Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents

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Being a parent is usually all about giving of yourself to foster your child's growth and development. But what happens when this isn't the case? Some parents dismiss the needs of their children, asserting their own instead, demanding attention and reassurance from even very young children. This may especially be the case when a parent has narcissistic tendencies or narcissistic personality disorder. From the author of Working with the Self-Absorbed and Loving the Self-Absorbed, this major revision of a self-help classic offers a step-by-step approach to resolving conflict and building a meaningful relationship with a narcissistic parent.

Children of the Self-Absorbed offers clear definitions of narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder to help you identify the extent of your parent's problem. You'll learn the different types of destructive narcissism and how to recognize their effects on relationships. With the aid of proven techniques, you'll discover that you're not helpless against your parent's behavior and that you needn't consider giving up on the relationship. Instead, realistic strategies and steps are suggested for learning to set mutually agreed upon behaviors that can help you fulfill your needs and expectations.

Customer Reviews:

  • very helpful for adult survivors
    I found this book very helpful in my ongoing recovery from an abusive, narcissistic Mom. Those of us who've come out of this have a devil of a time figuring it all out let alone how a parent with a personality disorder affected our development and screwed us up so we can become healthy ourselves and this author does a good job. No one book or councelor is the be-all but this is a great one for your arsenal. ...more info
  • psychotherpaist's opinion
    This is an excellent book for any one who grew up with narcissistic parents.It has been provocative of increased movement in therapy with several of my clients, and I also learned from it....more info
  • Children of the Self Absorbed
  • Children of the Self Absorbed
    This book provides very useful and practical ways of dealing with the issues that arise from being raised by Narcisstic parents/carers. It has helped me with both my own practice and to support my husband whose mother has NPD. ...more info
  • We finally understand what we are dealing with.
    I ran across this book by chance last night and I thank GOD for it. My mother has been taking care (roommates) of my Grandmother for 8 years now and it has culminated this year with Mom going into the hospital three times for stress, anxiety, depression, and a 4 hour memory loss. We always knew grandma had a sharp tone and quick anger from time to time..but well you know the rest.

    I have been reading this book avidly and almost every bullet statement (behavior) has been a direct hit. We are not mad, not oversensative, or mean for being upset with her most of the time. She is simply self-absorbed and has been her entire life (from our earliest memories of her). This book is helping my mother take back her life and HEALTH as well as helping her children recognize the effects it has had upon her.

