Every day, headlines are filled with examples of narcissistic individuals in positions of power who are nothing more than impostors plundering and wrecking havoc on the lives of others. From the financial barons of Wall Street to our elected officials, we are confronted daily with narcissists and the self-serving systems that enable them. Helping people reclaim their lives from this sinister exploitative force is the mission behind Eleanor Payson's The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family.
Using simple metaphors from the American classic, The Wizard of Oz, Payson illustrates how Dorothy's journey captures all the seductive illusions and challenges that occur when we encounter the narcissist. Empowering the listener with the ABCs of unhealthy narcissism and the unique problems that occur when a person becomes involved with the narcissist, Payson gives step-by-step practical tools to identify, protect, and heal from these destructive relationships, which are largely un-addressed in the psychology and self-help literature.
This ground-breaking book offers hope and help to those who have been drawn into these devastating relationships. She includes illuminating case studies that identify the problems that occur in the different types of relationships, from co-workers, to friends, to parents, to lovers. Listeners employing these insights and skills will find new abilities to identify and protect against the narcissist's manipulations and take back control of their lives.
©2002 Eleanor D. Payson (P)2012 Eleanor D. Payson
"For Some Time I have looked for a very readable book on living with narcissism that also had clarity about addiction and codependency. Eleanor Payson has written an easy to understand guide to navigate one's way out of the labyrinth that narcissism makes...Four stars for a readable, useful book therapists can give their patients." (Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D. author of Out of the Shadows)
"You will recognize the narcissistic personality disorder so well described by Payson as an all too common affliction among those who wield great political and corporate power in contemporary society. This book is a useful guide to recognizing and confronting the reality, which is a first step toward nullifying the power and influence of the afflicted over our lives." (David C. Korten, Ph.D. author of The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community and When Corporations Rule the World)
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
There is narcissism with a small "n" and there is narcissism with a capital "N" as in "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" or NPD. Our culture is one becoming ever more narcissistic in the first sense of the word. But this book is about something far more serious:
"The word narcissism in its most fundamental sense means a tendency to self-worship. For the narcissist, his excessive self-absorption is a protection against unconscious but powerful feelings of inadequacy. Seduced by the narcissist's camouflage of outer charm or confidence, you are eventually drawn into the nightmare side of this relationship. By the time you realize that something is wrong, the cumulative effects can range from bruised self-esteem to severe depression." Eleanor Payson
You're a very lucky creature if you have never been involved with someone who has NPD characteristics. But if you have, Eleanor Payson offers much to help you here. Catherine Bond Doyle's narration imbues the author's work with an additional feeling of compassion.
Updating the Greek myth of Narcissus, Payson uses the metaphor of "The Wizard of Oz," hence the title. In dealing with a narcissist, there is only one road, and that is the road that leads to them.
She introduces the book with a discussion of NPD, including variations on its definition and diagnosis, and a discussion of overt and covert types. After establishing a broad foundation, she goes on to discuss various relationships, from parent-child dynamics to narcissists in professional and social life. The section on "love" relationships --- and I use that word advisedly in this context --- is particularly enlightening.
May you find healing, comfort, and peace as you bid the Yellow Brick Road farewell.
The best book on Narcissism
Everything, the contents, the outline, the depth of knowledge and the vignettes not over reaching but just right. The advice, the summaries at the end of each chapter. The therapeutic approach. It is not a 'tell' book but a didactic and therapeutic work out. I felt healed in so many ways. I had aha! moments. This book went beyond expectations. It was as if I was sitting with a therapist.
No, I have not. But I will look for other books.
First and most it was a wake up call in terms of identifying narcissistic traits in myself that interfere with my personal growth. No human being is immune to certain narcissistic traits. Specially if one was brought up by parents or carers with extreme narcissistic traits. This is a book that offers a brilliant opportunity to self-reflect and further grow up into a mature and self assured individual. Above all it is a book that helps to heal the wounds inflicted by narcissistic personalities.
Second, it assisted me no end to identify by name, characteristics and the typical narcissistic traits that typify what Doyle calls the the 'Narcissistic Personality Disorder' (NPD). This was a major aha!
Third, it provided me with the reassurance that it is never late to regain one's lost personal power to the NPD individual. I learned about personal strategies which I am memorizing to be able to incorporate them as I deal with the NPD. One example of this is about building boundaries to fend against the corrosive attacks from the NPD individuals I deal with on a regular basis.
I highly recommend this book!
This book together with 'In sheep's clothing' is the top 5 books ever read. Thank you to Cathryn Bond Doyle!
I chose this book when I read another reviewer here call it the best book she had read on the topic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I took her recommendation and I'm glad I did! I agree completely; it is an invaluable education on understanding what you are dealing with and why you can't just "talk things through" with your NPD friend/family.
Other books I've read spend so much time describing how to recognize the NPD person, that there is very little in the way of advice on how to coexist with them. I wish there were more specific techniques on how to do that in this or any other book. Sadly, it's pretty clear that I will never be able to "talk sense" into an NPD friend. But "The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists" did an excellent job of helping me to understand why I keep attracting these type of people into my life, how to recognize it early and NIP IT IN THE BUD!
I don't know why this book spoke to me so much more than the others I have read. Maybe because it was an audio book? Or the author's expertise on the subject? Or simply because I found the narrator so pleasant and easy to listen to! I don't know, but it's the first book that lead me to a true ah-ha moment and helped me see actions I could take to stop allowing these people into my life.
Truly life changing; I'm listening to it a second time already, so that I never forget the valuable lessons I found in this book.
