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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 July 3, 2020

                      30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

                      30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

                      In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

                      1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

                      Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

                      2. Focus on your breath

                      Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

                      3. Get organized and purge old items

                      A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

                      4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

                      Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

                      5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

                      Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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                      6. Smile more

                      Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

                      7. Don’t worry about the future

                      As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

                      8. Eat real food

                      The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

                      9. Choose being happy over being right

                      Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

                      10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

                      Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

                      11. Make use of filtering features on social media

                      You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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                      12. Get comfortable with silence

                      When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

                      13. Listen to understand, not to respond

                      So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

                      14. Put your troubles in a bubble

                      Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

                      15. Speak more slowly

                      Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

                      16. Don’t procrastinate

                      Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

                      17. Buy a coloring book

                      Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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                      18. Prioritize yourself

                      You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

                      19. Forgive others

                      Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

                      20. Check your expectations

                      Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

                      21. Engage in active play

                      Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

                      22. Stop criticizing yourself

                      The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

                      23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

                      Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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                      24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

                      Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

                      25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

                      Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

                      26. Manage your money

                      Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

                      27. Stop trying to control everything

                      Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

                      28. Practice affirmations

                      Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

                      29. Get up before sunrise

                      Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

                      30. Be yourself

                      Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

                      Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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