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4.5 out of 5 stars63
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Written in clear and simple language, "The Empathy Trap" encapsulates and renders accessible what are usually very complicated psychological terms and relational paradigms. Dr. Jayne McGregor and Tim McGregor, together, have put their clinical practice to work for those in the wider community, by offering this brief, but valuable guide to understanding, identifying, and healing from "sociopathic" or otherwise anti-social personalities.

Whether such types are found in your work place, social circle or family, there are ways of detecting what their specific pathological and unusual behaviours are, how they tend to operate outwardly and inwardly, and how their behaviours and beliefs complicate and pollute communications and triangulate relationships between immediate and extended family members as well as between their "targets" and social contacts.

This guide includes moving testimony by survivors of sociopathic abuse, as well as sober recommendations on how to establish healthy boundaries with abusers, and approaches to recovery from long-entrenched connection to them. It also offers a very helpful EQ (Emotional Quotient) test as well as a list of British and international organisations and mental health resources for those who need further assistance.

Overall, this is a must read for anyone in an abusive relationship, those interested in psychology and/or needing practical advice on removing the sociopath from his or her life and protecting children from harm and generational pain.

I have found that this work differs from other books on the subject of narcissism and personality disorders, in addressing, specifically, the role of the "apath", or apathetic members of a family or society, who enable and protect the sociopath and his/her abuse of the victim(s) (i.e. the "truth-tellers") either unknowingly, by relying on heresay, or by turning a blind eye to controlling, deceptive or manipulative behaviours. This is one insidious pattern, in the paradigm of emotional and mental abuse, that many books on personality disorders fail to address clearly or as thoroughly, and which most people need to understand, on a grand scale.

I highly recommend this work both for its practical benefit and its sensitive and pellucid style.
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on 10 February 2015
Have just finished this and of all the books I've been reading following a relationship with a psycho/sociopath this gave me the eureka moment. Whilst beginning to understand the traits, I was finding it difficult to get to grips with the interactions. There's a chapter in here I think 4 where the dynamic of sociopath/apath/empath is explained. All of a sudden it fell into place after 6 months. I'd have given the five stars but the case studies of fictionally named victims can be a bit of a yawn. Nonetheless a very good and enlightening read for me. Many thanks
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on 22 April 2014
Ok, muddled in parts. The chapters on surviving living,working with sociopaths most interesting.The case studies especially of belligerent parents, both mothers and fathers are ones we all know or suspect but never express. So that was refreshing.
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on 23 August 2013
I found this book a very interesting read. However, I thought it rather simplistic and everything was dealt with in a cursory manner. I would have preferred to see things dealt with in more depth. But as it went, it was a good read.
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on 28 December 2013
An insightful guide to a destructive syndrome. I have long thought that empathy and the lack of it are key to understanding social breakdown. This book summarises the research clearly and provides a fascinating profile of sociopaths and their modus operandi.
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on 9 January 2016
Disappointing book that is a mixture of pop psychology and research. The most disappointing part is the muddle around the meaning of empathy. It seems to be saying that empathy is a rather mindless trait, rather than exploring empathy as a spectrum that can be both positive and negative. I was completely confused by the assertion that the boy who says out loud that the Emperor has no clothes is displaying empathy. Also the book concentrates, though not exclusively, on antisocial behaviour within partnerships or displayed by parents. I was looking for something much more helpful about antisocial behaviours in general life, for example within the community, where they can create a lot of problems for those who live around them.
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on 1 January 2016
This book gives a very clear insight into dealing with people in whatever context you are having the relationship difficulty. The difficulties can be can be circulatory in that it is difficult to ever fix anything or improve the relationship because the problem manifests itself again in another situation and a change of response is difficult to achieve. Clever people manipulate situations so they always come out on top without care or respect for other people is at the heart of the subject matter of this book. This book aims to uncover some of the underlying psychological threads that may be perpetuating these types of relationship difficulties that don't seem ever to get resolved causing misery and unhappiness.

This book helped me understand my relationship difficulties with my sisters. It is clear about the personality types and their particular traits and the part you are playing in the context of the any recurrent difficulty. It explains how collusion works in triangulated situations where there is a third party. The role of the third party as described in the book explains how 'apaths' support the dominating sociopath to get their own way in the power and control game and seemingly have no conscience about the harm and damage done or the role they play in this cruel game

I read this book early in 2015. I have just gone through it again and it has offered further insights that help me understand the complexities of these relationships. It is not a simplistic book but it is a book that is written in a way that the subject matter can be grasped in however it relates to your own situation whether it be with a partner, parent, siblings, friend, work colleagues. It also has a good reference section for further reading.

It is an empowering book that helps define the problem lifting the sense of isolation that accompanies it. The book needs to be gone through carefully. The enabling self help helped me to gain confidence in changing the way I thought and dealt with specific situations that I was faced with. The learning has allowed me to feel more in control and self assured and able to think clearly about all responses involved in conflict relating to relationship.
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on 20 November 2013
i have known too many of these types in my life and always thought i was at fault..then my best friend started a relationship with a man who showed every trait..i warned her. she knew what she was heading into, but like a lot of women, think they can 'change' with their 'love'. what happened? she was crushed by this man, and he even took over her facebook and deleted all her friends including me..
she escaped when he made his ex wife pregnant! and i gave her this book to read, she felt so much better after and re reads it just to reaffirm what she now knows is sociopathic behaviour, or C....S.!
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on 13 July 2013
This book is a must read. You may not think you know or have known someone with sociopathic traits but once you have read this your eyes will be opened to the truth. Not only will this book help identify the truth about an ex, a current partner, a family member etc it helps you to work through you life, during and after meeting a sociopath. The case studies within this book are varied and helps to compare to ones experience. A truly amazing book, well written a should be read by all to either help prepare for an event with a sociopath or to help with the aftermath.
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on 22 November 2013
This book took many different things that I had running around in my head and made them make sense. Clearly I have people with strong Sociopathic tendencies in my life and this book described them to a T. This book also helped me make sense of why they always seem to get away with everything and why they have so many people in their lives that help them, some knowingly, others unintentionally. Additionally, it described my role in the relationship and why my empathy is targeted by such individuals. Very educational, clear, and quick read. Highly recommend!
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