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Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed Paperback – March 1, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Everyone knows a narcissist, one of those vainglorious individuals in desperate need of constant affirmation and attention. Cognitive therapist Behary's book argues that by modifying your own behavior, you can manage your relationship with such a person. Separating narcissism into categories (spoiled, dependent, deprived and combinations thereof) and exploring the causes of the disorder, the author hopes to assist the reader in overcoming the emotional obstacles involved in interaction with a boss, spouse, friend or relative. Rather than focus on changing the narcissist (which may be impossible), this book aims to help the reader improve self-knowledge to see why the narcissist pushes his or her buttons and how to cope. Some of the instruments Behary provides—such as checklists, flash cards, journal writing— are useful for determining the type of narcissist you are dealing with and how your past experiences affect your responses. The author acknowledges that her book is no panacea, and she doesn't present the reader with strategies for when the narcissist isn't responsive to the actions she has suggested. Notwithstanding this caveat, Behary's book will surely provide help to many in need of a confidence bolster in the face of provocation. (Mar.)
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Review

"Anyone whose life predicament includes dealing with a narcissist will bewell-advised to read Wendy Behary’s book and heed her advice. Disarming theNarcissist offers sound suggestions and keen insights—a breakthrough in oneof psychology's toughest cases."
—Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence



"...a valuable contribution to the growing self-help literature on the fascinating subject of narcissism. Behary takes the reader step-by-step through a process of understanding our personal triggers to the wounding inherent in narcissistic relations and then lays out a pathway for personal empowerment and change."
—Sandy Hotchkiss, LCSW, author of Why Is It Always About You?



"This is a timely and important book. Wendy Behary offers a uniquely well-articulated exploration of the complexities of living with a narcissist, conveyed in a clear and elegant writing style. Disarming the Narcissist provides a treasure of insightful observations and strategies to help those working or living with a narcissist. Behary’s wisdom and warm humanity, together with her wide understanding and successful integration of interpersonal neurobiology and schema therapy, provides a fresh perspective that will help the reader make sense of relationships that often seem so confusing and give them tools to do something about it. I recommend this book heartily. "
—Marion F. Solomon, Ph.D., author of Narcissism and Intimacy and Lean on Me



"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



"Behary is an exceptionally perceptive, compassionate, and creative clinician and an outstanding teacher. I have always found her immersed at the cutting edge of clinical science and practice. It has been both a privilege and an inspiration to watch her vision and clinical contributions evolve. These remarkable qualities are clearly evident in her new book, which I have no doubt will make a major contribution. It will bring anyone who deals with narcissism fully up to date with the latest our field has to offer, articulated in clear, poignant, and practical terms. "
—George Lockwood, Ph.D., director of the Schema Therapy Institute Midwest in Kalamazoo, MI

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; 1 edition (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572245190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572245198
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (261 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

With 25 years post-graduate training and advanced level certifications, Wendy Behary is the founder and director of The Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and The New Jersey Institute for Schema Therapy. She has been treating clients, training professionals and supervising psychotherapists for more than 20 years. Wendy is also on the faculty of the Cognitive Therapy Center and Schema Therapy Institute of New York, where she has trained and worked with Dr. Jeffrey Young since 1989. She is a distinguished founding fellow of The Academy of Cognitive Therapy (Dr. Aaron T. Beck, President).

Wendy is also the President of the Executive Board of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST).

She is the lead author for several chapters and articles on schema therapy and cognitive therapy. She is also the author of (New Harbinger Publications - 1st & 2nd edition): "Disarming the Narcissist...Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed". Wendy has a specialty in treating narcissists and the people who live with and deal with them. As an author and an expert on the subject of narcissism, she is a contributing chapter author of several chapters on schema therapy for narcissism (Wiley Publications and APA Press, 20111,2012, 2013).
She lectures both nationally and internationally to professional and general audiences on schema therapy, and the subject of narcissism, relationships, and dealing with difficult people. Her work with industry has included speaking engagements focused on interpersonal conflict resolution.
Her private practice is primarily devoted to treating narcissists, partners/people dealing with them, and couples experiencing relationship problems. She is also an expert in coaching individuals in interviewing, public speaking, and interpersonal skills enhancement.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

669 of 699 people found the following review helpful By SmartCookie on March 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
One of the few books on the market that actually provides practical insight and techniques for handling encounters with an individual who is narcississtic. Most books focus almost entirely on how awful the narcississt can behave to the point of demonizing what is essentially a archaic defense mechanism learned in childhood. The author spends considerable time on what you, as the non-narcississt, get out of the relationship, how you pick up the other end of the rope, and the importance of understanding your own hot buttons (which Narcississt's are almost supernaturally good at triggering) rather than continuing the status quo by responding with your own defensive patterns that go nowhere but bad. This book is asking a lot of it's readers; that they understand the concept of schemas and that they grow up emotionally and approach their life, and the narcissist's they may love or encounter, from a place of strength, knowledge, maturity, and wisdom. If you want another book that outlines how horrible narcissists are and how you are their unwilling victim, you will not appreciate this book. If you are willing or interested to learn about yourself and looking at your own part of the dance, such that through your own growth and modeling the relationship, even with a narcississt, has a chance to improve, then this book is for you. Bravo.
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144 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Armstrong on February 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One never "disarms" a narcissist, and narcissists never voluntarily disarm unless one has leverage over them--in an arena that they care about, which isn't much other than themselves.

