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The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment (Psychology) Paperback – 25 Jun 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey Bass; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (25 Jun 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787908703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787908706
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"The authors have skilfully presented an often difficult topic in an easy–to–read work which will be of value to helpers at any stage of their professional development." (Anglican Theological Review) ?So readable and chock full of understandable case examples that it demands to be shared with patients. It focuses on the conduct of parents and their children trying to make sense out of their chaotic lifestyles in search of love, self–esteem, acceptance, and inner peace. Its valuable insights can be potent reinforcers of the therapeutic experience.? (Jack G. Wiggins, Ph.D., past president, American Psychological Association) ?Such a find. The concept is an artful and practical synthesis that bears effective witness to the authors′ depth of knowledge of contemporary psychotherapeutic literature.? (Joseph R. McCool, Ph.D., past president, Academy of Family Psychology) ?I believe that this book should be required reading for every family physician. It is a real eye opener for those physicians who routinely prescribe psychotropic medications without psychiatric input and without insisting on the patient′s participation in therapy.? (Laurence Bouchard, D.O., past president, American Association of Doctors of Osteopathy)

From the Inside Flap

New Hope for Treating Adults Who Have Grown Up in Emotionally Abusive FamiliesIn this compelling book, the authors present an innovative therapeutic model for understanding and treating adults from emotionally abusive or neglectful families? families the authors call narcissistic. Narcissistic families have a parental system that is, for whatever reason (job stress, alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, physical disability, lack of parenting skills, self–centered immaturity), primarily involved in getting its own needs met. The children in such narcissistic family systems try to earn love, attention and approval by satisfying their parents′ needs, thus never developing the ability to recognize their own needs or create strategies for getting them met. By outlining the theoretical framework of their model and using dozens of illustrative clinical examples, the authors clearly illuminate specific practice guidelines for treating these individuals.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The mythological character of Narcissus has come to epitomize the concept of destructive self-love. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Aeneas on 17 July 2007
Format: Paperback
This book was such a revelation. The authors explain in a clear way how adults who have grown up in a narcissistic family lack some essential skills that when absent cause a lot of trouble in their adult life. This manifest as behavioral traits that include:

"a chronic need to please, an inability to identify feelings, wants, and needs; and a need for constant validation."
and
"In the narcissistic family, children are recruited in the process of satisfying the parents' needs."

The good news is that it is possible to change these behavior traits and the book outlines the way forward with the different steps explained with many good examples.

It feels like a relief that someone could actually explain why one is behaving as one is, especially when one considers oneself to come from a 'normal' family without specific abuse problems.

A highly recommended book if you think you come from a narcissistic family or just want to understand human nature better.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alex Gadd on 18 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback
Having read this book from a friend who passed it on to me, this book describes my grandmother to a tee. Whilst she was alive, she used to regularly make my brother and I compete for her attention and love, as well as doing the same too my mother and her sister! In any family get-together, she had to be the centre of attention and was quite verbally aggressive if she felt the spot light was drifting away from her onto someone else.

The one part of this book which I found rather interesting was in regards to the setting up of boundaries, something I wish I knew about back when she was alive. Yet having come across a few other narcissists since then, the tools in this book have become of valuable use, including the section on judging yourself by what you have done, not what the narcissists say you are.

A well-worth read and strongly recommend it to anyone who has a narcissist in their family (or friends).

GOOD MOTHER, BAD DAUGHTER?
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By aimforthestars on 3 July 2007
Format: Paperback
By examining case studies, the authors of The Narcissistic Family demonstrate that some families, that might be considered normal functioning from the outside, are in fact, operating narcissistically, and can have a disabling emotional impact on a child - showing that it isn't only overt emotional or physical abuse that causes long term dissociation and harmful behaviour.

The reader gets a close up and revealing look at the formation of narcissistic behaviour and tendencies, and the negative thought loops associated with them that can lead to depression.

Highly recommended.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Cyber Vigilantes on 28 Oct 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a very accessible text that offers great insight in to ALL family relationships. It explains clearly that our society is generating narcissism as the norm and how each individual in a family strives to meet their own needs. By using the techniques outlined in the book it is possible to reduce conflict and resolve issues that each of us maybe unaware we have. Of particular use are real-life case studies and dialogue that show clearly issues that we all have encountered at some stage or other. The method of compartmentalizing is particularly useful in dissolving conflict. Thoroughly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Marie E. on 25 Aug 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is superb - I was almost put off purchasing it by the reviewer who said that it was oversimplistic but mighty glad that I did because it's been a revelation. The poor rating is not for the book but for the publisher - most of my notes on this invaluable text were lost due to a low clipping limit. This completely invalidates the Kindle format for me. If you find this book as life-changing as I did, you will want to buy the print version instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. Morris on 3 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps best to avoid if you are preparing for a get together with the folks, as some of the situations you recognise will see you simmering with rage.

The essence seems to be that some parents just do not cater for their children's emotional needs and not only that, they offload all their own problems and worries onto them, using their kids as a support system while having little time for offering a shoulder to cry on. Guess this is more likely to happen if the parents don't have any friends in which to confide, which is often the case with narcissists.

The book also explores the traits you may pick up being the kid of narc parents - you may be waiting on events, hesitant to make your mark in the world, a bit too eager to please.

The only problem with a book like this is the worry that it is creating a viewpoint onto which you then categorise your situation - a bit like reading a book on starsigns and then thinking, aha - my spouse/parent etc is a Cancer/Sag/Aries etc so it is all like that. You may be tempted to focus on the bad rather than any good times and let's face it, most kids will feel emotionally unrequited by their parents at some point; you could put it down to adolescent pop music being far needier and emotional than that of the parents' generation, for instance...
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 11 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The main premise of this book is that in narcissistic families the needs of the whole family system come before the needs of the individual.Feelings don't count. The family exists to take care of the needs of the parents- who are immature and self-absorbed in their parenting because they have never been taught to love/relate to people properly. Since reading this I have delved further into the subject of narcissism and actually found that most parents in narcissistic families are narcissists themselves- including my own parents. The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists by Eleanor Payson is a good book for this.

After reading this book and other books on narcissism I don't think I need to read any more books about dysfunctional families. I began by reading Harriet Learner's the Dance of Intimacy; Victoria Secunda's When you and your Mother Can't Be Friends; Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse; Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families and a whole host of others. But this is the ultimate because any type of family dysfunctional can be traced back to the notion of a narcissistic family system and narcissistic parents. Because any other family issue can be dealt with by empathy and flexibility however difficult the conditions are, which narcissists lack. This book has been extremely validating. Even just seemingly minor examples in the book completely correspond to my experience. Before I read this book, I had the idea to frame a picture of myself as a child- as a tribute to overcoming my dysfunctional past. I waited a long time to find a really nice expensive frame. Lo and behold- in one of the chapters they advise that you should frame a picture of yourself as a child (and I think- even went as far to say- choose a really nice frame!
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