“Psychotherapist Martinez-Lewi combines clinical analysis with psychological profiles of famous people she believes to have been narcissists (e.g., Frank Lloyd Wright, Ayn Rand) in this valuable guide to recognizing, coping with, and overcoming narcissistic behavior. She focuses on the high-level narcissist, i.e., the “omnipotent, grandiose, often charismatic individual of overreaching ambition and palpable hubris,” distinguishing diagnostically between narcissists and borderline and antisocial personalities. She further presents a historical and societal perspective on narcissism, explaining the shift in focus in psychopathology from neuroses to personality disorders. Throughout, she draws on solid secondary biographies as well as relevant case studies from her private practice, and she ends with a reasoned discussion of decidedly Eastern approaches (e.g., meditation) to counter narcissists’ destructive behavior. The book is written with a calm directness and achieves the author’s purpose of helping readers identify and protect themselves from naively tangling with these personalities. It offers more clinical analysis and experience than does Eleanor Payson’s The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists and nicely complements Nina W. Brown’s Children of the Self-Absorbed. Highly recommended for university and larger public libraries.
–Dale Farris, Library Journal
“FREEING YOURSELF FROM THE NARCISSIST IN YOUR LIFE by Linda Martinez- Lewi,PhD (Tarcher/Penguin) may just be the best investment you will make this year as a guide to recognizing, coping with, and ultimately overcoming the destructive behavior of high-level narcissists, whether they be lovers, co- workers, friends or parents. It’s one thing to have a healthy self-esteem, but there are folks who we all know as self-absorbed, conceited, or egotistical. These people are trouble and this book is an excellent guide to deal with them.”
– Alan Caruba, BOOKVIEWS
“5 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM…. FREEING YOURSELF FROM THE NARCISSIST IN YOUR LIFE By Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D. (Tarcher/Penguin)
According to the psychotherapist author, narcissists are people with extreme senses of superiority who possess no empathy. Martinez-Lewi believes that high- level narcissists are unlikely to change, so she offers methods for readers to maintain personal boundaries, remain psychologically secure and live the life they choose.
1. As our culture has emphasized financial success and fame, we have begun rewarding high-level narcissism
2. There is such a thing as healthy narcissism. He or she “has a firm realistic sense of self.’
3. “A successful narcissist deludes others into believing he is genuinely interested in them.”
4. To withstand an eruption of ego from a narcissist, one must be psychologically grounded. “A grounded individual is secure and calm; he feels solid at his center.”
5. The world of a narcissist is often complicated. To combat being part of that world; simplify your own.
—Chris McNamara, CHICAGOTRIBUNE.COM
“The author, psychotherapist and licensed marriage and family therapist has written a guide making it easier to recognize, cope with and ultimately overcome the destructive behavior of high-level narcissists, whether they be lovers, work colleagues, friends or parents. Drawing on detailed profiles of famous narcissists including Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright and Ayn Rand, she points out that trying to change a narcissist is impossible and reveals the steps that must be taken to expel such destructive individuals from our lives.”
“The high-level narcissist marches through his many geographies, conquering new territories, multiplying his limitless control of the outside world and the lives of those who touch his. Excited followers anticipate his mood and moves, praying for a favorable word or glance. The chosen dwell within his cercle d’or, chanting hosannas to his greatness. While his audience is dazzled, the supernarcissist assesses each subject’s worth to him.
He plays upon their proclivities and weaknesses. Despite the years you have known him, the hard work you have done, the love that you express, the sacrifices you have made, the intimacies you believe you shared-eventually the narcissist will cut you off at the knees, even attempt to destroy you if he perceives you as an obstacle to his feverish drive toward ultimate power, control and omnipotence.” (from FREEING YOURSELF FROM THE NARCISSIST IN YOUR LIFE by Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.)
Does this description sound like anybody that you know? Your spouse? Your boss? Your co-worker? So, how does one recognize a “truly toxic narcissist?” According to this insightful book there are certain signs to look out for: “Displays an extreme sense of grandiosity and superiority. Is highly manipulative, exploitive, and deceptive in all of his relationships. Places his personal and professional needs over the needs of others. Is captivated by his delusions of limitless power and perfection. Easily lies without any qualm or guilt. Is incapable of true empathy-the ability to deeply feel and appreciate another person’s emotional state.”
It was my misfortune to work with a fellow who fit every single one of these descriptions. This book will help you to recognize this type of person before it is too late.
What makes them so dangerous? They only care about themselves.
Is this sounding familiar? Do you know one?”
“You will know a narcissist when you see one: he or she loves to hog the spotlight. Those afflicted with this severe personality disorder are usually impressive and charismatic people: they beguile and enchant us with their magic. They never tire of talking about their experiences or projects which are always extraordinary. But they are totally lacking in empathy. Just try to discuss what you are doing or share an idea while they are nervously glancing around the room to see who is looking at them.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, a licensed marriage and family therapist, has put together a helpful and informative book for those who want to know more about high-level narcissists: whether they be colleagues, friends, parents, or lovers. Here are some of their traits and behaviors: *A grandiose sense of self-importance *A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love *A belief that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people *A high sense of entitlement *Is interpersonally exploitative *Lacks empathy *Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her *Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
The book is divided into four sections: The Great Performer, Behind the Perfect Mask, The Adoring Audience, and Response to the Great Performer. Martinez-Lewi presents illustrative material on toxic narcissists with profiles of artist Pablo Picasso, philosopher-author Ayn Rand, and architect Frank Lloyd Wright, describing them all as colorful characters whose hearts were hard and whose egos were gigantic. As the author puts it: ‘The narcissist takes up a vast amount of psychological space, leaving only room for himself. In his presence, one is unable to breathe or move, all the available oxygen has been taken by his self- entrancement.’
Because of this pattern, narcissists make no distinction between themselves and others: everyone is at their service and disposal. Since all who come into their orbit are just extras in a private movie, they are expendable. Narcissists rarely seek therapy, and their relationships usually end badly. The show just keeps moving from one place to another. It is a lonely existence.”
—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, SpiritualityAndPractice.com –This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.