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IT'S NOT YOU

IDENTIFYING AND HEALING FROM NARCISSISTIC PEOPLE

Helpful counsel for emotional survival.

A guide to dealing with psychological abuse.

A psychologist who works with survivors of narcissistic abuse—and who has personally faced narcissists in family, personal, and work relationships—Durvasula draws on a range of experiences to offer guidance, affirmation, and support. “We can pull ourselves out of the stories of the narcissistic people who defined us, silenced us, clipped our wings, taught us our dreams were grandiose, filled us with shame, and for a time, stole our joy,” she writes, whether we stay in relationships with narcissists or extricate ourselves from them. Narcissism is a complex set of personality traits involving “a deep insecurity and fragility offset by maneuvers like domination, manipulation, and gaslighting, which allows the narcissistic person to stay in control.” Narcissists can be charming and seductive, often attracting partners with “love bombing,” but soon their self-serving behavior surfaces. As her detailed case histories reveal, among the traits that mark a narcissistic personality are a craving for constant validation and admiration, delusional grandiosity, a sense of entitlement, and a lack of empathy. They abuse those close to them with behaviors such as gaslighting, dismissiveness, rage, threats, revenge, isolation, and betrayal. Victims of this abuse, she has found from her patients, tend to blame themselves and feel shame, confusion, depression, and anxiety. They censor themselves, trying to become “progressively more careful to avoid the criticism, contempt, or anger of these challenging people in their lives.” Because narcissists are resistant to seeking therapy—and rarely change their behavior—Durvasula offers suggestions for self-protection: watching for telling signs of narcissism, setting boundaries, trusting your own instincts, disengaging from a narcissist’s enablers, and refusing to be told how you feel. For those who decide to continue in a relationship with a narcissist, out of love and attachment, she offers suggestions for coping and healing.

Helpful counsel for emotional survival.

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2024

ISBN: 9780593492628

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Open Field

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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