The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family

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Every day headlines are filled with examples of narcissistic individuals in positions of power who are nothing more than impostors plundering and wrecking havoc on the lives of others. From the financial barons of Wall Street to our elected officials in government, we are confronted daily with narcissists and the self-serving systems that enable them. Helping people reclaim their lives from this sinister exploitative force is the mission behind Payson's book, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family. Using simple metaphors from the American classic, The Wizard of Oz, Payson illustrates how Dorothy's journey captures all the seductive illusions and challenges that occur when we encounter the narcissist. Empowering the reader with the ABCs of unhealthy narcissism and the unique problems that occur when a person becomes involved with the narcissist, Payson gives step-by-step practical tools to identify, protect, and heal from these destructive relationships. Largely un-addressed in the psychology and self-help literature, this ground breaking book offers hope and help to those who have been drawn into these devastating relationships. She includes illuminating case studies that identify the problems that occur in the different types of relationships, from co-workers, to friends, to parents, to lovers. Readers employing these insights and skills will find new abilities to identify and protect against the narcissist's manipulations and take back control of their lives.

Customer Reviews:

  • This Hits The Nail On The Head!
    I've been in a committed relationship with someone who can double-talk circles about absolutely anything and around absolutely anyone. He rarely tells the truth about anything -- no matter how small the situation. Nothing is ever his fault. The most benign statement to him throws him into immediate defensive or striking-out-at-anyone mode. He doesn't give the slightest care about the effect his words or behavior has on anyone else's feelings or life. I thought I wasn't understanding enough, kind enough, or patient enough. This book helped rescue me from sure insanity! If you have a feeling you're in a relationship of confusion, lies, and emotional abuse -- you're probably living with someone in the throes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This is a must read handbook to help you sort through all the smoke & mirrors your "special someone" has been using to distract you from who he (or she) really is!
    ...more info
  • Wizard of Oz, & other narcisists
    Straightforwardly laid out with a crystal clear logic. I only wish I could have read this book 20 years ago. It would have saved me much heart-ache & confusion....more info
  • Lightbulb moments!
    The recent demise of a particularly confounding romantic relationship sent me looking to purchase my very first "self-help" book. Most of the time, people make sense to me. However, a year's worth of WTF? with this person really had me confused, as I'd never met someone quite so self-obsessed, empathy-free, and with a hair trigger temper if his knowledge/opinion was questioned. This book was really a lightbulb moment for me-- it really put into context not only his confounding behavior/actions, but also my inexplicable responses/behavior that were, frankly, not the me I thought I was. It's been an eye-opening experience to understand the overt narcissist/co-dependent relationship, and to see how I have been in this same dance (in subtle and not-so-subtle ways) a number of times with friends, family, and at work. Some of these relationships I could (and did) walk away from. For those that I feel I can't (family, co-workers), this really gave me the knowledge to understand the dynamic and deal with it effectively, rather than continue to get emotionally caught up in the situation and, ultimately, give the narcissistic personality the "knee-jerk" reaction that s/he thrives on.
    The reviews really sold me on this book, and I certainly was not disappointed (in spite of my cynicism). Very well written, very highly recommended!...more info
  • Uncanny
    If you have a relationship with a narcissist, you will see it described with uncanny insight in this book. The bad news: you realize how incredibly destructive a narcissist is on the psyches of the people around him. The good news: you can begin to disarm his destructive power - and even begin to have some compassion, from a safe distance - once you understand the ugly, inescapable little pod that a narcissist is trapped in. Likely it comes by way of some wounds he sustained from a narcissist parent, and you can thank God you can keep yourself out of it.

