Review: Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare by Shahida Arabi

Quick review for a long read (seriously, this audiobook is over 16 hours long. I listened to it for days of commutes. =\). This book has so much meat for information to it that it may take a while to digest all that it has to offer, particularly for the better points the narrative makes on recovery, gaslighting, triangulation, and an understanding of narcissists and how harmful they can be to people who are subjected to their abusive behaviors. There are a number of helpful notations in this book on a psychological, self-help, social study, and referential level. Citing from multiple sources, personal stories, essays, among other referential material – Arabi’s “Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare” delves into surviving abuse in the mix of relationships with those who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It’s not just the author who’s reflecting in the narrative, but multiple contributors who have a combination of their own impassioned stories and research/ruminations to share.

Something that bothered me about this narrative is that it can be unnecessarily repetitious and general in the advice it gives at times. It took a long time to get to the heart of the material, even from the beginning because the author went too long with the paring down of narcissists as “emotional leeches” among other cut downs. Granted, I get this narrative comes from a personal and oftentimes painful place, but the narration could’ve been better streamlined to give the narrative more weight for delivering vital pieces of information as a self-help guide. It was frustrating pushing through the narration (though I liked the audio narrator) just to get to pieces of information that I found helpful for practical application and learning about the psychological currents of this disorder. Don’t get me wrong, this book has helpful advice, but it’s often counteracted by the lack of streamlining. There are certain moments when the narrative loses its focus on the topic and goes down a tangent that doesn’t recover for a while.

I went back and forth on whether to give this 3 or 3.5 stars. It’s one of the few books that I’ve picked up in mainstream guides on Narcissistic Personality Disorder in my research of various personality disorders and how they affect close relationships, but it wouldn’t be the only one I would use as a go-to reference. While it provides a lot of material and helpful advice, it may not be specific or exact enough for those who are in recovery and need something quick to find resources they’re looking for.

Overall score: 3/5 stars.

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