TRAPPED IN THE MIRROR: Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents in Their Struggle for Self by Elan Golomb

TRAPPED IN THE MIRROR: Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents in Their Struggle for Self

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A sober study by a clinical psychologist of the destructive legacy that narcissistic parents bequeath to their children and the troubling characteristics those children share as adults. Narcissists behave, Golomb says, as if they are the center of the universe, organizing their lives around denial of negative feelings about themselves. Their children, forced to conform to parental thinking, grow up with a range of subtle emotional disabilities, most commonly a distorted view of their capacities. All too frequently this damaged sense of self-worth interferes with their search for autonomy, their performance, and with their other adult relationships. Golomb, child of a narcissistic father, gives examples from the lives of friends and patients, as well as from her own experiences, and shows how these strained views of reality can be passed along from one generation to the next or can shadow an entire family's happiness. She is particularly adept in discussing why some people persist in the most puzzling behaviors (bankrolling one lover after another, for example) and how they see and defend these patterns. Although Golomb has experimented with meditation techniques and group treatment, she finds psychoanalytic psychotherapy the most consistently helpful set of strategies and suggests ways for adults to approach narcissistic parents and to change the nature of these relationships. ""Narcissism is a tale of codependency,"" she observes. ""If we want to be treated in a different way, the change in treatment must start with how we present ourselves to [narcissists]."" Golomb writes in language more accessible to other therapists than to general readers, unleavened by humor, and without a specific agenda. But difficult as her approach may be, it's sound and ultimately rewarding as well.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1992
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Morrow