If you’ve been involved with someone who seemed to be your dream come true, but turned out to suck all the energy, financial resources and happiness out of you, then Sarah Strudwick‘s new book, Dark Souls: Healing and Recovering from Toxic Relationships is worth reading. This book, written by a very well-informed survivor of a toxic relationship with a narcissistic sociopath, offers a wealth of information about the key symptoms of sociopathy and malignant narcissism; an inspiring tale of the author’s
personal journey of coping with a hellish relationship and her survival; information about other helpful books and resources that can help victims; and, last but not least, a dab of wry British humor to entertain you.
Dark Souls gets to the essence of what makes personality disordered individuals so predatory, ruthless and dangerous. It exposes their luring techniques, when such individuals seem to be perfect and adapt to your ideals. It reveals why this is only a mask to hide these social predators’ real motives, which is to use and abuse others for their personal gain and amusement. It explains the physiological and psychological manifestations of sociopathy and narcissism, exploring the reasons behind their shallowness of emotions that leads these predators to con, deceive, beguile, torment and sometimes physically harm others.
The book also examines, in an introspective and highly informative manner, the profile of their chosen targets: whom social predators tend to select and why. Although nobody is immune from victimization by sociopaths and narcissists, Strudwick indicates that these predators tend to pick the emphatic, vulnerable and needy out of the herd. She traces the root of this vulnerability to childhood upbringing, using her own life as an example. This doesn’t mean, however, that their chosen victims are weak. The author also goes on to explain that sociopaths tend to target strong and principled victims. They prefer individuals whom they initially regard as a challenge, later use as a false front and, when they are finally unmasked, who won’t behave towards them as unscrupulously as they do (by lying, cheating and/or defrauding others).
While there are quite a few informative books on narcissism and sociopathy, Dark Souls still manages to bring a lot to the literature on the subject through its wit and spiritual perspective. This book uses the metaphor of the “dark soul” and the concept of spiritual energy to explain how psychopaths and narcissists drain our emotional energy as well as to point to a road of recovery and personal flourishing once we end these toxic relationships.
Claudia Moscovici, psychopathyawareness