My books have helped thousands to step back, and away, from the damaging effects of a narcissistic person, whether it’s a present-day relationship or one that has haunted them from the past. Now, they may help you, too.

Narcissist ruining your life?

Maybe you love one. Or work for one. Maybe you’re related to one. Or were raised by one. Whatever the relationship, you’ve likely been hurt by the narcissist in your life.

This book review in the New York Times about a a biography by Adam Begley about John Updike (an author whose work I happen to like so very much) made me think about desperation and narcissism. (Not the book review specifically, but about what it says about John Updike.)

And it made me a little sad.

From the piece, by Dwight Garner:

John Updike (1932-2009) grew up to like high spirits, gags, party games. At The Harvard Lampoon, where he became editor, he organized elaborate pranks that required great mounds of elephant dung and the destruction of cars. At The New Yorker, he’d pretend to faint in elevators. He played Twister and Botticelli at his dinner parties. If things got dull, he’d fall off a couch.

He satirized his need to entertain in an early poem called “Thoughts While Driving Home”:

Was I clever enough? Was I charming?

Did I make at least one good pun?

Was I disconcerting? Disarming?

Was I wise? Was I wan? Was I fun?

I’m not saying whether or not Updike was a narcissist – I have no idea. But the need to be liked, to be “just right”…these things, while present in all of us, are present in toxic degrees in a narcissist.

Also from the piece:

That Updike had affairs, sometimes with his friends’ wives, is not news. “I drank up women’s tears and spat them out,” he declared in one late poem, “as 10-point Janson, Roman and ital.”

Brutal honesty? Bragging? Brilliant writing? Maybe all.

But also a desperation, if I read between the lines.

Which is the thing about the disease of narcissism, so much time must be spent reading between lines and in the reflection of mirrors.

Again, here is the link to the piece:

A Writerly Life, Beneath the Surface – ‘Updike,’ Adam Begley’s Look at a Novelist’s Career

I came across this post over at Forbes written by contributor Rob Asghar called All Work and No Play Makes Your Child…A Narcissist .

In the piece he cites another article from a post in Psychology Today by Peter Gray, PhD, called Why Is Narcissism Rising Among Young Americans?

Dr. Gray’s piece can be summed up in the subhead: “Play deprivation may underlie the increase in narcissism and decline in empathy.” This deprivation is being linked to parenting styles, namely the hovering and controlling, over-parenting parents.

It’s fascinating. And it got me thinking about the why’s – why and how and to whom this might happen –  from a decidedly unscientific standpoint (see Dr. Gray’s article for the footnotes and references to the scientific data both quantitative and qualitative). Could it be that lack of play, of expression, of satisfying one’s own curiosity might, in part, for some, lead to the development of a kind of altered form of what being a child is meant to be? In other words, lead to becoming a shell of a child? In other words, a kind of false self? An angry self? A narcissistic child that grows into a narcissistic adult?

Often we don’t think of the narcissist as they might have been as a child, as the recipient of someone else’s manipulations and neglect.

It helps to think about this to gain perspective of why the person is this way – lacking empathy, manipulative, etc – today. Why? Because it can help us to remember that narcissism is a longstanding and serious issue that has deep roots that a winding and complex, and completely out of our control.




It took me some time to figure that out – and then some more time to accept it. You, too?

This article, 18 signs you’re dealing with a narcissist, points out the variations in how narcissism can manifest in different individuals. Some of the qualities seem in conflict with one another. But then again, narcissists are chameleons. They are forever changing, morphing, putting on a different mask.

Here’s the link: 18 signs you’re dealing with a narcissist

At the intersection of writing and narcissism, this article in The New Yorker (though excellent and compelling and important) nauseated me – and for good reason.  The title of the piece, Seduce the Whole World: Gordon Lish’s Workshop, written by Carla Blumenkranz,
is a must-read for any writer, any artist, any student who puts their trust in a professor who really cannot – should not -be trusted.

I have known such “teachers.”

I once took writing class up in LA. I was in my early 20s. The teacher was intimidating yet seductive. It was clear that he bestowed “specialness” on certain students. He would insult one writer’s work (we had to read aloud), make faces in the class, then turn to another student who “might show the class how it’s supposed to be done.” Or he’d read his own work and go on and on about how great it was.

