Fatal Flaws: Navigating Destructive Relationships With People With Disorders of Personality and Character / Edition 1

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Featuring case vignettes from nearly 30 years of Dr. Yudofsky's clinical practice and incorporating the knowledge of gifted clinicians, educators, and research scientists with whom he has collaborated throughout that time, Fatal Flaws: Navigating Destructive Relationships With People With Disorders of Personality and Character uniquely captures the rapidly increasing body of clinical and research information about people with severe and persistent personality and character disorders.

Within these pages, the author brings to life the psychopathologies of personality and character disorders through vivid vignettes based on composites of his many patients and their most important relationships -- while meticulously changing the identifying facts and relevant details to protect confidentiality.

Covering the clinical course, treatment, genetics, biology, psychology, and destructive consequences of hysterical (histrionic), narcissistic, antisocial, paranoid, obsessive-compulsive, addictive, borderline, and schizotypal personality disorders, Fatal Flaws stands out in the literature for these powerful reasons: • It is written for an unusually broad audience, from mental health students and trainees of all disciplines, to highly experienced clinicians, to patients who suffer from or are in destructive relationships with people with personality disorders.• It is a hybrid -- part psychiatric textbook for clinicians and part self-help manual for patients and clients with personality and character disorders. • It is designed to supplement treatment by providing patients with practical, evidence-based information about personality disorders and character flaws.• It is particularly valuable to patients who are in psychotherapy, in part, because they are entangled in destructive relationships with people with disorders of personality and/or character.• It is written in the first person, with the author directly communicating with a patient who either has a personality or character disorder or is in an important relationship with a person who has such a disorder. • It is useful for people who are uncertain whether they or their loved ones have personality or character disorders, and who want to know more about these conditions and their treatments before making a decision about securing the help of a mental health professional.

Fatal Flaws: Navigating Destructive Relationships With People With Disorders of Personality and Character is a compelling volume that provides the essential information and a realistic sense of the clinical experience required to inform, orient, and support novice mental health professionals and seasoned practitioners alike as they face the ongoing challenges of treating patients or clients with personality or character disorders. It should also prove to be an invaluable resource for those who wish practical and effective help in understanding and changing their destructive relationships with people who have severe and persistent disorders of personality and/or character.

American Psychiatric Publishing

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

[Fatal Flaws] is readable, thorough, and unique practical sharing of the author's and the mentors' wisdom regarding personality disorders of all types delineated in the DSM-IV.


Fatal Flaws is a well-written, accessible guide for understanding personality disorders. Its discussion of symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment is thorough enough to serve as guide for mental health practitioners in training, yet the case studies and guidelines are practical and useful for the layperson who is in a relationship with someone with a personality disorder.

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Patricia E. Murphy, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: Using 30 years of experience as a successful therapist in the psychoanalytic tradition, the author provides rich information about personality disorders through cases that illustrate symptoms and treatment.
Purpose: The book is hard to put down, attesting to the author's achievement of his goal of providing information about persons with these disorders in a clear and interesting way.
Audience: The style of the book lends itself well to the targeted audience of those who are beginning or are in training to provide therapy for persons with personality disorders as well as for patients themselves or their families who want a better understanding of these "flaws."
Features: Each chapter on a specific disorder provides both biological and psychodynamic explanations of the origin of problems of a fictitious patient. Plenty of information depicts how the person interacts at work, with a spouse, and with children. Although the title "Fatal Flaws" sounds a bit pessimistic, the author wants to highlight the fact that if a person is unwilling to address symptoms in treatment, there are serious limitations to relationships. The material includes ways for the reader to recognize these limits and to take important self-protective steps.
Assessment: The experience and expertise of the author makes this a worthwhile bookz' for persons who are in a setting that calls for or allows psychodynamic treatment. It could also be instructional for those who use other methods in therapy. A value of the book is its inclusion of what is currently known about biology and genetics related to the disorders addressed. The author's inclusion of research does not address information about outcome-based studies to support his contention of the efficacy of his methods. His claim that only a therapist with no affiliation with organized religion can effectively treat spiritual issues of patients might also be checked against research on the topic. The reader will enjoy time spent with this book.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585622146
  • Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 683,348
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Stuart C. Yudofsky, M.D., is D.C. and Irene Ellwood Professor and Chairman of the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine. He is Chief of Psychiatry Services at The Methodist Hospital and is also responsible for oversight of academic activities in psychiatry at The Menninger Clinic and Hospital, the Ben Taub General Hospital, the Houston Veterans Administration Medical Center, the St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, and the Texas Children's Hospital. For the past seventeen years, Dr. Yudofsky has been Editor of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, the official journal of the American Neuropsychiatric Association.

American Psychiatric Publishing

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Table of Contents

Introduction: what this book is about. Prologue: the dream home on shelter cove. Part I: Fatal Flaws. What are fatal flaws? Does this person have a fatal flaw? Introduction to the Fatal Flaw Scale. Nine principles of fatal flaws. Part II: Personality Disorders. Hysterical (histrionic) personality disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder, part I: untreated narcissism. Narcissistic personality disorder, part II: treated narcissism. Antisocial personality disorder. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Paranoid personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder. Schizotypal personality disorder. Addictive personality disorder. Part III: Conclusion. Getting help.

American Psychiatric Publishing

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2006

    Tautology andTriteness not 'Totem and Taboo'

    Limited to being a 'geography' of the subject when what the lay reader wants is a 'roadmap'. The checklists and other devices used to make this book accessible --including the tabloid title,intemperate literary quotes and clinical composites that seem drawn from People Magazine-- succeed only in patronizing the lay reader. Perhaps useful to students of the author but the lay reader should be warned that this is a textbook masquerading under a tabloid title. Indeed, even the devoted student of psychodynamic treatment may question the validity and usefulness of the author's attempt to define 'deadly' flaws of personality and character, in that, without a definative position on causation of these 'flaws', the effort to define them seems to oscillate, on the spectrum of medicine and science, between triteness and tautology.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2005


    This book is outstanding and has helped me and my friends tremendously. Everyone who is in a relationship or who has ever experienced relationship trouble should own this book. There should be a copy in every household.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2005

    The Etiology of Fair Hubris

    This work is tainted --moderately-- by a moralistic dimension which detracts from its psychoanalytic impact. In trying to provide useful checklists of 'flaws of personality', Dr. 'Y' crosses a line and becomes as much moralist as analyst. The reader ends feeling confused as to where science ends and moral philosophy begins. Nonetheless, 'Fatal Flaws' is well written and would make a great gift for your prospective mother-in-law or anyone living in a gated community.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2010

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    Posted June 4, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

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