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10 Powerful Books That Can Teach You How To Deal With Narcissists

10 Powerful Books That Can Teach You How To Deal With Narcissists

Everyone knows a narcissist.  These individuals are self-centered, have little capacity for empathy, are exploitative and manipulative, and feel they deserve a great deal of admiration.  If you work with narcissists, were raised by one (or two!), have them in your family, or are in a relationship with one, there are some wonderful books that I often recommend to my therapy clients to learn how to deal with them.

1. Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DO97OQ2?tag=s7621-20

    This is a wonderful book that anyone involved with a narcissist needs to read.  There are proven techniques for dealing more effectively with narcissists, such as ignoring their show-offy grand gestures and instead, reinforcing them for everyday, kind behaviors.  Excellent read and practical advice, whether the narcissist you know is at home, at work, or anywhere else.

    2. Trapped in the Mirror by Elan Golomb.

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    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00851M798?tag=s7621-20

      This is an in-depth psychological book about the effects of growing up with a narcissist for a parent.  This can impact your self-esteem, identity, and ability to form relationships with others.  This book is wonderful for those who want to deeply explore the ramifications of growing up with a narcissist for a mother or father.

      3. Emotional Vampires by Alan Bernstein.

      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000QCTO9U?tag=s7621-20

        Although this book is not only about narcissists, they are the main type of “Emotional Vampire” that sucks the energy and joy out of your life.  This book is particularly helpful if you want concrete strategies for identifying and interacting with narcissists in a way that will not leave you feeling exhausted, hopeless, and bad about yourself.

        4. Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward.

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        https://www.amazon.com/dp/0060928972?tag=s7621-20;ie=UTF8&qid=1408649510&sr=1-1&keywords=emotional+blackmail

          Again, this is not only about narcissists, but they are a significant percentage of people who engage in emotional blackmail. If you have a relationship in which your needs are never being considered, you always feel like you don’t matter, and when you try and assert yourself, you get quickly shut down, you need to read this book.

          5. Will I Ever Be Good Enough?  Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyn McBride.

          https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001AO0GD6?tag=s7621-20

            This unique book focuses explicitly on daughters of narcissistic mothers, and discusses how being raised by a narcissistic mother can continue to impact women through adulthood.  It is difficult to think of yourself as worthy of love if your mother focused only on herself and her own needs.  Women often have difficulty viewing their own needs as equally important to others’ needs, and this is compounded if you were brought up by a narcissistic mother.  A must read for women with narcissistic moms.

            6. Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grownup’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents by Nina W. Brown.

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            children of the self-absorbed

              If I could only recommend one book to adult children of narcissists, this would be it.  It takes you through what it’s like as a child to be raised by a narcissist, and how this has a lasting and severe impact on your emotional and psychological wellbeing, as well as your ability to interact with others in healthy ways.  This book also helps you think about how to moderate the impact of your upbringing as you move forward as an adult.

              7. The Narcissistic Family: A Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Pressman.

              narcissistic family

                Psychologists often wonder about clients who have the same emotional traumas as people who grew up in alcoholic homes, but whose parents were not alcoholics.  This groundbreaking book shows how being raised by a narcissist is emotionally equivalent to being raised by an alcoholic in many ways.  If you feel that you could never go against the party line in your home, and there was only one way that you were allowed to view things, then you could benefit from reading this excellent text.  It may be life changing.

                8. Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward.

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                https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000SEH80I?tag=s7621-20

                  This is a classic book that can help adult children deal with parents who are making them feel stressed, guilty, and pushed to their emotional breaking point.  Narcissists are only one of the types of toxic parents described, but the advice is excellent and pragmatic.  If your parent is a narcissist, you will have to set some boundaries in order to live your life in a healthy and adaptive way, and this book helps you figure out exactly what to say and do to create these necessary boundaries.

                  9. Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisted by Sam Vaknin.

                  malignant self-love

                    This book has a cult following.  Sam Vaknin, a self proclaimed narcissist himself, takes us behind the scenes into the mind of a narcissist and gives us an inside glimpse at how a narcissist operates.  This book is fascinating and is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn in depth about the narcissist in their life, including the background of how narcissism develops.

                    10. Why Is It Always About You?  The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy Hotchkiss.

                    why is it always about you?

                      This book is a great look at the seven “deadly sins” of narcissism, and shows how and why narcissists became how they are.  There is helpful advice for extricating yourself from a relationship with a narcissist, and also insight as to why you may have been involved with a narcissist in the first place, related to your own personal background.  Easy and quick read.

                      Featured photo credit: Narcissist via histsociety.blogspot.com

                      More by this author

                      Samantha Rodman

                      Clinical psychologist, author, blogger, wife and mommy.

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                      Last Updated on April 14, 2021

                      How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

                      How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

                      We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

                      Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

                      Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

                      Expressing Anger

                      Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

                      Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

                      Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

                      Being Passive-Aggressive

                      This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

                      Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

                      This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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                      Poorly-Timed

                      Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

                      An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

                      Ongoing Anger

                      Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

                      Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

                      Healthy Ways to Express Anger

                      What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

                      Being Honest

                      Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

                      Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

                      Being Direct

                      Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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                      Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

                      Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

                      Being Timely

                      When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

                      Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

                      Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

                      How to Deal With Anger

                      If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

                      1. Slow Down

                      From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

                      In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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                      When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

                      2. Focus on the “I”

                      Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

                      When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

                      3. Work out

                      When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

                      Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

                      Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

                      If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

                      4. Seek Help When Needed

                      There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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                      5. Practice Relaxation

                      We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

                      That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

                      Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

                      6. Laugh

                      Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

                      7. Be Grateful

                      It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

                      Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

                      During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

                      Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

                      More Resources on Anger Management

                      Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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