When you have suffered from narcissistic abuse, whether you are in the discard phase or you have just gotten rid of the narcissist, the pain is unbearable. Talking to friends or sharing your pain with family members is not of much help because people don’t understand narcissistic abuse unless they have experienced it for years and made sense of it. Choosing a therapist is also not easy. You need a therapist that is compassionate and well-trained to treat victims of narcissistic abuse. Often victims/survivors also face the difficulty of affording a therapist because narcissist strips you of your financial resources. In such a situation reading books can be very helpful and therapeutic. Below are the books that are the best on C-PTSD and emotional abuse recovery.
Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
Author: Judith Lewis Herman
Ave. goodreads rating:4.35/5
When it was initially released in 1992, Trauma and Recovery was regarded as pioneering work on understanding trauma survivors and their recovery. Even after 20 years, It is still a must-read for anybody interested in learning more about psychological trauma. Psychiatrist Judith Herman summarizes significant research on trauma disorders produced by a variety of distressing situations (e.g., sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, and war) and proposes a three-step trauma recovery model that is being utilized in many trauma therapy approaches today. This book will continue to dramatically affect your thinking years after you have read it. It is well researched and frequently uses the victims’ own words as well as those from great literary works and prison diaries.
Trauma and recovery focuses on complex trauma and thus may be quite helpful whether you are in the discard phase or trying to heal after the end of a narcissistic relationship. The author explains that C-PTSD develops when there is a history of subjection to tyrannical control over a prolonged period (months to years). Examples include prisoners of war, concentration-camp survivors, hostages, and survivors of some religious cults. Examples also include those subjected to tyrannical systems in sexual and domestic life, including those subjected to domestic abuse, childhood sexual or physical abuse, and organized sexual exploitation.
Dr. Herman writes eloquently, and her style is also very sophisticated. The book may not be appropriate for young people or for those who are not fluent in English or who have not completed at least a high school education.
Power: surviving and thriving after narcissistic abuse
Author: Shahida Arabi
Ave. goodreads rating:4.45/5
There’s so much victim blaming in today’s society. Most of the people claiming to heal the victims actually re-traumatize them. There are only few people who are actually doing the work of healing and uplifting the abuse victims. One of them is Shahida Arabi.
Power surviving and thriving after narcissistic abuse is one of her excellent works. The author speaks to the reader with profound compassion and deep understanding of their pain. She is careful not to victim blame.
For a person to heal from narcissistic abuse it’s vital that they stop blaming themselves. The author is of the view that emotional abuse like assault or physical violence is not the victim’s fault and victims can heal without blaming themselves for the abuse. The fault lies with the perpetrator, not with the victim.
Power surviving and thriving after narcissistic abuse is an interesting read and contains a lot of information to help you heal. From how to break the trauma bond to how to recognize a covert narcissist, the book presents the most accurate and in-depth descriptions of this terrifying trauma. It also teaches us that it's crucial to not only understand manipulation tactics of abusers but also to recognize and combat the effects of narcissistic abuse; it guides the survivor through the process of learning, growing, healing, and, most importantly, owning their agency in order to rebuild their lives and turn their powerlessness into victory.
Healing from hidden abuse
Author: Shannon Thomas
Ave. goodreads rating:4.44/5
Often people tell the abuse victims that they were abused because they were weak or they were co-dependent or they had some other defect which caused them to be abused. This victim blaming retraumatizes the victim. The author of healing from hidden abuse writes, “Abusers like to target people who have something they do not or cannot possess themselves. Narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths are notorious for picking targets that initially boost their egos. It could be the target’s appearance, age, intellect, reputation, religious convictions, career success, family, friends, or something else.” The book is filled with similar and many other truths that will set you free.
Emotional Abuse: A manual for self-defense
Author: Zak Mucha
Ave. goodreads rating: 4.27/5
Everyone one of us wants a good life. No one wants to be abused or mistreated. Often the victims and survivors have internalized the voice of their abuser in their head. The abuser tells you the abuse is your fault and many victims believe which is very destructive to them. Emotional Abuse: A Manual for self defense investigates the topic of emotional abuse and how we are trained to rationalize, excuse, and minimize aggressive behavior. Concealing emotional abuse makes us to believe we deserve it or that we are “too sensitive.” Just to maintain the relationship, we ignore our pain; but, by ignoring our pain, we lose our own boundaries. Acknowledging our pain helps us to start protecting ourselves.
