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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Victims of Stealth
Pathological narcissism is a stealthy, pernicious and all-pervasive form of semipternal and venomous abuse. The narcissist is not necessarily as 'evil' person. He (for 75% of all narcissists are men) is simply oblivious to the long-term outcomes of his actions and inaction. He uses and discards, idealizes and devalues, derives narcissistic supply and then moves on. To be...
Published on Sept. 15 2005 by Sam Vaknin

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but....
I think Elan could have used some more examples of less obvious narcissistic behaviors - as most of her examples were borderline sociopaths! I am earning my doctoral in human behavior and my focus is in narcissistic behaviors. In my studies, a number of things have been unmasked to me. One of which is the purportedly massive number of cases of bad parenting in the United...
Published on May 29 2004 by Quentin J. Edlin


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Victims of Stealth, Sept. 15 2005
By 
Sam Vaknin (Skopje, Macedonia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Pathological narcissism is a stealthy, pernicious and all-pervasive form of semipternal and venomous abuse. The narcissist is not necessarily as 'evil' person. He (for 75% of all narcissists are men) is simply oblivious to the long-term outcomes of his actions and inaction. He uses and discards, idealizes and devalues, derives narcissistic supply and then moves on. To be the child of a narcissist is a harrowing, devastating, incomprehensible experience. Golomb does an unparalleled job of mapping the territory of pain and rage that her childhood was - and by implication the childhood of victims of narcissists is. One of 5 books that are a must to anyone who wants to come to grips and demystify this disorder - Sam Vaknin author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited".
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but...., May 29 2004
This review is from: Trapped In T Mirror (Paperback)
I think Elan could have used some more examples of less obvious narcissistic behaviors - as most of her examples were borderline sociopaths! I am earning my doctoral in human behavior and my focus is in narcissistic behaviors. In my studies, a number of things have been unmasked to me. One of which is the purportedly massive number of cases of bad parenting in the United States. Sad, but so true and this is because of a number of societal problems (i.e. the disappearance of the middle class, divorce, teen pregnancy, drug/alcohol/tobacco abuse, egoist-parents). A frightening number of parents demand respect from their children long before their children are capable of delegating that of their own accord. If respect is forced, it's not respect - it's subjugated appeasement. Parents, DON'T CONFUSE THE TWO!!!!!
I won't tear into Elan's book too badly; I think she did okay. And I am certainly interested to know why people who posted criticisms were so abashed that someone would say such "negative" things about their parents. That's a little odd to me.
Did they read this book for the fun of it?
Are they seeking validation for their own bad parents?
Or are they themselves bad parents, and someone suggested the book to them?
To me, it's a red flag that they have something to hide.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful and validating, March 4 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Trapped In T Mirror (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading E. Golombs book being the daughter of a narcissist mother and father. I have read almost every writing and book on Narcissism that amazon and the web have to offer and I was never bored of Golombs insights which were many. I would put this book in my top 2. There were good examples and short stories of concepts and traits typical of children of N's. I related to her experiences whether it was traveling through Asia, or her frightening stay in a hospital against her will. This was the book my therapist recommended. It was real, to the point, and gives constructive helpful information in the last chapter to help those children of N's overcome their destructive parenting. I especially liked chapter 10 "The child of a narcissist becomes a narcissist" "Alan". There were many examples of children of Narcissists with varying personalities and lifestyles. Unfortunately there is no validation from the author if you have chosen to leave your relationship from a destructive abusive parent. If you are looking for this you won't find it in her book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Moderately helpful at best, Dec 26 2002
This review is from: Trapped In T Mirror (Paperback)
While several of Dr. Golomb's stories illuminate a great deal about the narcissistic condition and about being the child of a narcissist, the book's biggest weakness is that it fails to present examples of healing. We are treated to portrait after portrait of the suffering of narcissists' children and their general inability to get any kind of a constructive grip on themselves, but we do not see any evidence that they will ever be better, nor is there much evidence that psychotherapy (or anything else) will really help anyone in this situation. The book also suffers throughout from being badly written. Dr. Golomb's phrasing is clumsy and her word choice frequently poor. Her use of profanity, while rare, is never appropriate to the situation for which she employs it. Finally, I should note that Dr. Golomb's own narcissism is too frequently, if perhaps bravely, on display in these pages. While she explicitly states that she is aware of the legacy left her by her father, it nonetheless might have been better to try and weed it out of the book---I was left with the sense that every person portrayed in the book (and not just the victim children) was being subjected to a sort of unkind, hypercritical scrutiny. It left me feeling faintly ill, actually.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Physician heal thyself?, Dec 24 2002
By 
Susan D. Hicks "YoSusanita" (Takoma Park, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Trapped In T Mirror (Paperback)
This book starts off well with a very good description of the mindset of the narcissist and the devasting effects this personality disorder has on children of narcissists. But the author, herself, has not healed from her own childhood wounds and the reader is left with the rambling rantings of a hurt child. One of the hallmarks of all personality disorders is anger, shame and the inability to "let it go". By that definition, the author is still afflicted with her own personality disorder and if you read this book you will feel her pain. I empathize with her pain, but I am left confused as to how this painful semi-autobiographical account will help adult children of narcissists recover from their own childhood wounds, heal and themselves learn how to let go of the anger and shame and loss of identity they felt as they were growing up. My fear is that people will read this book and take on the role of victim, much like the author, which only serves to increase the pain. This is not a book to read if you are truly interested in recovery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you only read one book on this subject, this is the one, Dec 8 2002
By 
Margo Moon (Arizona, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Trapped In T Mirror (Paperback)
Whether you know that one or both parents are narcissists, or you are just looking for some explanation of why you're in emotional pain, this is a very worthwhile read. Much of what is in this book would be helpful to anyone in a painful relationship, not just the children of known narcissists. And if you think that you have "dealt" with your childhood, and you are just fine, read it anyway, you may be surprised to see how much you still carry with you.
