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Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in their Struggle for Self Paperback – March 28, 1995


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Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in their Struggle for Self + Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers + Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company, Inc.; Reprint edition (March 28, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688140718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688140717
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

It seems reasonable to expect self-help books to accomplish one of three goals: to explain behavior, to assist readers to develop their potential or to change unwanted behavior patterns, or to motivate readers. This book fails on all three counts. People who may be attracted to the concept have probably already realized that their relationship with a self-absorbed parent has caused problems, and they will not learn much else. The suggestions for change are too general to be useful, and the tone is at times spiteful and depressing. Susan Forward and Buck Craig's Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life (Bantam, 1989) covers the same topic in a more positive and helpful fashion. Not recommended.
- Mary Ann Hughes, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A sober study by a clinical psychologist of the destructive legacy that narcissistic parents bequeath to their children and the troubling characteristics those children share as adults. Narcissists behave, Golomb says, as if they are the center of the universe, organizing their lives around denial of negative feelings about themselves. Their children, forced to conform to parental thinking, grow up with a range of subtle emotional disabilities, most commonly a distorted view of their capacities. All too frequently this damaged sense of self-worth interferes with their search for autonomy, their performance, and with their other adult relationships. Golomb, child of a narcissistic father, gives examples from the lives of friends and patients, as well as from her own experiences, and shows how these strained views of reality can be passed along from one generation to the next or can shadow an entire family's happiness. She is particularly adept in discussing why some people persist in the most puzzling behaviors (bankrolling one lover after another, for example) and how they see and defend these patterns. Although Golomb has experimented with meditation techniques and group treatment, she finds psychoanalytic psychotherapy the most consistently helpful set of strategies and suggests ways for adults to approach narcissistic parents and to change the nature of these relationships. ``Narcissism is a tale of codependency,'' she observes. ``If we want to be treated in a different way, the change in treatment must start with how we present ourselves to [narcissists].'' Golomb writes in language more accessible to other therapists than to general readers, unleavened by humor, and without a specific agenda. But difficult as her approach may be, it's sound and ultimately rewarding as well. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The book is written in a very elegant way.
Ken
Trapped in the Mirror was one of the most difficult books for me to read, but that's because Elan Golomb's title 'Trapped in the Mirror' was aptly selected.
Dan
I am so glad I borrowed this book from the library instead of having purchased it.
LadySarcasma

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

164 of 172 people found the following review helpful By S. Agee on November 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book was the answer to my questions, my anger, and my resentment towards my narcissistic mother. For years I beat myself up, thinking that there was some way I could make her love me more. I thought it was up to me. "Trapped in the Mirror" was a very well-written account of many people's struggles and the common threads of emotions we all go through as "victims". I am no longer a victim after reading this book. I understand my mom better because I know where she is coming from. I also know how to spot a narcissist and keep my distance! Very empowering!
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219 of 240 people found the following review helpful By Richard Crowder on June 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
Children seek approval from their parents; adolescents, from their peers; adults, from themselves.
In a healthy family, the parents facilitate this development, giving the child the generous love that makes it possible for her to grow beyond the neediness of the first stage. (Both sexes can occupy both positions, but for simplicity we'll assume that the parent is male, the child female.) A healthy parent recognizes his child as a separate person. He provides an environment where she can start creating an independent life that will represent her own spirit. His joy is to watch her become who she is.
But generally a parent who has not received this kind of love in childhood does not have it to give. Instead of seeking to meet the child's needs, he seeks to make her meet his. In love with an idealized self-image of confidence and authority, he wants his child to justify or repeat his life--or the life he wishes he had lived. He acts to keep her in a childish state, seeking his approval. When she meets his wishes, he gives her exaggerated praise; when she doesn't, exaggerated criticism. But what drives his behavior is neither love nor malice, but fear--fear that his child, or he, or anyone, will discover that the Wizard of Oz is only the man behind the curtain.
The child believes in the parent and cannot see his fear. Hoping to make him love her, she tends to act as if he were right (for he must above all be right), to live out his image of her--the idealized image of what he praises, the hated image of what he criticizes, or both. She often seeks mates who replicate aspects of his character--perpetuating both her misery and her false hope that he will one day love her as a separate person.
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109 of 122 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
Do not expect solutions offered in chapters with promising names as "How to develop a real sense of self", "How to find and heal yourself." There are none. Probably because the writer sadly hasn't arrived there herself yet. She doesn't deliver.
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This book explains what it is to have narcissistic parents. For those who already know through their own experiences; skip it, this book is stuck in the phase of description of the writer's own process and struggle. For some reason she doesn't see that readers have been there theirselves, and don't need her story 238 pages long.
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Ironically this book keeps you in a longing state that children of Narcissists are already used too. Longing for information about what she'll bring to the table but fails to explain.
.
For example: she'll state "Narcissistic torture feeds the introject." Okay, how does that work, and what to do? She'll tell you by going into great detail about one of her own very depressing experiences time after time, using much space, without getting back to or adressing the original point. By doing this the original point becomes a mere excuse, and the reason for telling all these personal (much to detailed) stories the books' real focus.
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And that's how you will have to understand narcissism: through her experiences, finding crumbs here and there you can relate to. Frustrating. What's the real motive for writing this book?
.
Her own stories are so prominent and on a center stage, that sometimes you wonder why she didn't write a novel/autobiography so she could work out her own issues first before trying to help others. She lacks distance.
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I wish I could send the book back, but I had already written my name in it. I'm really sorry having to say that the book is the true product of a narcissist. You are caught in her mirror.
It's really sad and I hope the writers will read all these reviews because they present a valuable mirror.
LL
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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
The first couple of chapters of this book are truly breathtaking, especially if you are a child of narcissists and didn't yet know that the particular type of abuse you suffered had a name. A friend of mine recommended this book to me a year ago, with the promise that it would "change my life." It has not disappointed. However, I felt the book rattled on a bit and got too autobiographical towards the end. In fact, there was something almost--dare I say--narcissistic about how often the author would remind the reader of how important it was to her personally to be writing this book. An immensely helpful book, but readers would be better advised to use the book as a complement to therapy, rather than a substitute for it.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Wendy on January 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
The author herself is the victim of parental narcissism, and so she wrote a book about this very destructive form of emotional abuse, ostensibly to help other victims. But, it's really a vehicle to talk specifically about herself and her own experiences. Very little of it is useful to a wider audience. She claims to be a healed child of narcissistic parents; odd that she spends so much time talking about herself.
This book may work as a very basic introduction to the topic for some, but if you're serious about getting some help, get "Children of the Self-Absorbed" instead. It has much wider-ranging and more practical advice than this one does.
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