    The book describes my relationship with my ex, and it's almost like a template: the dynamics between a co-dependent and a person with NPD are so familiar. Also uncanny - and more frightening - is the description of the narcissist's relationship to his or her "chosen" child and the terrible burden that imposes upon the child. I've seen this in two generations of narcissists and now I worry the "narcissistic wounding" will be passed on to my child. But I did find some comfort: the "unchosen" child, while neglected, ends up doing better in the long run. Neglect is a good thing when your parent has narcissistic personality disorder. ...more info
  • A Good Guide for Survivors of Narcissistic Relationships
    I am a psychiatrist who became intrigued with this book after a relative read it and found it helpful. While it is not that well written in an organizational sense, it is full of useful and cogent information about a major relationship issue that is not really that well covered either in the lay or the professional literature. It portrays certain sorts of people who are deemed to have "narcissistic personality disorder" and goes into detail about their pathology and how this effects certain vulnerable people who are in various sorts of relationship with them: as child, spouse, employee, etc. From my professional standpoint, it casts a wider net than what I had presumed to be the official "narcissistic personality disorder" in our Manual, but it is likely clinically valid, and certainly very useful. Its utility lies in explaining how the narcissistic personality works, what usually happens to others trapped in a relationship with the narcissist and how they feel, and as a guide in changing that situation when it is possible. I definitely learned things of a practical nature that I had not known before, and others will too....more info
  • Easy to Read and Understand
    I am very glad that I chose this book! I wanted to learn more about Narcissism and didn't know which book to choose. This book is easy to read, understand, and is most helpful in offering suggestions in how to deal with narcissist people in our lives. ...more info
  • Light in the Darkness
    This overview of the dynamics between a "Narcissist" and a "Co" is validating to the confused "Co" who is invalidated and used only to be made wrong when he/she speaks up. The decriptions of the parts each one plays in the inevitable destruction is laid out in clear and concise tables. The fine-tuning of the difference between an "Overt" and a "Covert" Narc. is extremely helpful. Looking at 2 sides of the same "animal" makes it easier to respond and move into growth and health. I am greatly helped in my very long process of learning to love myself as I love my "Narcissists" in a way that is truely loving--to both and all in our lives. I have helped to create and maintain the monster. I have a sense of self that I must grow into too or I am a dependant who "uses" another to define and shape my life! This book hits the "spot! ...more info
  • Reading with Heavy Heart
    This is indeed a valuable book, which I have not yet finished. I know I'll repeatedly return to it in this very difficult time in my life. Divorced after eight years, with two beautiful children, I hope to derive some healing and strength from it.

    It is painful to learn about NPD and read the reviewers and see that NPD is difficult if not impossible to overcome.

    At the risk of sounding co-dependant, this does not bode well for reconciliation with the perplexing woman with whom I had hoped to raise a family and live out my life......more info
  • Life Changing
    My therapist passed the book on to me after years of a painful marriage. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how I was such a bad, bad person that my spouse was never pleased with me. Reading this book was like reading the story of my life. I was stunned that someone I'd never met could describe my life so well. It opened my eyes to what NPD is all about and showed me that my difficult relationship was not all my fault. I had the fortunate opportunity to attend Ms. Payson's first workshop on Health Self for additional information and support on the topic. This book and the workshop were key to my healing and more importantly, to protecting my child from a very bad environment. The book is easy to read with non-complicated explanations of NPD and offers self-help ideas to begin coping....more info
  • Will read at least once a year for the rest of my life!
    I have recommended this to everyone I encounter who is or has been involved with a narcissist, especially those who didn't know it! The best self-help book I have ever read. Anything by Harriet Lerner used to be at the top of my list but nothing can top this book. A fast read--even for me--and therapy in and of itself!...more info
  • The yellow brick road
    This book opened my eyes as a therapist about the *covert* narcissism that exists in families, particularly among women. There are so few books identifying both of these key components. Most books examine male narcissists along with the overt nature of the disorder. This book shines a different light and adds to the prism of possiblities for recovery.

