This morning, I completed the first draft of THE NARCISSIST YOU KNOW. The last two months have been a tunnel of intensity, which explains my absence from blogging. I’m proud and relieved to be finished, and I look forward to getting back to my blog … but not until after I take a vacation this coming week. I need a rest!

I want to thank all of you who submitted comments or sent emails, asking about my absence from the blog and wondering if I’m okay. It felt really good to feel your concern and to know there are people who actually care whether or not I write.Thank you so much! I also want to apologize for getting so far behind in the approval of comments. I promise to catch up very soon!

I don’t have to deliver my manuscript until September 1 but I wanted to leave myself a good two months for revisions and careful thought, just so I can make sure it’s as good as it can be. I’m very pleased with how this first draft turned out. Now I can revise at leisure, with plenty of time for blogging, not to mention hiking here in Rocky Mountain National Park.

I think it’s going to be a fine summer.

By Joseph Burgo

Joe is the author and the owner of, one of the leading online mental health resources on the internet. Be sure to connect with him on Google+ and Linkedin.


  1. Welcome back. And, well done. Looking forward to seeing this book.
    Enjoy your walking time. And here I sit, beginning of ( a pretty mild), winter.

  2. On the day you die, you will not be saying that you wished you had spent more time working. Vacations are an important aspect of health, and I am sure your schedules are too close to hectic for many people.

    I am always pleased to hear of people chucking the rat race for vacations, to regain some sanity and get away from the mindless grazing herd.

    You deserve a long one…you are quite aware of the way things are and have set yourself apart from many whose applications in the workplace are not shored up by the all important experiential perspectives.

    You are astute and aware, accurate and professionally inclined to the point that unlike many in the work you do, I admire you.

    Keep on trucking Dr, you are among the best there are.

    1. What a great vote of confidence! Thank you so much, and I promise to follow your advice. Vacations are indeed very important and I probably don’t take enough time off.

    1. So glad that you are back! I don’t post much but I greatly enjoy your blog and learn a lot here. 🙂

  3. Yes, Dr. Burgo, we very much care how you are and whether or not you write. Enjoy the vacation! When you return, I will surely enjoy (and get insight from) your blogs and the discussions that follow.


    1. Hi Evan! BTW, my agent sold rights to the new book in Australia-New Zealand and when it comes out, I’m hoping to go there to help promote it. I realize Australia is a big country, but maybe we can connect at that time.

  4. Welcome back Dr Burgo. I have missed your posts very much and echo the thoughts of everyone on here .I appreciate your wisdom and insights and the time that you put into your blog. I hope you have a great and restful vacation .Thanks so much for all you do.

  5. I woke up this morning excited to see an email in my box from after I couldn’t wait to make some coffee and sit down to read the blog and all your readers’ comments. Well, eventhough it wasn’t what I was expecting, it’s good to know that you’re doing well and you’ll be back up and running soon. I, for one, sure do miss you and your insights! Brenda

  6. Congratulations! It’s a great feeling to have another book under your belt, and I look forward to reading it. Until then, rest up. You deserve it!

    Welcome back. You were missed.

    1. Hi Elaine — and thanks! The publisher has decided to push release back to September 2015, which seems like a long time from now, but they believe it will get more attention at that time than if it comes our during the summer.

  7. I took a weekend break in May – out in a rustic cabin – just by myself with only a small wood stove to help me exist. I turned my cell phone off and brought no other means to check the time. It was a challenge, to be sure, and I only wish it had been for a longer length of time.
    I hope that you too are able, in your travels, to disconnect from the digital world and all sense of urgency of keeping time. The birds and animals don’t require time to know when to eat or when to sleep. The sun rises and so do they, it sets and the world goes to sleep.
    May you connect with the wonders of the life surrounding you as you trek through and beside the nature that surrounds you.
    May you have a mindful experience.
    Don’t wait too long, upon your return, to share your experiences.

    1. Thank you, Sheila (and so nice to hear from you!). Funny you should bring up this issue of dis-connecting, because I have lately realized that I almost never unplug except at night when I sleep. Also when I hike. But the idea of taking a week’s vacation without my cellphone, or even a weekend like you did, seems unimaginable. I’m trying to figure out why I get so anxious about the prospect of being out of touch.

      1. It was the one constant on my mind – time – the importance of it in our lives. We are born at a certain time and our death is clocked at a certain time and all in between our lives revolve around it. We are anchored to it. Disconnecting from it for a couple of days was a lesson for me and brought the realization that I could really do without a connection to time more often.
        Sometimes I think our need for connection is a fear of being alone with ourselves. That is always a good thought to ponder, don’t you think? What would I say to myself if it were just me? No phone, no clock, no computer, no email or facebook. Spending time alone with oneself can be quite an eye opening experience for many – as well as being an uncomfortable one at that.
        Thanks for your reply, welcome back to the land of time 🙂

        1. I think that for me, it’s not about being alone with myself since I thoroughly enjoy that experience. I love walking and hiking alone (although I might feel differently if it went on for days). I think I’m projecting some kind of disaster into disconnection, and that I’m afraid something really bad will happen if I’m unplugged and I won’t know about it.

