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Posted May 21, 2008
At last a scholar who moves past the psychobabble and the rival psychological (mainly psychodynamic) theories and tackles the difficult task of how to communicate with narcissists (those diagnosed with the pernicious and all-pervasive Narcissistic Personality Disorder - NPD). The disorder itself has been dissected to smithereens in numerous hefty tomes (including mine: 'Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited, first published in 1999). To the author's credit, starting with her seminal studies of narcissistic-borderline couples, she has always set her sights on the victims: their needs, fears, and welfare. Her latest work is no exception. Following a lucid exposition of NPD, Lachkar proceeds to deal with eight types of narcissists. She describes their pathology in relevant details, their v-spots (a construct she proposes, intended to capture emotional vulnerabilities, often induced by childhood abuse), their communication styles, and their reactions to various stimuli. She then proceeds to pose the all-important question of: who bonds with each and every subtype of narcissist and why? Case studies and discussions support her arguments and her proposed remedies (a communication and behavior modification modality she calls 'empathology'). But Lachkar's insights and methodology are not confined to the marital scene. 'How To Talk to a Narcissist' is among the few books to deal with the narcissistic artist and to wrestle with the delicate topic of the narcissism of collectives, cultures, societies, and historical processes. The book is a delight to read. Though her astounding erudition is evident throughout, Lachkar never condescends or patronizes. She condenses decades of research into concise yet comprehensive chapters and opens up new vistas of understanding seamlessly. A must read and a welcome addition to the literature and an indispensable tool in the arsenal of victims of abuse meted out by narcissists and psychopaths. Highly and unreservedly recommended! Sam Vaknin, author of 'Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited'
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