    I cannot stress enough that your not alone, other families are going thru this. You are not a bad person for being upset and angry with your parent or grandparent. You will feel and become better and stronger as a result of reading this book and following the suggested practices. God Bless....more info
  • It's not your fault!!
    You can't change a narcissist but you can change how you react to them. Nina Brown gives very useful and practical advise on dealing with the aftermath of having a narcissist for a parent and scars they leave on their children. I especially like the lack of blame here, it is what it is and it's time to do something about it. I don't think "Children of the Self-Absorbed" is only for adult children of narcissists, older teens can benefit greatly. Nina brown has written a 'must have' survival guide that will teach them how to avoid the pain that comes from expecting their parent to behave like others around them. The narcissistic parent is the center of his own universe and as such, leaves no room for their children. Learning at an early age "this is not your fault" goes miles in achieving healing for what hurts the most, rejection.
    I highly recommend "Children of the Self-Absorbed."...more info
  • A little short on detail, but a good book
    I found this book a little short on detailed explanation of scientific causes of NPD, but overall helpful and adequate....more info
  • Mind Altering
    This is a brilliantly insightful and well written book. I don't even think the author realizes how profound her insights are and how much just knowing this information can help someone with depression, anxiety, anger, assertiveness, anorexia and probably many other problems. I highly recommend this book to anyone, regardless if they have any emotional problems or not....more info
  • Not just about self-absorbed parents
    This is a wonderful book for those of us that have had significant people in our lives who could not be "reasoned" with because the person was so self-interested. Try as we may to please these people, we ended frustrated, angry, depressed, and perhaps most of all, confused. It felt like a different Reality from the rest of the world, a Reality which we did not understand, and from which we didn't seem to be able to escape. Not unlike the mythical Sisyphus, we cyclically rolled the rock of parental or spousal approval up the hill only to have it return endlessly..and like Sisyphus, with nothing whatever to show for our efforts. Ms. Brown is the first person in my 50-some years of life who was able to grab me by the collar and firmly convince me emotionally (I had long been convinced intellectually) that it was time to let go and not exhaust myself further. I saw the personality she describes in my parents, an ex-wife, and a troubling boss. Things became very clear that were once murky, at best. The author is also very explicit as how to handle situations with these discomforting people in order not to be injured further. The best recommendation that I can give this book is that it is NOT just for understanding your self-absorbed parents, it is for understanding all the character disordered folks in your life; I plan to buy several copies for friends try to understand their divorces, their parents, and their sometimes dysfunctional friendships. ...more info
  • Unique Ways of Dealing with the Its-All-About-Me Parent
    I have found this book to be useful in my ministry for adult children of abusive or controlling parents, Luke 17:3 Ministries. It begins by describing Destructive Narcissistic Parents (DNPs),teaches how being raised by them affected you, and gives very unique techniques for diffusing their ability to hurt you. It subscribes to the theory that confrontation will not work because a narcissist will never change and does not believe he is doing anything wrong, but rather thinks that everyone else exists for his use and benefit; therefore other techniques for dealing with him are suggested, including avoidance, humor, or body language designed to subconsciously confuse the narcissist.
    Does your parent have attention needs, admiration needs, the need to be considered unique and special, lack of empathy, feel others are extensions of herself, grandiosity, shallow emotions, a sense of entitlement, emotionally abusive traits, or does she exploit others? These characteristics identify a DNP, and specific examples of each trait are given.
    As an adult, you can have two possible responses to being raised by a DNP. You may have a Siege Response- some traits of which include becoming defiant when given orders or demands, rebelling against restrictions or rules, being wary or fearful of intimacy, feeling anxious or panicky when others want to be nurtured, guilty feelings, personalizing others' behavior, being easily offended, etc. You may also exhibit the Compliant Response, including needing to be liked or approved of, feeling responsible for others' well-being, feeling that others are taking advantage of you, sacrificing personal needs for others, being overemotional, being overly critical of yourself and others, etc.
    We are taught coping strategies which include developing emotional insulation, avoiding trying to empathize, giving up unrealistic fantasies, and meeting our emotional needs instead of putting them second to everyone else's.
    The empowering strategies which are suggested are very interesting. For instance, becoming contrary when a DNP is trying to manipulate us- without explaining or announcing what we are doing, simply doing the opposite of or something entirely different from whatever is wanted or ordered. Other examples include becoming indifferent, avoiding interactions, setting guidelines your parent must follow in order to obtain your cooperation, practicing a blank facial expression and no response when being criticized, acting bored and "drifting" to another subject, asking a series of questions that will point out the absurdity of what they are saying, and declaring independence. It is important not to let them get a rise out of you or appear hurt, angry or defensive.
    This book is especially valuable for those with self-centered parents who exploit them, and have probably done so since childhood. Many of us will recognize the narcissist in our own parents.

    ...more info
  • This is a Wonderful Book
    A co-worker of mine recommended this book to me a few years back but I was not ready to evaluate my life. Now I wish I would have listened to her. From the very first paragraph of this book it described my relationship with mother. I found the reading of it to be easy and insightful with simple exercises that were also enlightening.

    For years I have struggled with mother, trying to cope with and change her. It's a bit clich®¶ but, I learned I can't change her. I can only change myself. With children of my own now, I don't want to continue the cycle and raise my children with the doubts of self worth that I was raised with. This reading is so very important to adult children who have suffered for years-living in the shadow of a Narcissistic parent. There are so many of us out there. One of the best things about Children..... is that it uses exercises that encourage the reader to look inside themselves. Not to blame, but to grow. This is so very key when one is reevaluating their life.

    Since I have read this book, I have put a lot of the exercises into practice. For instance in self training, Children...... recommends when first encountering the troubling parent to put yourself in a protective box to keep the parents hurtful comments out, instead, mother gets put in a box to keep all the bad stuff in and me safe from it. It's a mental exercise but it's helped reduce the battles mother and I have with every conversation.

