Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life

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"Psychotherapist Martinez-Lewi combines clinical analysis with psychological profiles of famous people she believes to have been narcissists (e.g., Frank Lloyd Wright, Ayn Rand) in this valuable guide to recognizing, coping with, and overcoming narcissistic behavior. She focuses on the high-level narcissist, i.e., the "omnipotent, grandiose, often charismatic individual of overreaching ambition and palpable hubris," distinguishing diagnostically between narcissists and borderline and antisocial personalities. She further presents a historical and societal perspective on narcissism, explaining the shift in focus in psychopathology from neuroses to personality disorders. Throughout, she draws on solid secondary biographies as well as relevant case studies from her private practice, and she ends with a reasoned discussion of decidedly Eastern approaches (e.g., meditation) to counter narcissists? destructive behavior. The book is written with a calm directness and achieves the author?s purpose of helping readers identify and protect themselves from naively tangling with these personalities. It offers more clinical analysis and experience than does Eleanor Payson?s The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists and nicely complements Nina W. Brown?s Children of the Self-Absorbed. Highly recommended for university and larger public libraries.

?Dale Farris, Library Journal

"FREEING YOURSELF FROM THE NARCISSIST IN YOUR LIFE by Linda Martinez- Lewi,PhD (Tarcher/Penguin) may just be the best investment you will make this year as a guide to recognizing, coping with, and ultimately overcoming the destructive behavior of high-level narcissists, whether they be lovers, co- workers, friends or parents. It?s one thing to have a healthy self-esteem, but there are folks who we all know as self-absorbed, conceited, or egotistical. These people are trouble and this book is an excellent guide to deal with them."

? Alan Caruba, BOOKVIEWS

According to the psychotherapist author, narcissists are people with extreme senses of superiority who possess no empathy. Martinez-Lewi believes that high- level narcissists are unlikely to change, so she offers methods for readers to maintain personal boundaries, remain psychologically secure and live the life they choose.
1. As our culture has emphasized financial success and fame, we have begun rewarding high-level narcissism
2. There is such a thing as healthy narcissism. He or she "has a firm realistic sense of self.?
3. "A successful narcissist deludes others into believing he is genuinely interested in them."
4. To withstand an eruption of ego from a narcissist, one must be psychologically grounded. "A grounded individual is secure and calm; he feels solid at his center."
5. The world of a narcissist is often complicated. To combat being part of that world; simplify your own.


"The author, psychotherapist and licensed marriage and family therapist has written a guide making it easier to recognize, cope with and ultimately overcome the destructive behavior of high-level narcissists, whether they be lovers, work colleagues, friends or parents. Drawing on detailed profiles of famous narcissists including Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright and Ayn Rand, she points out that trying to change a narcissist is impossible and reveals the steps that must be taken to expel such destructive individuals from our lives."


"The high-level narcissist marches through his many geographies, conquering new territories, multiplying his limitless control of the outside world and the lives of those who touch his. Excited followers anticipate his mood and moves, praying for a favorable word or glance. The chosen dwell within his cercle d?or, chanting hosannas to his greatness. While his audience is dazzled, the supernarcissist assesses each subject?s worth to him.

He plays upon their proclivities and weaknesses. Despite the years you have known him, the hard work you have done, the love that you express, the sacrifices you have made, the intimacies you believe you shared-eventually the narcissist will cut you off at the knees, even attempt to destroy you if he perceives you as an obstacle to his feverish drive toward ultimate power, control and omnipotence." (from FREEING YOURSELF FROM THE NARCISSIST IN YOUR LIFE by Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.)

Does this description sound like anybody that you know? Your spouse? Your boss? Your co-worker? So, how does one recognize a "truly toxic narcissist?" According to this insightful book there are certain signs to look out for: "Displays an extreme sense of grandiosity and superiority. Is highly manipulative, exploitive, and deceptive in all of his relationships. Places his personal and professional needs over the needs of others. Is captivated by his delusions of limitless power and perfection. Easily lies without any qualm or guilt. Is incapable of true empathy-the ability to deeply feel and appreciate another person?s emotional state."

It was my misfortune to work with a fellow who fit every single one of these descriptions. This book will help you to recognize this type of person before it is too late.

What makes them so dangerous? They only care about themselves.

Is this sounding familiar? Do you know one?"