This “teacher” made writing seem like something only a few – himself included – could grasp. It turned out the writers whose work he “liked” were people who had taken his class for years – writing groupies. He fed off them because he was a parasite.  (And they thought he actually liked them.)

I understand all that today. Back then I was too young to know what was going on and didn’t make it to the end of the course. Self- preservation kicked in.

Maybe today self-preservation will kick in for you, too.

Again, here is the link.

I have grown to really dislike the Comments section in many online sites. Even respect news sites, sometimes, have comments that I wish I could un-see. I can’t stand the cruelty, the purposeful nastiness, the fight-picking, superiority…the list goes on. It sucks my energy, like a parasite. Like, perhaps, a narcissist? Certainly like a sadist.

This is an excerpt from a terrific article in Slate by Chris Mooney, which explains the original research succinctly:

“The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).”

Read Mooney’s article, and scroll down for the graphic that further illustrates the results of the Buckels et al study.

The results are quite shocking, yet not really surprising.


This post from the Harvard Business Review, written by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, an international authority in personality profiling, provides a pitch perfect assessment of how narcissistic traits transfer to the workplace where, at one time or another, we’ve all been confronted with a narcissist (or two) – as a coworker, HR manager, supervisor or owner of the company.

The post, Why We Love Narcissists, offers us three reasons why we actually don’t love them and why they confuse the hell out of us (to put it mildly):

1. Narcissists are masterful impression managers

2. Narcissists manipulate credit and blame in their favor

3. Narcissists fit conventional stereotypes of leadership

Sound like someone you know? Read the rest of the post now.


The Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (HSNS) was developed by Holly M. Hendin and Jonathan M. Cheek over 15 years ago.  A blog over at Scientific American highlights this scale in a post by Barry Kaufman called 23 Signs You’re Secretly a Narcissist Masquerading as a Sensitive Introvert.

In Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved, I write about narcissists who have a way of flipping everything so they are the “most-est” at everything. The most shy, the most sensitive, the most misunderstood. Most people first think of narcissists as loud and blustering, but this is not always the case. Kaufman’s article offers the quiz. Might be interesting to take a look, no? If not about you then about someone you know.

Follow the link above, then scroll to the bottom of the article. What does it reveal?

Thoughts, Meditations and Ideas to Help You Overcome the Effects of Narcissism


The companion to Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved, STRONGER EVERY DAY, also by Meredith Resnick, will offer readers a single idea to ponder throughout the day. These ideas will come in different forms, so the format is interesting, intuitive, varied and, perhaps, fun to read.

STRONGER EVERY DAY is for anyone in the process of healing from the effects of narcissism, who are exploring new relationships (including a new relationship with themselves!) and those who simply want a daily totem to help guide their intention, helping to keep the focus on their own needs, joy and self.

More details to come!

Singer-songwriter Aimee Mann gets it. About narcissism.

This from her interview on npr today:

“I’m fascinated by charming people,” Mann says. “They’re fun to be around, they’re entertaining, they pay attention to you. They’re a glorious addition to any group, until you spend a certain amount of time with them and start to realize that it’s essentially a construction. But I totally buy into it. I think ‘charmer’ is just another word for ‘narcissist.’

There is a song called, “Charmer.” Need I say more?

Except…I will be getting her new album!

I recently wrote about narcissism for Jane Boursaws television and movie online magazine Reel Life With Jane. I noted in the piece that, “when it comes to the creative process of character development in movies, books, even shorter pieces, it’s interesting that the more extreme the personality, the better. In real life, however, this is most definitely not the case.”

I wrote that, I didn’t know of many (or anyone, for that matter), who “consciously [sought] out this type of person for a relationship — romantic, work or otherwise. However, put a well-crafted, well-written narcissistic character (as a fictional character, that is; the nonfiction ones are just bores!) on television or in a movie (I am not talking about reality shows, either), and we’re intrigued, mesmerized, and sucked in (without actually being chewed up and spit out!).”

Read the entire piece by CLICKING HERE.

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