There is a lot of information out there on narcissistic personality disorder. But which one is any good? Reading about narcissism enhances awareness. Awareness can bring relief. But which book will help you achieve this? I have put together a list of books that have helped me in my understanding (I promise they are not all psychology manuals and they are easy to understand). These books that I have chosen are great resource guides, they are written in a language that is easy to understand.
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. From Charm To Harm by Gregory Zaffuto
£10.53 | $14.99 (Amazon)
This book has it all, it outlines everything such behaviours and thoughts that perhaps you never noticed before. Zaffuto has written this book about many aspects of what defines a narcissist and the abuse. Through his personal experience with this abuse his writing allows us to relate to every aspect of the abuse; feeling worthless, sadness and the pain of separation, isolation and anger. He also outlines the effects of emotional and psychological abuse that include trauma as well as the methodology of recover and healing. This book is your manual to your recovery, I would recommend as a must, I personally learnt a lot of about my experience and have used this book as source of information for my YouTube videos.
2. Disarming The Narcissist (second edition) by Wendy T. Bethany. £12.55 | $11.38 (Amazon)
This book will show you how to move past the narcissist's defenses using compassionate, empathetic communication. You'll learn how narcissists view the world, how to navigate their coping styles, and why, oftentimes, it's sad and lonely being a narcissist. By learning to anticipate and avoid certain hot-button issues, you'll be able to relate to narcissists without triggering aggression. By validating some common narcissistic concerns, you'll also find out how to be heard in conversation with a narcissist.
This book will help you learn to meet your own needs while side-stepping unproductive power struggles and senseless arguments with someone who is at the center of his or her own universe. This new edition also includes new chapters on dealing with narcissistic women, aggressive and abusive narcissists, strategies for safety, and the link between narcissism and sex addiction.
Finally, you'll learn how to set limits with your narcissist and when it's time to draw the line on unacceptable behaviour.
3. Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyn McBride. £8.87 | $7.17 (Amazon)
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.
4. Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grownup’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents by Nina W. Brown. £10.53 | $6.98 (Amazon).
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.
5. The Narcissistic Family: A Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Pressman. £38.99 | $32.48 (Amazon)
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.
6. When Love Is A Lie: Narcissistic Partners & The pathological Relationship Agenda by Zari Ballard. £4.55 | $10.99 (Amazon)
When Love Is A Lie breaks down the signs of a narcissistic personality, exposes the narcissist's way of thinking, and explains exactly how a partner with this type of personality will over time, deliberately and methodically manage down your expectations of the relationship so that you expect less.
Narcissist abuse is often so intentionally passive-aggressive that we never quite understand what's happening until it's too late and we're already hooked. Friends and family try to be supportive but they simply don't get it.
This book, from its very first pages, offers a reprieve from this isolation. When Love is a Lie will make you laugh and it may even make you cry but, above all else, it will provide confirmation and validation that, in a relationship with a narcissistic partner, YOU are not the problem.
7. POWER: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse: A Collection of Essays on Malignant Narcissism and Recovery from Emotional Abuse by Shahida Arabi. £11.82 | $13.49 (Amazon)
From how to heal our addiction to the narcissist to how to recognise a covert narcissist, Shahida Arabi's articles on narcissistic abuse have gained renown as some of the most accurate and in-depth depictions of this terrifying trauma, resonating with millions of survivors all over the world and receiving endorsements from numerous mental health professionals.
In this essay compilation, readers can enjoy some of her most popular articles as well as new thought pieces on narcissistic abuse: what therapists have to say about malignant narcissists and how children of narcissistic parents can become trapped in the trauma repetition cycle. Survivors are offered new insights on what it means to be both a survivor and a thriver of covert manipulation and trauma. POWER teaches us that it is important to not only understand the tactics of toxic personalities but also to recognise and combat the effects of narcissistic abuse; it guides the survivor to learning, growing, healing and most importantly of all—owning their agency to rebuild their lives and transform their powerlessness into victory.
I hope that you are able to discover which book works for you and which will resonate with you. There are so many to choose from but I personally hove found these titles really useful, particular when researching for information for my YouTube videos and when writing blogs.
Let me know: which books have you found particularly helpful? Which books would you recommend?