Much of what I had read about narcissism in the past focuses on the more extreme manifestations of these traits. In many other descriptions, lists, and books about narcissism, the information is presented in such a way that the reader can easily reject the information as not applicable to them or the people they are trying to figure out. They may come away from that material thinking that their parent(s), or someone they know and/or love isn't a narcissist, because they don't have ALL the traits. But "Trapped In The Mirror" isn't written that way. It points out that there are many degrees and manifestations of narcissism. It does this with a great deal of compassion, wit, and honesty.
Elan Golomb touches the heart of those of us who are suffering and can't figure out why. With great understanding of how this subject has affected her own life, she shows us what narcissism is, and that we can extricate ourselves from the clutches of the ever-disappointed parent. Whether your parent(s) are still alive, or still in your life, does not matter. They live on in the way you think about yourself. Ms. Golomb shows us that there is a way to find our true selves, and to learn to quiet the nagging critical voice in our heads. I guarantee that you will understand what years of therapy may not have helped you understand.
If you were either not "allowed" to be yourself, express your true feelings, show any faults, or you felt/feel that you can never quite please your parents, you owe it to yourself to read this book. If you were pressured into being something your parents wanted you to be; if you have ever felt that if you could just figure out what they wanted and do it, your parents would love and accept you; if you feel that despite outer evidence of success, you are miserable, or feel like a fake; if you find that the partners you choose keep morphing into someone who treats you the way a parent did; or you find you are unable to tolerate relationship(s), commitment, or emotional intimacy at all; then you owe it to yourself to read this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all; but the solution...?, Jan. 31 2002
This review is from: Trapped In T Mirror (Paperback)
This is a book that should be devoured. If narcissism even touches you-in any way-even if you are simply curious, this book is as close to a road map of the competing interests and suffering that spin off from living (or growing up)in a "house" where an ego "fills the room".
The title of the book says it all. Trapped in the mirror? Here's what happened, how it happened, why it happened, and the behavior and suffering that was spun off from this morass. Anger? Self loathing? The author had that too. This is not a view from headquarters, this is from the trenches-she was there next to you and has the scars to prove it.
A component of therapy-self or otherwise-often is the realization that you have a shared experience with others. That doesn't make the painful experience go away but it can provide relief once you understand the mechanics of the cause and effect and that others have had a like experience.
It is ironic that the reader remains trapped in the mirror upon completion of the book. The majority of the book is so on target for any "recipient" of narcissistic missiles that the reader excitedly waits for the answers; the alleviation of the pain or at least a path towards resolution and deliverance.
I don't imagine there are many who believe that they will find the promised land in a book. However, the author has done an enormous service in unfolding the elements of narcissism. Alot of time, money and upset can be avoided by devouring this book. Its that good. You won't, however, find dessert on the menu.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not strong in the problem-solving department, July 28 2001
By 
C. Dondiego - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Trapped In T Mirror (Paperback)
I agree with the majority of reviewers who expressed satisfaction with the first part of Golumb's book. It does provide excellent illustrations of interactions between narcissists and their children and the destructive results thereof. My reading did not elicit the overwhelming sense of pessimism that many other reviewers expressed. Golumb treads on realistic grounds, as do other effective writers on this subject, asserting that change does not come easily and that it takes a great deal of determination and work on one's part.
Some of the narratives are moving and effectively disturbing to the point of that stabbing gut-feeling of recognition. These passages evoke recognition, identification, and enlightenment in the reader who has had similar experiences and are sufficient reason to read the book.
However, the "how to heal" chapters are repetitive and mostly self-absorbed. Although the author's personal contributions to the collected case histories lend credibility and the practical expertise that comes only with experience, she focuses solely on her attempts to regenerate her sense of self, especially with her bond with nature, meditation, and exploration of exotic culture.
