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Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist: How to End the Drama and Get on with Life

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People with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorders have a serious mental illness that primarily affects their intimate, personal, and family relationships. Often they appear to be normally functioning at work and in public interactions, and Narcissists may even be highly effective, in the short term, in some work or social situations. However, in intimate relatio People with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorders have a serious mental illness that primarily affects their intimate, personal, and family relationships. Often they appear to be normally functioning at work and in public interactions, and Narcissists may even be highly effective, in the short term, in some work or social situations. However, in intimate relationships, they can be emotional, aggressive, demeaning, illogical, paranoid, accusing, and controlling--in the extreme. Their ability to function normally or pleasantly can suddenly change in an instant, like flipping a switch. These negative behaviors don't happen once in a while, they happen almost continuously in their intimate relationships and most often, and especially with their Caretaker family member. Here, Margalis Fjelstad describes how people get into a Caretaker role with a Borderline or Narcissist, and how they can get out. Caretakers give up their sense of self to become who and what the Borderline or Narcissist needs them to be. This compromises the Caretaker's self-esteem, distorts their thinking processes, and locks them into a Victim-Persecutor-Rescuer pattern with the Borderline or Narcissist. The book looks at the underlying rules and expectations in these relationships and shows Caretaker's how to move themselves out of these rigid interactions and into a healthier, more productive, and positive lifestyle--with or without the Borderline/Narcissistic partner or family member. It describes how to get out of destructive interactions with the Borderline or Narcissist and how to take new, more effective actions to focus on personal wants, needs, and life goals while allowing the Borderline or Narcissist to take care of themselves. It presents a realistic, yet compassionate, attitude toward the self-destructive nature of these relationships, and gives real life examples of how individuals have let go of their Caretaker behaviors with creative and effective solutions. --Elayne Savage, PhD, relationship and workplace coach; professional speaker; author of Don't Take It Personally! The Art of Dealing with Rejection and Breathing Room - Creating Space to Be a Couple


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People with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorders have a serious mental illness that primarily affects their intimate, personal, and family relationships. Often they appear to be normally functioning at work and in public interactions, and Narcissists may even be highly effective, in the short term, in some work or social situations. However, in intimate relatio People with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorders have a serious mental illness that primarily affects their intimate, personal, and family relationships. Often they appear to be normally functioning at work and in public interactions, and Narcissists may even be highly effective, in the short term, in some work or social situations. However, in intimate relationships, they can be emotional, aggressive, demeaning, illogical, paranoid, accusing, and controlling--in the extreme. Their ability to function normally or pleasantly can suddenly change in an instant, like flipping a switch. These negative behaviors don't happen once in a while, they happen almost continuously in their intimate relationships and most often, and especially with their Caretaker family member. Here, Margalis Fjelstad describes how people get into a Caretaker role with a Borderline or Narcissist, and how they can get out. Caretakers give up their sense of self to become who and what the Borderline or Narcissist needs them to be. This compromises the Caretaker's self-esteem, distorts their thinking processes, and locks them into a Victim-Persecutor-Rescuer pattern with the Borderline or Narcissist. The book looks at the underlying rules and expectations in these relationships and shows Caretaker's how to move themselves out of these rigid interactions and into a healthier, more productive, and positive lifestyle--with or without the Borderline/Narcissistic partner or family member. It describes how to get out of destructive interactions with the Borderline or Narcissist and how to take new, more effective actions to focus on personal wants, needs, and life goals while allowing the Borderline or Narcissist to take care of themselves. It presents a realistic, yet compassionate, attitude toward the self-destructive nature of these relationships, and gives real life examples of how individuals have let go of their Caretaker behaviors with creative and effective solutions. --Elayne Savage, PhD, relationship and workplace coach; professional speaker; author of Don't Take It Personally! The Art of Dealing with Rejection and Breathing Room - Creating Space to Be a Couple

30 review for Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist: How to End the Drama and Get on with Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Monique Amado