    Joe Kort
    ...more info
  • Not What I Expected
    This is another pop psychology book backed by little real science. The author seems to have written it more for self-therapy than for contributing anything to the scientific community. I would recommend reading a summary of the work and not wasting time with the rest of it. The only value add this brings to the table is the re-introduction of a personality disorder running rampant in modern American culture. ...more info
  • Excellent In-Depth and Worth Reading
    This book lays out in detail, the truth about narcissists and those who care for them. There is no doubt that this is a difficult book to read, if you are or have been involved with someone with an unhealthy degree of narcissism. The author does not spend much time identifying the behavior, she instead cuts right to the chase of explaining its causes and how to cope with the individual. One caveat, reading the book alone might give you a false sense that you understand the situation on an intellectual level. However, reading about a life-saving surgery is not the same thing as undergoing the surgery. True healing can only begin when you experience the emotions that you have been denying yourself. I respect the fact that the author repeatedly recommends professional help to face these issues. ...more info
  • Great Book Which Helps Make Everything Clear....
    This book is indispensible to anyone having to deal with a narcissistic personality. It helps elucidate whether you are dealing with a personality disorder or not. It gives very effective means of dealing with the narcissistic individual and it validates the emotions of the person dealing with the narcissistic individual. As many narcissistic persons as there are in the world today, most people can benefit from reading this book. Narcissism seems to be the epidemic of the new millenium and it is unlikely that you will make it in today's world without running into these dark souls. This book gives you the information you need to interact with them and protect yourself with knowledge and practical coping skills....more info
  • Almost more than I wanted to know!
    Wow! This book is succinctly written and well organized. I found more information in it than in the last two books I read on the subject. I read it once straight through, and then a second time making many notes in the margins and highlighting passages to refer to again later. I found it very, very helpful in helping me to understand -- and cope -- with the narcissists in my life. I have sent copies to several friends and family members....more info
  • Memorable Journey
    This is a really good choice for a "layman" who has discovered or is in the process of discovering they have been in a relationship with a Narcissist. Ms. Payson obviously knows her subject very well and this book has given me and many of my friends some extraordinary insights into dealing with people with this personality disorder. She helps you indentify the disorder in others, identify the reactions it creates within yourself, and helps you see the truths of the situation.

    I recommend this book highly. If you have a primary relationship with a person with NPD and have only recently discovered it, this book provides so many "Ah-ha!" moments, it is dizzying, but at the same time, reassuring and hugely insightful....more info
  • An excellent, truly helpful book
    I'm not a big fan of the self-help genre in general, but The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists really struck home. I recently broke up with a narcissist for whom I was the codependent, and at a number of points in the book I just had to put it down for a moment and have a "Wow" moment. Not only Payson's descriptions of narcissistic traits (which made me a little uncomfortable, since I recognized some of my own behavior in them) but also her descriptions of the dynamics between narcissists and codependents have the ring of authentic experience; that's really what it's like being with an NPD sufferer. She also made me wonder: was this last one just the tip of the iceberg? Were there more before? Will there be more afterward? Some of this stuff gets pretty scary, but I really couldn't put the book down.

