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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

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                      Samantha Rodman

                      Clinical psychologist, author, blogger, wife and mommy.

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                      Last Updated on November 26, 2020

                      How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success

                      How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success

                      As playwright Wilson Mizner supposedly said all the way back in the 1930s,

                      “Be kind to everyone on the way up; you will meet the same people on the way down.”

                      The adage is the perfect prototype for relationship building in 2020, although we may want to expand Mizner’s definition of “kind” to include being helpful, respectful, grateful, and above all, crediting your colleagues along the way.

                      5 Ways to Switch on Your Relationship Building Magnetism

                      Relationship building does not come easily to all. Today’s computer culture makes us more insular and less likely to reach out—not to mention our new work-from-home situation in which we are only able to interact virtually. Still, relationship building remains an important part of career engagement and success, and it gets better with practice.

                      Here are five ways you can strengthen your relationships:

                      1. Advocate for Other’s Ideas

                      Take the initiative to speak up in support of other team members’ good ideas. Doing so lets others know that the team’s success takes precedence over your needs for personal success. Get behind any colleague’s innovative approach or clever solution and offer whatever help you can give to see it through. Teammates will value your vote of confidence and your support.

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                      2. Show Compassion

                      If you learn that someone whom you work with has encountered difficult times, reach out. If it’s not someone you know well, a hand-written card expressing your sympathy and hopes for better times ahead could be an initial gesture. If it’s someone with whom you interact regularly, the act could involve offering to take on some of the person’s work to provide a needed reprieve or even bringing in a home-cooked dish as a way to offer comfort. The show of compassion will not go unnoticed, and your relationship building will have found a foothold.

                      3. Communicate Regularly

                      Make an effort to share any information with team members that will help them do their jobs more effectively. Keeping people in the loop says a lot about your consideration for what others need to deliver their best results.

                      Try to discover the preferred mode of communication for each team member. Some people are fine relying on emails; others like to have a phone conversation. And once we can finally return to working together in offices, you may determine that face-to-face updates may be most advantageous for some members.

                      4. Ask for Feedback

                      Showing your willingness to reach out for advice and guidance will make a positive impression on your boss. When you make it clear that you welcome and can accept pointers, you display candor and trust in what opinions your superior has to offer. Your proclivity towards considering ways of improving your performance and strengthening any working interactions will signal your strong relationship skills.

                      If you are in a work environment where you are asked to give feedback, be generous and compassionate. That does not mean being wishy-washy. Try always to give the type of feedback that you wouldn’t mind receiving.

                      5. Give Credit Where It’s Due

                      Be the worker who remembers to credit staffers with their contributions. It’s a surprisingly rare talent to credit others, but when you do so, they will remember to credit you, and the collective credit your team will accrue will be well worth the effort.

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                      How Does Relationship Building Build Careers?

                      Once you have strengthened and deepened your relationships, here are some of the great benefits:

                      Work Doesn’t Feel So Much Like Work

                      According to a Gallup poll, when you have a best friend at work, you are more likely to feel engaged with your job. Work is more fun when you have positive, productive relationships with your colleagues. Instead of spending time and energy overcoming difficult personalities, you can spend time enjoying the camaraderie with colleagues as you work congenially on projects together. When your coworkers are your friends, time goes by quickly and challenges don’t weigh as heavily.

                      You Can Find Good Help

                      It’s easier to ask for assistance when you have a good working relationship with a colleague. And with office tasks changing at the speed of technology, chances are that you are going to need some help acclimating—especially now that work has gone remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

                      Much of relationship building rests on your genuine expressions of appreciation toward others. Showing gratitude for another’s help or for their willingness to put in the extra effort will let them know you value them.

                      Mentors Come Out of the Woodwork

                      Mentors are proven to advance your professional and career development. A mentor can help you navigate how to approach your work and keep you apprised of industry trends. They have a plethora of experience to draw from that can be invaluable when advising you on achieving career success and advancement.

                      Mentors flock to those who are skilled at relationship building. So, work on your relationships and keep your eyes peeled for a worthy mentor.

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                      You Pull Together as a Team

                      Great teamwork starts with having an “abundance mentality” rather than a scarcity mentality. Too often, workers view all projects through a scarcity mentality lens. This leads to office strife as coworkers compete for their piece of the pie. But in an abundance mentality mode, you focus on the strengths that others bring rather than the possibility that they are potential competitors.

                      Instead, you can commit relationship building efforts to ensure a positive work environment rather than an adversarial one. When you let others know that you intend to support their efforts and contribute to their success, they will respond in kind. Go, team!

                      Your Network Expands and So Does Your Paycheck

                      Expand your relationship building scope beyond your coworkers to include customers, suppliers, and other industry stakeholders. Your extra efforts can lead to extra sales, a more rewarding career, and even speedy professional advancement. And don’t overlook the importance of building warm relationships with assistants, receptionists, or even interns.

                      Take care to build bridges, not just to your boss and your boss’s boss but with those that work under you as well. You may find that someone who you wouldn’t expect will put in a good word for you with your supervisor.

                      Building and maintaining good working relationships with everyone you come in contact with can pay off in unforeseen ways. You never know when that underling will turn out to be the company’s “golden child.” Six years from now you may be turning to them for a job. If you have built up a good, trusting work relationship with others along your way, you will more likely be considered for positions that any of these people may be looking to fill.

                      Your Job Won’t Stress You Out

                      Study shows that some 83 percent of American workers experience work-related stress.[1] Granted, some of that stress is now likely caused by the new pandemic-triggered workplace adjustments, yet bosses and management, in general, are reportedly the predominant source of stress for more than one-third of workers.

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                      Having meaningful connections among coworkers is the best way to make work less stressful. Whether it is having others whom to commiserate with, bounce ideas off, or bring out your best performance, friendships strengthen the group’s esprit de corps and lower the stress level of your job.

                      Your Career Shines Bright

                      Who would you feel better about approaching to provide a recommendation or ask for promotion: a cold, aloof boss with whom you have only an impersonal relationship or one that knows you as a person and with whom you have built a warm, trusting relationship?

                      Your career advancement will always excel when you have a mutual bond of friendship and appreciation with those who can recommend you. Consider the plug you could receive from a supervisor who knows you as a friend versus one who remains detached and only notices you in terms of your ability to meet deadlines or attain goals.

                      When people fully know your skills, strengths, personality, and aspirations, you have promoters who will sing your praises with any opportunity for advancement.

                      Final Thoughts

                      At the end of the day, it is “who you know” not “what you know.” When you build relationships, you build a pipeline of colleagues, work partners, team members, current bosses, and former bosses who want to help you—who want to see you succeed.

                      At its core, every business is a people business. Making a point to take the small but meaningful actions that build the foundation of a good relationship can be instrumental in cultivating better relationships at work.

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                      Featured photo credit: Adam Winger via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] The American Institute of Stress: 42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics

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