The best part of the book is the cognitive-behavioral orientation that one uses in treating a narcissist. The narcissist's "schemas" do not allow the narcissist to "care" (about others), and since they are unexpressed and largely covert, therapy involves making the narcissist's "assumptions" and "schemas" explicit. In so doing, the therapist maintains a balance, always trying to "side" with the narcissist's desire to be loved, admired, etc., but not caving into the narcissist's grandiose demands and ultimata.

I am skeptical about the subtitle, "Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed," in addition to the use of the term "disarming." I have never known anyone, and especially children, who has learned to "thrive" with a narcissist. The only question in living with a narcissist is how large the collateral damange extends in terms of relationships and time-through-life.

My brother was a flagrant narcissist. Yes, he had all the "little boy" defenses that Ms. Beharry describes. He was divorced twice, fathered two children out of wedlock in a third non-married relationship, lost jobs due to his unpredictable nature, threatened to sue his brothers and sisters, and was a serious substance abuser. Yes, he was also a lawyer, which is a profession loaded with professional narcissists. He hated therapists. He raised one borderline survivor of his narcissism, a young person who truly is crippled, and who also hates therapists.

Could he have been disarmed? Absolutely not. Could any of his wives, live-in's, girlfriends, or children "thrived"? Absolutley not.
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697 of 748 people found the following review helpful By J. Hill on December 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm horrified that this book was written by a professional claiming to be an expert in Narcissism! I nearly bought this book for my mother who is trapped in an abusive marriage with a toxic narcissist (my father). This book encourages exactly the kind of enabling, self-immolating behavior that she is currently ruining her life with. Thank god I didn't send her this "expert" endorsement of her destructive, co-dependent fealty to someone who is a true psychological predator and parasite.

Now, I understand this is a pop-psychology self-help book, and thus shouldn't be held to a very high standard. The problem is, it's written about such a dangerous group of people that it becomes flagrantly irresponsible to be so naive, vague, and incomplete when instructing the partners of these serial abusers. Additionally, the author claims to be a professional expert with 20+ years of experience dealing with this specific personality disorder. This to me, crosses the line. I find this book to be literally dangerous reading material for a VERY vulnerable target audience.

The book is also pretty poorly written. Most of the advice is so vague it's nearly useless (general visualizations, basic communication skills like mirroring, advice on finding your authentic voice with no tools to actually get there) and the descriptions of narcissism are far too generalized for a one-topic book. The whole section on "schemas" (presented as ground-breaking and utterly brilliant) is simplistic and in no way specific to narcissistic relationships. I'll summarize for you everything you need to know about schemas - 1) You have buttons, created in your sad childhood. 2) Sometimes people push your buttons, which makes you feel flustered. Wow. Mind blown. That's 40+ pages of a 150-page book.
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138 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Bethelight on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
I really wanted help dealing with my abusive narcissistic spouse but this is completely unhelpful. The reason is because, although we all have schemas that affect our interactions, we do not all operate based on them and we can control our schemas. I have the abandonment/self sacrifice schemas, and I recognize that this makes it uncomfortable to be assertive and stand up for myself. However, I have stood up for myself numerous times when dealing with my narcissistic spouse. Unfortunately, compassionate standing up for your needs does not seem to get through to a narcissist. You can speak up in the way that the book suggests but this will likely be ineffective. Dr. Behary seems to suggest that people are unaware of their own schemas and that they operate behind the scenes ( I think these are her exact words) but this is not always the case. When I feel discomfort I know it's because I fear abandonment and I stand up for myself anyways. But the narcissist has always raged against me for trying to convey my dissatisfaction with his behaviors. Also, I am quite sure my spouse also knows his schemas because he is well aware of his damaging childhood memories yet he chooses to act out on it in narcissistic and abusive ways. The thing about narcissists is that they choose to belittle, lie etc.. And know they are doing it..but they will justify it and blame everyone else. Others have been abused and do not end up narcissistic. This book focuses too much on changing how you interact with your abuser in ways that blames you for putting up with the abuse. No one asks or allows themselves to be abused. Everyone makes their own decisions and abusers are the ones who choose to abuse. And no matter what their childhoods were like, they have to decide how to behave.Read more ›
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