This is all very good and admirable; nevertheless, exotic travel, and guru-led meditation is not for everyone, particularly those who cannot afford such luxuries. Furthermore, she evinces a true prejudice against technology by blaming the internet for many addictions and personality disorders.
Golumb lapses into occasional contradiction by closing almost every case history stating that the patient progressed "with therapy..." even if the patient made no progress at all. She does not say that therapy alone will heal a person, but she does imply that therapy is a necessity.
It seems to me that Golumb may have some residual notions that one's choice to live alone is not a choice at all, but rather a negative introject that keeps an adult bound to its narcissistic parent. Similarly, she infers indirectly that homosexuality is determined by parenting. In particular, I was alerted by her indirect bias against lesbianism. She prefaces remarks with qualifiers to infer that gay life can be healthy, but seems to be married to the idea that a person cannot be happy without a stable, devoted heterosexual relationship.
The three stars go only to the illustrative case histories, but this book has an unfinished quality that leaves the reader questioning the entire issue. I suggest that a good place to start is Dan Neuharth's If You Had Controlling Parents, then read Trapped In the Mirror for its accurate, comepelling narratives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finding real life and real love at last, June 2 2001
By 
Richard Crowder (St Louis MO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Trapped In T Mirror (Paperback)
Children seek approval from their parents; adolescents, from their peers; adults, from themselves.
In a healthy family, the parents facilitate this development, giving the child the generous love that makes it possible for her to grow beyond the neediness of the first stage. (Both sexes can occupy both positions, but for simplicity we'll assume that the parent is male, the child female.) A healthy parent recognizes his child as a separate person. He provides an environment where she can start creating an independent life that will represent her own spirit. His joy is to watch her become who she is.
But generally a parent who has not received this kind of love in childhood does not have it to give. Instead of seeking to meet the child's needs, he seeks to make her meet his. In love with an idealized self-image of confidence and authority, he wants his child to justify or repeat his life--or the life he wishes he had lived. He acts to keep her in a childish state, seeking his approval. When she meets his wishes, he gives her exaggerated praise; when she doesn't, exaggerated criticism. But what drives his behavior is neither love nor malice, but fear--fear that his child, or he, or anyone, will discover that the Wizard of Oz is only the man behind the curtain.
The child believes in the parent and cannot see his fear. Hoping to make him love her, she tends to act as if he were right (for he must above all be right), to live out his image of her--the idealized image of what he praises, the hated image of what he criticizes, or both. She often seeks mates who replicate aspects of his character--perpetuating both her misery and her false hope that he will one day love her as a separate person. Because she has internalized his impossible demands, her pursuit of his love can continue long after his death. As long as it stays unconscious, the cycle tends to repeat itself--each successive empty parent unable to accept his child's separate humanity, passing on to her the damage he has suffered.
At varying degrees of severity, the dynamics of narcissism help to explain consequences that affect millions--ranging from low self-esteem, oversensitivity to criticism, and difficulty with authority figures to addiction, eating disorders, and confusion about who we are and what we want.
To break the cycle, the child must realize that the love she hopes for from the narcissistic parent is not coming. (She can discover also that this is not his fault.) Giving up the old hope is painful--but once it is gone, adult life and adult love become possible.
Through vivid case studies, including her own, Dr. Elan Golomb illuminates both the narcissist's compulsion and the child's struggle for liberation. She concludes with steps the children of narcissists can take to deal more effectively with their parents and emerge into lives of their own. Her brave and compassionate book enriches our view of others and of ourselves.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A mostly useful book, July 27 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Trapped In T Mirror (Paperback)
This book provides lots of examples of the ways in which growing up with narcissistic parents affects the child's entire life. Some of the anecdotes were entirely illuminating and helped me understand what my husband's life (with is narcissistic mother) has been like. This author explores lots of possible consequences, and how they can combine in one person. I liked her attention to the interactions of the various responses in a single case.
However, I found the book to be weak in two areas. First, the book is ultimately pessimistic. The message seems to be "You can be better, but only a little better, and maybe the best you can hope for is to get to where you can see why you do the unhelpful things you do." Second, the book fails to address one of the results of being raised by a narcissist: lack of empathy. If a child does not learn this at a young age, it is difficult to acquire it later. In lots of her examples, you can see that some of the problems her cases have in their lives come from their stunted empathetic abilities, but she never mentions it. As a result, she never shows how addressing this might help shift the balance.
And speaking as a person who lives with the child of a narcissist, the lack of empathy is one of the hardest things to deal with in such a person. It's hard, after 11 years, for me to remember that my husband has no genuine empathy. This was his legacy from his narcissistic mother, and I wish it had been addressed in this otherwise useful book.
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Trapped In T Mirror
Trapped In T Mirror by Elan Golomb (Paperback - Dec 21 1994)
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