    I did take one star away for the writing, which is...well, not so great. There are lots of cliches, and the proofreading seems to be sort of nonexistent. ("Illusive" rather than "elusive?" Hmmm.) I found the writing distracting at points, but the force of the points Payson makes generally overcame the sludgy prose....more info
  • Life-changing
    This book changed my life. If you have a relationship with someone and they are like Jekyll and Hyde, you're confused, you are depressed--Buy this book. You will understand more after you read it. It has helped me to end 10 yrs. of pain, being told that it was all my fault when I knew I was emotionally sucker-punched on an almost daily basis-just didn't know why. This is the first time that I really believe it has nothing to do with me. He is sick. I have tried everything I knew to do to make things better-it never worked. Now I know it can't.
    I also know it will never stop, so I got out. I'm glad I know now that it has a name. BPD -Also, I know now why he always slips around and tells his friends that I am doing things in reality that he is doing. i.e. jealousy, etc. It is called projection.This book clarifies all this in easy to read format....more info
  • A very good book!
    This is a great book about a subject that it seems is not addressed much. I found it hard to read becuase of my own pain but I am glad that I found it and am trying to work my way through it. At first I did not get the Wizard of Oz connection because that is not the sort of movie I paid any attention to but now I do get it. You can check my reviews for another title on this subject that was a total waste of money for me....more info
  • Wow
    This book was great in helping me to understand and deal with the end of a 17 year marriage. On top of that it gave me tools to help me deal in a safe and healthly way with the on-going relationship with my ex. This is what I'm most thankful to Eleanor Payson for because it helps make the impact of our relationship more healthy for our son. The book is also just a plain good read. Clear and eye to eye.
    Thank you...more info
    A very good book - it has helped me greatly. My husband read it also and it has helped him also as he has come to realise in the last few years that his Mother and elder brother are full blown Narcissists. I could see him looking better as he read through the book. The only thing that we did skip through a little was how to deal with them. There is no way you can or would want to have them in your life - they are both evil people. You just have to have nothing to do with them which we have done. ...more info
  • Save yourself hours of therapy
    You can save yourself hours of therapy and years of depression by reading this book. This book describes the problems of the person with narcissistic personality disorder, and the codependent responses of significant others in his or her life. It is probably the best book I have ever read on Narcissism. What makes this book unique is the hopeful tone it is written in, and the practical advice for anyone trying to make things work out. Hurry and read it!...more info
  • An amazing book!
    This book is the most comprehensive explantion of Narcissists that I have ever read. Other books don't cover the depth of damage or the ways to manage that this book does. A must read if you suspect that someone you know in your life may be a narcissist. I found it a lifesaver as it started me on the road to recovery and I have given away many copies to those I see suffering from the harmful effects of these difficult souls. ...more info
  • Couldn't put the book down!
    I have read several books on narcissim, but have never seen one that explained the co-dependent side so well! I have recommended this book to several others struggling with this issue and they love it, too! I was so impressed with her understanding of the subject, I called her and made an appointment. She has helped me with how to implement setting the boundaries...very difficult as it is a family member that I am not willing to leave. This is a must read for all co-dependents!...more info
  • Outstanding and applicable!
    Eleanor Payson has expressed her wisdom and knowledge about this difficult and often insidious relationship in a powerful, empowering and honest manner. Her book has been significantly helpful for me, from both a professional and personal level. She offers both a sound therapeutic perspective as well as an empathetic and hard core look at the subtle and painful realities. I've read many books on this subject and her's has been outstanding! Thanks to Eleanor. ...more info
  • All I can say is WOW
    I dated someone who is described in this book, and while together I didn't know what the heck was wrong with her thinking at times...that is until I read this book. A happy relationship most of the time, it then became crazy other times, getting worse and worse as time went on. Eleanor Payson hits it right on the nose and explains the child-like behaviors that would occasionally surface from an otherwise truly brilliant and highly successful woman. Here are some of the behaviors described:
    1. They are never EVER wrong.
    2. They never admit to anything.
    3. Nothing is ever a great idea unless it comes from them.
    4. You will never get any credit for what you do. Ever.
    5. They don't seem to know or care how what they say might impact you.
    6. You get hopelessly entangled in their arguments, and it never leads to a resolution.
    7. Emotion = Weakness.

    And on and on it goes. The closer you get to them, the worse it becomes. Every chapter sent me reeling as all these behaviors are discussed. Probably half the book is highlighted in yellow and I read it twice. It was like this book was written about her. It also helped me confront my part in the whole thing as well.
    READ THIS BOOK if you suspect a significant other or parent has these tendencies listed above. If so, this book will blow you away. I wish I had this knowledge DURING the relationship and not after I ended it. Understanding the dynamic has brought me some closure and the wisdom of avoiding anything like it again. The sad (and most painful) part is that the only healthy thing you can do is leave. You cannot help them. You cannot heal them. You will not change them.
    ...more info
  • Why Can't They Love?
    Eleanor Payson deftly exposes the manipulative behavior and pathology of a narcissist.

    She reveals why these "charming" creatures suck you in.....and then:

    --Demoralize,critcize, and sabbotage
    --Cannot apologize or admit mistakes
    --Have have no empathy, and are cruel and sadistic
    --Are jealous of almost everyone
    --Have grandiose ideas and an unquenchable need for recogition
    --Are compelled to destroy your self-esteem
    --Why they frequently need a secret life
    --Are arrogant and charming, and feel entitled
    --Are finanancially exploitave
    --Abuse alcohol and drugs

