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E-Book Review: Narcissist: A User’s Guide

bird nest

bird nest

I can see a small compact bird’s nest in the tree just beyond my window, because the leaves have not yet returned for another year.   This nest has withstood a windy winter and its construction has remained unscathed for the weathering. I am not expert enough to know what kind of bird built so well, but think I could Google search for birds about the size of a robin and investigate who might just call this home.  It is revealed and it has captured my attention.

I feel very much about this ebook as I do about the sturdy nest.   The authors have revealed to me a human behavior which is not healthy and which can truly diminish the lives of others.  It is a sturdy, compact and well built introduction.  It creates awareness and hopefully the drive to investigate further if one believes one is coping with a narcissist in one’s own life.

The authors Lori Hoeck of Think Like a Black Belt and Betsy Wuebker  of Passing Thru have discovered that they both had to remove themselves from being in the hold of a Narcissist.  It is from this common thread they shared their stories and their knowledge of how to handle the situations and regain a strong sense of their own worth and self.  They have collected stories from others and climbed the tree to take some good measurements of the nest which remains.

The format of the book was very easy to read and moved one through the phases of definition and discovery into story, research and identifiers.  I especially liked the small quotes/vignettes down the sidebar.   The cover and the art throughout enhanced the reading experience and in no way hindered the flow of information sharing.   The writing was clean and straightforward.

As the authors pointed out we all have narcissistic tendencies which are defensive postures when we are young – they protect us and actually help us to move forward in our social/psychological development as individuals.   Methamphetamine addicts also display a narcissistic behavior pattern when put on the defensive.   Many people retreat into these defensive postures when under stress.

The Narcissist  has developed a “false”  sense of self and been arrested in their development usually because of a traumatic experience in the individuation process.  Children may also be modeling behavior that they have been exposed to and feel comfortable with; unable to move forward.

The Narcissist reveals our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities and thus usually makes us feel distressed, judged and uncomfortable.  Lots of blaming energy.

I particularly liked the questions posed to test, at a quiet moment , if one might be dealing with Narcissist:

Q: Where do you expect to be in 5 years?
Q: Biggest or toughest challenge in your life right now?
Q: Funniest story about you or others from your past?
Q: What is your favorite joke?
Q: Whom do you trust the most and why?
Q: What were the last two gifts you gave someone else?

This simple group of questions is followed by how a person might answer and how a narcissist would focus the answers.  It would be hoped that the analysis of these answers would be cause for further investigation and follow through.

“This book increases the awareness of narcissism and in my opinion that is the first step in dealing with it.”   Davina’s words about this book on her review at Shades of Crimson.

Narcississt Book

Whenever people do not develop a strong self of self and individuation based on values, strengths and recognizing weaknesses I believe there is bound to be trouble.   Betsy and Lori have included information about how to recognize the enabling factors and how “neediness” can contribute to the psychosis progression.

I give hearty thumbs up to two great writers for introducing us to this behavior and sharing their own personal stories.  I hope this assists others in gaining insight and allows release from tough and degrading situations; I challenge the reader to learn more.

Whenever someone shares important life lessons with us they are giving us insight and hope; hope that others may learn the lessons and be spared the hurt and harm.  It is a brave and loving gift.

This is a sturdy nest from which one can spread their wings and take flight, if you are indeed the right fit.

Have you experienced a Narcissist?   How do you identify problems and what intrigues you to further study?  Do you have some tried and true “red flags” that work for you?

Other Related Reading you might enjoy:
Female Brain Gone Insane
I Needs
Increase Your Emotional IQ

26 Responses to “E-Book Review: Narcissist: A User’s Guide”

  1. Betsy Wuebker Says:

    Hi Patricia – Thank you for this wonderful review. Your analogy with the nest underscores the importance of maintaining the emotional safety and devices we use as homing instincts within ourselves.

    One of the things Lori and I found as we looked at all the stories we collected was that overall there was an early recognition when dealing with a narcissist that something was “not quite right.” Honoring that instinct is a key element in honest assessment of whether we should continue with a relationship. What the narcissist banks on is that we will be reluctant for a number of reasons to acknowledge how right our gut feelings are, but rather proceed further into an unhealthy dynamic for any number of reasons based upon other needs we might have.

