November 03, 2012

Part Two: Resources for People with a Narcissistic Personality (who want to change)

Please refer to Part One Resource Article 

Resources for people with a narcissistic personality 
who want to change 

1- Be honest and admit to yourself, "This is where I am. Now what am I gonna do about it?"
2- Recognize Idealization and Devaluation patterns
3- Know warning signs and stumbling blocks to healthy recovery
4- Learn about narcissism: the causes, the results, the challenges
5- Commit to long term therapy; take medications as prescribed
6- Practice stress and anxiety reduction techniques
7- Treat substance abuse and other active addictions
8- Accept corrective feedback without triggering Step Two and Three (this'll be tricky!)
9- Follow a spiritual path creating meaning and purpose (develop communal values)
10- Ask for help. Get support. Develop a wellness action plan

Each of the books, videos and websites on my recommendation list have been useful for understanding our challenges as imperfect human beings. This list is a good place to start while seeking additional resources that might better fit your situation.  My list is intended to help people with normal narcissistic traits and behaviors they'd like to change, along with people who have narcissistic personalities and the desire to change. These are merely suggested resources and may not work well for your particular situation. Please give this link to your therapist for his or her input as to which resources might be best for you.

If you are researching my website for information to give to the person in your life who has a narcissistic personality, please stop. You cannot influence anyone to change if they don't want to change. Learn what you need to know to help yourself. Handing someone a binder full of information about the narcissistic continuum (especially the Narcissistic Personality Disorder) will increase their unconscious defenses, obfuscating the situation and making matters worse. I speak from the voice of experience. Let my mistakes be your gain. *wink*

Narcissism Tests

Note: Learn how you tick on these seven traits measured on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI): Authority; Self-sufficiency; Superiority; Exhibitionism; Exploitativeness; Vanity; Entitlement. The NPI measures normal narcissism, a constellation of personality traits in everyone.

Reference article on my blog: Narcissistic Traits and the NPI

Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI)
"The NPI is ideal for self-researchers who want to understand the narcissistic self," W. Keith Campbell writes. "However, those who conceptualize narcissism as an entirely negative or pathological condition of the self may have issues with the NPI."

"The Dark Triad is a group of three personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy, all of which are interpersonally aversive. The Dark Triad refers to three theoretically distinct but empirically overlapping personality constructs. The term reflects the perception that these three diagnostic categories, have at least some common underlying factors." ~Wikipedia

DSM Criteria for the Narcissistic Personality Disorder 
This Wikipedia article continually updates information about classification of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the 2013 edition of the DSM  (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders).

Types of Therapy

Note: Individual, family therapy, and group therapy are beneficial in reducing narcissistic behaviors and educating family members about the disorder and their reactions. Treatment of NPD requires several years in order to change behaviors that have been developing since childhood. But take heart! Improved therapeutic techniques report short-term benefits which encourage continued treatment. Nonetheless, changing dysfunctional thoughts, feelings and behaviors requires long-term treatment. Don't let anyone kid you otherwise.

Human beings continue to grow and change throughout their lifetime, so why not direct your conscious change with professional guidance and personal intention? No matter the degree of change you are able to make, you and other people will be better off. And remember: don't set your bar at perfection. Perfection doesn't heal the disconnection from the real self---it perpetuates isolation from others and self.

"Transference-Focused Psychotherapy is an evidence-based psychodynamic therapy designed for patients with the type of condition known as personality disorders. Individuals with these conditions may experience depression, anxiety and/or other intense emotions. They may also experience frustration and a lack of fulfillment in personal relationships and work achievement.

"Psychodynamic" refers to the idea that different parts of our mind are always in movement and that this may result in conflicts; for example, conflicts about whether or not to act on an impulse, urge or desire...Helping the patient get to know the repertoire of images that make up his mind—his internal world—can help him or her better adjust these images to the world around him. This process can lead to a decrease in depressive and anxious feelings and more successful experiences in personal relations and work achievement." ~Frank Yeomans, Md., PhD. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that addresses dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviors and cognitive processes and contents through a number of goal-oriented, explicit systematic procedures. The name refers to behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and to therapy based upon a combination of basic behavioral and cognitive principles and research. ~Wikipedia

The Feeling Good Handbook by Dr. David Burns
"The first principle of cognitive therapy is that all your moods are created by your “cognitions,” or thoughts. A cognition refers to the way you look at thing—your perceptions, mental attitudes, and beliefs. It includes the way you interpret things—what you say about something or someone to yourself. You feel the way you do right now because of the thoughts you are thinking at this moment."

