratuitously rewarded with a largesse of undeserved respect...."

Ok granted: the above quote concedes that they are 'gratuitously rewarded' and its 'undeserved'. However the book has quite a lot of that prose-like writing style which conveys narcisissts as powerful, inflated and grandiose individuals, and I found it slightly irritating.
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By RosieB on 10 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A useful tool to have, prompt service from seller
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 110 reviews
177 of 180 people found the following review helpful
Helpful and Engaging Book 27 Feb. 2008
By Michele Germain - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am a psychotherapist in private practice who specializes in working with clients who are going through or have experienced difficult and painful divorces and relationship break-ups. Many clients I see have unknowingly been married to or involved with an ex-partner who is a narcissist. These individuals not only experience confusion, rage, grief, and abandonment over the divorce or break-up but they often blame themselves for the failed relationship. When an individual marries or has a partner who is a narcissist, he or she simply cannot win. The narcissist suffers from an inability to be empathic and is often self-absorbed, personality traits that are difficult to change. The narcissist will not be able to recognize his/her own personality issues that contribute to a failed relationship.

In her clear and engaging book, Martinez-Lewi offers examples from her private practice that vividly bring the narcissist's destructive personality traits (deception, manipulation, ruthlessness, grandiosity, lack of empathy) to life. The reader will learn to empower herself/himself to view the divorce or break-up in a realistic way without personalizing it. Martinez-Lewi offers excellent strategies and tools for protecting ourselves from and handling the narcissist in a self-empowering way. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is very helpful to those going through divorces and break-ups as well as individuals who are dealing with ex-spouses and ex-partners.
103 of 104 people found the following review helpful
Your "Magic" Man is NOT Who He Appears to Be 22 Mar. 2009
By PsychicMike,com - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Oh, the charm and the humor. The love of your life. The one who you call "Magic." Your soulmate, the one who you've spent "many" past lives with. The one that makes you dream and captivates your imagination. He is so wonderfully kind and polite to all those he meets. Yes, at times, he seems to have anger problems and disappears often without notice. The relationship seems lopsided, but he's busy yet still loves you. You've never met anyone in your life like him but interestingly, you've also never sacrificed more.

Your "unique" ability to understand and forgive him is the reason you stay; waiting for him to change to be an equal lover that never materializes. Captured in a dream, you learn to forgive him more and lose yourself, your goals, all to support him and his dreams. You remind him of your need for him to be honest to you although you remain alone at home, restless dreaming about him as he is often "out with friends."

You know "in your heart" that he is a good man and only needs a stable partner that won't leave him so that he grows to love you more. One day, he stops calling, you don't know where he is. You search frantically to find that he has a new lover and you are left with shock, confusion, sadness, and after the wake of despair, a huge financial loss somewhere.

As the author states, the gift that interaction with a narcissist brings is self understanding. Your own life's relationship patterns with others come bubbling to the surface. The relationship patterns that were established through interaction with your parents are ripe to finally be visible to you most clearly and time to be broken forever. If you've tolerated a narcissist in your life at close distance, it is because you have outmoded relationship patterns with others that need to change.

There is no book that will allow you to move forward faster in putting to rest your confusion over who your present or past lover is. As you turn the pages, you will identify with many of the qualities of your partner which you previously noted as "mildly" selfish, demanding, immature, unstable, full of rage, etc.

Chances are that you are a thoughtful and kind person who supported your narcissist partner in futile hopes of returned love for your sacrifices only one day to find that you have been replaced without a glance backwards. Some readers, are still hoping "your magic man" will return to you. You've probably bought books in order to understand your partner and "help" him grow. Narcissistic Personality Disorder has little probability of positive change however, you do. He told you "he won't grow up," but with this book, you will.

I would also like to highly recommend "Welcome to Your Crisis" by Laura Day, these two books in combination are perfect to read at the beginning stages of your "awakening." After all the pain, sadness, sorrow, feelings of being used, you walk away with a deep deep understanding of how you relate to people and how it's time for a change.

PS I am gay and we've got these self-absorbed loonies, losers, and parasites who are trapped in their own mirror too. Good luck.
112 of 117 people found the following review helpful
Highly engrossing read 31 Jan. 2008
By Judith M. Kriss - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am just an ordinary person who now and then encounters someone who makes me want to run as far and fast as I can. We all know who this person is. If we're lucky we don't encounter them before we learn to walk but later on the playground, in school, in our relationships and jobs. The one we vigilantly look out for on the road, and love to watch self destruct in front of the media. This is the narcissist Lewi so aptly describes in her new book. The one who can hurt because he or she cannot feel pain in others.

Her book is a quick, highly instructive and enjoyable read. On a dark rainy afternoon I curled up with it in my favorite chair and immediately became absorbed. From the first chapter she makes clear most of us have a healthy dose of narcissism to boost our self worth to make us motivated and talented. The narcissist, she emphasizes, has a "severe personality disorder." With her peppery language and bottomless insight, Lewi takes us on a fascinating journey behind the mask of the narcissist. From their "bravado" to their "bottomless rage" to their "painful inner void." She shows us the famous and the not so famous. The cruelty and negligence of the brilliant Picasso, and Charlene with her "breathless litany of self."

How do we hold our own, asks Lewi? In the final chapter she takes an honest, straightforward look at our options and comes up with some surprising answers. I was heartened to know most of us are ill-equipped to deal with this kind of personality but that we can walk away with our dignity and sanity intact.

I highly recommend this very engrossing read.

Judith Kriss
136 of 146 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, but not helpful. 5 July 2010
By Jonny G - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got the book for help, advice, and ideas for surviving and dealing with being married to someone I believe to be a narcissist, or at least possess a high number of such traits. I was looking for ways to determine which description matches my spouse. I was hoping to find strategies for dealing with a narcissistic spouse and how best to dissolve the relationship with minimum damage to myself and my family. I found very little that went toward achieving this goal.

The book, instead, focuses on what the author calls a, "high-level narcissist." This book focuses on the uber-successful, charming billionaire type. It is full of entertaining, well written vignettes which reveal the depravity of the extremely narcissistic. It does little (nothing) to arm a person to better deal with that kind of domestic relationship. Most all of the strategies for coping were focused on board room settings.
The entire last quarter of the book was written as a guide to use meditation, yoga, and Buddhist philosophy to better equip one's self to stand up to the narcissist. I was under the impression that "Freeing" myself would involve safe exit strategies, not meditation. I did not want an eastern thought primer. But, if you do, this one is very good.

If you want short anecdotes to share with friends, entertaining and poetically written glimpses of narcissism, or a basic meditation guide then this is your book. If you are a personal assistant to a celebrity, then may be some useful nuggets for you. If you want coping strategies for being married to a narcissist, search elsewhere. This is particularly true for those married to a middle-class, run of the mill, everyday narcissist.
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
a helpful book 25 Mar. 2008
By Elizabeth Michel - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life is a helpful book for all who find themselves entangled with narcissists. Linda Martinez-Lewi's vivid descriptions of clients and famous people with narcissistic personality disorders will educate the inexperienced and unsuspecting about the damage that narcissists can inflict on others. In my work as a physician, I have seen that this damage can be serious. The book will be especially helpful to the many people whose childhoods leave them vulnerable to finding validation as adults through admission to the "special circles" of narcissists, whether in marriage, work alliances, or spiritual cults. I will be recommending Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life to anyone who has been sucked into a narcissist's web, is being targeted by a narcissist's rage, or feels crazy with his own irresolvable rage after being spit out of a special circle.
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