    Also, Davina recently uncovered a reference that studied reactions and attraction with narcissistic individuals. The findings showed that the observer is invariably drawn more to the narcissistic individual than not when they first present. Narcissistic behavior, in the study, rated higher. Self-absorption and arrogance were misinterpreted as self-admiration and confidence. Exploitative and authoritative behavior were mistaken for qualities of leadership and entitlement.

    Such misinterpretations can be corrected short-term when the behaviors inevitably accelerate. That is when most people move on from the narcissist, or minimize involvement. But not always. So the narcissist plays a numbers game. Eventually they’ll encounter someone who gives them permission to feed.
    .-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..WordPress Defender: Protect Your Blog =-.

  2. Tony Single Says:

    Very interesting topic. I think I’d prefer to let others comment on this, but I will pose a question that just occurred to me…

    Would a narcissist thrive in a management role within an organisation?

    I ask because they seem to, on the surface at least, share many of the qualities that corporations must surely admire in their management staff.
    .-= Tony Single´s last blog ..In the Wildwood Air =-.

  3. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. sorry I’m going for the bird’s egg and nest – what an amazing egg and your photo is brilliant – please let us know what it is when you find out! Isn’t that nest so well built and so have survived the winter apparently so well intact is incredible – kudos to the bird!! Go well ..
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..The Middle Ages of the web – ancient pathways, monastic steps, St David yesterday, St Chad today and lines of communication … =-.

  4. Talon Says:

    Like the nest, it’s important for people to have a solid foundation on which to grow.

    I hope the nest is used again this year – and you’ll have a bird’s eye view if it is (sorry, bad pun!).
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Crooked =-.

  5. Tess The Bold Life Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    There are several members in my family that fit this mode. I wish I knew how to deal with it at a much younger age. I didn’t until my first counseling job and I could finally put a name on the craziness.
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Bold Solutions For A New World =-.

  6. J.D. Meier Says:

    > Whenever people do not develop a strong self of self and individuation based on values, strengths and recognizing weaknesses I believe there is bound to be trouble.

    Perfect words of wisdom!
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..Getting Started with Agile Results =-.

  7. Mama Zen Says:

    Excellent review!
    .-= Mama Zen´s last blog ..Smooches =-.

  8. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia.

    Another satisfied reviewer of this book; thanks for the mention. Love the analogy of the nest. Don’t believe I’ve had contact with a narcissist, though know many with some of these characteristics. I find it hard to distinguish, to be quite honest. What Betsy said about listening to your gut… well, I think that is the best place to start. Cause even certain non-narcissists are not necessarily going to be a good person.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Book Review: WordPress Defender =-.

  9. Lori Hoeck Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    Thank you for your thoughtful review. I love this:

    “Whenever people do not develop a strong self of self and individuation based on values, strengths and recognizing weaknesses I believe there is bound to be trouble.”

    So true and yet so often neglected by parents and society. How I wish there were classes in “How to be Comfortable in Your Own Skin.” Once we awaken to our inner worth and well-being, the narcissist has trouble making a foothold in our hearts and minds.

    Hi Tony,
    To answer you question, yes businesses and corporations use narcissistic managers because the narcissists are dedicated to results so they can look good and earn ego strokes. Unfortunately, the toll on employees through stress, the turn-over that occurs in such departments, and subtle sabotage to any levels of teamwork by the narcissist makes the workplace eventually very unproductive.
    .-= Lori Hoeck´s last blog ..The black belt journey now comes with a guide =-.

  10. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    “Have you experienced a Narcissist?” Yes! and after reading the book too, I can say with confidence that it’s truly empowering.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..THIS Is Why I Persist With (Occasional) Feminist Blogging =-.

  11. patricia Says:

    Betsy,
    It is a good book and I was glad to share it with others. I think one of the best lessons I taught my kids was to honor those funny feelings one gets in the stomach – like you just heard a fire truck siren coming behind you feelings…analyze those feelings because they are important messages.

    I have heard a great many teachers get these vibes in at least one parent-teacher conference per year…and the teacher is always blamed.
    Good work – you both are such good writers

  12. patricia Says:

    Tony,
    I believe Lori answered your question best…I think it would be fun to have one of your piggies display these characteristics and assist other’s in learning how to work with them and stay safe???
    Just an idea.

  13. patricia Says:

    Hilary,
    I love that picture too…I think my friend Jeff could id the egg for sure – I will ask. Alas that is the not bird’s nest out my window and I am too stiff to have climbed that high up into the tree. I think I did not notice it before because it was so high up…my little camera could not find it…so this is a picture out of the “free box” on the web.