    I guess you could say this was the book that was part of finally setting me free. Excellent and helpful. Kind of like 'Stop Walking on Eggshells' only a lot more in depth as to what it's like for the person in the relationship with a BP/NP. The author has a keen understanding of what it's like and has a counseling practice specializing in helping those on the other side of the disorder. Very no-nonsense and motivating towards self-care and detachment in order to get one's life back on track. I guess you could say this was the book that was part of finally setting me free. Excellent and helpful. Kind of like 'Stop Walking on Eggshells' only a lot more in depth as to what it's like for the person in the relationship with a BP/NP. The author has a keen understanding of what it's like and has a counseling practice specializing in helping those on the other side of the disorder. Very no-nonsense and motivating towards self-care and detachment in order to get one's life back on track.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erika Nerdypants

    This is one of the best books I have read, on interacting with NPD/BPD individuals. Fjelstad is brutally honest about the difficulties you have to deal with, as well as the often unhappy outcomes despite skillful behaviours. She asserts that walking on eggshells and constant caretaking will not work. Most caretakers already know that. But then, with great compassion for both the disordered individual and the caretaker, she offers up some very practical suggestions that can help make relationship This is one of the best books I have read, on interacting with NPD/BPD individuals. Fjelstad is brutally honest about the difficulties you have to deal with, as well as the often unhappy outcomes despite skillful behaviours. She asserts that walking on eggshells and constant caretaking will not work. Most caretakers already know that. But then, with great compassion for both the disordered individual and the caretaker, she offers up some very practical suggestions that can help make relationships function more smoothly. I liked her no-nonsense approach, and her absolutely non-judgemental stance throughout the book, but the reason I'm giving this 5 stars, is for the hope this book holds out to people struggling with tremendously difficult situations, people who often have little hope left. A light in the darkness of personality disorders!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I was riding my bike this morning, the place where I do much of my thinking, and I thought of this book (which I read about about 5 years ago), and I wondered how many stars I had given it on Goodreads. I know how stingy I am with stars, and I thought to myself, I bet you didn't give it five. As soon as I finished my ride, I came here to Goodreads, and sure enough, I had only given it four. I just changed it to five. This book helped save my life. I think that it probably deserves five stars. I I was riding my bike this morning, the place where I do much of my thinking, and I thought of this book (which I read about about 5 years ago), and I wondered how many stars I had given it on Goodreads. I know how stingy I am with stars, and I thought to myself, I bet you didn't give it five. As soon as I finished my ride, I came here to Goodreads, and sure enough, I had only given it four. I just changed it to five. This book helped save my life. I think that it probably deserves five stars. I feel that I owe it to the people who need this book as much as I did, but haven't yet discovered it, to do my part to let them know that it exists. You are so much stronger than you have been led to believe.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with life with a borderline or narcissist spouse or perhaps close family member, but I didn't find it useful in thinking about those traits in a boss. It identifies how you might be acting as a "Caretaker" to those personalities, and how you can make positive change within yourself to get to a better place for decision making about your relationship, and even tricks you might use to make living with the NP/BP person easier (spoiler: act like you w I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with life with a borderline or narcissist spouse or perhaps close family member, but I didn't find it useful in thinking about those traits in a boss. It identifies how you might be acting as a "Caretaker" to those personalities, and how you can make positive change within yourself to get to a better place for decision making about your relationship, and even tricks you might use to make living with the NP/BP person easier (spoiler: act like you would to a two-year-old using distraction, long set-up times, reassurance, etc.), all of which seem possibly useful. It does fall victim to the self-help promotional problem I see in lots of these books, the "this book's way is the One Right Way, those other books or recommendations of friends are probably wrong" problem, but it does a good job of addressing concerns you might have that these methods are appeasement. However, I did not find the discussion of caretaking to be generic enough to apply to workplace relationships, although in fairness the quiz in the appendix identified me as a non-caretaker. Perhaps my work life is one of non-caretaker surrounded by caretakers and megalomaniacal narcissists? At any rate, my husband was sadly unphased by the appearance of this book by my bedside, as he does not suffer from delusions that he is secretly horrible and my reading this book confirmed those fears. Perhaps I will leave it on his side of the bed to check. P.S. Am I the only one who can't read the words "seasoned therapist" without double-taking because the words read "seasoned the rapist" the first time?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Fitzgerald

