Cover Image: Malignant Narcissism

Malignant Narcissism

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Interesting read, particularly in the age of Trump. Though I did notice women were to blame whereas men got a little understanding. Perhaps the author is just too close to his subjects and would have done better with nonfamily subjects  to observe.
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This was a difficult book to read, though not necessarily because of the subject matter. It is perhaps because this book was particularly challenging to write, as it attempts to portray what is defined here as a form of psychopathy on one of the most personal perspectives possible (a son writing about why and how we are hurt most by the ones we love), as a clinical. psychologist presenting a case study, and how this type of dangerous personality can create havoc politically, in a global village full of nukes. 

Ricjar Wood writes in an academic,introspective style, and it is only in bits and giveaways that the abuse he suffers at the hands of his father come through - in glimpses. Only at the end does the father speak for himself, on the autobiographies he dictates for his son. 

The father certainly came across as an enormously vital, resourceful individual who had to provide for his family during the Depression where they couldn't. He was clearly, also very lucky, though also dogged by painful losses too, though it is difficult from this account to discern any possible malignant narcissism - if anything, it dies seem odd he didn't develop some kind of mood disorder, considering this fascinating account of ups and downs. The son certainly thought that having to grow up too fast is not good for any ego however, and the father's account does imply that he certainly had to grow up too early. 

The son describes how he nearly ended up becoming psychopathic himself, so that filial bonding activities such as huntin' shootin' and fishin' immediately take on a far more sombre timbre. 

My main issue with this book then, is that in the telling, the descriptions of the father's experience are too vague, there is not quite enough direction to get enough of a real sense about what it was like to be brought up by a malignant narcissist, though the distress brought about by experiencing all this first hand is converted strongly enough. 

The book is most excellent in its analysis on how the world really does not need too many individuals with this kind of damaged individual running things, and is perceptive about describing how 'nice' peoe like you and me what be ensnared enough to end up with enough blood in our hands to be in it too deep to back out. Then, a whole government, a whole country will become infected with incompetency, compromised cues and empathy. Oh yes, and evil. By the way. 

However this book might be critiqued, it does not really need much to look at what the author is getting at there. The question is, whether or not that message will be, or even can be, received in our current, very volatile world.
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First and foremost I must note: I'm the founder of The Lost Self Life After Narcissism on FB.
Now, with this in mind and knowing I married into what I've learned from having two malignant narcissist -I can tell you this isn't completely accurate.
What I noticed here is another blame, shame, fault in women ONLY!
While I'm thrilled this author finds some empathy towards his father his mother and grandmother were seen as crazy.
The author also points out all his clients were male which was another red flag to me.
As someone who councils others on this form of personality trait disorder not simply behavioral we must understand the totality of the circumstances as each case is different.
We also must note not everyone is as high on the DSM manual as Malignant Narcissist.
We cannot identify anyone as such in terms of the Goldwater Rule so armchair opinions are not my thing.
As in this regard, the general terminology was fine but the painting of women as all crazy was not.
Whether this is nature v nurture is yet to be determined. The fact that many claim only 1% of the population are narcs is also up to debate.
What I can tell you it's hell on Earth when you must co-parent with one and or married to one.
The light is not seen until you remove yourself from this hideous smoke, fog, mirrors, manipulation, mirroring, projection, intimidation, and more.
Gaslighting is a common format to make you second guess yourself.
Your loyalty is demanded as these individuals feel above the law, superior, with grandiose ego's.
I've been harmed in many ways from one and we must remember that abuse takes on many forms and what you see is only the tip of the iceberg.
Financial, sexual, religious, physical, psychological, verbal, emotional are just some of those formats.
I hope those reading this understand that relationships with a malignant narc are also not just romantic, familiar, or business.
This was a good starting point but not a catch all for me.
Thank you to Richard, the pub, NetGalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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303 pages

5 stars

This is not a book for the weak of heart. Dr. Wood tells his story in detail, all the horrible detail, of his parents', especially his father's, abuse of him. It is a very sad story. I wanted to cry in parts. 

His purpose is to give the reader a factual and illustrative example of what malignant narcissism does not only  to the family, friends, associates, colleagues of the narcissistic individual, but also to those who encounter them. This is a very real syndrome and far more pervasive in our society today than one might believe. Especially in public life such as politics and the corporate world. 

Dr. Wood list the personality characteristics which these people exhibit. They are specific and nearly 100% of narcissistic people illustrate them. 

When I was in clinical psychology my patients were mostly diagnosed as Borderline Personality. (I am now retired.) I believe the two syndromes share some similarities – at least in behavior exhibited. 

The book fascinated me. I truly “enjoyed” reading it. I, too, undertook the study of psychology to “fix” myself. I believed that there was something “wrong” with me and so my studies and sessions with my clients became a learning journey, about others, about myself and about psychology. 

I want to thank NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for forwarding to me a copy of this fascinating book for me to read, “enjoy” and review.
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