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IT'S NOT YOU by Ramani Durvasula


Identifying and Healing From Narcissistic People

by Ramani Durvasula

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 2024
ISBN: 9780593492628
Publisher: Open Field

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.