    In a nutshell, I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend Children of the Self Absorbed to anyone with a parent or family member thats Narcissistic. Do yourself a favor, buy this book....more info
  • Hit every nerve and is so helpful
    This book is amazing. I did not know what was wrong and thought it was me. I did a checklist and checked every box except one. This has helped me understand and I am on my way to feeling good about myself and not always thinking of others first. I am finally taking care of me....more info
  • Very Disappointing
    My mother has narcisstistic-histrionic personality disorder, an intensely pathological condition far more destructive than the type of narcissists this book addresses. I already knew much of what was in the book, in terms of identifying a narcissist (no doubt in her case, as she had been diagnosed by multiple therpists). The impacts of having a parent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are similar to what is described in the book (again, no news for me) but the suggestions for recovery are too basic and simplistic for someone with a parent with NPD. I did not find at all the relief I hoped for in reading about others who had experienced what I had gone through....more info
  • worth a read if you're affected...
    Given the talent that narcissists have for making you feel that (1) it's all your fault or (2) it's your imagination, this is a very nice read that will make you feel that you aren't crazy. It also will help you realize that your needs are legitimate.
    The book fleshes out the dimensions of a narcissistic personality, not in a coldly clinical way but in a matter-of-fact way that uses ordinary language. As for the typos that another reviewer commented on, I didn't notice them. I'm a journalist, and I thought the author succeeded in using concise and easily understood words. She also succeeded in giving some very useful tips for dealing with a narcissist. Most of us have been taught that it's best to be truthful, to say so if we've been hurt by someone else; we've learned that this is the healthy and responsible way to behave. Not so, if you're around a narcissist, as this book will explain; it's better if you DON'T let on that the narcissist has affected you, because you'll likely be criticized for being too sensitive. If you KNOW a narcissist, you ALREADY know that it's best not to let your feelings show, and you already know that the standard advice that well-meaning friends might give, won't work. This book will give you some advice that DOES work, and it will also validate your perceptions of what it's like to be around a narcissist. At 180 pages, this book is not the be-all and end-all, but it's quite helpful, and I wouldn't miss it. If your parent is a narcissist, you might also benefit by looking at the book "Stop Walking on Eggshells," a book that deals with those who have borderline personality disorder. Not all narcissists have the disorder, but a good number do, and it's worth checking out if you're in a relationship that's "all about them," and where you are discounted. Particularly check out this additional title if the narcissist in your life is emotionally volatile, given to rages and emotional abuse, and has their own view of reality that doesn't match how you recall things. Both titles will help you treat the narcissist in your life as decently as possible, while also helping you preserve your own mental health, too....more info
  • A Worthwhile Resource
    As a therapist, this is a book I would recommend to appropriate clients. Of particular help, Dr. Brown confirms that the narcissist is not likely to change because they are incapable of seeing anything is wrong with their behavior. Therefore, it is not the child's responsibility to help the parent change; the child has to focus on what they can control, i.e. themselves. Among the helpful strategies, I also appreciated her candid descriptions of anticipated responses by parents and how to handle them. While there are a few typos and it is not the best edited text, these concerns reflect the editor, and not Dr. Brown's content. There are relatively few resources on this subject and this is one of the better ones....more info
  • Uncanny insights, helpful suggestions, not great literature
    I found the author's descriptions of narcissistic parents and their affects on adult children to be concise, insightful and helpful. The author begins by describing the narcissist parent and the adult child's responses to him / her. The behaviors included were wide ranging and the moments of recognition frequent. As the child of an artful narcissist, I felt like Brown understood my position and tied together behaviors that I had not previously seen as stemming from my own parent's narcissism. Brown goes on to offer sympathy for the plight of adult children of narcissists, but establishes a strong position that the parent will not change. The message to children of narcissists is to move on, but not without tools for dealing with the narcissist and the ability to care for oneself. Brown offers practical advice on how to lessen the impact of the narcissist's volleys, which are helpful without being trite. (I've even experimented with some of the suggestions that Brown makes, e.g. flatter the narcissist, agree with his / her criticisms, and these are enormously empowering because they allow the person targetted by the narcissist to gain a sense of logic and clarity in the interaction.)

    The one weakness of the book is the writer's style, which is sometimes sloppy. All in all, that was a small price to pay for a book that contains wonderful insights and genuinely helpful suggestions....more info

  • Concise and to the point.....
    Some readers seem concerned with the gramatical errors in this book. Frankly, if you need to hear the words it has to say, you probably won't notice a typo or two and it is far from unreadable! As to the author's Narcissism, I have read several books, "Trapped in the Mirror" is one, written by authors who were obviously too close to the subject to do more than talk endlessly about THEIR issues. This isn't that kind of book.

    I just sent my copy to my sister who called saying how ashamed she felt to be relieved that my elderly parent's visit to her home had come to an end. When they walked out the door she was suddenly able to feel "real" again. What she felt was the overwhelming sense of fatigue, anger and hurt that had been bottled up for days during their visit. She wanted to know why they had to be so horrible and felt that there must be a way to "change" their behavior.

