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

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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As the product of a narcissistic family myself, this is one of the most useful and compassionate approaches to the topic I have ever come across, and I keep coming back to it to dip in. I always find something new and helpful. The authors use brief case histories and vignettes from their practice to illustrate the long-term effects of growing up in a family where the child's interests and welfare took second place to something else, whether parental drug-abuse, alcoholism, or simply mom and dad being so wrapped up in each other that they had no attention for anything else, and explain how this gives rise to a plethora of psychological and behavioural problems for that child in later life. They offer a wealth of approaches and exercises to help take your life back. You may not be able to fix a damaged childhood, but you can try to build an adulthood you can live with and this book offers a lot of help and encouragement on doing so.
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