I am looking for books that will introduce basic emotional literacy concepts to an adult. An adult with strong tendencies toward avoidant, anti-social, narcissistic, and paranoid behavior. No, I'm
using those terms lightly.
I have a friend who has, throughout his entire life (60+ years,) shown a remarkable
lack of understanding about basic human emotions and how they work. This is not surprising, and not particularly his fault (he had lots of childhood abuse/neglect/etc. and a family history with severe psychological issues.)
I am going to buy him a book or three to help him improve his skills in this area. I am aware there are pros and cons to this plan, and have thought it through/analyzed the situation quite enough, thank you. All I'm looking for here is the book or books to buy him
He will not
read a textbook or anything light/fluffy/feel-good. I know for sure Burns is out at this stage, as is the Dalai Lama
. I need the "why and when" of stuff more than the "how to tell
" kinds of books (the "how to tell" stuff will be next year, I think.)
He likes extremely literal
topics (taxation - the practice, not the theory) and action plans, particularly very short ones.
He has a wicked and clever sense of humor. He has a thing for stuff you hear on Coast to Coast AM
and likes to give gifts with words like "conspiracy" and "the end of time" in them. He loves John Carter of Mars (the books) and has perfectionistic/idealistic/completist tendencies (he bought all
of the Barsoom books when he decided he wanted to read the first one again.) He adores the worst movies of all time
and doesn't understand
why someone (ANYONE ON EARTH) wouldn't
want to watch a violent gore-fest action thriller with crappy writing & production values on Thanksgiving day.
He has a particular propensity for being completely
unable to predict how incredibly hurt another person will be when he says something incredibly hurtful - he literally has no idea
that it's not funny or clever. He hates hurting people, though - it really distresses him, and he really has internalized this idea that he's someone who hurts others. He tends to laugh things off when he's nervous or uncomfortable, especially if he thinks he's done something to hurt another person.
He has some interest in learning how to negotiate and persuade others, but he says he's complete rubbish at it. He doesn't really have a conceptualization of a middle ground between "completely leaving the topic alone" and "dragging you bodily toward the one true solution despite your struggling against it."
What is needed:
- which are: short; [think 150-200 pages with 12pt text]
- about core psychological topics/feelings and how human beings in general think/feel;
- cool, quirky, funny, and/or fascinating; and
- helpful in terms of actually teaching someone how to act like a normal person, or at least why people act the way they do and how to predict how they'll react in advance.
If it turns out to have been written by a person who's actually been interviewed
on Coast to Coast AM, I will heart you forever - especially if you can tell me the date, so I can find him an MP3. A dash or ten of parapsychology or past lives or astrology or new age randomness is also appropriate. A forward from Art Bell would be... amazing.
I'd also be thrilled if they have an actual degree in real psychology, but I realize that this may be asking too much.
(Podcasts & TED talks and the like are acceptable, but he's less likely to actually sit and listen to them than he is to read a book.)
Oh... and if it happens to explain why he marries extremely dependent women with severe psychiatric issues (exactly like his mother) that would be, well, wizard