I frequently receive E-mail requesting information on where to learn more about narcissistic abuse and get more help. Below is a list of books that have been crucial to me through my recovery process. Although there are many other good resources out there, these are the ones I personally found to be the most helpful. I have cited many of them and/or discussed the authors in my posts because they made such an impact on me that what I learned from them has stuck with me.**
The resources are listed here in no particular order, but I have placed a star next to the ones that I found to be especially helpful. I hope that you will find them helpful as well.
One of the first books I read on the topic (and then read again many times), the author has a way of breaking down exactly what happens in a relationship with a narcissist in easy-to-understand terms. I was highlighting almost every sentence, and some of the passages resonated and described my experience so well and with such grace, I would find myself with tears running down my face at times. He also does a great job explaining what the healing process looks like as well.
Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself*
This is the Bible of healing from narcissistic abuse. While the beginning is a primer on what narcissistic abuse looks like, eighty percent of the book is filled with information and tips on how to heal. It really just doesn’t get any more practical than this in terms of self-care. The author really breaks it down, incorporating a little bit of everything from different therapeutic approaches to tips for dealing with some of the more difficult parts of recovery to links to online worksheets, meditations, YouTube videos, and other free resources.
This is a combination of the author’s personal story and a description of how narcissists abuse. The author has a unique way of going back and forth between the two that doesn’t feel awkward and has some interesting insights about narcissistic abuse that I didn’t read anywhere else. Paired with her own story, it helped give me strength during a personal time of weakness.
No-contact was and is one of the hardest parts of being in a relationship with a toxic person for me. It was as if every single emotion I went through about it and every single thought I had was discussed in this book. In addition to just making me feel a little less alone, however, it also provides real advice on what no-contact looks like and how to plan for it.
This book has come along a little later in my healing journey, but it’s one I find myself turning to again and again. I have found myself wanting answers to the questions that didn’t make any sense. This book helped answer them in a very relatable way. I underlined so many passages in this book, as it gave me insight into what it is about Cluster B Personality Disordered individuals that allows them to do the things they do.
I read this book in one sitting and then read it through several times again. It was one of the first books to try to explain what narcissistic abuse feels like and why it’s so hard to describe, and then explain what the path to recovery feels like. It’s from a more clinical perspective, but written with a very heart-warming easy-to-read tone, and includes hundreds of quotes from surveys that the author did from those who had been in narcissistically abusive relationships.
This is an extremely in-depth examination of narcissism and what makes narcissists think and act how they do. The author is a self-aware narcissist. He uses descriptions and categories that help illuminate narcissistic behavior in ways that aren’t found in other texts and I found it highly helpful in understanding what had happened to me.
After I got out of the relationship, I felt vulnerable and unable to trust my own judgment. I wanted to just withdraw from everyone until I could figure out how to keep myself from getting hurt again. This book describes how narcissists erode our boundaries, whether we had strong ones in place before or not, and helped me to get them back so I felt safer and as if I could protect myself from becoming a victim of that type of abusive situation again.
This author also wrote Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare. She is a particularly good writer and her descriptions were empowering and inspiring in ways that touched me deeply. In addition, because each chapter is a self-contained essay, it was easy for me to show one to someone else if I wanted them to grasp a particular concept without having to ask them to invest their time in reading an entire book.
One of the things I learned recently is that people, both children and adults, who survive abuse often have a type of PTSD called Complex PTSD. It occurs because the trauma is sustained over a long period of time and almost becomes a way of life, unlike PTSD, which occurs due to one event or a focused, specific period of time, such as a car accident or tour of duty. This book helped me to understand exactly what Complex PTSD is and how it can be managed.
This book’s focus is broader than narcissists. It’s about all of the various ways that any manipulative person uses to get others to do the things they want them to do and how to keep from being manipulated. Yet it really opened my eyes to the actual dynamics by describing how they think about you based on how you act, and how I can do my part to reduce the chances of being manipulated.
This is an anonymous memoir by a diagnosed sociopath. I understand intellectually that sociopaths lack empathy and remorse, but by reading a life story told from the point of view of a sociopath, I wanted to understand how they actually rationalize what they do. How does someone without a conscience actually think?
This author is very prolific and has written dozens of books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse and how to detach and heal from narcissistic relationships. I have found many of them helpful, along with his website. The interesting angle of this author is that he is a self-aware narcissist writing from his point of view and uses it to explain why narcissists do what they do and how their partners can use this information to their own advantage. This particular book was extremely helpful. After going no-contact, there was still the feeling that my ex was with me and it was hard to escape the desire to want him in my life again. In this book, the author explains where that feeling comes from and how to destroy it. Reading this book was one of the things that actually worked for me.
Finally, though not a book, I highly recommend Richard Grannon’s Spartan Lifecoach YouTube Channel. He has dozens of videos on narcissists and other Cluster B personality disorders and narcissistic abuse, all of which are very insightful and comforting.
If you need assistance to leave your relationship or feel you are in danger, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or http://www.thehotline.org/ where you can chat live with someone 24/7. They have access to other resources and can also assist with legal help in some cases.
**I do not know any of these authors personally, and none of them have asked me to endorse their work.
The information, descriptions, and suggestions offered on this website should not replace or be used as a substitute for advice given to you by a medical professional. If you are in need of medical, health, psychological or psychiatric care, assistance or consultation, please seek out a licensed medical professional for care and assistance.