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The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment Paperback – July 9, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0787908706 ISBN-10: 0787908703 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


"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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 181 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (July 9, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787908703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787908706
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

389 of 400 people found the following review helpful By strongmom on July 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Thank heaven for this book! This book spoke to me on a very personal level. I would have never guessed that I come from a covertly Narcissistic family system. My family was perfect - or so it seemed from the outside (and even from the inside!). We never fought, we never argued, we never had disagreements. My parents told me and my brothers that they loved us. For 37 years, I believed the family myth. We were the perfect family.

But, the "perfect family" label never felt quite right to me. Even though I was told I was loved, I was also told that I "needed more attention" as a child, was a "difficult" teenager, and more recently that I have "emotional problems" (for daring to speak up about a glaring boundary issue). For years I even believed that I WAS a difficult kid until I started to remember my childhood. I remember my perfect father was an alcoholic who was largely absent and almost totally unavailable emotionally. I remember my mom insisted that we never express "negative" feelings. We were expected to always be positive and happy and if we weren't then we were chided for being selfish and ungrateful. If we were sad or disappointed, we were expected to "walk it off" and told that we should "stop crying" or they would "give us something to cry about". We were told that other (less well-adjusted and unhappy) people "just didn't get it" and we were instructed to pity those people.

How is it that a kid who gets good grades, is compliant and respectful, doesn't smoke, do drugs or have sex, and whose only goal is to go to college a difficult teenager? The answer is found in this book - that she lives in a dysfunctional family system that defines any small statement of independence as an act of disrespect.
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169 of 172 people found the following review helpful By Say Grace on December 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Thank goodness I found a wonderful therapist who told me that my family was narcissistic. Then I found this book on amazon (it wasn't what my therapist recommended though). I needed a book that was not autobiographical, I needed to hear many stories of others lives with covert and overt male and female narcissistic abuse, in order to unlock myself from my disbelief. Finished it last night, still crying this morning, but I know things are going to be uphill for me from here. This book was written by therapists for therapists but I got so much out of it, I would recommend this highly for any adults recovering from "N" abuse who have had at least some therapy. As a victim I found that some of the techniques and methods described for recovery very helpful. (The Lavender Saphire is one of them) There are so many very specific things included in the Pressmans book that really touched home for me, opening doors and fitting puzzles together that had been unsoved for a lifetime. My book is filled with my highlights and dogears,well worth many times its listed price.
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126 of 130 people found the following review helpful By carol nathan on May 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Read It! If you come from an emotionally dysfunctional family of any degree, this is the book to read. You will gain insights into why you carry feelings of worthlessness, why intimacy alludes you, why you feel driven . . . You will be given alternative ways to view yourself, to communicate with others, and to experience life. By the end of the book you will have the framework to realize the unique treasure that you truly are.
The book is written (and priced) for professionals, but is very readable and user friendly. I wish I had come across it sooner. It would have saved me agonizing hours spent trying to pigeonhole my family's particular dysfunction(s). the Narcissistic family is the one with the parental system that for what ever reason - job streee, alcoholism, mental illness, sel-centered immaturity - centers around meeting the needs of the adults. It is the family that to some degree or another most of us grew up in. By reading Pressman's book and following the exercises, you can begin to fill the holes whether great or small in your own childhoood experience and begin to enjoy a fulfilling adult life.
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106 of 110 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is amazing. As someone who's read a lot of psychology, popular psychology, and self-help literature, I can say that this book is a clear standout. What differentiates it from most books of this type is the clinical expertise and experience of its authors, and its grounding in contemporary psychological theory. Everything in this book is both useful and well-justified. There is no "fluff" or "filler" (in contrast to a typical pop psych book that has, perhaps, one good idea and 300 pages of redundant or obvious material). I am reading it for the third time and still absorbing it.
The book is very detailed in (1) describing the consequences of growing up in a narcissistic family, and (2) providing specific techniques for addressing these problems. Although the book is written by clinical psychologists for clinical psychologists (and would obviously be very useful in that regard), I also think it would be very, very helpful for just about anyone struggling with these issues.
This is the only book I have ever reviewed on Amazon. I was motivated to do so because this book can be life changing.
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