    This book doesn't help you to change your parent's behavior. It does help you to understand the complex mechanisms that make them to do what they do. More importantly it addresses their affect on you and how you can work to change the feelings and dysfunctional life strategies they have caused you to adopt.

    Please excuse the typos. I don't have an editor either!...more info
  • Flying Upon Leashes
    So sad that the forlorn must rely upon their children to provide the solace and stroking that many parents are not receiving from either their parents or their spouses, that causes them to look to their children to fill the loss. If teaching the world to sing might be considered ideal, helping adults avoid having to burden their children would be even better. Not actually guilt, but the restraint that prevents them from flying free, as if eagles tied by a tether upon a foot, the eagles quickly learn that freedom comes with limits. Spouses sometimes do the same for fear of being left behind, or from sheer jealousy, irrespective of how well they themselves are doing in their own lives. Although often seen as a need for control, it is, in fact, a desire for control more than a need, the need expressed only in the panic, anxiety, and loss after the object of their safety is out of sight, perhaps to prevent being out of mind. To insure their security, a pattern of capture and release - the greatest roller coaster of all of life - falls upon the victim, entrapped by attached emotions, and too fearful to let go. When both spouses feel thus, co-dependency is the result, addicted to the security even without safety. In parent-child relationships, it becomes impossible for the child to "mature" because he or she feels tethered forever clouding the breakthrough of individual vision, allowed the security of parental nurturing but not free to fly alone or with a favored companion/spouse. Mistrust of the bonds of love become rooted to creep throughout the human organism to prevent the development of full love measured by mutual sharing; a Linus syndrome where the blanket becomes the "comfort anchor" required to shadow the individual to feel normal, or the little guy with cloud that follows him around. Trust requires the natural severance between parent and child (like the bird from the nest learns to fly) so the child may develop the independence to test his or her own knowledge and confidence, hopefully to be folded into relationship with a chosen, and well selected spouse who offers similar confidence in well developed abilities with only a minimum amount of support because of that trust, that confidence, and the faith that the relationship may stand on its own without being coddled, pandered to, or reversion to old patterns of pre-development independence where the new spouse becomes the new tether that provides security shed for self actualization and exploration. Much like an airplane remotely controlled, or a kite on a string, flying within boundaries is usually all that can happen unless someone who recognizes the invisible thread encourages its cutting, allowing Willie to go free like the whale held captive by habit. Transitions are always painful and difficult terrain to traverse since they are always fraught with uncertainties built too often on mistrust requiring the fledgling to return to the nest for security and safety absent the anxiety that comes far too naturally. Normally absent, the tethers of the narcissistic stroke and reward to an extent that it undermines self confidence and self esteem inducing paranormal reliance on the source. Children of the narcissistic may become devoted to a fault, almost too attentive from the guilt and expectations they have been conditioned to honor and respect in repetitive minor losses of independence that are nearly unnoticeable. Sensitive parents and spouses aware of this weakness offer support by strengthening self reliance without abandonment to wean the young for his or her own strength of character to aid self reliance without any loss of love required for trusting relationships to encourage natural maturity....more info
  • Don't let your perfectionism keep you from reading it!
    Some of the other reviewers have pointed out that this book has grammatical errors. While this is true, please don't let the perfectionism that is an inherant part of growing up with a narcissistic parent prevent you from reading and benfitting from this book.

    This book goes through a relatively quick but thorough diagnostic process to help you determine whether your parent was a narcissist, and then makes its single most important point:

    THEY ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE. Nothing you can do, or could have done, would make a difference.

    The remaining 2/3rds of the book is about coping, protecting yourself, and recovering from narcissistic abuse. This is what you CAN DO to make the rest of your life happier and healthier. Get the book, silence the critic inside your head, and get going on getting better!...more info

