A Field Guide to the Narcissist

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In September, 2014, I was interviewed by the lovely and empathetic Mary Hynes for CBC Radio’s Tapestry. The subject was my father, and what it was like to live with him, and be raised by him.

It was rather different for me, to address this subject factually. Of course, I’d already done it fictionally, in Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life. But this time I was peeling the mask off of Norman to reveal him as my Dad. And I was revealing things I’d never revealed publicly before.

It’s hard to sum up the experiences of several decades in the space of 20 minutes. There were so many other things I could have said. But I have been struck by how many people have reached out to me since this interview to say how similar my experience was to theirs. Or, at least, how my experience brought theirs to mind. If this interview was at all helpful or cathartic for people — to have the voice of a child of a narcissist heard — then I’m very glad.

And if you are the child of a narcissist, hang in there. And be good to yourself.