Ten Days to Self-Esteem by David D. Burns
Dr. David Burns presents innovative, clear, and compassionate methods that will help you identify the causes of your mood slumps and develop a more positive outlook on life.  You feel the way you think: Negative feelings like guilt, anger, and depression do not result from the bad things that happen to you, but from the way you think about these events. ~Amazon

Mistakes were Made (but not by me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
Backed by years of research and delivered in lively, energetic prose, 'Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)' offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception—how it works, the harm it can cause, and how we can overcome it. ~Amazon

Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy was developed by Dr. Jeffrey E. Young for use in treatment of personality disorders and chronic Axis I disorders, such as when patients fail to respond or relapse after having been through other therapies (for example, traditional CBT). Schema Therapy is an integrative, twenty first century psychotherapy synergistically and systematically combining theory and techniques from previously existing therapies, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, psychoanalytic object relations, Attachment Theory, and Gestalt therapy ~Wikipedia

"I don't need constant admiration from everyone to exist and be healthy"
"I'm an important part of an even more important whole"
"Other people have needs and opinions that matter, too"
"This situation is not really about me" (examples by Cukrowicz and Joiner)

Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy T. Behary 
Readers will learn how to move past the narcissist's defenses with compassionate, empathetic communication. They'll learn to understand the worldview and coping styles of narcissists and why it's often sad and lonely to be a narcissist. By anticipating and avoiding certain hot-button issues, readers will discover ways to relate to narcissists without triggering aggression. By validating some common narcissistic concerns, readers will find out how to be heard in conversation with a narcissist. Also covered are strategies for limit setting and for knowing when to draw the line on unacceptable behaviour. ~Amazon

Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT)

Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT), a longer term therapy, is especially appropriate for people who have been in therapy before and have not yet succeeded in changing feelings (anger, anxiety, depression) and behavior patterns that are irrational, maladaptive and unwanted. Lorna Smith Benjamin Website Lorna Smith Benjamin, Ph.D. is professor of psychology, adjunct professor of psychiatry and founder of the Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy Clinic, University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute.

She states, "I have profound respect for the theory of evolution, and if we're a herd animal, then it's clear that sticking together as a herd is primary; so attachment is primary; love, community is primary." ~An Audio Interview with Lorna Smith Benjamin, Ph.D by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

Interpersonal Diagnosis and Treatment of Personality Disorders: Second Edition by Lorna Benjamin
This influential work helps clinicians resolve questions of overlap among diagnostic categories, offers specific and sensible suggestions for treatment interventions, and describes common transference problems in therapy.

Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy: An Integrative, Personality-Based Treatment for Complex Cases by Lorna Benjamin
For individuals with chronic, complex problems that include multiple Axis I disorders comorbid with personality disorders, the barriers to change are significant. This book presents a powerful therapeutic approach that integrates psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, client-centered, and other techniques to empower patients to overcome these barriers by fostering change in personality. Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT) is grounded in an innovative case formulation method that systematically links symptoms to maladaptive patterns in attachment relationships. IRT offers a step-by-step framework for structuring interventions to promote learning of new, healthier patterns, while blocking problem behaviors and building a strong therapeutic alliance. A new preface in the paperback edition addresses current developments in IRT research and practice.

