I'm horrified that this book was written by a professional claiming to be an expert in Narcissism! I nearly bought this book for my mother who is trapped in an abusive marriage with a toxic narcissist (my father). This book encourages exactly the kind of enabling, self-immolating behavior that she is currently ruining her life with. Thank god I didn't send her this "expert" endorsement of her destructive, co-dependent fealty to someone who is a true psychological predator and parasite.
Now, I understand this is a pop-psychology self-help book, and thus shouldn't be held to a very high standard. The problem is, it's written about such a dangerous group of people that it becomes flagrantly irresponsible to be so naive, vague, and incomplete when instructing the partners of these serial abusers. Additionally, the author claims to be a professional expert with 20+ years of experience dealing with this specific personality disorder. This to me, crosses the line. I find this book to be literally dangerous reading material for a VERY vulnerable target audience.
The book is also pretty poorly written. Most of the advice is so vague it's nearly useless (general visualizations, basic communication skills like mirroring, advice on finding your authentic voice with no tools to actually get there) and the descriptions of narcissism are far too generalized for a one-topic book. The whole section on "schemas" (presented as ground-breaking and utterly brilliant) is simplistic and in no way specific to narcissistic relationships. I'll summarize for you everything you need to know about schemas - 1) You have buttons, created in your sad childhood. 2) Sometimes people push your buttons, which makes you feel flustered. Wow. Mind blown. That's 40+ pages of a 150-page book.
What's worse, she goes off on these flights of inept descriptive language, and includes a truly self-indulgent introduction about how she always dreamed of writing a book and displayed such an early talent for language, but "never actually intended to become a writer." A bit ironic to include this in a book about narcissism.
Some choice quotes to give you a taste of how naive and ridiculous this book is:
"The philosophy of the Jedi knights suggests that a sentient, interplanetary energy lies within us all, binding us together and giving us the power to withstand opposition and create light in moments of darkness."
"You extend a loving imaginary arm to wrap around the pained heart of little you."
"With awareness and flexibility, you enlist the possibility of seeing with abundant clarity the depth, color, and movement of, for example, the ocean."
"Your distress now slides away like a fluffy omelet departs a well-prepared pan."
This might all be forgivable, if she didn't go on to present so many ideas that are downright dangerous:
"You model an apology [to the narcissist] that is based in a compassionate understanding of how and why certain messages hurt him."
"You work very hard at protecting his inner child from experiences that would trigger these haunting feelings of fear and humiliation."
"You don't want him to experience you as uncaring and demeaning."
This mindset plays into the fundamental destructive dynamic of narcissists - that it's all about their needs, that everyone else has to compromise to keep them comfortable, that the world should walk on eggshells in fear of their temper and their disapproval. Partners of these people are already well-trained in how to accommodate their fragile egos. What they need is instruction in how to hold these people accountable, and let them know their sadistic tactics are transparent and unacceptable. This book pays brief lip-service to the idea of accountability, and spends most of the page count instructing people on how to coddle the delicate sensibilities of the poor, damaged narcissist.
Worst of all, it takes the author until page 114 to make the following one-paragraph disclaimer: "This approach is inappropriate with anyone who makes you feel unsafe or abused. [...] If the narcissist in your life is violent, abusive, or threatens your safety in any way, please seek assistance immediately." She then refers to the Domestic Violence hotline, and then promptly returns to descriptions of how to "empathize with" and "re-parent" your poor narcissist. The problem is, this disclaimer implies that physical abuse is the only unacceptable form of abuse. People with true NPD are often flagrant psychological and verbal abusers, but too strategic to resort to physical abuse. In fact, many of the example scenarios later detailed in the book involve or reference verbal abuse. Yet the author says almost nothing about protecting oneself from this kind of abuse, or how to identify what might qualify as abusive behavior. People who are in romantic relationships with full-blown narcissists often don't have an accurate sense of where healthy relationship boundaries should be set. They don't understand what is acceptable or not acceptable treatment in a relationship. Yet the author never defines what might be accepted within a reasonable relationship, and what should not be tolerated.
This book was woefully short on the concept of personal boundaries - that everyone has a right to set personal boundaries, or how to set a boundary with someone who habitually violates them. When the subject is addressed, it's done in such a limp-wristed, ineffectual way that it's truly laughable to imagine saying some of the suggested monologues to an actual narcissist. It's also woefully short on ego-strengthening techniques for partners of narcissists, or tools to build a psychological foundation/identity apart from the destructive influence of their narcissist.
In case it wasn't already obvious, this book made me completely furious for being so irresponsibly and poorly written on such a sensitive topic. If it were up to me, I would have this woman professionally reprimanded and her license reviewed.
One smaller note:
As other reviewers have noted, this book is directed almost exclusively at romantic partners of narcissists. There are a few token mentions of narcissistic co-workers. But there's virtually nothing about parent-child relationships, siblings, authority figures, or other relationship dynamics.
Also she operates under an assumption that "If you're reading this book, chances are you've chosen to stay connected to the narcissist in your life." Thus, there's not a lot of material for managing relationships in which one is obligated to stay, despite a desire and justification for leaving.