  14. patricia Says:

    Talon,
    I hope the nest is used again this year, but it is so high and this tree has such huge heavy leaves???? but now I know it is there, I can keep watch.
    Foundations are oh so important…children are truly miracles when one thinks of all that could happen

  15. patricia Says:

    Tess,
    My first counseling job I knew nothing about this problem and it was with a young mother who was raised by a Narcissist Preacher father, and now married to another, who shot her 4 year old daughter to save her from the incest the mother had experienced….I had to learn so much so quickly…what a lesson.

    We don’t like to think about these things happening in our world, but sometimes a little knowledge in an astute format can help us or someone else.

    Here here to all those counselors making the world a better place – Here here to Tess

  16. patricia Says:

    JD
    Thank you for your good words. They are greatly appreciated

  17. patricia Says:

    Mama Zen,
    Thank you

  18. patricia Says:

    Davina,
    It takes all kinds to make a world and I think all kinds of people can be kind even when the spirit has been broken in some way – Yes even people who are non-narcissistic can be not nice people. That gut response is an important signal not to ignore

  19. patricia Says:

    Lori,
    A good book and well written.” Once we awaken to our inner worth and well-being, the narcissist has trouble making a foothold in our hearts and minds. ” This is oh so true…

    Davina is a good teacher of how to enjoy being in your own skin and I think Tess must be grand at it…..:)

  20. patricia Says:

    Vered,
    The book is empowering…
    One of my daughters experienced a teacher who was a Narcissist in about 4-5th grade. The teacher was excellent at getting the kids learning all the material because she wanted to look good and have her class score well. But when you did not do what she wanted she was awful to the child. My kiddo stood up to her day after day and has developed an amazing strength of character from the experience, but we were all so happy when the other teacher took over her section of the class ( 2 teachers sharing a 4-5th classroom) I do not think that teacher made all the children strong.

  21. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. I thought it was a little too perfect – but even so – you could have seen it thru binoculas, or with a good camera long range .. so I just thought how lucky you could follow the development etc and see the birds flying around. A friend of my mother’s in Wales mentioned she’d put bird feeders outside the windows of her flat and she was enjoying them .. as has Sara .. so I’m thinking about them being close in and personal! Enjoy the thought! Lovely and sunny here .. thank goodness .. feel a little better if nothing else I hope for you .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..The Middle Ages of the web – ancient pathways, monastic steps, St David yesterday, St Chad today and lines of communication … =-.

  22. Jannie Funster Says:

    Another hearty thumbs-up from me!!!

    I didn’t even know I had been in the grips of a narcissist until I read this. I just loved this e-book, and it freed me so. A sturdy nest indeed!!
    xo
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..The Blog Party (a poem) =-.

  23. Patricia Says:

    Hilary,
    I think it would take roof sitting or an airplane to see in my wee nesty overhead. We too are having sunshine today and I do feel better for it

    Jannie,
    a very good introduction – I thought it worth putting the word out again.

  24. Dot Says:

    Excellent review! This is similar to (but better than) the review I would have written if I had reviewed this book. However, reading it brought up so many bad memories and so much fear inside me relating to my second marriage that I decided to move on to happeir things. But don’t let that stop anyone else from reading it — it’s the real deal.

    Having a good deal of experience with abusive people, as well as being one of, and knowing a lot of, their victims, I would say that this book will definitely help you recognize and cope with this type of abusive person. While they may be charming and attractive at first, soon you realize that being around them makes you feel awful and your self-esteem is being eroded on a daily basis. Such a “toxic” person need not be a part of your life — read the book and learn how to cope.

  25. Patricia Says:

    Dot,
    Thank you for your good words about the book and your recovery and thank you for your compliment about the review – I consider that high praise coming from you –

  26. Lori Hoeck Says:

    Thank you all for your kind comments on the e-book and review! It’s wonderful to read it’s already helping so many.

    Hi Dot,
    Glad you made it through that tough time. While writing the e-book, Betsy and I both went through some emotional times re-visiting those past relationships. So did some early readers, so I understand it can stir up a lot. Thank you for calling our work “the real deal” — we distilled a lot of experience into it!
    .-= Lori Hoeck´s last blog ..The black belt journey now comes with a guide =-.