When reading material in the psychology realm it's easy to get lost in clinical terms and dry material. The Wizard of Oz... takes clinical material, important and heady material, and breaks it down not only in an understandable way, but in a way that allows the reader to actually implement and benefit from the material. The author also offers hope for all sides of the NPD equation; the codependent spouse or child, while simultaneously doing the same for the narcissist.
Most NPD reading I've done had been heavy on the "beware of the NPD" rhetoric... Eleanor Payson wants to throw a lifeline to all including the narcissist, while making it very clear that the narcissist may never grab ahold of the line... at least here it's understood and offered. This book has helped me immensely. The chapter summaries make for some of the best psychological material I've ever read.
All in all for me, I don't know where my personal journey will take me given my 18 yr marriage to an NPD spouse, but I do feel better equipped to not repeat my own mistakes thanks to this wonderful book.
I find this book to be inportant for those seeking more selfknowlegde, to getting a life, with more selfcompassion, developed boundaries.. And letting go of guilt shame and low selfesteem.
This book gave me healing and awakening. I always knew I was working more than my share of some of the relationships in my life. This affirms my decision to stop doing that to myself. Not done with book yet as I keep going back over information that clears things up for me.
Still evolving from the messages contained in this book.
If you feel you are doing all the work in some of your relationships, the reality is you probably are.
Absolutely would recommend this book to anyone dealing with narcissism in any form, home, work, friendships. It was eye opening, and scary in some ways.
I have been dealing with a narcissistic ex-husband, and now his wife, for awhile now. It was interesting to learn how all the things I have been recognizing all these years aren't my insanity, but insanity that has been thrust upon me. When you are in a relationship with a narcissist you really think it is you who is going crazy. I am glad to learn from this book that I am not (totally) the crazy one here, but have been driven to believe I was by the crazy around me. Now I need to learn how to protect myself, and more importantly my child, from falling into these patterns going forward.
I also learned that my most recent relationship had a lot of narcissistic behaviors too, which is scary. I need to learn how to detect these tendencies early, and run in the other direction when I see them, but also keeping in mind that we all have a little (healthy) narcissism in each of us.
Ms Payson makes an imaginative and astute allegory of narcissism using the Wizard of Oz. She speaks of the authentic self describing the narcissistic wound as one who has no sense of identity. The focus on the play overwhelms their ability to feel empathy making them predators. The target of the book seems to be the co-dependent and she recommends couples therapy before entering individual therapy.
It called to mind tiger mom, white supremacists, slaves and holocaust survivors in assertiveness training. Narcissism survives because there is a social structure that supports and molds the behavior. The child of a narcissist has almost certainly been stripped of a personal identity also. Therapist are only human, unlikely to sort out the individual from the need for intimate balance in marriage. Even if everyone in a relationship is in therapy, this could consume every free hour in the life of a young family.
I would strongly recommend beginning with individual therapy if you are in a relationship with a narcissist. The victims of narcissist need to run or be rescued, not called to task.
I needed a story that coincided with the Wizard of Oz, remember, he's a good man just a bad wizard. There a person behind the narcissist who may be a good person or they may be Hitler. I need to know how she placing the wizard in therapy and making an authentic person out of him.
I liked the point that a true narcissist is totally baffled when confronted with their misdeeds. No empathy! Their fantasy is more important than reality.
Yes. We are beginning to recognize narcissism as a social problem. Ms Payson does make the point that narcissism may range from violent criminals to ordinary personality traits. Sometimes its important to run.
I hope this book is rewritten in a more consistent story. I really hated the prodigal son. It almost claimed that a humbled narcissist should be exalted.
After being married to what seemed to be a loving charming man for 30 years, it became apparent that he is in fact living a double life and is a narcissist with psychopathy and possibility some Aspergers. (As per a very experienced forensic psychologist who has tried over 2,500 cases.) After filing for a (surprise) divorce on the anniversary of 9-11, a 7 year divorce battle ensued. It is very clear the argument is not about money but rather about his desire to destroy me. The vicious cruelties are too numerous to list; however, of all the many books I have read to try to understand what happened to our children and me, this author nailed it! This is my "go to" manual to help me deal with his truly insane behavior and for the validation I need to sort reality from lies. A must read!
This hit some key points which helped understand why one way process.
If someone is driving you mad, this allows a deeper awareness of the issue
"An excellent book, spoiled by poor narration"
I would definitely consider more books by Eleanor Payson, but I could not bear to listen to another word spoken by Cathryn Bond Doyle.
No particular memorable moments, just a solidly comprehensive exploration of the issues and clear guidelines for action.
No, No and No! I found her voice harsh and grating, and her narration style robotic and laboured.
I'm glad I have listened to it, but if I had known what an ordeal the narration would be, I would never have bought the Audible version.
As a clinical psychologist specialising in personality disorders, I bought this book for what I could learn for myself, but also to see if it was something I could recommend to clients struggling with relationships with narcissists. I will be recommending it, but not in the Audible form. Firstly, the concepts are not easy, either intellectually or emotionally, if you are not familiar with them, and there are quite detailed, practical recommendations listed which I think most people would find easier to see in front of them on the page. Secondly I found myself struggling increasingly with the narration, and this made it much harder to listen to.
I do recommend the book. I particularly liked the Wizard of Oz metaphor running through the book, the clarification of covert narcissism (which can easily be missed and leave people feeling even more confused and distressed than when someone is more clearly grandiose or contemptuous), and the role of the other person in relationship with the narcissist. It's quite comprehensive, covering intimate relationships, relationships with parents, friends, colleagues and bosses, even service providers, and the recommendations should help people make healthy decisions about how to move forward, and when to let go. I would just not recommend the Audible version.
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