"You will know a narcissist when you see one: he or she loves to hog the spotlight. Those afflicted with this severe personality disorder are usually impressive and charismatic people: they beguile and enchant us with their magic. They never tire of talking about their experiences or projects which are always extraordinary. But they are totally lacking in empathy. Just try to discuss what you are doing or share an idea while they are nervously glancing around the room to see who is looking at them.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, a licensed marriage and family therapist, has put together a helpful and informative book for those who want to know more about high-level narcissists: whether they be colleagues, friends, parents, or lovers. Here are some of their traits and behaviors: *A grandiose sense of self-importance *A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love *A belief that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people *A high sense of entitlement *Is interpersonally exploitative *Lacks empathy *Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her *Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

The book is divided into four sections: The Great Performer, Behind the Perfect Mask, The Adoring Audience, and Response to the Great Performer. Martinez-Lewi presents illustrative material on toxic narcissists with profiles of artist Pablo Picasso, philosopher-author Ayn Rand, and architect Frank Lloyd Wright, describing them all as colorful characters whose hearts were hard and whose egos were gigantic. As the author puts it: ?The narcissist takes up a vast amount of psychological space, leaving only room for himself. In his presence, one is unable to breathe or move, all the available oxygen has been taken by his self- entrancement.?

Because of this pattern, narcissists make no distinction between themselves and others: everyone is at their service and disposal. Since all who come into their orbit are just extras in a private movie, they are expendable. Narcissists rarely seek therapy, and their relationships usually end badly. The show just keeps moving from one place to another. It is a lonely existence."

?Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat,

Combining clinical analysis with psychological profiles of famous narcissists, here is an indispensable guide to recognizing, coping with, and ultimately overcoming the destructive behavior of narcissists. Everybody needs some healthy narcissism. But in a society obsessed with appearance, wealth, and status, it's easy for problematic narcissists to thrive. Many people who seem to "have it all" are suffering from one of the most common--and overlooked--personality disorders today: high level narcissism. Typified by an obsession with perfection, a desperate need for admiration, and a willingness to use and exploit others for personal gain, high level narcissism can spell devastation for anyone who crosses the narcissist's path. In Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life, psychotherapist Linda Martinez-Lewi presents an in-depth and supportive plan for identifying, understanding, and dealing with high level narcissistic behavior in those close to you. Martinez-Lewi helps you to liberate yourself from draining personal relationships with narcissists, and shows how to regain a sense of peace, balance, and well-being. Drawing on detailed profiles of famous narcissists, including Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright, Armand Hammer, and Ayn Rand, as well as expertly rendered case studies from her private practice as a psychotherapist, Martinez-Lewi shows how to: Understand where narcissistic behavior comes from; u learn to spot narcissistic traits, even in the early stages of relationships. Realize why attempting to change a narcissist is fruitless. Protect yourself from the narcissist's opportunism, manipulative behavior, and lack of empathy.

Customer Reviews:

  • A Source of Support and Highly Informative--Divorcing A Narcissist
    This book has been a great resource for me as I move through the tremendous challenges of divorcing a narcissist. I have been married to this guy for twenty years. You could ask:"What took you so long?" It took me a long time to realize that my soon to be ex-husband is a narcissist. Yes, he is a charming, take charge guy who has been successful in the world. He is full of confidence but also completely self-absorbed and superior. When things went wrong or mistakes were made, he always blamed me. I came to think that it was my fault. This man has a forceful personality and can be very persuasive. I have spent the last year in therapy. My therapist is helping me work through this painful process and to reclaim my own identity. I have recently read this clear, well written book which she recommended. I have learned a great deal about the narcissist as a result: what makes them tick, how they manipulate and deceive others to get their goals met, their total lack of empathy. The book provided me with a number of effective strategies for handling narcissists successfully. I am well informed now and feel more empowered, facing the divorce after reading this book. ...more info
  • Becoming Savvy About Narcissists Is A Must
    I have always been a trusting person. Some would call me naive. Often this point of view has worked but I have run into a lot of grief at work with a supervisor who is mean and unfair. She constantly criticizes me even when I haven't made a mistake. She walks around like she owns the world. This supervisor constantly talks about herself and is very vain.
    Not too long ago, a friend of mine was talking about this book. I read it and discovered that it describes my boss perfectly. She is a narcissistic personality. Now, I am not surprised about her superior attitude and her cruelty. I have learned a lot and am using many of the suggestions that the author offers for those of us who are dealing with narcissists at work and in our personal lives. Now that I know who I am dealing with and what I can do, I feel much more confident. ...more info
  • The Best Resource For Understanding and Handling Narcissists
    Linda Martinez-Lewi has written an extraordinary book that goes to the very core of the narcissistic personality. We live in a narcissistic world much of the time. Many of us have to deal with these self-absorbed, manipulative, and ruthless personalities in the work place and in our own families. Both of my parents were narcissists and it was exceedingly difficult and psychologically unbearable most of the time. I never felt valued in my early years as an authentic, unique human being. My parents were either insisting on molding me to their likenesses or ignoring me. I have had my share of good psychotherapy and most of my childhood wounds are healed. This book has helped me and will assist many others in identifying and handling narcissists who inevitably come our way. The author presents a number of detailed profiles from her clincial practice that are informative and a joy to read. She gives us the tools we need for engaging these individuals with calmness and confidence. ...more info
  • Tough read
    I got this book to get a better understanding how to heal from the narcissist I was dating for years. This book has a lot of stories, but really is not very helpful. It is very hard to read it does not flow. I would not recommend this book. ...more info
  • An Essential If You Are Living With A Narcissist

