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on June 9, 2003
Ms. Hotchkiss's insight into Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) finally gave a voice to what I have been thinking for many years. After attracting narcissists of varying degrees into my life, I always found myself in the end either in complete disbelief at the behaviour I had encountered and tolerated, or believing there was something deeply wrong with me. When I began reading "The Seven Deadly Sins" as she puts it which outline some of the major personality flaws of those affected by NPD, I just wanted to shout out "Yes!, Yes!, this makes it all clear!". While this book primarily focuses on how to identify NPDs, it does provide some insight as to why you may be the personality type that attracts these damaged people into your life and how to manage them. Ms. Hotchkiss writes with, and I certainly believe that she has, empathy for those troubled with NPD, however, she also is very firm in that they most often do not change, and in order to save yourself from a lifetime of being used and emotionally sucked dry, you have to distance yourself. This may not be the most in depth writing on the subject but, for those of you like me who know in your heart that there is something wrong with someone in your life, this book can be a real eye opener, give voice to what you know is there, and set you on a road to recovery. Highly recommend.
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on October 29, 2003
In classical mythology, Narcissus was a young man who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water and wasted away from unsatisfied desire. In modern terms a narcissist is a vain, self-absorbed, arrogant individual with a grand sense of entitlement. Narcissistic tendencies include the need to be perfect or in control at all times.
Narcissistic attitudes and behaviors are epidemic in our society. The American Psychiatric Association estimates that one out of every one hundred persons meets the criteria of severe narcissism.
According to the author, "our culture is full of narcissistic influences that numb us to the reality of the problems we face." In fact, unreality is the hallmark of narcissism. Their distortions of reality can cause others to question themselves and doubt their own perceptions.
Narcissists will go to great lengths to promote fantasies that sustain their grandiosity and omnipotence. Many prominent elected officials, sports idols, and entertainment figures are narcissists. They also head large corporations and lead flocks of the faithful. Many of us encounter unhealthy narcissism in some form every day.
Narcissists see themselves as "special people." They know better than you do. They are also very shame-sensitive. They avoid shame at all costs. They are unlikely to self-correct their intrusive or inconsiderate behavior just because you call attention to it. When failures occur, they portray themselves as victims and blame others for their misfortune. Gossip, backbiting, and bootlicking are prevalent in work environments dominated by a narcissist.
The narcissist sees power as his due. This is why many achieve management positions. In such positions they practice stretching employees until they break and then get rid of them. This is called "rubber band management." Narcissists are also very aware of shifts in the balance of power.
In this book author Sandy Hotchkiss presents an excellent general description of narcissism and covers how to deal with the narcissists in our lives. Knowing the narcissist's weaknesses and tendencies will help you effectively deal with narcissism.
Chapter 16 is titled "Narcissists at Work: The Abuse of Power." This chapter is well worth the price of the book. It covers the narcissistic problems of poor interpersonal boundaries, scapegoating, shameless exploitation, envy in the workplace, and ways narcissists seduce us. The chapter ends by providing four guidelines for survival with a narcissist in power.
If you find yourself working in a toxic environment headed by a narcissistic manager, you will want to read Why is it Always About YOU?.
Review By Dr. J. Howard Baker
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on December 2, 2002
This is the best written and useful book I have read on narcissistic personality disorder. This book is written for the non-specialist reader that has to deal with such people in everyday life. In simple and clear terms the author reveals the mind of such people, and covers a lot of ground although only briefly from how to identify them, its origin in childhood, how to defend ourselves and in particular at work, in love relationships, with our adolescents and with aging parents. It also gives a few words of how our modern society contributes to it. This book is written in an entirely non aggressive tone, although I have seen some authors trapped in negative reaction to such people, and which makes this book even more valuable. This book helped me greatly understand narcissistic people in my family.
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on May 26, 2002
While the book does give a clear understanding of where narcissism comes from, other books have done that as well. WHY IS IT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU?, however, provided me with validation that what I have been experiencing is, indeed, a narcissistic relationship. This was important because narcissists are excellent at taking their faults (or what they perceive as faults) and resulting shame and passing it onto their significant other. It is very easy to believe that they are right, thereby beginning the slow destruction of one of our most important assets, self-esteem. This book will teach you that it is not always about you and, in fact, in a narcissistic relationship, it is the illusions of grandiosity and perfection that the narcissist has, that will very likely lead to the demise of the relationship. While they may believe it is all your fault because they are perfect, this book will show you that it is not. I highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks they are in or have been in a narcissistic relationship of any sort. It will validate your feelings, I guarantee it.
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on May 8, 2002
I think this book is fabulous at explaining the dynamics of narcissism. How it starts and how it manifests in children and later on in adult behaviours.
I think this book is lacking in the tools to interact with narcissists.
If only Ms. Hotchkiss had spent more time writing about the "survival strategies" I definitely would have given this book 5 stars.
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on March 31, 2003
This book is an almost perfect investigation into all things narcissistic. I would have given it five stars, but it fell short of perfection by surprisingly never mentioning me by name or including a photo of me.