  • Who's the narcissist?
    I found this book poorly written and poorly edited (many typographical errors). Some of the suggestions/recommendations were childish in the extreme. There were a few (very few) nuggets of information but generally I felt like I was wasting my time. Too much of the book was spent on unhelpful generalizations about problem parents and techniques to control and/or manage parental behavior. The title led me to believe that the content would focus more on managing onself and establishing other satisfying relationships. I think Dr. Brown may still be too absorbed in the self-absorbed parents she writes about!...more info
  • You can't fix them, but you can help yourself!
    Children of the Self-Absorbed is a well constructed manual for dealing with one of the touchiest people in the world: the Perfectly Perfect Parent. It's organized in a very usuable fashion: first, you find out if your Problem Parent fits the category; next, you find out how to dodge the bullets; and finally, you find out how to fix the old wounds. Useful for therapists as well as progeny, it practically maps out the treatment, step by step. A gem!...more info
  • There's NO excuse for such a poorly written book
    If psychologist Nina Brown is not exactly on speaking terms with Standard English, then New Harbinger Books should get its editorial staff off its collective backside to make authors look like they've completed high school ... at the very least. Brown offers some valuable insight into the narcissistic personality but unfortunately, readers must sift through pages of poor writing (awkward phrasing, ghastly grammar, and and an utter lack of attention to a logical sequence of problems, examples, and explanations) to find it.

    This book MAY seem like it's well written to those who are familiar only with the most colloquial levels of speech and writing, but experts -- especially Ph.Ds -- owe their general readership much more....more info

  • Well-written with a lot of good information
    This book is very well-written and does a very good job of addressing the special needs and concerns of adult children of narcissists. I recognized my family and myself in this book, and feel confident that by applying the strategies in this book, I can break the chain of narcissism before damaging my own child. This is NOT a blame-the-parents book. It helps the reader to understand why the parents behaved the way that they did, and that they will not understand that they did anything wrong. The Destructive Narcissist Parent did the best he or she could, and now it is time for the adult child to break free of the destructive pattern....more info
  • Gaining an Understanding of Unacceptable Parenting
    Being the child of two narcissistic parents this book enabled me to see that what I thought was normal parental behavior, not having any other point of reference, was in fact unacceptable and cruel. I was in awe that an entire book could be written that so definitively described my parents and me. The second half of the book was helpful in providing me with coping and protecting devices. I look forward to rereading the book several times to be able to incorporate the ideas into my every day living....more info
  • It's all about my mother
    This book is written about my mother to a tee. It is reasurring that it is a personality disorder because I thought it was me that is crazy. I'm not crazy, but have been dealing with a NPD for my entire life and now that I realize the person I am dealing with. This will help me cope and strategize when she is near me. I now know to set my boundries to stay alive and well. Thank you. I would recommend this book to anyone that is dealing with a malignant narcissistic parent....more info
  • Many Books In One
    Upon reading some of the reviews written here, I am glad to see that this book was helpful to many. Dr. Brown is dealing with an incredibly complex subject, and tries to cover much ground in 200 pages. However,in going through it, I was struck not only by the author's ambitiousness in trying to define, clarify, sort out and enumerate the vast number of concepts, psychological terms and suggestions tangent to the issue of narcissism, but how confusing this must all be to the reader. Many ambiguous, generalized, inaccurate terms and definitions are thrown into this stew, stated here in an attempt to simplify the subject matter. However,it leaves a great deal of room for misconception.
    If well-organized, this material easily could have been a few different books, along with a workbook. But, more disconcerting is the meandering assortment of topics thrown in with no apparent logic. It is way too much inaccurate information trying to pass itself off as "psychologically"correct and helpful, but in reality is a hodge-podge. The "dumbing down"of the concept of narcissism and its malignant effects upon
    the child-parent relationship, just further contribute to what Susan Jacoby aptly describes as "the Un-Minding of America". Perhaps Ms. Brown might stick to simpler
    issues and leave the tough ones for professionals more adept at accurate, well-developed psychological formulations for the layman to absorb.
    ...more info
  • Eyeopening
    As the good friend of a child psychologist who buys everything published in the field, I saw this book at her house and picked it up, never having given much thought to the subject before. This is one of those eye-opening books that makes you realize there are more narcissists in the world who damage their kids by being absorbed with their own activities, their own lives outside their children, etc than may be realized. Being the child of a narcissist can lead to becoming one yourself, and I think this book is really an important step in identifying parents who are this way, and recognizing the potential to become this way yourself....more info
  • A "how to" guide for overcoming "destructive narcissism" of parents
    There is a lot written on the subjects of parents and the different forms of abuse they can intentionally or unintentionally inflict. This book, which is published by a publisher that specializes in very good, hands-on, psychology self-help, is not a theoretical kind of work. It does help you understand by taking you through things one step at a time rather than depending on you to just grasp a complex idea which may be "too close to home."