Self Control Regulation Interpersonal PsychoTherapy (SCRIPT)

"The SCRIPT approach utilizes Beck et al.'s (1990) cognitive approach to the treatment of BPD and NPD by explicitly targeting cognitions and schema that are part of the essential features of these disorders....Researchers using self-control regulation/interpersonal psychotherapy have found evidence of psychological change in clients suffering from NPD." (W. Keith Campbell and Joshua D. Foster)

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) 

"DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from Buddhist meditative practice...Research indicates that DBT is also effective in treating patients who present varied symptoms and behaviors associated with spectrum mood disorders, including self-injury. Recent work suggests its effectiveness with sexual abuse survivors and chemical dependency. ~Wikipedia


"Practicing mindfulness can help people to begin to recognize their habitual patterns of mind, which have developed out of awareness over time and this allows practitioners to respond in new rather than habitual ways to their life." ~Wikipedia

Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about Mindfulness VIDEO (1:12:06)

Rick Hanson speaking on the Not-Craving Brain VIDEO (1:10:57)

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Beginning and advanced meditators alike will discover in these pages a valuable distillation of the key attitudes and essential practices that Jon Kabat-Zinn has found most useful with his students, including: Why heartfulness is synonymous with true mindfulness; The value of coming back to our bodies and to our senses over and over again; How our thoughts self-liberate when touched by awareness; Moving beyond our story into direct experience; Stabilizing our attention and presence amidst daily activities; The three poisons that cause suffering and their antidotes; How mindfulness heals, even after the fact, Reclaiming our wholeness, and more.

Stress and Anxiety

Transcendental Meditation  (website)
What is the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique? It is a simple, natural, effortless procedure practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It’s not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. It’s the most widely practiced, most researched, and most effective method of self-development.

The Relaxation Response by Miriam J. Klipper and Herbert Bensen
This revitalizing, therapeutic approach, discovered by Dr. Benson and his colleagues in the laboratories of Harvard Medical School and its teaching hospitals, is now routinely recommended to treat patients suffering from heart conditions, high blood pressure, chronic pain, insomnia, and many other physical ailments. Requiring only minutes to learn, and just ten to twenty minutes of practice twice a day, the Relaxation Response has proven to be one of the most effective ways to relieve the tensions of modern-day living for a richer, healthier, more productive life.~Amazon


Note: Doesn't everybody help themselves, even with professional counseling? Self-help is a particular genre referring to a burgeoning industry of books and websites. Criticism of the self-help industry is well-deserved since one self-help book leads to a dozen self-help books and pretty soon your nightstand crashes.

If you have a narcissistic personality and you aren't in therapy, please exercise caution reading self-help books. Without developing communal values holding you steady, it's easy to use self-help to justify narcissistic behaviors! Behaviors you would likely never have done without the encouragement of a self-help book that was written for people without narcissistic personalities.  Before your narcissism leads you astray, speak with a counselor who can help you avoid self-deception. (self-deception might be narcissist's Achilles heel)

What you Can Change and What You Can't  by Martin Seligman
"You can best prepare yourself to change by learning as much as you can about what you can change and how to make those changes...Like all true education, learning about change is not easy; harder yet is surrendering some of our hopes. There are few shortcuts and no quick fixes to be had. You have heard the exhortations of the multibillion-dollar self-improvement industries and the therapy and medication guilds. Much of what you have heard from them has been false promises. Much of the optimism they have engendered has been unwarranted."~Martin Seligman

Changing for Good by James Prochaska, John Norcross and Carlo DiClemente
Changing for Good distinguishes itself from the many other self-help materials available by espousing a sound therapeutic approach based on the authors' years of professional work with people in all sorts of damaging behavioral patterns, including smoking, overeating, alcohol abuse, and toxic relationships. The six steps to change, the social processes one must understand while changing, and the criteria used to measure success will prove useful to all self-helpers. Reader David Brand presents the text clearly and succinctly. A sure choice for all popular psychology collections. ~Amazon

Compassion and Self-Hate by Theodore Isaac Rubin 
Dr. Rubin looks of how self-hate begins, is sustained, and eventually leads to destructive and defeating behavior -- from alcoholism and drug dependency to perfectionism and fear of failure (or success). Offering practical and reassuring advice, he shows that the key to freeing yourself from these restricting emotions and habits is to find and examine the self-hate that generates them, and then to release your innate and powerful capacity for compassion. ~Amazon book

Break the Cycle! Self-improvement Lessons to protect your family by Peter Gerlach (website)
"The "cycle" is this: psychologically-wounded, unaware parents raise wounded, unaware kids. They  grow up, choose wounded, unaware partners, and raise wounded, unaware kids who repeat and spread the cycle and its effects in our society."

