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Humanizing the Narcissistic Style (Norton Professional Book)
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
I completely agree with the earlier review of this book. Yes, it could have been better written. But, it still deserves a solid five stars. This book has a lot to offer you.
It might be helpful to understand just what "narcissism" means in the psychiatric/psychologial realm. Actually, there are two views on narcissism---one as defined by Kernberg, and another by Kohut. Kernberg's narcissist is what you probably normally think of when you hear the term. This is the oblivious individual who would say (if they had the insight, which they don't): "What, there are *other* people in the world???" Kohut, on the other hand, described a very different kind of narcissist. This person is intensely aware of the others around them, and devotes *all* of their psychological energy toward getting those people to idolize them. Now, take the Kohut narcissist, and come back into the spectrum of what's generally considered normal. Here is the child who grew up in a family where nothing they ever did was "good enough." As a result, this child tends to develop what Winnicott called "the false self"---a persona designed explicitly to try to please their unpleasable parents. But, it's all a pretense, and the child (now an adult) knows it. As a result, the "real self" remains undeveloped, and every time the narcissistic bubble gets pricked, these individuals have nowhere to go except a deep depression, despair and anxiety. This is the narcissistic style.
Johnson's thesis is that this character pattern is pervasive in Western society. In my experience, these individuals have a kind of neurotic radar that leads them to establish relationships with new "unpleasable" authority figures. This might be a spouse...a boss at work...or most anyone else in their life. They are trapped by their need to please other people. Johnson's book examines this phenomenon, and (unlike most other books like this) actually offers a solution that works! In any event, it's definitely going to cost you less than the many hours of therapy that still haven't taught you what this book has to offer. And...hey...I'm a therapist writing this!
HIGHLY recommended!
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2002
I am a sufferer of pathological narcissism myself, and this book is hands down the best I have come across to date. The main reason? Dr. Johnson's extensive knowledge of his subject is EMPATHICALLY INFORMED. This adds a entire dimension to his work that is missing in the writings of many so-called experts. It engenders something in a sufferer that is often overlooked by those who consider themselves on the cutting edge of research into pathological narcissism: HOPE. There are no words to describe the value of realistic hope to a narcissistic individual who is working toward characterological transformation. This is a work of quiet competence, a labor of love, and a very fair treatment of a highly polarized subject, based on actual experience with narcissistic clients. Literally, a lifesaver for me.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2000
I am a narcissistic style myself without psychological training. I benefited tremendously from this book. It contains tonns of good stuff, certain portions have been quite illuminating discoveries for me. Good references. The organization of the book suffers. There are repetitions and some material could be taken away without serious detriment to the whole message. The quality of the narrative is uneven. However, it would be a pity if those problems would prevent you from getting all the great stuff you can find in this book. I highly recommend it and I don't think there is a comparable equivalent in the market.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2006
The text in the books tend to focus on matters such as therapeutic technique to correct a narissistic style. The author is compassionate and intellectual. He explains in detail how the narcissist should learn to feel and then become more self abled in producing and maitaining loving relationships with others and within themselves. In this book, narcissism in not pejorative and evil instead the clients are seen as people who also feel pain and isolation and want to improve. The main cause of narcissism according to the author is the philosophy of achievement. If they are not achieving, succeeding, and making others happy then they are failing and they are worthless and not loveable. This philosophy is the guiding force behind narcissism. There are different levels of narcissism mentioned within the book. Some cases are worse than others. The book also features dialog taken from group therapy and individual therapy sessions.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2011
I have worked with clients just out of the State Hospital, recovering from mental illness. This book was invaluable in giving me a compassionate view of how Narcissism develops, what it means to the person who has it and those around them, and how to help. I was afraid it would be dry and clinical but it was very readable and actually hard to put down. I recommend it for all students of the psyche and those who try to help others. As John Briere says, "We're all bozos on the same bus" and this book is written with a humility and understanding that appeals.
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on August 24, 2013
The book may be a little bit dated, but the core NPD treating principles still hold true nowadays.
Contains a lot of theory and may not be easy for a layman, but still the best thing I've seen so far to describe narcissistic personality disorder.

4 stars just because it was written so long ago, some theory may not be up to date.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2014
came in the condition it claimed. thank you
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2009
I was looking for a book to try to help me with my future mother in law who is a narcissist. However, this book was a little too technical for what I was looking for. I can't give it a bad review, because I really got through very little of it - it just didn't hold my interest at all. If you're looking for something that in depth than it might be for you - but if you're just looking for an easy read and a little help dealing with someone very difficult I'd look elsewhere!
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17 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2001
Pathological narcissism is a pattern of traits and behaviours which signify infatuation and obsession with one's (False) Self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition. The concepts of False Self and Narcissistic Supply are critical for the understanding of narcissistic behaviour patterns. So is the ruthlessness and single-mindedness of the narcissist, addicted to his narcissistic supply, devoid of empathy, deficient in object relations, his immature True Self atrophied and dilapidated. This book is about narcissistic interactions with others, in the context of our (narcissistic) culture. The efficaciousness of the treatment offered is doubtful, the language is sometimes obstruse, the book is tiresomely repetitive. But it is a must on the bookshelf of clinicians, therapists, patients, and their nearest and dearest. Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited".
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