    I actually picked up this book just because my psychologist told me I have caretaker instincts. I was skimming several books at the time. From the time I read the sample chapters I was hooked on Dr. Margalis Fjelstad's work. I wish she could change the title. This book does contain a great deal of information on caretaking borderline and narcissistic family members, friends, colleagues, clients, and partners. However, it really breaks down how all unhealthy relationships work. I felt as if I was s I actually picked up this book just because my psychologist told me I have caretaker instincts. I was skimming several books at the time. From the time I read the sample chapters I was hooked on Dr. Margalis Fjelstad's work. I wish she could change the title. This book does contain a great deal of information on caretaking borderline and narcissistic family members, friends, colleagues, clients, and partners. However, it really breaks down how all unhealthy relationships work. I felt as if I was seeing into The Matrix with each passing page. Of course, Margalis Fjelstad can't always deliver haymakers, but the framework she builds is solid. I've found myself setting healthier boundaries and becoming more mindful in my relationships as a result of what she teaches. This is highly recommended for anyone who feels they don't understand where a relationship of any kind can go wrong, and for those who are dealing with more seriously afflicted people. Good luck.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Neocortext

    As a rule, I hate self-help books. Most especially, I hate self-help book titles. Fortunately, this book is far better than its title. I found it after listening to a podcast about another psychologist's work and saw Amazon's list of similar titles. Initially, I chose this one instead because, after looking through a sample, I saw it lacks the endless cringe-inducing personal anecdotes and victim-oriented tone or sob-stories that comprise so many self-help books. During a recent constellation of As a rule, I hate self-help books. Most especially, I hate self-help book titles. Fortunately, this book is far better than its title. I found it after listening to a podcast about another psychologist's work and saw Amazon's list of similar titles. Initially, I chose this one instead because, after looking through a sample, I saw it lacks the endless cringe-inducing personal anecdotes and victim-oriented tone or sob-stories that comprise so many self-help books. During a recent constellation of family and personal medical crises, it finally became obvious that I was out of my depth in dealing with some family members' expectations, demands, and what I was beginning to recognize as emotional abuse. This book was very helpful in beginning to pump the breaks on some of the dramatic situations my family tends to create or amplify, and it was helpful precisely because of the realistic and practical way Fjelstad approaches educating the reader. A big part of that education is, as one might expect, recognizing patterns of behavior and borderline/narcissist manipulation tactics. But just as important is Fjelstad's education of the caretaker's responsibility for her own role in sustaining or even encouraging those patterns. Furthermore, Fjelstad realistically points to the limitations of books as compared to face-to-face work with a good therapist. Her content seeks to operate as an initial intervention, rather than promising its insight, information, or lists of tactics will comprise an all-encompassing solution. Needless to say, when I picked this up, I knew in a general, often embarrassed or joking sort of way that my father was a narcissist (grandiose type); however, I didn't really know how that translated into our day-to-day or life-long interactions, much less how things that I was taught to consider as "good" could actually be quite toxic, self-serving on his part, and damaging to his family. While I can't say I really know what's going on, I have a better idea of where to dig deeper, and I have a much stronger general knowledge of both borderline and narcissistic personality disorders (as opposed to the terms used as mere adjectives). Furthermore, I was stunned to realize that my sister is not only narcissistic, but likely borderline. And in being so utterly surprised by that, I also began to better understand the distortion fields narcissist and borderline personalities create for those around them. In terms of immediate benefits, I think the most important thing I learned is to stop attempting to reason with such personalities (because they are, fundamentally caught in the throes of a mental illness, not exhibiting a momentary blip in an otherwise reasonable person), to stop attempting to satisfy them (can't be done), and that I need to figure out what to do in order to learn what constitutes a reasonable level of caretaking without putting myself, my health, or my sanity at risk. The latter, the book makes clear, is not something it can help me with. But it did help me to recognize that I need help in figuring that out, so by definition, this text did all one can expect of a self-help book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ziad AR

