I’ve been on a journey and it’s about to take a new tack.
For the last couple months, Lori Hoeck, of Think Like a Black Belt, and I have collaborated on a project. The result, The Narcissist: A User’s Guide, will be unveiled next week.
You might have already seen some Tweets or a post about this effort. Sirius Graphix has done an outstanding job of giving our content a visual makeover, allowing it to sing with full-throated melody. They could do the same for you and the song inside your writer’s voice. Read about how it all happened with us, and what it could mean to you, here. What goes around, comes around.
If you’re like me, when somebody launches an e-book, you’re interested in how it came to be. Like any travel writer, I’ve found I can’t possibly give you sufficient detail of my stay in a place that would compare with your actual experience of being there, had you never been. And even if you had, you’d be looking and experiencing with your own lens. And so it is with this book.
While I won’t give you my entire story for a variety of reasons, I can tell you I was involved with a narcissist for more than two decades. As well, there have been and possibly still are additional narcissists who play supporting roles in my life.
What’s different now? My dealings with them are more on my terms. If you’ve ever known a narcissist, or if you’re dealing with one now, you know your own terms can be a very difficult destination to reach.
It’s taken me a long time to get here. All those years ago, my primary reaction to narcissistic behavior in others was disbelief – as in not being able to comprehend how a person could ever think it was acceptable to treat other people so terribly. I never considered there might be something good that would emerge from such a horrible situation when I was living there. But now it has. What goes around, comes around.
Narcissists are emotional predators. In order to build up their own self-esteem, they suck yours out of you. Inhabiting their grotesquely distorted world – where you constantly fall short of ever-changing expectations – can lead to depression, apathy, feelings of dread, and other more serious disorders.
Like a garden-variety addict, a narcissist needs ever-greater amounts of his “fix,” which is comprised of elevating his own status by comparison with his inferiors. This would be everyone, of course, but most of all, you.
Lori, whose mission is to empower people to take charge of their physical and emotional safety, and I realized we had similar experiences with narcissistic individuals. When we agreed to collaborate, we wanted to organize what we had learned, and share tactics we had used with success. I never dreamed this process would send me on a temporary visit back to the barren emotional wasteland I lived in when involved with my narcissist. It was harsh, oppressive and terribly frightening.
And so, in a way, this collaboration has been a re-affirmation of the lengthier journey I made out of the dark years to the much better emotional place in which I live today. What goes around, comes around.
In The Narcissist: A User’s Guide, Lori and I provide a way to turn a toxic dynamic on its ear. Instead of the narcissist using you, the tools in the Guide can be used to leverage your strength and goodness against this emotional vampire. You can then demand the predator hunt elsewhere for its victims. And more importantly, you can put boundaries in place to guard against future detrimental encounters with narcissists.
Here are some reactions from previewers:
This is incredible! As it is printing off I am reading it…the contents cannot but help provide a space for reflection, decision-making, and healing for anyone involved in this kind of relationship. Great work! – Gracia Hegener
We all know the meaning of the word “narcissist”. Many of us know one or more of them and even more of us know someone with “narcissistic tendencies”. But we aren’t necessarily able to quickly identify them and how they operate in our lives. Lori and Betsy helped me in that regard. Their workbook is filled with examples, situations, and definitions that helped me recognize the narcissists in my life. Because of their work, I am better able to keep these narcissists at arm’s length and less a part of my life. Betsy and Lori have defined “freedom” in a new way for many. I highly recommend reading their work. – Mary Hoffman
Lori’s post today at Think Like a Black Belt gives you more great insight about what’s in the e-book. From start to finish, from identification to good riddance, at whatever stage in your relationship with a narcissist, our guide will help you move forward.
Instead of being stuck in a relationship that’s out of your control, you can take some back. Instead of someone constantly lording it over you, you can reclaim sovereignty over your own healthy relationships. And while you may not be able to change a narcissist, you can liberate yourself from their attempts at emotional imprisonment and deprivation.
Narcissists live and work in the same places we do. They make problems for human resource departments. They adversely affect teamwork in professional and recreational settings. They poison family relationships with abusive and cruel behavior. They inhabit the hallways of bureaucracies and troll the internet. The effects of their havoc can live on long after their departure. We think it’s time more people stood up to them. The Narcissist: A User’s Guide will show you how.
I said when we started, “If this e-book helps ONE person escape a damaging relationship, the work will be worth it.” I can tell you with certainty this objective has already been met. When it’s released next week, we’re going to see it happen over and over again. What goes around, comes around.
The Narcissist: A User’s Guide will be available for free download on February 2, 2010.