The Narcissist You Know | Joseph Burgo

Summary of: The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age
By: Joseph Burgo


In today’s increasingly self-focused world, it is important to distinguish between harmless self-expression and destructive narcissism. ‘The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age’ by Joseph Burgo helps you identify and cope with the 4% of the population who qualify as Extreme Narcissists and protect yourself from their manipulation and control. Throughout this book summary, you will gain a deeper understanding of the origins of narcissism, the effects of negligent parenting, and the different types of Extreme Narcissists such as Bullying, Seductive, and Grandiose Narcissists. By the end, you will be better equipped to recognize narcissistic tendencies, both in others and in yourself.

The Danger of Narcissism

Narcissism is not just a buzzword. It is a dangerous tendency that exists in all of us and has a spectrum of severity. There is an officially recognized psychiatric disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but there is also a group of Extreme Narcissists who are much more dangerous than the rest of us. They are afraid of being seen as inferior to others and use vicious tactics to maintain their false sense of superiority. It is crucial to learn how to identify and deal with them to protect ourselves, and it is equally important to recognize our own narcissistic tendencies because they can fuel the narcissistic tendencies in others.

Understanding Extreme Narcissism

Extreme Narcissists have a deep sense of shame that stems from their early years. Core shame is the result of absent or neglectful parenting, where children feel unloved, and it becomes a part of their identity. Extreme Narcissists are particularly sensitive to criticism that shakes their fragile self-esteem, and they develop defense mechanisms to protect themselves. They blame others, create a self-image of superiority, and delude themselves into thinking they have no faults. These behaviors help them hide their true self from others, but they remain stuck in their core shame, unable to build their self-esteem over time. It is challenging to break free from the cycle of core shame, but it is essential for those struggling with extreme narcissism to realise and work on it to lead a fulfilling life.

Parenting: The Fine Line between Love and Overindulgence

The book summary looks at the different types of negligent parents and how they raise narcissistic children. Two categories of negligent parents are the narcissistic type and the overindulgent type. While the overindulgent type has good intentions, they are not aware that too much positive attention is detrimental to a child. On the other hand, the narcissistic type manipulates their child to boost their fragile egos. Both types of parents do not raise their children with the love and empathy needed, and instead exploit them as tools to make themselves feel better. The lack of appropriate limits and boundaries leads to children believing that the world revolves around them, and with time, they become narcissists. This core shame makes them feel fundamentally worthless, which further leads to narcissism. Extreme narcissists have different characteristics, which are discussed in the book summary.

The Bullying Narcissist

Extreme Narcissists divide the world into winners and losers, but Bullying Narcissists are obsessed with always being the winner. Their need to maintain an inflated self-image leads them to prey on vulnerable individuals. Interestingly, the Bulling Narcissist and their victim have similar feelings of insecurity and inferiority. As they grow older, they attack even those more successful than themselves to maintain their winner-image. They use any means possible, including extreme lies and bullying, to defend their image. Lance Armstrong is an example of this behavior. His obsession with winning led to the use of drugs to cheat and defend his image with bullying and lies. His team members accused him of taking drugs, but he denied it and sued the journalists who criticized him.

Beware of the Seductive Narcissist

Some individuals use their charm and charisma to lure people into loving them, but it’s only to fulfill their own need for attention and admiration. These people are known as Seductive Narcissists, and they prey on those with a tendency towards narcissism. The book reveals that a lack of love in their own lives may lead individuals to become Seductive Narcissists, as they resist attaching themselves emotionally but crave attention. They remain emotionally unavailable even in relationships. They control their lover by praising them only when they do what they want, instilling insecurity and dependence. Madonna is cited as an example of a person who lost her mother as a child and later became a serial seducer. To avoid falling for a Seductive Narcissist, it is crucial to remain suspicious of those who shower affection on us too soon.

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