    The author distinguishes between healthy narcissism and what she calls DNP--the destructively narcissistic person. The book is actually useful whether the DNP in question is a parent or someone else very close in your life...but it is aimed specifically at the more difficult problem of the DNP parent which, I suspect, many people will be surprised to recognize. The overly self-absorbed parent is the parent who is also not there for the child, not providing support, and who always, just always makes themselves the center of things through their own dramatics and theatrics. If you've been there, you know.

    I like the semi-workbook format, though it doesn't work for everybody. But if you want to try to understand this and grapple with it on your own, this is definitely the book....more info
  • You know who you are
    If you had a narcisstic parent, you already know a lot about the topic, probably because you had years of therapy. I read this book and then passed it around from friend to friend. It made us all feel validated and comforted. The most usual aspect was to see the effects on ourselves, (in a admittedly sketchy way) and why we interact as we do with other people. It also helped me see why my own children sometimes back off. It's definitely worth reading for the validation. By the way, there is a wonderful review already posted by "Sister Renee" which is worth reading for its own merits....more info
  • Practical, Simple, Helpful
    Although my "self-absorbed relative has passed away, this book gave me an in depth understanding of the self-absorbed person's modis operandi and creates practical solutions to make the experience less traumatic even after the fact. I was able to be more forgiving and understanding to both the parent and myself and feel compassion for both of us. I recommend this book to anyone who had an overbearing, controlling and unconscious parent to help liberate you from the complicated maze of thoughts, feelings and emotions that may be holding you back from your own self expression and freedom....more info
  • A Must Read
    Anyone who has grown up with a narcissistic parent should read this book. It' full of information, self-tests, projects and solid strategies to help you deal with interactions with your parent, as well as healing yourself. You certainly don't have to have a degree in psychology to understand and apply what is being said. This book is very reader friendly for the lay-person. I was told if there was only one book you could read about narcissistic parents, this would be it. After reading it, I have to agree....more info
  • Lacking depth
    I was disappointed in this book. It lacked depth in the sense of helping those of us with narcisstic parents understand how it affects us in our current lives in order to understand ourselves better. It has a variety of "exercises" to overcome and deal with narcissistic parents but again, does not explore the intrapsychic affects of living with this type person....more info
  • Children of the Self-Absorbed
    I am 57 years old, my sister is 60 - we grew up with a destructive narcisstic mother. Dr. Brown's book was instrumental in helping us to identify the problem of having a destructive narcissistic parent and how to cope with this. Even though our feelings of resentment and dislike of our mother, who is now 93 years old, have increased, we have slowly been able to cope with these feelings.

    This book has given us a lot of insight as to the probable cause for her neediness (which, we believe, was her childhood). I have learned through reading this book, how to deal with her - to a point. This person, who is our "mother", has never been WRONG about anything.

    For both my sister and I, this book made us recognize what we had to deal with as children, and still have to deal with as adults. ...more info
  • Genuinely helpful
    I bought this book for my grown children to help them deal with their narcissistic father. In previewing it, I recognized a lot of patterns from my own childhood... a real eye-opener. It was really helpful. Good, realistic guidance to help you deal more effectively and self-protectively with all the narcissists in your life....more info
  • Eyeopening and Insightful
    The most significant impact that this book had on my life was that it helped me come to the realization that my relationship with my mother will never be "normal". This was extremely difficult and disheartening, yet somewhat of a relief, as I have constantly been trying to fix our relationship in spite of the ongoing emotional abuse. Instead of trying to change your narcissistic parent(s), this book gives you the guidance you need to protect yourself from the abuse and cope with it so that you can have a civil relationship with them (as much as possible, anyway), and attempt to undo the damage.

    There is one main reason I did not give the book a five star rating. The first 40 or so pages of it explain in GREAT detail the behaviors of a narcissistic parent and help the reader to confirm that their parent is, in fact, narcissistic. While this section was informative and interesting, I felt that it was a bit drawn out considering that most readers probably do not pick the book up unless they've already determined that their parent has this problem.

    The remaining chapters of the book are the most useful, I feel, as they help you to identify the impact of this relationship on your own relationships, expectations and perspectives. The book then explores appropriate ways for you to protect yourself, handle the attacks, and rebuild your life. This is exactly what I needed, as I have become exhausted with the ongoing abuse and recognized the huge impact on my well-being, yet did not want to cut all ties. Bravo!