          1. I am planning on going on my little retreat again in the fall – for hopefully 3-4 days. We will see how well I survive without connection. I may end up driving myself batty – or….I may do some creative writing, drawing, unwinding, letting go, you get the idea. And as I wondered about the rest of my family and what was going on, I reminded myself that they knew where I was and they could get me if anything serious were to happen – it was still a huge challenge though- major withdrawl for sure. But the world will continue as it is meant to, regardless if I know about it or not – it’s not something I have the power to control anyway. 🙂

  8. Hi Dr. Burgo, very happy to note your return! I new there was a good reason and thought you may be writing. The mountains are absolutely beautiful right now with lots of snow still left over. I will be hiking this weekend for my birthday. Can’t wait to get up there and restore some soul. May the mountains bring you some well earned peace, solitude and quiet. Will look forward to whatever you are able to write about here….

    1. Happy belated birthday! The weather has been glorious and I am very much enjoying the mountains, though so far, we haven’t been able to get to the higher elevations. Maybe this weekend!

  9. Yes! Great to get an email notifying me of a new post from you – good to see you are well and busy and allowing yourself a holiday. Looking forward to seeing you again on here.

  10. It must’ve been some INTENSE writing. Glad you’re back from the depths and I look forward to your posts. I’ve used your hiatus to catch up on your others posts at psychcentral and the Atlantic, so I’ve still had my rations of your writing.

    1. Thanks, Gordon. I don’t think I ever want to work that intensely under deadline. I really missed writing and interacting with readers here on the blog, but honestly, I had almost no room for anything else. I’m happy to be in the much-less-intensive phase of revision.

  11. Whew! I checked back regularly and was increasingly concerned about your absence. I didn’t want to bug you, though. Know that I’ve thought of you often and have continued to re-read older blog posts when certain issues became more figural – taking advantage of the opportunity to make different gains. I missed you!

  12. Dear Dr. Burgo,

    Your blog is a treasure! I’m so glad to have stumbled here; your clarity and writing about narcissism and shame are profoundly useful- it must be gratifying to help so many people. Your blog is an example of technology at its humane best.

    I’m writing because your position on the issue of transsexual / intersexed people has me puzzled. Perhaps you could clarify your dismissal of the remarks by Bobbi Hopkins’ response. I’m specifically curious about what parts you disagree with and why. (I do understand why you disagree about the sad terrible remark the person made about her vagina which underscores your belief that core shame drives so much human behavior.)

    Regarding the biology of sex and gender I think there is medical and scientific validity in what Bobbi Hopkins wrote about hormones in prenatal development. Given the bizarre ‘fact’ that the clitoris was not ‘fully mapped’ until 2005, it seems very possible that Cowper’s adage, absence of proof is not proof of absence regarding the possibility of gender incongruence that is not based in shame or pathology.

    You are clear about not seeing homosexuality as illness, so does this mean you see sexuality separate from gender but still occurring on a spectrum? We agree that surgery as a ‘solution’ to issues of gender and sexuality is draconian and should be avoided. Personally, I’m against it.

    But it’s not my call. Like the Jewish morning prayer for men, ‘thank god I was not born a woman’ I am grateful not to be born feeling like I’m in the wrong body. Like you, I felt a little exasperated about politically correct language when I first read the word ‘cis-gendered’. How many genders are there?! I asked. But seriously, it’s a very small price to pay as a toll on the road to social justice. The diversity along this human highway is what keeps it interesting. And I lose nothing in acknowledging the privilege I enjoy in my own feeling of gender alignment.
    Where we differ, and what strikes me as inconsistent in your usually compassionate stance, is your equating a person wanting to align their body with their mind to someone going under the knife for reasons of vanity or shame. I also question the idea of nature going horribly wrong.

    People are born with disabilities it’s true, but given the historical bias of the medical profession towards women, I can’t help but wonder where the truth lies in this discussion about gender, transgender / intersexed people, surgery and shame.

    The only transgendered individual I know personally fits into your shame model- she was born a man whose father was an abusive alcoholic so her gender transition makes sense as shame based but there are people who do not seem to fit this model. Don’t you wonder if you have fallen into the ‘if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’ type of thinking?

    I hope your vacation was refreshing. Thanks again for your awesome blog!

    1. Thanks so much. As you can see from my most recent post, I’m still struggling with these issues and trying to keep the conversation going on less provocative terms.

      As for the science, there are others in the field who have tackled the brain chemistry issues much more thoroughly than I can do. Anne Lawrence, for one. I can readily believe that exposure to certain hormones during pregnancy, etc., can affect the way a brain develops in terms of gender identity, so that there is a mis-allignment of sorts, but in my view, that would mean that something has gone terribly wrong (i.e., shame). But I also doubt that it is quite so simple as a one-versus-the-other kind of gender identity, so that surgery will correct the mis-allignment.

      I’m in favor of letting people do what they want with their bodies, but I would counsel anyone who wanted to have the surgery against having it.

      I’m also glad to meet a reader who can disagree with some of my views while respecting others!

  13. Joseph,

    I had noticed your absence, and I came back to check in. I had suspected you were immersed in writing, but it is a relief to hear your time away was work-related — and successful! Congratulations. I’m looking forward to reading your new book when it’s published.


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