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Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents Paperback – April 1, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 221 customer reviews

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  • Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"For those of us who have often suffered the inevitable humiliating regression back to childhood during every holiday with the family…this book offers real help to the reader to develop the self-protective art of indifference, a cloak that can be used at many a holiday gathering…and to understand the subtle yet profound differences between ineffective and effective confrontation, empathy and sympathy, and attaching response and defusing strategy…a completely new cupboard of techniques."
—Joel C. Frost, Ed.D., assistant clinical professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology at Harvard Medical School



"Children of the Self-Absorbed offers practical advice and guidance. The creative techniques and exercises are priceless to both the reader learning how to identify destructive parental behaviors and how to cope with them as well as the reader learning to nurture and protect his or her own developing self."
—Susan Hopper, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in private practice in St. Louis, MO



"Children of narcissistic parents are provided techniques to dig themselves out of impossible relationships with their parents…a thoroughly well thought out, useful manual to help adult children move toward more productive connection to their narcissistic parents, to themselves, and to others."
—Joan Medway, Ph.D., LCSW, psychologist in private practice in Potomac, MD

From the Publisher

A second edition of a self-help classic, Children of the Self-Absorbed offers the adult children of narcissistic parents the means to understand and cope with the behaviors and attitudes of their mothers and/or fathers while still meeting their own needs.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; 2 edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572245611
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572245617
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Given the talent that narcissists have for making you feel that (1) it's all your fault or (2) it's your imagination, this is a very nice read that will make you feel that you aren't crazy. It also will help you realize that your needs are legitimate.
The book fleshes out the dimensions of a narcissistic personality, not in a coldly clinical way but in a matter-of-fact way that uses ordinary language. As for the typos that another reviewer commented on, I didn't notice them. I'm a journalist, and I thought the author succeeded in using concise and easily understood words. She also succeeded in giving some very useful tips for dealing with a narcissist. Most of us have been taught that it's best to be truthful, to say so if we've been hurt by someone else; we've learned that this is the healthy and responsible way to behave. Not so, if you're around a narcissist, as this book will explain; it's better if you DON'T let on that the narcissist has affected you, because you'll likely be criticized for being too sensitive. If you KNOW a narcissist, you ALREADY know that it's best not to let your feelings show, and you already know that the standard advice that well-meaning friends might give, won't work. This book will give you some advice that DOES work, and it will also validate your perceptions of what it's like to be around a narcissist. At 180 pages, this book is not the be-all and end-all, but it's quite helpful, and I wouldn't miss it. If your parent is a narcissist, you might also benefit by looking at the book "Stop Walking on Eggshells," a book that deals with those who have borderline personality disorder. Not all narcissists have the disorder, but a good number do, and it's worth checking out if you're in a relationship that's "all about them," and where you are discounted.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have found this book to be useful in my ministry for adult children of abusive or controlling parents, Luke 17:3 Ministries. It begins by describing Destructive Narcissistic Parents (DNPs),teaches how being raised by them affected you, and gives very unique techniques for diffusing their ability to hurt you. It subscribes to the theory that confrontation will not work because a narcissist will never change and does not believe he is doing anything wrong, but rather thinks that everyone else exists for his use and benefit; therefore other techniques for dealing with him are suggested, including avoidance, humor, or body language designed to subconsciously confuse the narcissist.
Does your parent have attention needs, admiration needs, the need to be considered unique and special, lack of empathy, feel others are extensions of herself, grandiosity, shallow emotions, a sense of entitlement, emotionally abusive traits, or does she exploit others? These characteristics identify a DNP, and specific examples of each trait are given.
As an adult, you can have two possible responses to being raised by a DNP. You may have a Siege Response- some traits of which include becoming defiant when given orders or demands, rebelling against restrictions or rules, being wary or fearful of intimacy, feeling anxious or panicky when others want to be nurtured, guilty feelings, personalizing others' behavior, being easily offended, etc. You may also exhibit the Compliant Response, including needing to be liked or approved of, feeling responsible for others' well-being, feeling that others are taking advantage of you, sacrificing personal needs for others, being overemotional, being overly critical of yourself and others, etc.
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Format: Paperback
Some of the other reviewers have pointed out that this book has grammatical errors. While this is true, please don't let the perfectionism that is an inherant part of growing up with a narcissistic parent prevent you from reading and benfitting from this book.
This book goes through a relatively quick but thorough diagnostic process to help you determine whether your parent was a narcissist, and then makes its single most important point:
THEY ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE. Nothing you can do, or could have done, would make a difference.
The remaining 2/3rds of the book is about coping, protecting yourself, and recovering from narcissistic abuse. This is what you CAN DO to make the rest of your life happier and healthier. Get the book, silence the critic inside your head, and get going on getting better!
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Format: Paperback
Some readers seem concerned with the gramatical errors in this book. Frankly, if you need to hear the words it has to say, you probably won't notice a typo or two and it is far from unreadable! As to the author's Narcissism, I have read several books, "Trapped in the Mirror" is one, written by authors who were obviously too close to the subject to do more than talk endlessly about THEIR issues. This isn't that kind of book.

I just sent my copy to my sister who called saying how ashamed she felt to be relieved that my elderly parent's visit to her home had come to an end. When they walked out the door she was suddenly able to feel "real" again. What she felt was the overwhelming sense of fatigue, anger and hurt that had been bottled up for days during their visit. She wanted to know why they had to be so horrible and felt that there must be a way to "change" their behavior.

This book doesn't help you to change your parent's behavior. It does help you to understand the complex mechanisms that make them to do what they do. More importantly it addresses their affect on you and how you can work to change the feelings and dysfunctional life strategies they have caused you to adopt.

Please excuse the typos. I don't have an editor either!
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