    ...more info
  • Excellent guide, very easy to follow and understand
    This book was very easy to read, follow and apply. I would , without question, recommend it to all who have narcissistic parents ! ...more info
  • Incredible
    It's as if the author knows my mother personally, and wrote this book just for me. I was literally ready to exclude this parent from my life, because of the mental anguish she created for me. Now I understand the narcissist, and although it's still a bad situation, i can tolerate her, and actually feel sorry for her at times, because she knows not what she is doing. It also subtly pointed out some behaviors I have adopted as a result of this parent, and now can work on improving myself also. If you think your parent is a narcissist, read this book....more info
  • Decent, but it needs to be supplimented
    This book has some good concepts, but I would recommend supplementing it with another book. Tends to repeat itself and isn't as clear as other books on the subject. I would recommend The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment, by Pressman & Pressman (1994). ...more info
  • The Book that never arrived
    We can't evaluate it bcause the book never arrived. So what should we say?
    T. Roberts...more info
  • It all makes so much sense now!
    The explanations and descriptions in this book demonstrate what happens between my mother and I. Now... so many things make SENSE! This book has changed my life.
    Narcissists do not have children to give, but to receive. They do not see their children as individuals, but as extensions of themselves. Therefore, their boundary issues, the words they say and the things they do that has compromised your relationship with your parent for so long are now explained by Dr. Brown. She does ask that you get a second opinion to keep yourself in check - that you're not jumping to any conclusions. She also has exercises about yourself and your parent that help you to determine if you are a child of the self-absorbed. I would have to say that most of us KNOW it. Like if they've ever thrown a birthday party for you and invited all of her friends instead of yours. (sorry TMI)
    Yes, as Dr. Brown states, it is true that that your narcissistic parent will not change. If your parent truly is a narcissist, you probably already know that trying to change them or even attempting to make them SEE & understand what you're trying to say often does more harm than good. Dr. Brown says from the beginning to not be tempted to share what you have learned about their personality disorder with them. This is because there are two sides to a narcissist - the grand, show-offy side, and then the other side, which consists of an impoverished self, with low self-esteem and a painful inability to ever see their flawed self, or to even be able to laugh at themselves.
    The things that helped me the most was to learn that IT'S NOT ME - all those times I've talked / explained until I was blue in the face and she still didn't seem to understand what I was saying is finally explained to me. It has to do with the fact that narcissits do not have the ability to have empathy - to be able to stand in someone else's shoes and feel what they are feeling. Therefore, all those times you tried to explain, and they did not GET it now makes sense. It is not possible for them to have empathy, even if their words speak logically as if they do.
    Also, to learn that they believe that everyone thinks the way that they do, and therefore, if they think something is wrong - then it IS wrong in their world. Oh what a relief to have this brought to light - what a relief to know that someone can explain it. It was also a great relief to learn about how they twist the truth around. They even lie. Yes, they know they are lying but they feel completely justified in the lie. This explains so much about the untruthfulness.
    Another thing that was mindblowing for me was the part that dealt with this concept that narcissits project their negative emotions onto others, especially their children, in order to feel better. I have been absorbing her emotions from the time I was a child, and I feel that this is the core to my eating disorder. This explains why I have avoided my mother ever since my brother took his life last year. Although completely subconscious, I somehow knew before reading this book to protect myself from her; that she would project her intense negative emotions to me and I knew it would trigger my depression, and I can't afford that with my own grief and a family to take care of. But before this book, I was not able to explain to anyone why I could not be a comfort to my mother - only that she would trigger my depression. That much, I did know.
    The best thing is - that 2/3 of this book (approximately) deals with helping those of us who have been raised by the self-absorbed. Things like learning to have things bounce off of us, deflective body language, and how to deflect their manipulation are examples. There are many options given, and although some of them seem impossible, don't discount them because there might be a situation that would call for this particular reaction. You will have to learn to field things.
    Finally, one reads this book assuming that you do want to continue a relationship with this parent. Many people scoff at keeping a narcissist in your life. However, not every person is "all bad". Remember that. (Unless they truly are all bad, and too toxic to manage.)
    And yes, there are some typos and gramatical errors, but this book is written with a great deal of intellect. There aren't too many, and they certainly don't get in the way of how the book reads or speaks to you. And about the bullets - another reviewer complained of them. Yes, there are many bulleted lists depicting characteristics, feelings, etc. Even if they are not appropriate, I feel that they help the reader to absorb and ponder each point given one-by-one instead of breezing through them too quickly.
    If you were raised by self-absorbed parent(s), this book can help you, I have no doubt. As I said in the beginning - everything suddenly makes sense, from musty old memories to dealing with the parent today in adult life. ...more info
  • must have!
    For anyone who has noticed their parent with self-absorbed issues, this is a must. This was the missing piece for understanding myself and my mother. It has helped me from passing on the same traits down to my child. It has been eye-opening to say the least. ...more info
  • Informative
    Good to detect and recognize pattern from your parent(s) and thus explaining why you might react and act in a certain way when you grow older.

