The Best Books to Understand and Recover from a Psychopath

shelved under Self-Help

Recent studies reveal that psychopaths (sociopaths) permeate our everyday lives as ordinary people who move through life wreaking havoc on unsuspecting victims, leaving them in financial and emotional ruin – or dead. My own encounter is detailed in my book A Dance with the Devil: A True Story of Marriage to a Psychopath. After my husband tried to murder me, I found that these books, along with hard work, brought me clarity and recovery. 

Protect yourself – learn about psychopaths – and if you have had the misfortune to become tangled in one’s web, understand why you allowed yourself to participate in a toxic relationship.


Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

by Robert D. Hare

Psychopaths are people devoid of a conscience. This well-written book exposes the traits of psychopaths in layman’s terms and is based on Dr. Hare’s many years of research. Dr. Hare sprinkles his chilling encounters with psychopaths to illustrate his observations and theories and includes “A Survival Guide” chapter.


Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work

by Robert D. Hare, Paul Babiak

Did you ever wonder about your workmate that drives you crazy? It could be that he/she is a psychopath. This easy-to-read book uses real cases to illustrate the manipulation and shows that psychopaths are parasites and predators who target not only individuals in the workplace but also the companies as they pass themselves off as ideal leaders. The authors provide strategies to identify and disarm a psychopath in the workplace.


The Sociopath Next Door

by Martha Stout

This well-written book reveals that it is very possible that we have or will come into contact with a sociopath because one in twenty-five ordinary Americans is a sociopath who operates without a conscience. The author shows us how these people operate to deceive and manipulate trusting people. Of great value is the sociopathic-behavior checklist and suggested coping strategies.


How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved

by M.A. Sandra L. Brown

It’s natural to want a loving relationship but do we know how to pick out a mentally healthy partner? The author talks about the red flags that women need to be aware of as they engage in the dating game. She describes 8 types of dangerous men, gives defense strategies and a red alert checklist for each. This is the ounce of prevention that may keep you away from the painful pound of cure.


Women Who Love Psychopaths

by Liane J. Leedom, M.D., Sandra L.Brown, M.A.

The authors say “there are at least 6 million men in America with psychopathic traits which means women are very likely to hook-up with psychopaths.” This book draws on the authors’ experiences of counseling women who were devastated by a love relationship with a psychopath, in addition to the results of a worldwide survey. Readers can assess if they belong to the unique at-risk population and learn how to safeguard themselves from other predators.


Recovery of Your Inner Child: The Highly Acclaimed Method for Liberating Your Inner Self

by Lucia Capacchione

Grab your crayons, scissors, poster board, construction paper, glue, molding clay, paper bags, pens, paper, and explore the inner most parts of yourself with creative and engaging exercises at the end of each engaging chapter. This book will amaze you as you discover what makes you who you are today and how your inner self can lead you through emotional growth. Amazing experience!


Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

by Melody Beattie

Have you become so absorbed in other people’s problems that you don’t have time to identify, or solve, your own? Do you need to control events and people around you because you feel everything around and inside you is out of control? The author introduces us to the self-sabotaging behavior patterns of codependency and offers hope and guidance in this well-written book that helps us understand that letting go will set us free. This is the book that set me on the path of becoming who I am today.


Beyond Codependency: And Getting Better All the Time

by Melody Beattie

This follow-up book looks at the recovery movement and relapsing. It explores relationships: improving them, setting limits and boundaries, negotiating conflicts, and dealing with fear and commitment. It empowers the reader to know she can overcome fatal attractions.


Codependents' Guide to the Twelve Steps

by Melody Beattie

Based on the Twelve Steps of Alcohol Anonymous, this book is a guideline for self-improvement for those who practice codependent behavior. It is written in a caring, easy to understand style and provides activities at the end of each chapter. I found it extremely useful during my recovery.


The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today's Generation

by Melody Beattie

This is a follow-up book to the previous three that clears up misconceptions about codependency, identifies how codependent behavior has changed, and provides a new generation with a road map to stepping out of the victim roll forever. Each section offers an overview of and a series of activities pertaining to a particular behavior, enabling the reader to personalize her own step-by-step guide to wellness. Also included is a series of test that allow the reader to assess the level of their codependent behavior.


Bradshaw on the Family: A Revolutionary Way of Self Discovery

by John Bradshaw

John Bradshaw, through this positive life-affirming book, guides the reader out of dysfunction to wholeness and teaches that bad beginnings can be remedied. Families can be healed as individuals can be healed. And when we heal ourselves, we heal the world. As the oldest child in my family, this helped me understand that relationship with the rest of the family.


The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to Respond

by Patricia Evans

While this was not part of my original recovery, I read this book because of my continued interest in domestic violence issues. The verbal abuser attacks when no one is around to validate the victim’s feelings, thus making her feel like she is going crazy. This book provides validation and understanding that verbal abuse is not in the head of the victim. It provides ways to recognize and respond to verbal abuse.


Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People Who Try to Control You

by Patricia Evans

I also became interested in this book because of my work for a domestic violence agency. Have you ever thought you were being controlled by another person? In this book the author takes a close look at the behaviors that constitute a controlling person and explores why they behave the way they do. The reader is encouraged to become a catalyst for change so she can be a stronger, happier, and more independent person.