    This book has helped me to make an important decision. After five years of living with a narcissistic boyfriend and dealing with a lot of emotional pain and a number of physical stress symptoms, I knew that I had to change my life. After seeing an excellent therapist and reading this book, I knew it was past time to leave my demanding, manipulative boyfriend. Six months later, my life is very different. I feel calmer, more secure within myself and less on edge. My physical symptoms are gone and I feel great relief and freedom. A friend of mine who helped see me through the break-up crisis recommended this book. I am very grateful. The author has a deep understanding of the narcissistic personality---the childhood origins, the core chacteristics, their relationship style, their total lack of empathy. The book is highly informative with many clear examples. I felt like the author was speaking to me directly as I read. She placed many tools and effective strategies in my hands for dealing with the narcissists in my life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is living with a narcissist. ...more info
  • As A Psychotherapist---A Very Helpful Book To My Clients
    I have been a psychotherapist for a number of years. Many of my clients come to therapy due to severe emotional pain in their personal relationships, particularly spouses and partners. A growing number of my clients are dealing with individuals who appear to have it all. They can be irresistible, vibrantly magnetic, and cleverly manipulative. Many of these spouses and partners (men and women) are narcissistic personalities. I hear stories from clients who have tried for many years to make these relationships with narcissists work. They tell stories of emotional abuse, deceit, coldness and frequent betrayals. In addition to my study of narcissistic personalities and clinical work, I find that there are a few excellent books on the subject that are accessible to everyone. This current book by Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi is a fine example of a clinician who assists the reader in identifying exactly how and why the narcissist operates the way he(she)does.She explains his tremendous self entitlement, ruthlessness and lack of empathy. The author presents many tools for handling the narcissist successfully, combining numerous clinical vignettes from her clinical practice. I highly recommend this book to all of my clients and to all of those who encounter narcissists in their lives. We walk in a world today where narcissists are handsomely rewarded. This book is a great contribution in helping us handle the narcissists around us with confidence and a healthy sense of self worth. ...more info
  • Compelling, Informative, Very Helpful in Handling Narcissists Daily
    Compelling, engaging, informative book in which the narcissist comes to life in his or her full glory. Highly accessible to the reader. I now know how to identify the narcissist, understand what makes him tick and what drives him/her. Case studies are fascinating and informative. Powerful strategies for handling narcissists with confidence, poise and first rate knowledge. ...more info
  • Your "Magic" Man is NOT Who He Appears to Be
    Oh, the charm and the humor. The love of your life. The one who you call "Magic." Your soulmate, the one who you've spent "many" past lives with. The one that makes you dream and captivates your imagination. He is so wonderfully kind and polite to all those he meets. Yes, at times, he seems to have anger problems and disappears often without notice. The relationship seems lopsided, but he's busy yet still loves you. You've never met anyone in your life like him but interestingly, you've also never sacrificed more.

    Your "unique" ability to understand and forgive him is the reason you stay; waiting for him to change to be an equal lover that never materializes. Captured in a dream, you learn to forgive him more and lose yourself, your goals, all to support him and his dreams. You remind him of your need for him to be honest to you although you remain alone at home, restless dreaming about him as he is often "out with friends."

    You know "in your heart" that he is a good man and only needs a stable partner that won't leave him so that he grows to love you more. One day, he stops calling, you don't know where he is. You search frantically to find that he has a new lover and you are left with shock, confusion, sadness, and after the wake of despair, a huge financial loss somewhere.

    As the author states, the gift that interaction with a narcissist brings is self understanding. Your own life's relationship patterns with others come bubbling to the surface. The relationship patterns that were established through interaction with your parents are ripe to finally be visible to you most clearly and time to be broken forever. If you've tolerated a narcissist in your life at close distance, it is because you have outmoded relationship patterns with others that need to change.

