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on September 11, 2012
I have already posted a review of the original version of "Emotional Vampires" that has helped at least one person in their purchasing decision. Now, with regard to the revised and expanded Second Edition, I also give it 5 stars and encourage anyone who finds themselves navigating the shark-infested waters of living with/working with/associating with a person afflicted with a personality disorder to order it right away and study it like a Talmudic scholar.

Which version should you buy? Buy the original version if you are just starting out in learning about personality disorders. The original version is written for the novice, and shows each personality type defined and described to perfection. Dr. Bernstein will give you tips at the end of each personality type for dealing with their tantrums, tirades, schemes, alternate states of reality, hypnosis, paranoid delusions, aloofness, passive-aggressive assaults, and eyebrow-raising verbal cues.

However, if you already have some experience diagnosing personality disorders and want a more in-depth look, then I encourage you to get the Second Edition. Here you will find a wealth of information on drama queens, bullies, control freaks, daredevils, used car salesmen (not the actual, but maybe also the actual), lovable rogues, gossip queens, the terminally depressed, narcissistic legends, tiger moms, puritans and perfectionists.

Whew! The list is long and tiring, but think about it, if you don't have this trusty book hidden underneath your mattress, how could you possibly navigate a world full of Emotional Vampires? And in the age of the Kardashians, Facebook, iphones, botox, Paris Hilton, and Narcissistic politicians in high office, there may be more of THEM than there are of US.
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on July 15, 2012
This book was riveting in that we ALL have these people in our lives - so we ALL should read it. We might be working with them, living with them, children of them, spouses to them. Either we can't or won't believe that people can be this way and they are so alternatingly charming and pleasant and then cruel that they actually are training us like lab rats to exhibit the behavior they want from us ... and we stay around because we somehow want to save them from themselves. Women especially - READ it - and then make your daughters read it! Know about them before you are reading it to understand what just happened to you! I started out with highlighter but gave up because I was highlighting everything as though the book was just about me and my specific situation. Good stuff. I've shared it with friends who are caught in the world of an emotional vampire and they thanked me. Don't hesitate. You'll swear the author is writing about someone you know.
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on December 29, 2012
Do you have people in your life who seem to drain your energy? Do they need your attention all the time and expect you to put their needs before everything else in your life? Do they question you minutely about what you've been doing, who you've spoken to and where you want?

If you can answer yes to all those questions you may have one or more emotional vampires in your life. Like the fictional blood-sucking variety they may seem more attractive and more fun than anyone else you've ever known. But you need to be aware that this is just the surface and something much darker lurks underneath.

This fascinating, amusing and frightening book will help you to understand the vampire in your life and may help you to salvage a bit of your own life from the wreckage before you become just an accessory to the vampire. The author divides emotional vampires into categories - antisocial vampires, histrionic vampires, narcissistic vampires, obsessive-compulsive vampires, paranoid vampires. Some people may show tendencies from all these categories and all human being may exhibit some of the symptoms and behaviours at times.

The author demonstrates by means of everyday scenarios how vampires manipulate you into doing what they want you to. They put you in the wrong so that you feel obliged to help them and they twist what you say and use it against you. The only way to deal with them is to play them at their own game and stand your ground even if means ending your relationship with the vampire. Even if you don't think there is a vampire in your life at present this is still interesting reading if you are interested in psychology.
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on October 2, 2012
Do you have a person in your life who, when you talk with them, have about 20 seconds worth of interest in you, and then spends the next 2 hours telling you everything that is going wrong in their life? Do you have a relative who only calls for "something". Or a boyfriend who keeps putting off commitment because he's "been so hurt by previous girlfriends"? Well, they are EMOTIONAL VAMPIRES -- pure and simple. They live to suck the life and happiness out of others -- for as long as the others will allow it. This book identifies exactly how we get sucked into such relationships, and how to extricate ourselves from them -- with or without the continuing friendship. I wish I had been able to read this book 30 years ago!
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on July 22, 2014
Berstein outlines various categories of emotional vampires and links them to a personality disorder. Examples of the different personality disorders varied from extreme, perhaps intentionally exaggerated, to over-simplified. My review is about the narcissists, since that was the personality disorder in which I was interested. All the other personality disorders, he made seem as if they were self-defeating, no need to pay them much mind, in my opinion.

Berstein talked about different types of narcissists, which I began to feel was from a less empirical source and a more personal one, particularly the Narcissistic super star, whom he regarded quite highly. He seemed to be writing a manuscript on how to deal with a (super star) narcissist in a way that I believe a narcissist would like to be dealt with, but not necessarily healthy for the non-narcissist. For example, he talked about narcissists being behind the success of today -- without success there is no narcissist and vice versa. The appropriate ways to deal with a narcissist then is to compliment him frequently, only align your needs with his, and then present all your desires in that fashion -- most literature describes this way of interacting with a narcissist in a mockingly fashion, like: if you are with a narcissist, be prepared to make it all about him, deny your own needs, have no sense of self, etc. (like you get the feeling that THIS way of interacting with a narcissist is masochistic, wrong) -- but he meant it literally as advice. It almost seemed as though he was trying to make a sheep out of those who had to deal with a narcissistic super star (himself, maybe), so that they would be better participants/victims, and went so far as to say do not report them to Human Resources, but gave an alternate, less dignified way of handling a situation. For example, there was a particular boss who had severe temper outbursts, using quite abusive (derogatory, name-calling, insulting) curse language, and Berstein's approach recommended making light of the outburst and cracking a joke to lighten the mood. He also said, abuse is a term too frequently and loosely used by histrionics (I inferred that he DESPISED histrionics); he said, "abuse" should only be used when you're involving an attorney. I found that sentiment to be concerning.