Creating Love: the next stage of growth by John Bradshaw
Bradshaw’s compassionate approach shows that many of us have been literally “entranced” by past experiences of counterfeit love, so we unknowingly re-create patterns that can never fulfill us. Here he provides both the insights and the precise tools we need to keep those destructive patterns from repeating in the present. And then he shows how we can open ourselves to the soul-building work of real love—and create healthy, loving relationships where we can be fully ourselves in every part of our lives. ~Amazon

Inner Child Work 

Note: Depending on the degree of relational difficulties you're experiencing with yourself and others, inner child work should be facilitated by professionals. Unfortunately, the unaccompanied inner child that's urged to emerge and bonds with other wounded inner children and then the whole gang escalates childish behaviors without restraint. Adult selves are hog-tied in the corner and silenced. The wounded inner child of the past seeks revenge on adults in the present, ruining people's lives and thwarting the healing process. If the consequences are too great to bare, inner-kids-gone-wild might even stop the healing process completely.

Inner child work for people with narcissistic disorders has serious consequences in your adult life. Your wounded inner child can (and frequently does) destroy the life you've built for yourself. Wounded inner children raise their fists, punching whomever's the closest and that's often the people who support them the most. My advice for people with narcissistic personalities is to work with professionals who won't encourage self-destructive behaviors.  Be aware though: when therapists and other adults suggest your behavior might be contradictory to your best interests, your "devalue and discard process"  will automatically kick in. If you know this in advance, you might be able to catch yourself in the act and avoid another setback in your recovery.

Healing the Child Within Charles L. Whitfield
Have you ever heard of your inner child? Well, this is the classic book that started it all. In 1987, Charlie Whitfield's breakthrough concept of the child within—that part of us which is truly alive, energetic, creative and fulfilled—launched the inner child movement. Healing the Child Within describes how the inner child is lost to trauma and loss, and how by recovering it, we can heal the fear, confusion and unhappiness of adult life.

Healing the Shame that Binds You John Bradshaw
Shame is the motivator behind our toxic behaviors: the compulsion, co-dependency, addiction and drive to super-achieve that breaks down the family and destroys personal lives. This book has helped millions identify their personal shame, understand the underlying reasons for it, address these root causes and release themselves from the shame that binds them to their past failures. ~Amazon

*     *     *

Volunteer in your community 
(anonymously if you can!)

Participate in 12-step
(exercise empathy and reduce hierarchies)

*     *     *

Narcissism Book List

Note: Much of the literature about people with narcissistic personalities has been written about relationships with narcissists who didn't want to change. Partners and family members suffer symptoms of complex-PTSD depending on the level of abuse they endured. They will continue to suffer until they give up hoping for change, when the other person doesn't want to change. These books are not written for people with narcissistic personalities, so please select books that won't trigger your defenses---that's a self-defeating battle, especially at first. Avoid books polarizing narcissism into an us-or-them dichotomy. If you want to change, and you're willing to  commit healthy change, believe in yourself and do it. NPD is not your destiny.

The Mirror Effect by Drew Pinsky and Mark Young
A provocative, eye-opening study, The Mirror Effect sounds a timely warning, raising important questions about our changing culture—and provides insights for parents, young people, and anyone who wonders what the cult of celebrity is really doing to America. ~Amazon

The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell
The Narcissism Epidemic is at once a riveting window into the consequences of narcissism, a prescription to combat the widespread problems it causes, and a probing analysis of the culture at large. ~Amazon

The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch
When 'The Culture of Narcissism' was first published, it was clear that Christopher Lasch had identified something important: what was happening to American society in the wake of the decline of the family over the last century. ~Amazon

The Destructive Narcissistic Pattern by Nina Brown
The destructive narcissistic pattern (DNP) is a term used to describe a constellation of characteristics generally associated with pathological narcissism, but which are fewer and less severe. Nonetheless, these characteristics negatively impact relationships...In addition to identifying destructive narcissism, Brown provides strategies to help the reader moderate or eliminate the impact of these destructive narcissistic behaviors, feelings, and attitudes. Attention is given to understanding projection, projective identification, and identification as well as how those processes trigger reactions. This book will be an important tool for counselors, psychologists, clinical social workers, and other mental health professionals, and students in these fields. ~Amazon