    In its three units, this is a great book reaching out to whoever (especially Caretakers, including Codependents) needs affirmative answers to their seemingly many open-ended questions and concerns that inevitably arise and bother them in such relationships. Unit I offers an accurate characterization of the dysfunctional mysteries of the Caretaker's relationship with a BP/NP. Although repetitive, Unit I gave a holistic reflection and a deep insight into a lot that's going on in such relationships In its three units, this is a great book reaching out to whoever (especially Caretakers, including Codependents) needs affirmative answers to their seemingly many open-ended questions and concerns that inevitably arise and bother them in such relationships. Unit I offers an accurate characterization of the dysfunctional mysteries of the Caretaker's relationship with a BP/NP. Although repetitive, Unit I gave a holistic reflection and a deep insight into a lot that's going on in such relationships by which Caretakers in particular become entrapped. It also projected how the relationship would carry on, based on observational research and analysis. Unit II starts in Chapter 10 with the author's review of the five stages of grievance. Being already familiar with them, I found this chapter very interesting, informative, guiding and counselling. The author added three stages of her own that fit the Caretaker's context. Upon starting to read Unit II, one can realise the message of it (letting go and healing). So far so interesting! Along with Unit III, it's all about the very talk of rationality many Caretakers avoid, defer or pretend it's not needed, while it's the most urgent thing to do. Excellent mindful read!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I recently read a NYT article from 2016 that stated that narcissism is increasing at the same rate that obesity increased in the 80's so I think more awareness of the negative effects & impacts of continuing to interact with these toxic personalities is needed. This book provides some decent advice for how to deal with unhealthy individuals & what changes you can make in your own personality to avoid attracting future unhealthy individuals but it doesn't place enough emphasis on removing them fr I recently read a NYT article from 2016 that stated that narcissism is increasing at the same rate that obesity increased in the 80's so I think more awareness of the negative effects & impacts of continuing to interact with these toxic personalities is needed. This book provides some decent advice for how to deal with unhealthy individuals & what changes you can make in your own personality to avoid attracting future unhealthy individuals but it doesn't place enough emphasis on removing them from your life if possible.

  9. 4 out of 5

    K

    It’s really shitty you’d write a book about a condition you don’t even have stereotyping everyone with that condition. The stereotype that Bpd people are awful people who are narcissistic is proven outdated and wrong, just cause you’ve had a bas experience with a bpd person doesn’t mean all are bad. Bpd is a trauma disorder, not narcissism

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anas Attic Book Blog

    Good info, can be applied to other similar mental health issues as well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This has given me a lot to think about. It also reminded me of the work I did in Al-Anon. I have found myself in relationship to people who I try to help, thinking I am helping my fellow human, but I am always disappointed or let down. This book shone a light on why I am Caretaking people, that it was a behaviour I learnt in my family of origin. As I now find myself helping in the care of my elderly father, I really needed to read this book (the recommendation for this book actually came from a w This has given me a lot to think about. It also reminded me of the work I did in Al-Anon. I have found myself in relationship to people who I try to help, thinking I am helping my fellow human, but I am always disappointed or let down. This book shone a light on why I am Caretaking people, that it was a behaviour I learnt in my family of origin. As I now find myself helping in the care of my elderly father, I really needed to read this book (the recommendation for this book actually came from a website of Caregivers for elderly parents), I was getting upset because all I got was complaining and criticism (a bit of ridicule thrown in as well) and had begun to get depressed that my relationship with my father would never be loving. Well a BP/NP cannot really consider the feelings of others, they are simply incapable, and it has taken the pressure off me. I no longer get depressed that I have such a lousy relationship with my father, I accept what he is capable of (looking after his wants and needs) and don't blame myself because he can't show any love or gratitude. I talk less, I don't get involved in daily squabbles, I realise when I am about to get "hooked in" to old behaviour patterns and I leave the situation. This book has helped me to look after myself and not see this as being selfish, rather to see it as being normal.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bailey

