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Book Review: Insight 20/20: How To Trust Yourself To Protect Yourself from Narcissistic Abuse & Toxic Relationships

Insight 20/20: How To Trust Yourself To Protect Yourself from Narcissistic Abuse & Toxic Relationship

Insight 20/20: How To Trust Yourself To Protect Yourself from Narcissistic Abuse & Toxic Relationship

Data collected by Emory University's NIA Project on domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence (IPV), gathered that: "Eighty five percent of IPV are women, every year nearly 5.3 million incidents of IPV occur among U.S. women aged 18 and older, IPV results in nearly 1300 deaths and 2 million injuries every year in the United States," and "1-3 women worldwide has been forced into sex, beaten, or otherwise abused another way during her lifetime." These alarming figures, and others gathered by different bodies and individual researchers, show the severity of domestic abuse, particularly on women who form the large percentage of victims of domestic violence.

The statistics on domestic violence elicits several questions, most importantly, why do people, specially women, fall for a pathological partner, why do some of them remain in an abusive relationship, why do some return to the toxic relationship, or jump into another abusive relationship? These are questions victims of abuse, mental health care professionals, and a section of the general public, have attempted for decades to find answers to.

Chelli Pumphrey, M.A., LPC, has attempted, albeit successfully, in providing insight into the above questions through her book, 'Insight 20/20: How To Trust Yourself To Protect Yourself from Narcissistic Abuse & Toxic Relationship.'

Some of the beliefs you might have held in relation to the above questions, and others related to them, will be washed off when you read the book. You'll be amazed to learn the long-held beliefs surrounding the vulnerability of victims of domestic abuse falling for an abusive partner, such as suffering from codependency and Borderline or Dependent Personality Disorders, don't hold a grain of truth in them.

Chelli Pumphrey, M.A., is a licensed professional counselor

Chelli Pumphrey, M.A., is a licensed professional counselor

Summary of the Book

The author starts the book by narrating her first ordeal in the hands of a narcissistic partner. Building from the story, she provides statistics of domestic violence, describes and explains terms she'll use in the book before getting to the nitty-gritty of the book's subject.

Through providing her real-life accounts of being in toxic relationships (with a pathological partner), including some of her clients, with their permission, she explains, in depth, what pathological love relationships are, what characterizes a relationship as toxic, the effects toxic relationship has on non-pathological partners, and how to get out of the traumatic relationship.

In a smoothly, and caring-lovingly manner, she takes a reader on a journey of what goes through the mind of a victim of narcissistic abuse, how a victim of this abuse (or a single intending to be in a relationship) can identify both well-known, and hidden characteristics, including mixed signs, exhibited by various types of narcissists, why it's important to get out of the toxic relationship, and how to do it. And lastly, how to heal from the traumatic experience you underwent in the relationship.

Chelli Pumphrey logo

Chelli Pumphrey logo


Pathological Love Relationships

The author defines, and describes, what pathological love relationship is, also known as intimate partner violence. She also explains on some types of personality disorders prevalent in toxic relationships, including narcissitic personality disorder which forms the basis of the book.

She describes the different types of narcissists, and characteristics associated with each of them. She shows the different techniques they use, including manipulation, to attract a partner, bring them to their hold, and keep them within their hold.

What is interesting about the book is that the author, despite being a therapist, fell in the hands of partners who exhibited the narcissistic personality. How was that possible? A reader's curiosity is piqued, and consequently, a number of questions are raised. Didn't she notice the warning signs the man she's dating was a narcissist, or she's in a relationship with a narcissist early on in the relationship? Why did she fall for narcissists, and what kept her locked in toxic relationships?

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These are the questions that led her to learn anew about narcissism, why people fall easily for a narcissist, the tactics narcissists use to hide their narcissism nature, signs exhibited by narcissists, the techniques narcissists use to manipulate, and hold their non-pathological partner in their grasp. And ultimately, it led to the publication of this book, Insight 20/20.

As a counselor, I learned, and re-learned, many things, particularly, the unfamiliar manipulative and maneuvering tactics used by narcissists, and beliefs I held pertaining to victims of abuse.

Victims of narcissistic abuse, will find solace in reading the book - the knowledge they're not the only ones experiencing this abuse. Additionally, as a victim of narcissistic abuse, you'll be armed with knowledge of identifying signs you're in a relationship with a narcissistic partner. Having determined you're in a toxic relationship, the book guides you on how to leave the relationship for your own safety. You owe it to yourself. You deserve respect; not abuse as the author states in the book, "True love should never leave emotional, psychological, spiritual, or physical scars."

My Take

One question that puzzled me as I was reading the book was how, and why, the author, despite being a therapist, fell into the hands of narcissistic partners. The answers to the questions unfolded as I dived further in the book. I was amazed at the knowledge I gained from the book, to say the least.

I recommend the book because of the extensive information provided therein on pathological love relationships, particularly narcissistic abuse. At the end of reading the book you'll become more-informed which will arm you with the means of getting out of the relationship (if you're in a toxic relationship), knowing whether the person you're dating is a narcissist (if you're single), or as a mental health and/or relationship expert, you'll gain insight on this abuse so you can better assist victims of narcissistic abuse.

To this end,

For those who are in a toxic relationship, or find themselves falling for pathological partners, "This book is for you if you have ever been hurt by someone who has manipulated, abused, or lied to you. It's definitely for you if you've ever felt like you've lost yourself in a relationship. You may suspect or even know that your partner has a personality disorder, but you are clear something is wrong. If you have had a pattern of attracting relationships like this in your life, this book will help you reflect on this pattern and help you break free of this abuse. If you are currently in a relationship with an abusive partner, this book will help you trust your instincts, and find the strength and courage to leave. If you feel shame, confusion, low self-worth or self-esteem because of a relationship like this, this book will help you find compassion and acceptance for yourself, and a newfound trust in your innate wisdom."

For therapists, coaches, and other professionals who want to increase their understanding "to help others heal from pathological love relationships, this book will provide you with new insight and a trauma informed lens from which to view this insidious form of abuse. This book may challenge many of the outdated and under-researched concepts you've learned about "narcissistic abuse," including a dismantling of the idea of codependency and love addiction as the main explanations for a person's involvement in these relationships. Instead, it will offer you a deeper understanding of pathological love relationships and the influences of trauma, attachment, and personality on the survivor's experiences."

It's my hope, as it's the author's, that the book, Insight 20/20, will help you to "learn and grow" from the author's experiences.

About the Author

Chelli Pumphrey, M.A., LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist with almost 30 years experience in the field. She's also a global relationship expert, and founder of Trilogy Holistic Mental Health in Denver, Colorado, USA.

She specialises in working with trauma, adult attachment, and narcissistic and pathological relationship abuse. And, she is passionate about using a holistic, trauma-focused approach to help clients access their innate ability to heal.

© 2022 Alianess Benny Njuguna

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