Loving the Self-Absorbed by Nina Brown
You that you are not helpless, and that you needn't give up on your relationship. Instead, the book offers realistic tips on living so that both of your needs are met. Change your "fantasy" wishes into realistic expectations, create boundaries, listen and respond in a self-caring manner, and learn when to avoid and ignore especially bad behavior...Ultimately, you will achieve a degree of understanding and separation that will help you see both your partner and yourself in a new light. ~Amazon

The Narcissistic Family by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert M. Pressman
The children in narcissistic family systems try to earn love, attention and approval by satisfying their parents' needs, thus never developing the ability to recognize their own needs or create strategies for getting them met. By outlining the theoretical framework of their model and using dozens of illustrative clinical examples, the authors clearly illuminate specific practice guidelines for treating these individuals. ~Amazon

Theoretical Books

Narcissism, a New Theory by Neville Symington
"I think this question of narcissism is crucial. It is a personal problem in each of us which we have to solve. I believe that if we understand some of the processes that determine it in us, we may be in a better position to become creative architects of our own lives, to stand for more worthwhile values in our society, and to achieve that elusive quality called happiness. As many social theorists have said, alienation in all its ramifications is the source of the modern malaise." (pg.123)

Narcissism: Denial of the True Self by Alexander Lowen
"Narcissism can be seen in a loss of human values---in a lack of concern for the environment, for the quality of life, for one's fellow human beings...The proliferation of material things becomes the measure of progress in living and man is pitted against woman, worker against employer, individual against community. When wealth occupies a higher position than wisdom, when notoriety is admired more than dignity, when success is more important than self-respect, the culture itself overvalues "image" and must be regarded as narcissistic." ~Alexander Lowen

The Search for the Real Self by James. F. Masterson
"After describing how the healthy real self develops and functions, he explains what can go wrong. Drawing on case histories, he shows how the false self behaves in relationships and on the job, and then delineates appropriate treatments, offering real hope for cure."~Amazon

Humanizing the Narcissistic Style by Stephen M. Johnson
Johnson writes at the beginning of his book: "Some of my best friends are narcissists. Much of my most successful and moving therapeutic work has been done with individuals who can most accurately be understood by using the concepts of narcissism." (pg.3)

Characterological Transformation: the hard work miracle by Steven M. Johnson
"Johnson uses an active treatment approach that draws upon all major schools of psychotherapeutic thought, choosing techniques that serve specific purposes and outlining changes in behavioral, affective, and cognitive domains that are necessary for lasting characterological change. Focusing on character pathology resulting from disorders in attachment, the book discusses etiology, characteristic affects, behaviors and cognitions, bodily expressions of character, and therapeutic objectives and techniques." ~Amazon (requires a psychology background---or a tall ladder 'cuz this book is way over people's heads)

Know the Warning Signs of Depression

Note: People with narcissistic personalities suffer depression, especially at midlife when narcissistic defenses are unable to compensate for the stresses of life, the anxiety of getting older, the loss of aging parents, and unresolved fears about death. People with narcissistic personalities have difficulty accepting having never having made their "mark on the world." Unfulfilled dreams of fame and fortune haven't been processed and accepted, leading to despair and emptiness...devaluation of the self.  Which always leads to devaluation of others. Only qualified therapists can determine if what you are experiencing is a mood disorder, situational depression, or perhaps a depression resulting from unhealthy narcissism. 

There are many websites, books, and videos by, and for, people suffering depression. Please, if you are dealing with a narcissistic personality, ask for professional support and treatment. Mood disorders run in my family and pharmaceutical treatments have saved not only the depressed person's life, but the lives of those who love and support them.

