12 October 2009

BOOK REVIEW - Workplace Politics - Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving With the Self-Absorbed

Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving With the Self-Absorbed Podcast Episode from Psychjourney Podcast

Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving With the Self-Absorbed
Apr 24, 2008
Deborah Harper, President of Psychjourney, interviews Ms. Wendy Behary, LCSW, author of Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving With the Self-Absorbed published by New Harbinger. Wendy Behary is the founder and director of The Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and The New Jersey Institute for Schema Therapy. She has been treating clients and training professionals for more than 20 years. Wendy is also on the faculty of the Cognitive Therapy Center and Schema Therapy Institute of New York, where she has trained and worked with Dr. Jeffrey Young since 1989. She is a founding fellow of The Academy of Cognitive Therapy / Dr. Aaron T. Beck. Wendy has co-authored several chapters and articles on schema therapy and cognitive therapy. Wendy has a specialty in treating narcissists and the people who live with and deal with them. She has lectured both nationally and internationally to professional and general audiences on the subject of narcissism and how to deal with difficult people. Her work with industry has included speaking engagements focused on interpersonal conflict resolution. Her private practice is primarily devoted to treating narcissists, partners/people dealing with them, and couples experiencing relationship problems. She is also an expert in coaching individuals in interviewing, public speaking, and interpersonal skills enhancement. Her Center for Interpersonal Effectiveness is due to open in 2009. Visit her website

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Everyone knows a narcissist, one of those vainglorious individuals in desperate need of constant affirmation and attention. Cognitive therapist Behary's book argues that by modifying your own behavior, you can manage your relationship with such a person. Separating narcissism into categories (spoiled, dependent, deprived and combinations thereof) and exploring the causes of the disorder, the author hopes to assist the reader in overcoming the emotional obstacles involved in interaction with a boss, spouse, friend or relative. Rather than focus on changing the narcissist (which may be impossible), this book aims to help the reader improve self-knowledge to see why the narcissist pushes his or her buttons and how to cope. Some of the instruments Behary provides—such as checklists, flash cards, journal writing— are useful for determining the type of narcissist you are dealing with and how your past experiences affect your responses. The author acknowledges that her book is no panacea, and she doesn't present the reader with strategies for when the narcissist isn't responsive to the actions she has suggested. Notwithstanding this caveat, Behary's book will surely provide help to many in need of a confidence bolster in the face of provocation.

Product Description
How can you handle the narcissistic people in your life? They're frustrating (and maybe even intimidating) to deal with. You might need to interact with some of them in social or professional settings, and you might even love one--so sometimes it just doesn't work to simply ignore them. You need to find a way of communicating effectively with narcissists, getting your point across and meeting your needs while side-stepping unproductive power struggles and senseless arguments. This book offers a host of effective strategies for dealing effectively with someone who is at the center of his or her own universe.
Disarming the Narcissist 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 find out how to be heard in conversation with a narcissist. Finally, you'll learn how to set limits with your narcissist and when it's time to draw the line on unacceptable behavior.

"Anyone whose life predicament includes dealing with a narcissist will be well-advised to read Wendy Behary's book and heed her advice. Disarming the Narcissist offers sound suggestions and keen insights--a breakthrough in one of psychology's toughest cases."

--Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

"...a valuable contribution to the growing self-help literature on the fascinating subject of narcissism. Behary takes the reader step-by-step through a process of understanding our personal triggers to the wounding inherent in narcissistic relations and then lays out a pathway for personal empowerment and change."

--Sandy Hotchkiss, LCSW, author of Why Is It Always About You?



77 of 78 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Very worthwhile message for those willing to work hard...., March 2, 2008
By SmartCookie (Sonoma, CA)
One of the few books on the market that actually provides practical insight and techniques for handling encounters with an individual who is narcississtic. Most books focus almost entirely on how awful the narcississt can behave to the point of demonizing what is essentially a archaic defense mechanism learned in childhood. The author spends considerable time on what you, as the non-narcississt, get out of the relationship, how you pick up the other end of the rope, and the importance of understanding your own hot buttons (which Narcississt's are almost supernaturally good at triggering) rather than continuing the status quo by responding with your own defensive patterns that go nowhere but bad. This book is asking a lot of it's readers; that they understand the concept of schemas and that they grow up emotionally and approach their life, and the narcissist's they may love or encounter, from a place of strength, knowledge, maturity, and wisdom. If you want another book that outlines how horrible narcissists are and how you are their unwilling victim, you will not appreciate this book. If you are willing or interested to learn about yourself and looking at your own part of the dance, such that through your own growth and modeling the relationship, even with a narcississt, has a chance to improve, then this book is for you. Bravo.

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly effective and beautifully written, April 9, 2008
By Dr. George Lockwood
I have over 25 years of full time practice as a therapist and have had extensive training in psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy and schema therapy (the approach upon which this book is based). This book does justice to the full depth and complexity of Narcissism. It does not offer simplistic advice or a quick solution that, like chewing gum, seems great at the start but quickly fades. With warmth, a delightful sense of humor and compassion, this author takes you by the hand and introduces you to the key strategies we have found effective in dealing with, and overcoming, narcissism. This book is clear, practical, and enjoyable to read. It will take time, effort and repeated study to fully grasp all that is offered but I can assure that your effort will be well rewarded since this author has obviously "done her homework" and truly knows. Upon first read, some of the strategies may seem difficult to execute. This is because they are built upon a blending and layering of skills and knowledge involving the heart and the mind. This is what it takes to be effective with narcissism. There is not a quick and easy way. I can assure you that if you are not just going through the motions, they work. Similar to learning to play a musical instrument or a new sport like golf or tennis, what can seem daunting at the start will eventually be in your grasp if you break it into the steps you need and gradually put it all together. Some of us will be a quick study and some of us will benefit from additional "coaching". The author provides useful links for the latter.

I, as a seasoned therapist, have learned a great deal from this book and find it making a significant difference in my work. I will be returning to it repeatedly myself.

69 of 78 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars Fell short of what is promised, March 6, 2008
By Karen E. Fauls-traynor "karenft" (Chittenango, New York USA)
Overall, I found this book to be disappointing. It was helpful in terms of learning about narcissists and why they behave the way they do. The information about schemas and the reasons why we let narcissists push our buttons was also interesting. What I was looking for--as promised in the book--was strategies for dealing with people with this disorder, and I thought that those listed were very unrealistic. The examples of helpful dialogue that the author gives are just not practical. A narcissist would be have tuned out after the first sentence of most of those monologues. The tips for dealing with a narcissist coworker were few and far between. Basically, I was left with the impression that there is not much you can do about a narcissist in your life except change your own behavior or get them out of your life.

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