Obsessive self-promotion, an aggressive triggering response, retaliatory rants...so goes the vicious cycle we now know too well. America loves narcissism, and America loves to hate narcissists. Narcissism is part of the assumed "national character" of Americans, according to a 2015 survey of views from home and abroad. While those meeting the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the United States are actually quite few, those exploitive few have a way of gaining center stage in our culture. Fragile Bully: Understanding America's Destructive Affair with Narcissism looks beyond the sound bites of self-aggrandizing celebrities and selfish tweets to the real problem of narcissism. We see past the solo act to the dance, the vicious circles that arise in relationships with a fragile bully, and how patterns like this generate both power and self-destruction. We also look at the problem of Echo, how so many of us get hooked by the narcissist, and how variations on the destructive dance leave both partners dehumanized and diminished. Once we recognize the steps in each dance, we start to see the way forward: beyond the rote responses that keep us stuck to an expanded repertoire that breaks the cycle and allows the possibility of true engagement.
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