Grace Under Siege – A Novel About Narcissistic Abuse (Review)
I received an advance copy of Grace Under Siege for my comments and editorial review.
I’ve read and wrote quite a lot on narcissistic abuse but this is the first work of fiction I’ve read tackling the subject and I didn’t know what to expect.
Although billed as fiction and at times, surreal, the story rings true to me as someone who’s experienced the kind of crazy-making abuse portrayed. Being in a relationship with someone with a cluster B personality disorder is unquestionably a profoundly surreal experience at times!
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Rene Voland realistically captures the insanity that swirls around such a relationship and digs a bit into the psychological backgrounds that helped shape both narcissistic abuser and codependent victim. The fictional narrative also gives the author license to use different scenarios to make sense of some of the more abstract and difficult to explain aspects of being trauma bonded to a narcissist.
The idealize-devalue-discard-repeat cycle, complete with childish pranks, gaslighting and smear campaigns is all too familiar, as is the long shadow of the narcissist lingering over Grace’s life, even as she moves on.
The entire story is told from the perspective of Grace, the protagonist who, after an apparent heartbreaking lifetime of abuse finally begins to unravel a web of confusion and lies. Once free of her Narcissus (and with a little help from a therapist), the scales fall from her eyes and Grace is able to begin building her own life. That’s a story that mirrored my own real-life journey and I enjoyed reading it.
Though this is a work of fiction, there are real-life monsters just like Narcissus among us. The damage they cause in every aspect of a person’s life can be severe. Through Grace’s eyes, we see how it unfolds, how it affects people and also come to understand that their crazy world doesn’t have to be the one we live in.
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