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When, toward the end, she offers a little of her own experience, she does it in the second or third person with a few choice anecdotes — one that involves a herd of wild horses, another that takes place in the back seat of a late-’90s Pontiac Bonneville. I found myself thinking of this book as a kind of corollary to Larissa Mac Farquhar’s “Strangers Drowning,” which shows how selflessness can turn destructive when empathy goes into overdrive.
They learn there are two kinds of ‘no contact’: NC (no contact) and NCEA (no contact ever again).”Word salad, indeed.
Many a spurned one (ahem) has gobbled this stuff up, and it is to Dombek’s credit that she doesn’t disavow an embarrassing search history.
The answer is yes.“Narcissists are the most popular kids at school,” Dombek tells us in the first chapter, aptly titled “The Cold,” for the chill you feel when someone cool starts ignoring you.
As adults, narcissists “are not all really rock stars or movie stars, but they seem like they are.” The second chapter, “The Epidemic,” is more clinical, citing the DSM’s Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder — things like “Requires excessive admiration” and “Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.” If these sound vague, subjective or unmeasurable, it’s because they are, and while Dombek’s straight-as-a-razor tone can sometimes make it difficult to decide whether she is credulous or skeptical, her understatement allows the reader to draw her own conclusions.
She’s less besotted with the ones who got away, and more inclined to keep moving: “I drop a cigarette into a snowbank and it bores a hot hole into the snow and disappears.
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Fewer still might associate narcissism, which has become a popular term for anyone who is self-involved (the quintessential Valley Girl of a generation ago, and, arguably, Friends on TV of the current one) to an overwhelming extent.
And still fewer might associate narcissism with heinous criminal acts.