Stephen Fry: The manic-depressive VIDEO Part One (58:47) and Part Two  (58:53)

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook by Kirk Strosahl and Patricia Robinson
Your symptoms may be signals that something in your life needs to change. Learning to understand and interpret these signals is much more important than ignoring or avoiding them---approaches that only make the situation worse. This workbook uses techniques from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to offer a new treatment plan for depression that will help you live a productive life by accepting your feelings instead of fruitlessly trying to avoid them. ~Amazon

Spiritual Development

The Psychology of Religion
"...religion is positively linked with mental health. This might be due to the guiding framework or social support that it offers to individuals. By these routes, religion has the potential to offer security and significance in life, as well as valuable human relationships, to foster mental health. Religion also provides coping skills to deal with stressors, or demands perceived as straining. Pargament’s three primary styles of religious coping are 1) self-directing, characterized by self-reliance and acknowledgement of God, 2) deferring, in which a person passively attributes responsibility to God, and 3) collaborative, which involves an active partnership between the individual and God and is most commonly associated with positive adjustment."

"Secular spirituality emphasizes humanistic ideas on moral character (qualities such as love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, responsibility, harmony, and a concern for others), aspects of life and human experience which go beyond a purely materialist view of the world without necessarily accepting belief in a supernatural reality or divine being. Spiritual practices such as mindfulness and meditation can be experienced as beneficial or even necessary for human fulfillment without any supernatural interpretation or explanation. Spirituality in this context may be a matter of nurturing thoughts, emotions, words and actions that are in harmony with a belief that everything in the universe is mutually dependent."

The Power of Humility Charles and Barbara Whitfield, Russell Park, Jyoti Jeneane Prevatt
"The Power of Humility is a remarkable book that presents profound tools for changing your life in simple, practical steps. It will help us see the solutions that were there all the time, hidden from view by our own habits." ~Amazon

Teach Only Love (attitudinal healing) by Gerald G. Jampolsky 
"In 1975, Jerry Jampolsky co-founded the Center for Attitudinal Healing in Tiburon, California, where people with life-threatening illnesses practice peace of mind as an instrument of transformation. Based on the healing power of love and forgiveness, the 12 principles developed at the center, and explained in this book, embrace the idea that total giving and total acceptance are crucial to the healing process and that attitudinal healing can lead to harmony, joy, and life without fear."

Note: Teach Only Love was recommended on Tony Brown's Friends of Narcissists Forum. Tony had been diagnosed with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder and has since passed away. His forum is no longer active. I've listed this book, trusting Tony to recommend a spiritual resource that didn't increase narcissistic grandiosity---a serious hindrance preempting healthy recovery. 

"Observer consciousness is a personal state of awareness that allows us to recognize the happenings in our lives as intentional opportunities to further our connection with ourselves and with Source." She uses a unique blend of ideas and methods distilled from the more classic works of Karpman, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, and others. "How we deal with life's challenges, not the challenges themselves, determine whether or not we are in victim consciousness."

In this book, the author explores the underlying spiritual understanding of narcissism. He presents a detailed map of the steps involved in working through barriers that prevent us from recognizing the most essential nature of our true identity. ~Amazon

Develop An Action Plan

Note: If you see yourself doing, saying, and thinking things that contradict the values and principles you have striven to live by, consider talking with professional therapists, religious leaders, counselors, etc. Include people in your recovery plan who are not family members. Many people with narcissistic personalities prefer a closed circle---relying on partners (family members or intimate friends) rather than asking for outside help. The fear of being shamed,  the humiliation of dependency or deficiency, makes keeping your problem in the family seem like a good idea. But it's not. It's a terrible plan. It's one thing to fire your therapist because after the Devalue and Discard process, you realizes he was an idiot. It's entirely worse to fire your spouse. Or your best friend. 

When experiencing depression, elevated levels of stress, anxiety, (also shame and humiliation after a loss or failure) family members take the brunt of narcissistic projection. The more your loved ones try to help, the more resistant you are to receiving their help. Always, always ask for therapeutic support beyond what family and friends can offer. The website linked below is a good example of what you can do to protect yourself from self-destructing and keep you on the path towards healing without tearing down and building up another life:

Wellness Recovery Action Plan by Mary Ellen Copeland (website and books)
WRAP®, is an evidence-based system that is used world-wide by people who are dealing with mental health and other kinds of health challenges, and by people who want to attain the highest possible level of wellness. It was developed by a group of people who have a lived experience of mental health difficulties; people who were searching for ways to resolve issues that had been troubling them for a long time. WRAP® involves listing your personal resources, your Wellness Tools, and then using those resources to develop Action Plans to use in specific situations which are determined by you. WRAP® is adaptable to any situation. WRAP® also includes a Crisis Plan or Advance Directive.