    There is no book that will allow you to move forward faster in putting to rest your confusion over who your present or past lover is. As you turn the pages, you will identify with many of the qualities of your partner which you previously noted as "mildly" selfish, demanding, immature, unstable, full of rage, etc.

    Chances are that you are a thoughtful and kind person who supported your narcissist partner in futile hopes of returned love for your sacrifices only one day to find that you have been replaced without a glance backwards. Some readers, are still hoping "your magic man" will return to you. You've probably bought books in order to understand your partner and "help" him grow. Narcissistic Personality Disorder has little probability of positive change however, you do. He told you "he won't grow up," but with this book, you will.

    I would also like to highly recommend "Welcome to Your Crisis" by Laura Day, these two books in combination are perfect to read at the beginning stages of your "awakening." After all the pain, sadness, sorrow, feelings of being used, you walk away with a deep deep understanding of how you relate to people and how it's time for a change.

    PS I am gay and we've got these self-absorbed loonies, losers, and parasites who are trapped in their own mirror too. Good luck.
    ...more info
  • Worthwhile reading for everyone!
    We are all surrounded by narcissists everyday. It is important to understand the difference between healthy narcissism, which we each should cherish in ourselves, and high-level narcissists who run a path of devastation through our lives. This had wonderful examples of famous people whose traits were readily applicable to people we all know. I think her recommendation of taking responsibility for and staying clear on our own reactions is important. Her other insights are worth considering as alternative methods of coping with high-level narcissists and retaining our personal integrity. Great stories about Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright, Armand Hammer, Ayn Rand and people from her private practice....more info
  • A Charming Narcissist Will Not Fool Me Again!
    Successful narcissists are often highly rewarded financially and socially. Narcissists turn on the charm and are socially very smooth. I have fallen for a few of these guys. They were irresistible, completely self confident. I almost married my last boyfriend who turned out to be a narcissist. He was deceitful and manipulative. Very selfish. What hurt the most was realizing that he didn't care about me at all---only himself. This book describes my ex perfectly. It offers good strategies for identifying, understanding and handling narcissists. I am inspired to value myself more now and to not let overpowering narcissistic personalities dictate how I should run my life. ...more info
  • I Have Confidence and Great Tools For Dealing With My Narcissistic Mother-in-Law
    All mothers-in-law are not the same. Many of them are great: compassionate and understanding and a lot more. When I first met my mother-in-law, I thought she was this type. Mimi is a very charming, bright woman of many accomplishments. People are drawn to her intellect and her personal magnetism. Not long after I got married, I realized that there were two Mimi's---one public, the other private. In public, Mimi is smooth as silk. She has all the social graces and an intellect to boot. But I soon became acquainted with the real Mimi--the private profile. This woman is completely controlling and temperamentally impossible.She constantly criticizes her daughter (my wife) and tries to beat her down with cruel ugly words, telling her she's not good enough.
    She believes she is superior and eveyone else is worthless, especially if you cross her. Fortunately, we live way across the country from her and we intend to keep it that way. When I do have to make contact with her I am polite, but I insist that she treats me with respect. Mimi is a narcisssist. I have become interested in this personality disorder. In my research I came across this fine book which gives the reader an excellent close-up portrait of the narcissist, explains the childhood beginnings of this personality disorder, what makes them tick, and provides a number of excellent ways for dealing with narcissists in our families and in our social and working lives. This book contains valuable information, excellent clinical examples and is entertaining to read. It has helped me to deal with narcissists I encounter on a daily basis. ...more info
  • Great Insights into the Narcissist: Getting Beyond Heartbreak
    I recently broke up with the woman I was about to marry. We had been going together for a couple of years. Rosalie (that's the name I will use) was one of the most beautiful women I have ever met. I was attracted to her charm and fell in love with her right away. I knew quite soon that she could be temperamental and demanding but I was so taken with her that I ignored her character flaws. As we began to date more seriously, Rosalie became more critical of me and more demanding. I would catch her in lies all the time. I kept making excuses for her. She asked for a large sum of money to purchase a watch that she had been eyeing for a long time. I gave her the money and she promised to pay me back. She never did. I also found out that she was cheating on me with two other guys. Rosalie never thought about anyone but herself. She hurt me so many times with her extreme self absorption and her expecting me to be perfect. Even when I did everything she asked, it wasn't good enough. She'd scream at me and tell me I was a worthless idiot. Finally, she threw me away. I was so desperate, I didn't think I could live without her. I having been seeing a good psychotherapist. This helped me realize that Rosalie is a narcissist, that she suffers from a serious personality disorder. I have done a lot of work in therapy and am in the course of recovering from this loss. The therapist recommended that I read a book by Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi called "Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life". This book offers a clear analysis with many compelling examples of the narcissistic personality disorder. The author gave me a number of tools to use when dealing with narcissists. She described Rosalie perfectly. I really enjoyed the marvelous stories about famous narcissists like Pablo Picasso and Frank Lloyd. I highly recommmend this terrific book. It has helped me to heal and find more peace in my life. ...more info