This book is an excellent resource at helping you build boundaries.
Author: Jackson MacKenzie
Ave. goodreads rating:4.20/5
When we leave a toxic relationship, we are in so much pain and it is difficult to find anyone who listens and understands. Finding a good therapist is also a challenge and besides there are so many people living in parts of the world who simply can't access therapy. This book will be your therapist and your best friend. The author speaks in a voice that is very compassionate, understanding and humble. He has personal experience dealing with psychopaths, and he talks about them in great detail in the book. You will gain a lot of understanding about how narcissist and psychopaths behave and thus you will be able to spot them quickly. He guides you how to establish boundaries so that you never fall a victim to a toxic person again. There’s no victim blaming or toxic positivity in the book. I especially loved the part where he describes character traits of abuse victims.
Written specifically for those who have left toxic relationships, but if you are still in an abusive relationship and struggling to leave it, don't hesitate to read this book.
Filled with compassion, love and wisdom, you will be doing yourself a favor if you choose to read this book. Psychopath free will forever stay your friend. It offers what psychologists call limbic resonance. You need to read it, extract pearls of wisdom (make notes) and save them somewhere you can see them again easily. The wisdom in this book will heal you and protect you from future toxic relationships.
The Story You Need to Tell: Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss
Author: Sandra Marinella
Ave. goodreads rating:4.54/5
Victims of abuse often feel anger, depression and very negative thoughts. They struggle to cope with overwhelming pain.The author Sandra Marinella guides you gently and convinces you to write in your journal when the pain is unbearable. She says, ‘’Once we put words on paper we can work with them’’. I agree with her .I believe It is extremely important that you write. Expression is the opposite of depression. You need to vent your heart and the best place to do that is on paper. There is no one to judge you. There’s no one to invalidate you and you do not need anyone’s attention or company to express yourself. You can say whatever you want to say. Writing is a beautiful way to let all your pain out. It is no longer buried and stuck inside. You are free. It is like saying good-bye to a monster that has been living in you.
This book is the author’s groundbreaking work with veterans and cancer patients, her years of teaching, writing, and her study into personal storytelling's tremendous healing powers. Marinella's approaches for understanding, telling, and editing human stories in ways that encourage resilience and healing are demonstrated through riveting genuine stories in the book. She also talks about how she used journaling and expressive writing to deal with personal issues like breast cancer and postpartum depression. She uses a variety of approaches, suggestions, and activities to help us untangle the knot inside and make sense of it all.
Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma: Conversations with Pioneering Clinicians and Researchers
Author: Daniela F. Sieff
Ave. goodreads rating:4.5/5
The book Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma is made up of 10 interviews(with experts in field of neurobiology, psychodynamics and evolutionary psychology) conducted by Daniela Sieff, an independent writer and academic with a background in biological anthropology. She compiled this book over the course of eight years, using notes, interviews, and lectures.
In the introduction of the book, she defines emotional trauma as not just frightening and painful experience but also the impact these events have on us and their long-term consequences on our lives. She discusses how trauma is caused by overwhelming pain and terror and how it affects the subconscious and personality formation. Each chapter opens with a description of the ideas that the interviewee will elaborate on, followed by a discussion of how such beliefs might aid traumatized people in their recovery. There is also a brief biography of each of her interviewee.
Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma is a must-read for professionals and victims/survivors alike. Her goal is to improve understanding of each conceptual field by demonstrating how they interact and support one another. She explains emotional trauma and its impact on recovery from these different angles, and poses questions for future research.
I liked how the author frequently referred to fairy tales and mythology, which served to make the book interesting and accessible to a wider audience.
As someone going through trauma, this book helped me recognize areas where I need to improve and also motivated me to study more about psychology.Overall, I had a great time reading this book.