    Absolutely awesome. After reading several books about Cluster B personality disorders and severe emotional immaturity, I think that this book is a very practical and comprehensive guide for how to protect yourself against and break away from narcissists and borderlines. If I were to recommend just one book to someone dealing with these issues, it would be this one. As a sort of an aside, it can be difficult for people with empathy to fully understand that people without it exist. That is because w Absolutely awesome. After reading several books about Cluster B personality disorders and severe emotional immaturity, I think that this book is a very practical and comprehensive guide for how to protect yourself against and break away from narcissists and borderlines. If I were to recommend just one book to someone dealing with these issues, it would be this one. As a sort of an aside, it can be difficult for people with empathy to fully understand that people without it exist. That is because we use empathy to understand other people to begin with. However, some can only be understood through research.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Boyd

    Oh. My. Gosh. I cannot stress this enough: if you are a Caretaker (someone who constantly has to coddle and take care of) someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, READ THIS BOOK. This has completely changed my view of life, how I approach my life and how I want to deal with certain people in my life. It is eye-opening & tough, but extremely helpful in the end. I cannot recommend this book enough. Best of all, it's written in a simple, down-to-earth way and not filled with co Oh. My. Gosh. I cannot stress this enough: if you are a Caretaker (someone who constantly has to coddle and take care of) someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, READ THIS BOOK. This has completely changed my view of life, how I approach my life and how I want to deal with certain people in my life. It is eye-opening & tough, but extremely helpful in the end. I cannot recommend this book enough. Best of all, it's written in a simple, down-to-earth way and not filled with convoluted, scientific terminology.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason Murphy

    Saved My Life This book saved my life. After living with BP/NP relationships over the years, this book finally gave me the answers I was looking for. Now it all makes sense. If you feel like you can’t quite put your finger on why some of the closest people you love act in certain ways, read this. It’ll spare you the emotional drain and daily strain that takes away from you being able to truly live your life to the fullest.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michele Cacano

    I had no idea I've been living with one for decades. It all makes so much sense, now. I think I've actually done pretty well, considering how in the dark we've been.... I've already kept my own life. Good book. Breaks everything down in comprehensive, digestible sections. I had no idea I've been living with one for decades. It all makes so much sense, now. I think I've actually done pretty well, considering how in the dark we've been.... I've already kept my own life. Good book. Breaks everything down in comprehensive, digestible sections.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Brydges

    Listened to the audiobook and I couldn’t be more grateful that my local library had this! It helped me in more ways than one and as I listened to it, it felt like a book that was built just for me. If someone that you love has borderline personality disorder this is a MUST READ!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Messy title but good information.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shawna Williamson