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on December 10, 2013
Narcissism is so honoured in our society. It's what is enables many leaders to be who they are. It truly does have its positive aspects; but, beware, work hard, define and defend your personal boundaries to insure you stay an integral self worthy contributing individual.
All the best to those that live those fascinating leaders of this marvellous world.
If you've lost your way, need definition and a gentle push to accept the situation, please take the time to read this small but powerful and disturbing book. It's well worth the read.
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on October 7, 2002
This was a very timely book for me. I have been dealing with two Narcissistic people for quite a few years and I just was getting frustrated with trying to figure out the roller coaster ride that I seemed to be on weekly--envy, resentment, praise, anger all came into play. The book helped me to sort this out and in a way that I am now working on applying the straight forward strategies. I have recommended this book to my graduate social work interns, particularily the section on Narcissists in the work place--abuse of power. But really this is a great book for everyone who is concerned about raising insightful children and making the world a better place to live. I highly recommend it.
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on August 5, 2003
This book is excellent, wish it had been around a few decades ago. However, the author very nearly implies that the narcissistic parent would have to be a violent, antisocial type for the adult child to justify imposing distance. That's like saying your spouse has to beat you bloody before you are justified from walking away from an abusive marriage. I wish the author had discussed deliberate estrangement as a way of opting out of a hopeless parental relationship that isn't physically violent. More adult children who need to do it might have felt better about it. There comes a time when we must all "let go" of our children, no matter how feckless and troublesome they are. The same is true for our parents even if they are older and feign helplessness. Believe me, if they know nothing else it is how to take care of themselves.
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on August 4, 2002
Think you don't know a narcissist? Think again. Narcissists are everywhere particularly, in the public eye. Think about the Enron and Worldcom disasters. Do you think Skilling and Fastow or Ebbers and Sullivan aren't as narcissistic as they come? They fit the mold in spades. And how about our cultural obsession with these egotists? Aren't we somewhat awestruck by the "My ... doesn't stink" stars? From time-to-time, we're all a bit 'wowed.' I'm certainly guilty but perhaps now I'll have a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the situations and 'icons' involved. WHY IS IT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU is an extremely insightful expose' on the egotists in your world, whether mildly or flagrantly narcissistic. And, this 'disease' doesn't just apply to our public figures; it can be as close as your immediate family or, heaven forbid, yourself!
Narcissism derives its origin from a youth in classical Greek Mythology, Narcissus. The story goes that one day Narcissus saw his reflection in a pool of water and immediately fell in love with his image. From that very moment, he began to see everything as it related to his own image. The world was his looking glass and his insatiable appetite for himself took him all over the globe, and he was invariably pleased with what he saw. He left in his path a troubling wake which slipped like a fever through the people who saw him.
Ms. Hotchkiss has nailed this subject when she posits "Their needs are more important than anyone else's, and they expect to be accommodated in all things. They can't comprehend why they might not always come first." Narcissists are endearing, enticing creatures typically with extremely thick skins....but only to certain elements. Think about the guy or gal at the cocktail party who brazenly bullies his or her opinion on any and all subjects without any plausible evidence to back them up. Some find these people oppressive, some finding them fascinating. (As for me, I've just come to grips with the unmistakable fact that the breakup of a previous business partnership was due primarily to a case of narcissism. A childhood friend of mine who eventually became my partner was image-laden. Eventually, all things relative to our business became 'how did it benefit him?' Without knowledge of what I was experiencing, I became disenchanted and extremely angry. Perhaps if I'd had Ms. Hotchkiss's book at hand, I might have been able to craft an alternative path and save the partnership. Regardless, I have no regrets at this point.)
Ms. Hotchkiss doesn't necessarily offer any new information about the origins of narcissism but she does a fascinating job of portraying the disorder and the types of behaviors associated with this 'malady.' According to Ms. Hotchkiss, narcissists morph their personalities to suppress their internal negativity and by so doing, lose all perspective of reality. This plus the constant need for adoration and affirmation requires the personality morphing to achieve the adulation they seek.
Ms. Hotchkiss breaks the narcissist down for the reader outlining the attributes one should understand. She entitles these attributes, "The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism" as follows: Shamelessness, Magical Thinking, Arrogance, Envy, Entitlement, Exploitation and Bad Boundaries. Ms. Hotchkiss illustrates these qualities with profiles of the narcissists she's encountered throughout the book. The irrefutable moral of each story is that these people are missing out on what's really important. They are so busy loving themselves that they've forgotten to love anyone else.
While most readers will buy and read this book in order to deal with those afflicted in their own families, my primary purpose for reading this book was to get a better grasp on the affliction for those I deal with professionally. It is amazing how quickly one can identify potential problem clients or mitigate probable issues just by understanding that the person one is dealing with is narcissistic. Whether saddled with a narcissist personally, professionally or both (most of us will have both), WHY IS IT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU has something to offer for everyone.
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