    If understanding is affirmation, Payson opens the door to healing, and the subsequent recapture of the energy and vitalaty that defined you before he/she entered your life. ...more info
  • Gripping
    A powerfully realistic perspective of the many tragedies that result from narcisssim. This is a straight forward read that uses a variety of narritives to explain the spell binding nature of this syndrome. The authors objective informative approach to this subject makes this a must read for anyone who has been affected by this subject....more info
  • Excellent Writer
    This was the most informative book I've ever read on narcissism. The writer just "hit the nail on the head" with so many issues. I once thought I was the only one experiencing this kind of a past relationship. She gives insights to these relationships that are amazing! Very, Very helpful for me and I truly learned so much!! Thank You Eleanor!!! Joanne Slater...more info
  • Yes, I strongly recommend the book
    I liked the book very much. From my reading, this gives a pretty accurate discription of the personality disorder. It is not "pop psychology" but makes the label people tend to throw around a serious disorder. I have counseled for years and see mental as well as chronic physical disorders creating an extreme self interest. A person doesn't have to have a "full blown disorder" to show this kind of development (this is not in the book but my observation) and this book has helped me understand this kind of personality. I have recommended this books to others and would recommend it to anyone be it a person living with a person having this disorder or a counselor....more info
  • Very Informative
    I got this book so that I could better deal with the narcissist in my life. It is a great insightful book, giving you the psyche of a narcissist. After reading this, I found more insight on unhealthy narcissism. The narcissist in my life showed characteristic of having a narcissistic parent. Considering that he grew up with a very controlling religious mother, and no father, who did not allow him to have his own identify and made it very clear that it was her way or the highway. I could then understand why he is the way he is. Healthy Narcissism is good to have when you go for that promotion or when you are about to give a speech in a room full of strangers for first time. It is unhealthy when you have a false sense of self and you cause damage to others and yourself. I found out that I molded myself to be the perfect companion for this narcissist, which is an invert narcissist. The longer I stayed in that passive submissive role, the more damage I was causing myself. When I began to make changes in myself, I saw changes in our relationship. It was hard for both us in the beggining. Me becuase it took guts to be assertive and him becuse he did not know how to react to me. The more I remained consistent and aware of all his defense mechanisms the less emotional stress I put on myself....more info
  • sadly all too true
    This book is new, but I already have it heavily dog eared and highlighted and underlined. ( yes, I deface my books) SO many books have been written on the topic of dealing with the NPD person in your life, but somehow this one delves the deepest, in my opinion. makes me sigh with relief that I am not crazy.....that I have had a longterm largely destructive relationship with a man whom I could NOT figure out from day to day until I started reading books like this one. I highly recommend it. VERY well written, on a painful and easily misunderstood topic. ...more info
  • The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists
    For me, this book was very helpful in understanding the behaviors associated with the Narcissist's personality. It is written very well but pay attention because every sentence is important information. It is, in a way, a relief to both the narcissist and to the person I would describe as the "victim" to finally see the big picture of what is happening in their lives and why they have carried some of the significantly painful feelings for so long. Unfortunately, the Narcissist will never look at themselves in this manner but at least they are exposed to the symtoms and what the "victims" perceive. ...more info
  • Many questions answered!
    I bought this book to help my son cope with his father's personality traits. Reading this book has answered a wealth of questions I've had about my own life. The author describes the dilemmas faced by those engaged in relationships with NPDs in a way that is both straight-forward and caring. It is written in a style that is understandable and helpful to the layman. I highly recommend this book to anyone whose life is impacted by someone with this personality disorder....more info
  • A Must Read for Those Affected by Fallout
    Since discovering the roots of narcissism in my world one year ago, I have read a great deal on the subject. This is, hands down, the most helpful book I have read to date. Most books on the market focus on identification of narcissism, or validation of those individuals left in their wake (both important concepts). But after that, we need real help! This book offers the most realistic and cogent look at what can actually be done after the damage is done. As the child and ex-spouse of narcissists, I appreciated the author gently leading me to examine my own culpability and enabling behaviors, the fallout in my life, and most importantly, how to begin undoing the damage and move on....more info
  • What an eye opener!
    I'm a 51 year old female who needed to read this book when I was 11 and then promptly be moved to another family! Both of my parents are Narcissists, but I didn't know what it was until I read this book. The book describes exactly how I was treated by both of my parents and why I never had a sense of self. I was never asked my thoughts, I was told how I was going to think and what I was going to do. Everything this book details is real. 15 years ago I severed ties with my father because he was the more physical abuser. I just recently I severed ties with my mother. Both of them are very abusive. I didn't realize what a lacky I was to my mother but always felt she didn't like me, or was jealous of me, or always but always disappointed her. She has tried to take over my life, my husband - almost telling me how to have sex with him or someone else will do it for me and my house by walking in rearranging my furniture, putting things on the wall and telling me that she's "helping me" and how everything would look so much better her way and has divided my 2 brothers and I to where we don't speak to one another anymore and she has blamed me for it. The control, mental abuse and meanness is behind closed doors and out in the open other people always wondered why I was so sensitive around my mother because she always was so delightful to be around. I moved away from my family when I was 24,and have back around my mother for 10 years. I'm absolutely drained of emotion. I understand now why I had depression and still have it and why I feel I need to please everyone and be a non entity. From reading this book, I am working on being my own person with my own actual thoughts and views and hold my head up high. The book does give you examples on how to get along with this type of person, only if you want to get along with them. For those who do, its a good guideline. For those who don't, read this book and beat your demons! What you thought was happening to you - it was and this validates those thoughts - the narcissist isn't ever going to validate you as a person. Break Free! This book has helped me tremendously to understand "it wasn't me" and I just might be worthy of someone loving me. 51 years to find that out.... what a waste of a life....more info
  • Narcism defined
    This is a very well written book. It explained clearly what narcism is. It was very insightful and helpful to people involved with a narcissist. I wish it listed more ways of coping with a person with this disorder, however, having it defined helped me very much....more info
  • The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-way relationship in work, love, and family
    The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family ASIN:0972072837

