Saturday, March 26, 2016

Book Review: The Narcissist You Know

I’m not sure how I stumbled across this book, but the title intrigued me. Author Joseph Burgo identifies various types of narcissists through chapter titles such as The Bullying Narcissist, The Narcissistic Parent, the Grandiose Narcissist, The Know-It-All Narcissist.

According to Burgo, someone who behaves as a narcissist is always trying to escape from pain of the past, usually some sort of shame of the past. Since such individuals “act out” in various ways, they develop into the different types of narcissists mentioned above. According to Burgo, narcissism boils down to an inflated sense of self importance and a lack of empathy for others.

I felt the author fell short of the book’s subtitle, “Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists.” I got the impression that the best action to take is simply to disengage from people displaying such behavior. But Burgo does suggest putting yourself in the narcissist’s shoes and trying to understand the “wounded” child of his/her past. I appreciated the “case studies” of individuals he’s counseled and also public figures—actors, politicians--whom he identifies as narcissists.

All in all, an interesting read. I would have preferred Burgo dropped four-letter words from conversations he included; while such words express authentic feelings, I still prefer not to read them.

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