The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment / Edition 1

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New Hope for Treating Adults Who Have Grown Up in Emotionally Abusive FamiliesIn this compelling book, the authors present an innovative therapeutic model for understanding and treating adults from emotionally abusive or neglectful families? families the authors call narcissistic. Narcissistic families have a parental system that is, for whatever reason (job stress, alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, physical disability, lack of parenting skills, self-centered immaturity), primarily involved in getting its own needs met. The children in such 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The authors have skilfully presented an often difficult topic inan easy-to-read work which will be of value to helpers at any stageof their professional development." (Anglican TheologicalReview)

'So readable and chock full of understandable case examples that itdemands to be shared with patients. It focuses on the conduct ofparents and their children trying to make sense out of theirchaotic lifestyles in search of love, self-esteem, acceptance, andinner peace. Its valuable insights can be potent reinforcers of thetherapeutic experience.? (Jack G. Wiggins, Ph.D., past president,American Psychological Association)

• Such a find. The concept is an artful and practical synthesis thatbears effective witness to the authors' depth of knowledge ofcontemporary psychotherapeutic literature.? (Joseph R. McCool,Ph.D., past president, Academy of Family Psychology)

'I believe that this book should be required reading for everyfamily physician. It is a real eye opener for those physicians whoroutinely prescribe psychotropic medications without psychiatricinput and without insisting on the patient's participation intherapy.? (Laurence Bouchard, D.O., past president, AmericanAssociation of Doctors of Osteopathy)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787908706
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 240,206
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert M. Pressman is the editor-in-chief and president of the Joint Commission for the Development of the Treatment and Statistical Manual for Behavioral and Mental Disorders.
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Table of Contents


Narcissus and Echo: The Original Narcissistic System.

Characteristics of the Narcissistic Family.

Narcissus, Narcissism, and the Narcissistic Family Model.


Acceptance: The Key to Recovery.

Feelings and Communication.

Setting Boundaries.

Decision Making and Deferment of Gratification.

Trust and Therapy.

Intimacy, Sex, and Friendship.

"I Do, Therefore I Am" Versus Validating the Treasure.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2005

    Helpful, In Depth, and Liberating for anyone dealing with an NPD family system

    I found this book while looking for information on this disorder after finding out that my mother has NPD and was immediately engaged by the very practical approach the authors took in describing NPD families in both its covert and overt forms. Because this book is written by therapists for therapists, it presents a more in-depth picture of the disorder and the family dynamic than some of the more lay-person oriented books. This is not simply an overview of a dynamic, however, as the authors include real-life therapeutic examples (names protected, of course) and approaches used with success in their counseling practice. Most of all, the authors covey a sense of healing and liberation coupled with validation that those who were raised under this dynamic are not defective and thus can recover to lead happy normal lives that break the NPD dysfunctional cycle. A Must Read for anyone who has experienced the mind games of living within an NPD family system, or who is studying with a view to helping those working toward recovery.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2004

    Very informational reading for those who are learning

    I read this book in my abnormal psych class with the author herself as my teacher. I was blown away with the knowledge this women has on the subject. I truely enjoyed the reading and examples she give. Would definetly read again.For those in the psych. feild it is a must read...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2001

    The Hydra of Abuse

    This book has an important mission - to re-define abuse. Most people associate the term with beatings or verbal onslaught. But abuse is a spectrum of behaviours. Perhaps the most pernicious kind is the subtle, non-discernible and socially acceptable one. A doting mother, a demanding father, unrealistic expectations, a family ethos of not expressing one's emotions - are all forms of abuse and all might lead to trauma. Treating the child as an extension of the parent, a toy and the conduit of the parent's frustrated dreams and unfulfilled wishes is a violation of the child's forming boundaries. It is a perversion of the all-important processes of individuation and separation. It is a travesty and the child pays its price all its remaining life. Personality disorders are often reactions to such all-pervasive and pernicious abuse. Read all about it in this (somewhat academic) book. Sam Vaknin, author of 'Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    I thought this book was able to describe, create and offer hope

    I thought this book was able to describe, create and offer hope with every example and personal experience provided by other victims of parental narcissism.  I felt relieved, validated, and liberated in many ways when I read this book.  It all made sense!  It wasn't that I didn't deserve to be cared for and loved, it was that my parents didn't possess the ability or faculties to love anyone but themselves.  Awesome!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Strongly recommend

    This book is a necessity for anyone who grew up with a personality disordered parent. The careful deliniation of the problems created for the children sets the personal growth agenda for those individuals. It is scholarly without being difficult to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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