    The author begins with a wonderful introduction explaining a narcissist and where the termilogoy originated. A wonderful comparison with the story of Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz. This book is well written in a style which is easy to understand. ...more info
  • Hidden Gem
    This may be one of the most important books that you will ever read about relationships. Contrary to common belief, narcissism is about self-absorption, not self love. Most of us are self-absorbed. In fact, self-absorption is ingrained in American culture.

    Recognizing narcissism is a great step toward being able to deal with others. You may even find that you are a narcissist. There two main types of narcissism. And they feed off of each other in an endless, unhealthy dynamic. Both are very needy, rooted in poor self-esteem. In fact, narcissism is almost the opposite of self-love: self-hate.

    Reading this book is like getting special glasses for social interactions. Totally fascinating. And useful....more info
  • Umm...that book
    Read twice...Excellent book. You learn how to stop "double binders" in there tracks, GOD willing. Learn how to reintroduce a "one sided" conversation without coming out "victimized". Incredible book. Peace...more info
  • A very helpful book for dealing with one-way relationships
    Since many of my clients are in relationships with narcissistic individuals, I have recommended this book to them with unvaryingly positive feedback. People are finding that by understanding the narcissistic dynamic, they can disentangle themselves and reclaim their own sense of self and regain self-esteem....more info
    Wow. After quite a few years with therapists and plenty of self-help books, this book is probably the most comprehensive, most helpful, and most accurate in its description of the narcissistic personality and those of us who are drawn into their orbit. The initial relief comes in realizing that someone recognizes that the damage that parents with this disorder can do to their children is real, and that those of us who grew up in this kind of environment really aren't crazy, as they have tried to have us believe. The next breath of relief comes in Ms. Payson's recognition of the relationships that exist, and the difficulties therein, between narcissists and non-narcissists in various settings...not simply parent/child, but also in romantic relationships, friendships, and in the work environment. Of course, recognizing that these relationships exist, and that they can be extremely difficult, is the first step toward healing. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot that can be done to create healthy relationships out of these dysfunctional pairings, but Ms. Payson does provide some valid suggestions as to how those of us who suffer at the narcissists' whims can learn to sidestep their vortex, remain calm and disengaged, and gain the strength needed to feel healthy within. Anyone who has felt the damage done by such a person can gain incredible insight and wisdom from this book. ...more info


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