Campbell, Keith W. and Joshua D. Foster. The Narcissistic Self: Background, an Extended Agency Model, and Ongoing Controversies

Cukrowicz , Kelly C. and Thomas E. Joiner Jr. Treating the "Mischances of Character," Simply and Effectively. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, Vol. 35, No. 2, Summer 2005.

Walsh, Christopher. The Practical Application of Mindfulness in Individual Cognitive Therapy. Presented at the 28th National conference for the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behavior Therapy.  2005

Wink, Paul, Michele Dillon, and Kristen Fay. Spiritual Seeking, Narcissism, and Psychotherapy: How Are They Related? Journal for the Scientific Study of religion. (2005)


  1. Wow, CZBZ! Incredibly comprehensive post! Thanks so much for making this resource available to others - you've put a ton of work into this. :-)


    1. You're so welcome! Took me a couple of weeks going through my library to see which books would be most appropriate. I have this system. If the book is dog-eared, highlighted and the jacket is torn, it was a Good One. haha!

      (I did put a lot of work in this---you're right. It's been on my ToDo list for a couple of years so finally someone asked me for a list, and the time was right, and I feel great about pulling all this information together.

      I wish...really wish someone had left a trail for me to follow. So here's my breadcrumb offerings and I sincerely hope it offers structure and guidance to anyone willing to do the work.


  2. Excellent compilation of resources and information. Thank-you for all your hard work, CZBZ, and for your desire to help people. You're the best. I know how long you've been learning and researching. You're an inspiration and a blessing for sharing your wealth of knowledge and your heart.


  3. Thanks so much for this list of reading material. I have already added Campbell, Gilligan, and Vanknin (sp?) to my iPad, and am looking forward to reading more of these, esp. the ones on narcissism. I also found your explanations of different therapies helpful, and your treatment of other aspects such as self-help and spirituality. It really takes a village, hey?


  4. CZ, you've really compiled villages for all different approaches to narcissism. I've read some on the list, but many others are new to me. I read the Vaknin two years ago, and it began to crystalize my sense that my mother was malevolent. This is hard to grasp with people whose dominant mode is passive aggression. The two refs below interest me and I'll be getting ahold of them:
    Campbell, Keith W. and Joshua D. Foster. The Narcissistic Self: Background, an Extended Agency Model, and Ongoing Controversies

    Cukrowicz , Kelly C. and Thomas E. Joiner Jr. Treating the "Mischances of Character," Simply and Effectively. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, Vol. 35, No. 2, Summer 2005.

    The phrase "mischances of character" is striking. I think "Character" in general is a word worth unpacking. Maybe in a post on Caliban's Sisters. It's got so many meanings attached to it (from drama/theater to font letters). Thank you for this extraordinary compilation of resources. Yours is simply the best most comprehensive website on narcissism available. I've said it before and I'll say it again--your blog is a gift.

  5. Excellent article, great compilation and consoling advice.

    I´m at the beginning of my journey, having lost what was nearest and dearest. It is said that what has been lost can be found and that every journey begins with the first step.

    Thanks a lot for the roadside assistance advice! I´ll try to fix and overhaul this rusty car and keep in trucking. And get driver´s license.

    1. Hello anonymous! I'm so glad your found my article useful and consoling. It's important to believe in your ability to change, to heal. There's enough evidence about treating narcissistic disorders to have hope that therapy will make a difference.

      It sounds like you are coming to grips with narcissism after experiencing a crisis. I am truly sorry about that. Like everyone else on the planet, it's really hard to see a problem until it's too obvious to be ignored. At that point, we can continue to ignore, deny or justify continuing the same behaviors that resulted in the crisis; or, we can ask for help and believe in our ability to understand and change those behaviors.

      Consider therapy and self-help to be "Triple A Insurance" for your road trips. ha!

      I wish you all the best.



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