Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Humanizing the Narcissistic Style

Humanizing the Narcissistic Style

Stephen M. Johnson

ISBN-10: 0393700372
ISBN-13: 978-0393700374


The text in the books tend to focus on matters such as therapeutic technique to correct a narissistic style. The author is compassionate and intellectual. He explains in detail how the narcissist should learn to feel and then become more self abled in producing and maitaining loving relationships with others and within themselves. In this book, narcissism in not pejorative and evil instead the clients are seen as people who also feel pain and isolation and want to improve. The main cause of narcissism according to the author is the philosophy of achievement. If they are not achieving, succeeding, and making others happy then they are failing and they are worthless and not loveable. This philosophy is the guiding force behind narcissism. There are different levels of narcissism mentioned within the book. Some cases are worse than others. The book also features dialog taken from group therapy and individual therapy sessions.

I am a sufferer of pathological narcissism myself, and this book is hands down the best I have come across to date. The main reason? Dr. Johnson's extensive knowledge of his subject is EMPATHICALLY INFORMED. This adds a entire dimension to his work that is missing in the writings of many so-called experts. It engenders something in a sufferer that is often overlooked by those who consider themselves on the cutting edge of research into pathological narcissism: HOPE. There are no words to describe the value of realistic hope to a narcissistic individual who is working toward characterological transformation. This is a work of quiet competence, a labor of love, and a very fair treatment of a highly polarized subject, based on actual experience with narcissistic clients. Literally, a lifesaver for me.

I am a narcissistic style myself without psychological training. I benefited tremendously from this book. It contains tonns of good stuff, certain portions have been quite illuminating discoveries for me. Good references. The organization of the book suffers. There are repetitions and some material could be taken away without serious detriment to the whole message. The quality of the narrative is uneven. However, it would be a pity if those problems would prevent you from getting all the great stuff you can find in this book. I highly recommend it and I don't think there is a comparable equivalent in the market.

Pathological narcissism is a pattern of traits and behaviours which signify infatuation and obsession with one's (False) Self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition. The concepts of False Self and Narcissistic Supply are critical for the understanding of narcissistic behaviour patterns. So is the ruthlessness and single-mindedness of the narcissist, addicted to his narcissistic supply, devoid of empathy, deficient in object relations, his immature True Self atrophied and dilapidated. This book is about narcissistic interactions with others, in the context of our (narcissistic) culture. The efficaciousness of the treatment offered is doubtful, the language is sometimes obstruse, the book is tiresomely repetitive. But it is a must on the bookshelf of clinicians, therapists, patients, and their nearest and dearest. Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited".