If anyone wants to understand narcissism as it affects cults, they should also read 'Prophetic Charisma' by Len Oakes Ph.D.
Dr Oakes is a mental health professional, interviewed 20 charismatic leaders and used a wide range of theoretical models and research data, and writes with clinical precision and deep humanity.
Mr. Sam Vaknin (by his own admission)
has been affiliated with two organizations (President of the Israel chapter of the Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA) and (briefly) Israel representative of the Washington Times) that are linked to the Unification Church and Reverend Moon.
It is always a good idea supplement website material by reading a variety of literature by professionals who are accountable to their colleagues and to the standards of their disciplines.
The professional's submission to discipline, acceptance of accountabilty to peers, the process of submitting one's theories and experimental findings to the process of peer review by colleagues and pursuit of continuing education are all safeguards against narcissism.
There is a general consensus among the mental health profession concerning the cause, diagnosis and treatment of choice for narcissism, but there can be diversity of opinions within that professional consensus. Among professionals and educated lay persons, no one perspective is sufficient.
Prophetic Charisma by Len Oakes. Written by a social science researcher and clinical psychologist after he had been in a cult for 11 years and had studied 20 other charismatic leaders. Invaluable, with an excellent bibliography that goes up to 1996.
The Search for the Real Self: Unmasking the Personality Disorders of Our Age by James Masterson MD Written by a psychiatrist who specializes in treatment of personality disorders, this book is geared to both professionals and educated laypersons, and spells out the vital distinctions between Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and focuses upon intimacy issues and psychotherapy. (He notes that it is a good sign when someone is both happy and anxious at the start of a relationship, because their anxiety means they are offering their vulnerable, true selves to the encounter. If a person is 'all blissed out' then thats the sign to Masterson that they're hiding their true selves from the relationship and only dealing in fantasy!
Prisoners of Childhood and the Drama of the Gifted Child, both by Alice Miller
Published by Basic Books, available through the major on-line book companies. The author reaches deep into the heart of the narcissitic wound with these two emotionally charged, but readable books. These will be a very difficult books for most people with NPD (and their families to read). Miller writes with a compassion for healing that touches the soul of those who are trying to understand their wounds.
Essential Papers on Narcissism, Essays written by various authors.
Published by State University of New York Press, 1986. This is a rather academic look at the history of narcissism. It is intended for scholars and clincical psychologists, though people suffering from NPD may be find it helpful to understand the history of the disorder and the gradual changes, and acceptance in addressing this disorder. We share this book because it can be helpful to develop an understanding of what it is we are trying to heal in ourselves.
The Narcissistic Family, by Stephanie Donald-Pressman and Robert Pressman
The wounds which can lead to Narcissitic Personality disorder (NPD) often run very deep within a family. Often dating back generations. Within the family structure it is common to see different members react differently to narcissitic injuries. This book offers a glimpse of how different people react to stimuli. One of the harder parts of healing these wounds is that other family members are suffering as well. This book is not about blame, but once again helping us understand what it is we are facing.
Shame: The Exposed Self, by Michael Lewis
Many belief that shame is the single greatest contributor to Narcissitic Personality Disorder. It is incredibly difficult to heal because it touches the soul of a person suffering from NPD. Shame is an ugly emotion and one that our natural defences work teach us to avoid. If an infant is rejected by or separated from our primary care giver they can assume their is something about themselves that is not worthy of being loved. Our culture is built very heavily around shame and this might be the hardest thing to face in the healing process.
Slings and Arrows, By Dr. David Levin
This is another book which helps identify the causes of naricissitic wounds and attempts to address ways that we might be able to work toward healing in therapy. Once again this book is intended for a more professional audience, however many will find it very readable and helpful in developing their understanding of their true selves.