  • This Book Goes to the Narcissist's Core--A Great Help
    I am a psychotherapist who works with a variety of clients. Some of them are dealing with spouses and ex-spouses and partners who are narcissistic personalities. I have read a number of books on narcissism and have studied the subject. Besides her clinical training and work with clients, the author has a deep empathic comprehension of the psychological suffering individuals experience who are being constantly wounded by a narcissist. The author provides us with an in-depth view of the narcissist, wearing an elaborate mask that charms and beguiles the world and the dark unconscious narcissistic core that contains endless rage, treacherous deceit, and concealed paranoia. Dr. Martinez-Lewi presents a variety of strategic methods for successfully dealing with the narcissistic personality. We live in a narcissistically driven society and must deal with narcissists frequently these days. I recommend this book to all of my clients. It has helped them immensely....more info
  • I Now Handle Narcissists With Great Confidence
    A few years ago I ended a business partnership with an individual who turned out to be an excessively self-entitled, self-absorbed narcissist. He and I graduated from the same dental school. Stan (I'll call him) received the highest academic honors in dental school and was considered one of the best students during his professional training. He appeared to be very competent and seemed to have a gift for relating to people. His portfolio was impeccable. We put up the money for all of our equipment, the office lease, and personnel. At first, things went smoothly. After a few months I began to see a pattern in Stan that was troubling. He was contantly criticizing the staff, belittling them in front of others. I discovered that he was overcharging for the work he was doing and insisting that patients have expensive dental work that they didn't need. I tactfully called Stan on this and he became furious. A number of times he showed up late and expected me to pick up the slack. When I asked him about this behavior, he went ballistic as if it was my role to automatically take over for him. Finally, it became impossible to work with him. At the end, he insisted that he had paid for all of the equipment and tried to stiff me with this bill and payment of the lease. He ended up with more money than he was entitled to. Since that time I have formed a new dental group and it is doing well. There are no narcissists in this office. I have made sure of this. Don't get me wrong. There are many marvelous hard-working, brilliant dentists that are not narcissistic. After my experience with Stan, I studied narcissistic personalities and learned about their childhood origins, their psychodynamics (what makes them tick) and how to deal with them. I have recently read this excellent book on the narcissistic personality disorder by Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi. The case studies and vignettes from her clinical practice are invaluable. The author provides the reader with a variety of strategies he/she can use for identifying and handling them with great success. This is one of the best resources on this prevalent personality disorder of our time, the narcissist. ...more info
    If there is a narcissist in your life this is the book for you! This book is great at explaining the make-up & character of a narcissist. It's amazing to read after having lived with someone like this for years & very helpful at understanding all the craziness you may have endured. The best part is understanding that the craziness is not your own but that caused by the narcissist! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks they may have been living with a narcissit (or may still be). It is a huge help in healing the "wounds" inflicted by someone like this. ...more info
  • I Got Help---Breakup with A Narcissistic Girlfriend
    I recently broke up with a girlfriend who I now know is a narcissist. In the beginning she seemed to be a great partner. She was successful in her career, very attractive, had social skills, and best of all, I believed that she really cared about me. Brooke began to show her true face and it wasn't pretty. Brooke insisted on perfection. When I didn't come up with an idea that she agreed with, she insisted that I was stupid. She was self absorbed---24 hours a day. She talked constantly about her influential friends and hurt my feelings often by asking me why I wasn't a big success. Her mother and father treated her like a queen. Brooke humiliated me in front of my friends. She constantly lied and was unfaithful to me on a number of occasions. When I found out, she asked me:"What's the big deal? Sometimes you have to break out and have a good time." I was devastated. I got some professional help from a good therapist. She suggested that I read this book. It pinpoints the narcissist to a tee. Now I know that this was never a true relationship. I understand and have confidence in dealing with narcissists. ...more info


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