    Exhausting but good. So much work to be done!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Remarkable tool for anyone who is, or has been, in a family or intimate relationship with someone with borderline or narcissist personality disorders. Life changer. Some main takeaways: - 4 stages of understanding BP/NP: denial, anger, bargaining and depression; cycle until acceptance - 3 stages of stopping caretaking: setting boundaries, letting go and rebuilding; cycle until true self care - Model of communication: 1. When... (I hear a loud voice and sharp words/I expect dinner at 6pm and it isn't Remarkable tool for anyone who is, or has been, in a family or intimate relationship with someone with borderline or narcissist personality disorders. Life changer. Some main takeaways: - 4 stages of understanding BP/NP: denial, anger, bargaining and depression; cycle until acceptance - 3 stages of stopping caretaking: setting boundaries, letting go and rebuilding; cycle until true self care - Model of communication: 1. When... (I hear a loud voice and sharp words/I expect dinner at 6pm and it isn't made until 9pm) /NOT using 'you' and blaming/ 2. I feel... (angry and humiliated/taken advantage of) /again NOT 'you', ending the blame game/ 3. I would like to (be talked to in a quiet voice/be told ahead of time that you'll be late/have this picked up right away) /BP/NP might be passive aggressive, or not respond - watch out. Healthy responses aren't like that/ 4. If... I will... (if you can't lower your voice, I will need to excuse myself from this conversation) /Don't get taken advantage of, better stop interacting. MUST follow through or you won't be taken seriously/ - keep calm and composed. Be prepared for BP/NP to be upset, but don't give in. Must follow through with the actions you announced - you do not have to give reasons for what you do or want. Normal people don't feel the need to justify themselves all the time. When questioned by BP/NP, divert the questions at them why they think that is important etc so that the focus is not on you - very little gets changed with BP/NP by talking. Making changes requires taking new actions, not coming to agreements. E.g. If you don't like to have fights with BP/NP, don't respond defensively and argue, rather use the communication model. If you don't like living together, live apart. If you want something done that they stubbornly refuse, do it yourself. If the conversation is going nowhere positive, quit conversing. If you want to be more social, be social without BP/NP - caretaking = thinking you know better and are more capable than BP/NP - refuse to be superior or inferior, right wrong. BP/NP almost always play this game - be totally responsible for yourself and not BP/NP. You are a unique individual - stop being a victim (inferior). Be willing to accept the actual circumstances of your relationship with the mentally ill BP/NP. If anything is going to change, you will be the one to change it - stop persecuting. Stop blaming others - instead of saying "you didn't..." -> "I want/I would like..." - stop fixing and rescuing BP/NP. they will never change. You've been the caretaker to keep the delusion and the family together. But your rescuing only works for minutes. Giving up rescuing is an action, not a discussion - you stop interacting, you stop arguing, you stop worrying what they'll do next and you stop experiencing them to fulfill your needs - if you choose to spend time with BP/NP, it's a voluntary decision. They act badly but it's your choice to be there so don't play their games. Stick with your word. - you can't heal anyone else, only yourself, fact like gravity - you can't count on or expect BP/NP to make any changes - it's up to your what life you want to create for yourself - you have control only over yourself - nothing ever came out on trying to change him, so you have the full power your own behavior and thoughts - not feelings directly - feelings are not facts - they are emotions (bodily sensations), thoughts and interpretations - overreacting can be a product of transference (feelings from the past coming into presence) or anxiety over the future - and often over what BP/NP does and not you - give up hope that BP/NP will ever change and please you - give up guilt that they rage or threaten because of what you did. Just like you can't change or stop their behavior, you also can't cause their behavior and therefore you aren't responsible for their feelings or behaviors. BP/NP use guilt to manipulate and make you feel trapped in your belief that you are essential to them - give up shame to love yourself enough to make the changes for life you really want - find a role model, even from TV, to learn how to cope - must go to therapy - have friends - be financially independent - BP/NP will blame you for a lot, but they are not the right person to determine reality so don't take it personally - projection = shifting their blame onto you - you are never to blame for how BP/NP thinks, feels or acts, just like they are never to blame for your behavior - if someone is treating you poorly and you're allowing it, you're agreeing with their estimate of your value. Don't allow anyone make you unworthy - don't allow yourself to be dependent on them emotionally, financially, socially etc. - learn self assertion - BP/NP feel undeserving of love - ask yourself: would I expect a 2 year old to keep promises or do chores, etc? - use repetition and exit interaction - BP/NP take their feelings as absolute facts and as ones that will last forever - talking thinks out doesn't work with BP/NP. they rely only on action in the present moment. If the present is going well, keep it up. If it's not, decide what you need to do and just do it, like exiting. Emotional discussion won't work. But spend some time alone thinking about what you'll do next time and how you feel, because it will certainly happen again - quit the compulsion to keep this a secret. Abuse thrives in silence. Do tell trusted friends, and call the police if abused - reconsider if you want to keep this relationship. You have one life to live.

