Traumatic Narcissism and Recovery: Leaving the Prison of Shame and Fear

Author(s) : Daniel Shaw

Part of Relational Perspectives Book Series - more in this series

Traumatic Narcissism and Recovery: Leaving the Prison of Shame and Fear

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : July 2021
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Category 2 :
    Trauma and Violence
  • Catalogue No : 95789
  • ISBN 13 : 9780367775322
  • ISBN 10 : 9780367775
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This book looks at the trauma suffered by those in relationships with narcissists, covering topics such as surviving a cult, dysfunctional families, political dysfunction, and imbalances of power in places of work and education.

This new volume by author and psychoanalyst Daniel Shaw revisits themes from his first book, Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation. Shaw offers further reflections on the character and behavior of the traumatizing narcissist, the impact such persons have on those they abuse and exploit and the specific ways in which they instill shame and fear in those they seek to control. In addition, this volume explores, with detailed clinical material, many of the challenges mental health professionals face in finding effective ways of helping those who have suffered narcissistic abuse. From within a trauma informed, relational psychoanalytic perspective, Shaw explores themes of attachment to internalized perpetrators, self-alienation, internalized aggression, and loss of faith in the value and meaning of being alive.

This book will be especially illuminating and rewarding for mental health professionals engaged in helping patients heal and recover from complex relational trauma, and equally valuable to those individuals who have struggled with the tenacious, often crippling shame and fear that can be the result of relational trauma.

Reviews and Endorsements

'Daniel Shaw was taken by surprise when his first book, Traumatic Narcissism, struck a nerve not only with fellow psychotherapists, but also with the lay public. Shaw had put his finger on a source of relational trauma as profoundly destructive as it is common and poorly understood. Pathologically narcissistic people, when they are needed attachment figures, such as parents or leaders, cause untold suffering, often without perpetrating any sort of physical abuse. In this book, Shaw continues this important exploration-and this time the breadth of interest the book will arouse will come as no surprise.'

Donnel B. Stern, Ph.D., William Alanson White Institute and NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

'Of all of the psychoanalytic commentators on narcissism in the past two decades, surely the most important is Daniel Shaw. It is not just that Shaw writes passionately and insightfully about narcissism, especially in its malignant and traumatic aspects, because of his own personal experiences as the survivor of a religious cult. It is also that he understands that narcissism is, paradoxically, a deeply relational concept, not possible without the participation of others. In this articulate, compassionate, and honest contribution, Shaw ranges from the micro to the macro, from the clinical situation to society in its current crisis, from the personal to the political, as he delineates the complexity of narcissistic dynamics and phenomena, both in individual lives and in society as a whole.' - John Auerbach, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida.

'Daniel Shaw established himself as a leading psychoanalytic thinker with Traumatic Narcissism. The wise and compassionate essays in this book deepen his meditations on the concept of relational trauma from clinical, theoretical, personal, political, and spiritual perspectives. He gives us the loving companionship we need to sustain us on our therapeutic quests and to be able to answer Hamlet's question, "To be or not to be?" in the affirmative.' - , Ph.D., University of Florida & Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute; author of Formulated Experiences: Hidden Realities and Emergent Meanings from Shakespeare to Fromm.

'This book is a brilliant continuation of Shaw's work on traumatic narcissism. Clinically sophisticated and with a fresh theoretical stance, it bravely examines the wounds of early relational trauma and their profound impact on one's life. Adding to his scope new ideas on cults, authoritarianism, spirituality and faith, Shaw delicately portrays the complexity of love and hate, longing and aggression, giving and receiving, life and death-as each presents itself in and outside of the therapeutic relationship. This volume offers a soulful understanding of painful journeys toward healing.' - Galit Atlas, Ph.D., NYU Postdoctoral Program for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. Author of The Enigma of Desire.
'In his 2014 Traumatic Narcissism, Daniel Shaw described the cult leader who dominates by "coercive persuasion" and the effects on those who follow. Here he tangles with the relational demons, especially shame, internalized by all of us who have fallen under the leader's spell, convincing us that we are trash, only fit to serve them. He gives new meaning to speaking the unspeakable in a humanistic psychoanalysis, offering hope and dignity through debunking the narcissistic dominator, taking relational psychoanalysis to its depths and horrors. This work is priceless.' - Donna Orange, author of Psychoanalysis, History and Radical Ethics: Learning to Hear.

About the Author(s)

Daniel Shaw, LCSW, is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and in Nyack, New York. Originally trained as an actor at Northwestern University and with the renowned teacher Uta Hagen in New York City, Shaw later worked as a missionary for an Indian guru. His eventual recognition of cultic aspects of this organization led him to become an outspoken activist in support of individuals and families traumatically abused in cults. Simultaneous with leaving this group, Shaw began his training in the mental health profession, becoming a faculty member and supervisor at The National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York.

He has published papers in Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalytic Dialogues. In 2014 his book, Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation, was published for the Relational Perspectives Series by Routledge, and was nominated for the distinguished Gradiva Award. In 2018, the International Cultic Studies Association awarded him the Margaret Thaler Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence.

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