    Many excersises to do that I opted out. Now at least I understand that I was right and my parent was wrong. It wasnt me that was wrng and that is the most important lesson for me to learn from ths book....more info
  • Author advised that you endure the punishment
    This book advocates that the adult child put up with the abuse because the adult will never recognize their own narcissistic and abusive behavior. Since they are unable to change, the best we can do is adapt and change to accomodate their abuse. Poo on that! I got this book five years ago and following these guidelines simply enabled another lost 5 years of my life. No one should have to put up with such abuse. Ever. There must be a better solution - LEAVE!...more info
  • Terrific-great insight!
    I found this very helpful. It is written well, with advice on how to handle difficult people and situations....more info
  • Targeted audience, targeted topic
    This was a good book on a frustrating and futile, but important, subject for some people. This book definitely has some useful information and suggestions that I hadn't thought of before and now think might useful. It is one of the few I have seen that targets just this one group of people (children of Narcissists). If you are one, then you are probably looking for all the help you can get, and should probably not miss this book....more info
  • Utterly useless
    First off, let me suggest instead "Reinventing Your Life: The Breakthough [sic Amazon] Program to End Negative Behavior" by Jeffrey E. Young as a vastly superior book for the recovering narcissist.

    As a narcissist, I was advised to read this book by a therapist, to better understand the origins of my own narcissism. I was already aware that my parents were narcissists and I am looking for help in recovering from my own narcissism. This book does not provide actual help for a narcissist in terms of suggestions or advice, in fact, it seems very unorganized and scatterbrained. The trouble with finding help for narcissism is that very few therapists will in actuality want to deal with a narcissist. They will, however, be willing to suggest reading literature.

    This book earned only a single star for being quite thoroughly one of the most confusing and scatterbrained books I've ever read. I would suggest instead reading about schema therapy (i.e. the book mentioned at the start of this review) which actually offers steps to proceed through which are enlightening and appear to be significantly helpful....more info
  • Not only for Narcissist's Children
    This book, even though it is intended for the children of narcissistic parents, would also be useful for anyone forced to endure a narcissistic partner, boss, co-worker, roommate, relative, etc. Narcissists are always on the lookout for their next victim. Brown rightly points out that the first step is to give up the fantasy that the narcissist is going to change. She suggests developing strategies to provide what she calls "emotional insulation" from their hostile behavior and these strategies would be useful for anyone who unwittingly finds themselves in the narcissist's cross-hairs. These strategies include positive visualizations, avoiding eye contact and adopting defensive bodily postures; but keep in mind, narcissists are so sensitive to the slightest sense of rejection, it could (especially in the case of narcissistic parents) make their behavior worse. Really, in the long run, it's best to limit one's exposure to these toxic people. As long as you're physically present, they will abuse you....more info
  • If only I had this book years ago!
    This is the first book I've read about DNP and its been astounding. My mother has DNP and if I'd only known that years ago and had this book I could have saved myself years of anguish. Its extremely enlightening. The best thing about it is the purpose of it isn't to dump on your parent or relive your frustrating childhood...its to learn coping skills so you don't let the DNP parent continue to torture you. The focus is always on YOU and what you can do and more importantly as one reviewer pointed out what you CAN'T DO. The author is very wise to know that the reality that your DNP parent cannot change needs to be repeated over and over again. I had not realized how much my own hopes and dreams that "if she only understood then things would be different..." had motivated and doomed almost all my interactions with her. DNP people are not likely to seek treatment or change themselves because one of the very fundamentals of their dysfunction is that think the problem is everyone else, not them! Anyway, this book is a must read for anyone who thinks their parent might have destructive narcissism.
    ...more info
  • poorly written
    In my opinion, this was frustrating. It seemed like it was written in such a way that you could not come away with workable ideas. I found it to be confusing. I loved the "Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists.I think that it would be a better buy for someone....more info