  20. 5 out of 5

    DeAnna Knippling

    Sometimes difficult relationships are powered by an engine of twisted over-helpfulness. This is a book about working on your own behavior when you're in a difficult relationship; I think it would be valid regardless of the type of person you're in the relationship with, and whether they really have borderline personality disorder or narcissism. If the idea that you give so much of yourself that you start losing track of yourself and what you want sounds familiar, this is probably a fair book to Sometimes difficult relationships are powered by an engine of twisted over-helpfulness. This is a book about working on your own behavior when you're in a difficult relationship; I think it would be valid regardless of the type of person you're in the relationship with, and whether they really have borderline personality disorder or narcissism. If the idea that you give so much of yourself that you start losing track of yourself and what you want sounds familiar, this is probably a fair book to read. Whether or not the other person ever gets a diagnosis is immaterial: this is about your behavior, not theirs. That being said, if you're starting to doubt your own thoughts and perceptions of what's happening, this will provide some ways to identify what's your issue and what's theirs. If you've ever been yelled at for saying "no"; if you've been put up on a pedestal and ripped down repeatedly; if you've ever been lashed out at for someone else's bad day--and put up with it--then this may be the book for you.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tina Panik

    An outstanding tool for understanding, navigating, and improving interactions with borderline and narcissist personalities. Simple tools for language choice, perspective, and tone are shared with wonderful explanations about how and why they will work. Immensely helpful on all levels.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This book provides insight and strategies for dealing with this type of person in a wide range of relationships. I applied the strategies in this book and saw an immediate improvement in the situation I was trying to resolve. I can’t ask more from a book than that! I read this book to address a specific work issue: a new employee focused the entire team on taking care of her as she played the victim. What we were doing was playing right into her manipulative game. This book literally told us to s This book provides insight and strategies for dealing with this type of person in a wide range of relationships. I applied the strategies in this book and saw an immediate improvement in the situation I was trying to resolve. I can’t ask more from a book than that! I read this book to address a specific work issue: a new employee focused the entire team on taking care of her as she played the victim. What we were doing was playing right into her manipulative game. This book literally told us to stop doing what we were doing and informed us specifically what to do instead. I read another book first but it was presented from the point of view of a romantic partner. A work relationship is decidedly different. I definitely recommend this book to those who have a similar situation.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tori

    Tremendously helpful! This book was exactly what I need as I navigate multiple relationships in my life with folks who have narcissistic or borderline personality traits. I see myself coming back to this book again and again for reassurance, and will heartily recommend it to anyone in similar relationships.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This was an emotionally difficult read. It accurately described my experience with someone who may have bpd, which is painful and heartbreaking to realize because the disorder takes good people and makes it difficult for them to love and be loved in the way they desire. I gave the book 3 stars because it annoyed me the way the author sometimes said things like “why are you listening to a mentally ill person?” It felt like a put down on many levels. (Yet she also showed compassion for people with This was an emotionally difficult read. It accurately described my experience with someone who may have bpd, which is painful and heartbreaking to realize because the disorder takes good people and makes it difficult for them to love and be loved in the way they desire. I gave the book 3 stars because it annoyed me the way the author sometimes said things like “why are you listening to a mentally ill person?” It felt like a put down on many levels. (Yet she also showed compassion for people with borderline and narcissistic personalities.) I was also annoyed that she wasn’t a little more careful when she said that the caretaker allows certain behaviors from the bp/np. I get what she’s saying but it can confuse people who are in abusive situations — victim blaming. Would be nice if future editions could be updated with gender neutral pronouns instead of the constant “his or hers” etc. I did appreciate how well the author explained relationships with bp and np personalities because you cannot get a good sense of that from the dsm. I liked how she explained the dysfunctional development and thinking that leads someone into the caretaker role because it helps the reader understand their own issues as well. The tips she gave on how to better relate to people with bp/np are helpful. They would take a lot of practice, ideally with a therapist. They seem exhausting but some people cannot leave or simply don’t want to so at least they are given tools to improve their lives and relationships. I appreciated her compassion and lack of judgement for those who chose to stay in their relationships but was also very validating of those who chose to leave. She didn’t say “leave now!” like a lot of articles say because they lack the empathy needed to understand the dynamics and personalities involved. People with bp are in a lot of pain and it makes me really sad, not in a pity way but more in a frustrated way because life is really hard for them and both diagnoses are highly stigmatized. It's also important to remember that there are different levels of intensity of symptoms for both disorders, and with bpd especially symptoms get better with treatment and age. Overall a very helpful read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    MelanieLotSeven