(warning: run-on sentences galore!):
I gave the book two stars because, as a woman in a male egotistical profession, I wanted to feel more powerful and armed after reading the book. For example, there is a male surgeon in the book and a female stay-at-home mother, where the woman is upset that he spends no free time with her and the child and won't attend the child's ball games, because he has obsessions of his own that he attends to in his free time as soon as he comes home (cameras), and he yells at her when he has a bad day, and she feel anxious when he comes home because maybe she forgot to put something away that he will yell at her for -- the author's advice is for this woman to pretend to be interested in her husband's camera, and be docile when he snaps at her telling her he pays for everything, so he basically has the right to be self-consumed in every other aspect, and the wife should try to appeal to his spontaneous desire (the camera this time) in order to get him to agree to go to the son's ball game, so that he thinks it's about him and the camera, and not the wife or the child! He has the wife playing a very dumbed-down subordinate role, pretending to be interested in the camera instead of having a stern conversation or giving ultimatums, apologizing when she asks a harmless question that he takes as an insult and replies caustically. I am a female in medicine, and had he written about a female surgeon and a male stay-at-home dad, I would certainly not condone castration of a man's sense of self just because his wife is a surgeon - yet a woman is expected to feel awed in some way about her husband, so that she restrains herself from any opinions, desires, needs, self-respect, boundaries, etc (like his participating in raising the child and speaking to her with respect should be optional? Or presented in a fashion where he feels like he's getting something out of it too?) -- Anyone else channeling FREUD?

Instead, I found there were little or no tools/lessons that I wanted to take away from the book. Truthfully, I felt like a summary of the book on narcissists is: narcissists are selfish and manipulative, but behind every success -- be a self-depricating victim when dealing with them, hope you get them to see a self-interest in you, and perhaps you too can benefit WITH the narcissistic superstar -- otherwise, walk on egg shells, because you are subordinate to them in life, and they are successful and need their creative space, namely the superstar.

Finally, the book left me with the notion that Berstein himself might be a frustrated narcissist.
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Albert Bernstein is like the Shakespeare of psychology. He has studied his characters well and knows all their motivations and anxieties. To say this author is a student of human nature is an understatement. He has somehow been inside a number of emotional vampire's heads and knows exactly how they think and why.

If you have lived for any length of time you have probably met, married or befriended an emotional vampire. To me they seem to be everywhere these days. These predatory personalities can be seductive at first but in the end if you don't know how to deal with them, they will cause you emotional grief.

I especially enjoyed the section on narcissists as that is the type of emotional vampire I seem to attract. I listen to them with rapt attention and give them lots of feedback and compliments. They feed off me for some reason. The only problem is that sometimes I feel they are not aware of my needs, thoughts and feelings. I end up getting angry for days and want to break off the friendship. Then they somehow lure me back. It is an interesting cycle. At the very least it provides some excitement in my life but it also annoys me. So this book was very helpful to me in stating exactly how to handle these types of people.

I enjoyed reading about all the other vampires but I did notice something interesting in the tests for each vampire personality. The author seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder about religion. He seems to believe that people who believe in angels might be a certain type of vampire. Then he thinks people are paranoid vampires if they believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. I don't think that is always the case but it might be true in the author's life. Also he seemed a bit ambiguous about right and wrong or good and evil. I do think we can tell the difference. Not everything is gray as the author might assume. The author also seems to think that "salvation through belief alone" is a bad thing. I suspect he is more scientific than religious.

What I found about this book was it was very poetic and intellectual. I learned at least five new words and that is always exciting. To be honest this book will become your secret weapon against emotional/energy vampires. While reading this book do however prepare to laugh spontaneously. I found some parts very funny.

This book did however leave me feeling a bit insatiable. I had a craving to read more. I could not get enough of this book. If you love psychology you will adore this book.

~The Rebecca Review
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on July 4, 2012
This was a really helpful book. It gave me some really good ideas and ways to deal with emotional vampires in the workplace, while also making me thankful I don't also have to deal with them at home.
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on May 21, 2014
Some reviewers seem not to have even read the book. The author repeatedly warns that the best approach sometimes is avoiding such people, but some reviewers seem to have missed that point entirely somehow. Unfortunately, you cannot always avoid these people, and you may not recognize what is going on until the damage is already done. Unfortunately, I know this from personal experience. I got involved with an emotional vampire and it nearly ruined my life because I did not recognize the warning signs. After reading the book I understand now what was motivating this individual and why I should not have trusted her. Knowledge is power. You are wasting your time if you try to deal with somebody with a personality disorder expecting them to act as you would. The author not only teaches you how to recognize these people for what they are but then gives practical advice for how to deal with them if you have to or choose to. I think I will read this book more than once, because I am sure to run into more emotional vampires in the future and don't want to be taken in by them again.
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on December 2, 2014
If you have nasty neighbors like we do, believe me buy this book! Also, in the work place one will come across these antisocial's who make others suffer at your expense. The book is informative, it does not go on and on in explanations but I feel is quick to the point. It is written by a psychologist with 40 years experience and it is worth every penny.
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on October 29, 2012
This book is a must read for everyone. It makes it easier to understand the reasons why some people do and say the things we often find difficult to understand. It is delivered by an amusing and experienced professional who leaves you with the feeling that, despite the prevalence of these vampires, all it takes is a little holy water and some garlic and you can handle their presence in your life.
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