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Meaning from Madness
the Hidden Patterns that Motivate Abusers: Narcissists, Borderlines, and Sociopaths
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Why Do They Do What They Do?
When I consult with people trying to deal with abusive relationships, I spend a
good portion of the time helping them understand which disorder(s) they're dealing
with, what defense mechanisms their disordered partner is using that cause much
of their behavior, and the impact of alcohol or drug abuse on top of the disorder.
After a while the light went on: "I should write a book!"
This is that book. It lays out three essential phenomenon that everyone needs to
understand. First, I give my own essential dynamic for each of borderline, narcissistic,
and antisocial (sociopathic) personality disorder. This is the underlying psychological
stress that drives each disorder. Unlike the lists of "criteria" that are norally
used to define each of these disorders, I reduce each disorder to one key motivating
dynamic that I believe can reliably help to identify and understand.
Second, I describe the psychological defense mechanisms
that are most often used by these people to try to stabilize their distorted reality
and maintain their perception of safety. These distortions of reality, of which the disorderd person is unaware,
are a major cause of confustion for us. Third, I describe the significant impact
that alcohol and drug use have when added to an underlying personality disorder.
This frequent "comorbid" problem can confound and confuse if you don't understand
how it interplays with the disorder.
This book is designed specifically for people who are trying to understand and deal
with an abusive relationship. It covers all three of the disorders that we see over
and over in online support groups for people in abusive situations. It's not focused
on a particular disorder and so it doesn't oversell one, as some single-disorder
books do. It's a practical collection of real peoples' experience, and it reflects
the reality that almost all abusers have a narcissistic dynamic - at least some
of the time. And most abusers have some elements of other disorders as well. This
is why I call these three personality disorders the abusive disorders, and in actuality
most abusers have some elements of each.
Sometimes people tell me "Oh, I've already read a lot about
narcissism/borderline. I don't need another book." But Meaning from Madness is
different. Other authors repeat the confusing diagnostic criteria, or they talk
about narcissists with such a broad brush that it would seem that almost anyone
you don't like could be narcissistic. In Meaning from Madness
, I teach you
driving forces that drive these disorders.
Once you understand what is going on at basic level in your disordered partner's
mind, you can start to put everything else in perspective. In other words, I
don't just assure you that you're dealing with someone who is
sick, I help you
the person is sick, and give you a framework to understand
they do the things they do. This understanding empowers you to separate yourself
from the disorder; to say no to the blame game that disordered people use. It
empowers you to stand your ground on your
If you've read my other books you know I don't waste words, and this small book
will be a tremendous help to everyone trying to deal with the raging, control, distortion,
demands, and despair of an abusive situation.
Richard Skerritt, author
Reader Comments on Meaning from Madness
I found your writings to be forth right; offering clear explanations that somehow led me to
accept that the relationship I was in was NOT ALL MY FAULT. I found the closure I needed
through the clear, concise verbiage of the mindset of the damaged individual I was with.
I found solice in Meaning in Madness- although not what I wanted to learn...I already knew
so many aspects of the disordered personality from personal experience.
I thank you.... For closure, for assisting in my moving forward, for helping me
NOT TO RETURN, and for being honest!
I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how absolutely spectacular your book is!
I have read it twice already and in all seriousness, I have lent it out approximately
12 times and every time people come back with a better understanding of a loved one
and ask me where they can purchase their own copy! Thank you for this book! It isn't
just DSM criteria and it isn't just opinions. It is so comprehensive on every level!!!
More people should know about this book!!! Thank you
Richard, I wish I had read your book years before now. The night I sat and read your book, I was
overwhelmed with relief, frustration and anger. I found what you talked about in your book to be
true...that narcissistic people don't "love" themselves… and this was always very confusing to me
when I tried to apply it to my husband. In some ways he acts like he does but, your analysis was
dead on. I finally understand the person I am living with. The sad part about this sickness
is that no one else sees what I see and feel living with him. I've tried to explain it to my family
but, I never felt like they believed me. It is a disease that is "madness" as you say for the victims.
Thank you so much for writing this book and revealing the truth about these disorders.
Richard, I can't thank you enough for putting your Meaning from Madness
findings into print. My 17 and 13 year old daughters and I have been helped
tremendously by your book. My nearly ex-husband displays every narcissistic
trait you describe. Now it makes so much sense, the person he showed me before
we were committed was so different, then much worse when married. My parents are
Narcissistic too, but cave in at times to pathetic Borderline characters - with
Dad dependant on mum. Thank you, I've gained so much clarity on my ex-husband
and parents, and stopped asking 'why' on so many things.
Reviewer: Mary Beth
I am the daughter of an NPD mother. I finished Meaning from Madness the
same day I received it. It is absolutely excellent and so very, very helpful. The
best user-friendly writing on the subject I have ever found, bar none.
I was in an abusive marriage for over 30 years. I just want you to know how many
times I have sent the name of this book (as well as your other books)
to people who do not know what to do. The information is priceless. Thank you.
I want to thank
you for the information that literally helped save me. On my darkest days your writing
gave me the strength to hang on to what I knew was the right path. You helped me
to understand that, even though I felt strong feelings of love for someone that
led me to hope, he was unlikely to change. Your words turned my feelings into
thoughts, and those thoughts into actions.
A year and a half
later, I am living a truly authentic life. As you told me in your writing,
it took time along with the sustained positive input of the good people that surround
me. Thank you, Richard, for doing what you do so well. I am forever grateful.
Abuse is when someone else hurts us to serve
their own needs and uses the situation to lock us in and maintain control. Abuse
can be physical, emotional, verbal or sexual. My own experience was being
verbally and emotionally abused. I consider my experience to be particularly
brutal because my abuser sought not just control, but to emotionally destroy
But no matter the type or intensity of
experience, I believe anyone currently in or having escaped from an abusive
situation can benefit from my approaches. I worked hard to understand why I felt
trapped and how I could escape. I read and studied many books on psychology and
relationships. I pieced together the best ideas from these and added insight and
models of my own. I've shared my experience and approaches as a mentor in online
support communities since 2000. Hundreds of people in these groups have shared
with me how unique and helpful my insights are. And thousands more have read and
benefited from my online writings.
Getting yourself out of an abusive situation
and healing the damage it has done are not small tasks. It takes time and
energy. But you also need guidance in what to work on, because abusive partners
deliberately distort our reality to serve their sick needs. My books, combined
with continued dialog in support communities, can provide that critical compass
to navigate the dark passages until the light breaks through.
I wish you good luck and Godspeed.
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