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Help! I'm in Love with a Narcissist Hardcover – January 21, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Christina, a successful 38-year-old real estate agent, was very happy with Len, who initially overwhelmed her with compliments, care and concern; once she had fallen in love with him, he suddenly began to insist that his needs and plans and schedules come first. Christina was in love with a narcissist—and in their new guide, the authors of Men Who Can't Love tell how to recognize such a beast, the dangers of loving one and strategies for ending a relationship with a person who always puts "me" first. The authors point out that we all may exhibit narcissistic tendencies at times, but the true narcissist is incapable of a give-and-take relationship. The authors acknowledge that they are writers, not therapists, and base their theories on anecdotes, written in very accessible language, rather than on academic research. Many interviews were conducted with both men and women completely seduced by narcissists, who can, according to the authors, be extremely charismatic. Carter and Sokol detail behavioral cues that can identify a narcissist and look at the causes of narcissism, chief among them being raised by narcissistic parents. Carter and Sokol provide a number of coping skills for those involved with narcissists, but their advice boils down to taking care of yourself first and seeking outside support.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Steven Carter lives in Los Angles, California. Julia Sokol lives in Bristol, Rhode Island.
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Narcissists rarely visit therapists. When they do, they are typically there not to change themselves, but to try to manipulate the therapist into promoting their agenda.
I liked the quotation, "We think it's important that none of us get hung up on the label narcissistic and attach it to every person and every situation that doesn't go along with what we want. In fact, when we do that, we may well be more deserving of the label than the person we are pointing at." [Sounds like someone I used to know.] The book clearly shows how the toxic narcissist differs from someone with healthy self esteem, ambition, and assertiveness.
Other books that I have found helpful in my journey to healing are "Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men" by Lundy Bancroft; "Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them" by Susan Forward.
This book is not only well written and easy to read, and not only does it contain the hundreds of case studies that can be found in other books, but it addresses some of the most common reasons why people in relationships with narcissists cannot leave, or why they will not leave. The other books I have read explain the psychology and characteristics of the disease, but they do not seem to address the objections the co-narcissist has when it comes to leaving. This book does that, and that is why I found it invaluable.
There are a number of reasons that I'm finding it difficult to pull out (the fact that we have two kids are two very strong reasons), but as an example, the authors talk about how many people don't want to leave the relationship only to find that their partner then goes on to another and has the relationship they were promised. This is a real concern for me - I would feel so horrible if, after we divorce, he goes on to have a fulfilling relationship, giving to another what he promised me but could never deliver. Then there are all the typical arguments - maybe I didn't try hard enough, I need to prove myself to him so that he sees I"m not as bad as he makes me out to be, etc., etc. I really appreciate that the authors take into account the concerns and insecurities of the co-narcissist and explain them in such clear terms, illustrated with case studies, and offering legitimate suggestions for improving the situation.
Like I said earlier, I found this book to be invaluable.