    I began reading this book in order to improve communication between me and my ex husband. I was sick and tired of feeling unsettled at every interaction, of feeling like he always had the upper hand in our interactions, and fed up with the inevitable emotional reaction I’d get from making the smallest requests. My goal was to make our communication clear, concise, and productive. I thought that there was a small chance my ex had narcissistic tendencies, but after reading this book and examining o I began reading this book in order to improve communication between me and my ex husband. I was sick and tired of feeling unsettled at every interaction, of feeling like he always had the upper hand in our interactions, and fed up with the inevitable emotional reaction I’d get from making the smallest requests. My goal was to make our communication clear, concise, and productive. I thought that there was a small chance my ex had narcissistic tendencies, but after reading this book and examining our relationship with distance and clear eyes, I was shocked to learn just how much our relationship fit this narcissist/caretaker model. I was satisfied with how the general worldview and thinking of a narcissist was explained and felt it helped me become detached from my ex’s emotional storms. On the flip side, there were unhelpful behaviors I exhibited that the book helped me identify and address going forward. I was pleased with the helpful advice given to take communication with a narcissist from crazy and emotional to calm and straightforward. I’ve already employed some of the techniques and they did indeed help. I’d recommend this to anyone struggling with a relationship in which they feel their identity has been subsumed by that of their partner, where they feel they have little control within their relationship. If you suspect that your partner (or ex-partner) is a narcissist, picking up this book will help clarify if that’s the case or not.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zev

    I've been reading books on codependency. Tons recommend twelve step groups and give the same advice and definitions, often quoting each other at length. This book did none of that, although there were some 'blink and you miss it' references to twelve step philosophy. This book was laser-targeted to my situation, and I nodded at nearly every sentence at first. Some of this, I knew. Other information and portrayals were chilling. While I didn't agree with everything in this book, it's a fantastic I've been reading books on codependency. Tons recommend twelve step groups and give the same advice and definitions, often quoting each other at length. This book did none of that, although there were some 'blink and you miss it' references to twelve step philosophy. This book was laser-targeted to my situation, and I nodded at nearly every sentence at first. Some of this, I knew. Other information and portrayals were chilling. While I didn't agree with everything in this book, it's a fantastic resource if you're looking for something more than Codependency 101. I got a lot out of it and am glad I read it. I have a feeling I might be reading it again at some point.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Lozano

    It is informative, but it's also enabling. I realize many people won't leave abusive loved ones (and yes, I realize we're talking about mental health issues). I'm fine with people risking their own lives, but if children are involved, giving advice about how to deal with this stuff long-term is just irresponsible, in my opinion. If you're in a dangerous situation and have kids, you have ZERO excuse for staying in that situation beyond preparing to leave. Beyond that, you are purely enabling the It is informative, but it's also enabling. I realize many people won't leave abusive loved ones (and yes, I realize we're talking about mental health issues). I'm fine with people risking their own lives, but if children are involved, giving advice about how to deal with this stuff long-term is just irresponsible, in my opinion. If you're in a dangerous situation and have kids, you have ZERO excuse for staying in that situation beyond preparing to leave. Beyond that, you are purely enabling the borderline/narcissist at the risk of your kids mental health and lives.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Frank Hoppe

    Repetitive, like most self-help books, but it does contain some useful information.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This book was such an eye-opener for me. It seemed like every chapter had something I could relate to, in a way I had never thought of or noticed before.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mindi

    Illuminating for me. Also gutted me.

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