Protection from Narcissists, Psychopaths and other Users, Abusers and Manipulators

A radically different view of abusive and manipulative people and practical effective protections.

For Emotional Predators, life is a strategy game to dominate and control, and you are either a player to be defeated or a game piece to be used. Before you know what’s happening, they’ll ruin your life without empathy or remorse – and traditional approaches will make things worse.

Provides valuable guidance for safe relationships, 5 essential steps for protecting yourself and over 30 specific defensive tactics for:

  • Distinguishing romance from intimacy
  • Restoring your self-esteem
  • Removing your emotional triggers
  • Using gratitude and humor
  • Playing their games better than they do – without becoming like them
  • Responding strategically
  • Regaining control in family court
  • Screening professionals to be sure they can help
  • Breaking an addiction to an Emotional Predator
  • Re-balancing power in your favor
  • Adjusting beliefs that keep you trapped

Serious Help for Dealing with Seriously Difficult People

Helpful Ideas and Book Excerpts

Accurately Assess Others

Once we accept that some people – the Emotional Predators among us – are entirely different from us in core respects, we need to learn…

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Don’t be Distracted by Different Labels and Diagnoses

Emotional Predators have been called many things: Character Disturbed, Personality Disordered, Narcissists, Sociopaths, Psychopaths, Borderlines, Hysterics, Narcissistic Sociopaths, Sociopathic Narcissists, Malignant Personalities, Malignant Narcissists, Toxic…

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The True Nature of the Problem

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15 What is an Emotional Predator? It’s a…

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Praise for Protecting Yourself from Emotional Predators

Many have written lately about the manipulative sorts who know how to manage impressions but heartlessly prey on your sensibilities to get the better of you. But Steven describes these emotional predators with uncommon clarity and accuracy, in an excellent writing style, and offers spot-on practical advice on how to best protect yourself to boot. A must read!

Dr. George Simon

Author of In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Disturbance: The Phenomenon of Our Age

I’ve read so many books identifying issues with NO solutions or strategies on what to do. You presented very practical and realistic strategies that are within grasp and will make a difference. I got answers, not more questions. You presented real life things to do.  Thank you for writing this book and getting this important information out into the world.

Kimberly M

Artist, escapee from an abusive relationship

This is excellent.  The way you explain psychological terms such as ‘empathy’ is really helpful for a lay person like me.  And it really helped that you call out the deficiencies of more traditional therapies in dealing with emotional predators.  I wish therapists I saw had read your book.  Your examples are great.

Bryan B

Senior business attorney

Like no other book I know, Protecting Yourself from Emotional Predators gives my patients a language to speak about their anguish from traumatic encounters with manipulative and abusive people, and a framework for how to respond. It empowers them to act.
Wolhandler’s book is easy and quick to read. The writing pulls in the reader. His thesis is very clear and the rare times he uses jargon, he defines it clearly (projection, projective identification, lying by omission, etc.).
This fascinating new work is essential reading for anyone who needs help dealing with a manipulative or abusive person and an invaluable adjunct to my psychotherapy work with these patients.

Margaret Jacobs, LCSW, JD

Psychotherapist and Psychoanalyst, New York, NY

Not since George Simon has this topic been broached with such clarity. Wolhandler takes this topic head on and reminds his readers that Emotional Predators are both real and abundant in today’s society.
Protecting Yourself from Emotional Predators is a must read that reminds the reader that the only one who can protect themself from certain types of people is the reader, so take heed of the simple tools this book offers. Stop second guessing yourself and start asking powerful questions to ascertain whether or not you have been made a target of an Emotional Predator.

Sharon Tessier, MA MS, Ph.D.

Retired Wellness Coaching Coordinator

This is great.  It all rings true!  Thank you!  Realizing that other people don’t think the way I do has been super helpful with my relations within my family – much more than three therapists were.  I was always giving them one more chance and hoping they’d change.  Now it really helps to know not to expect them to become different people.

Keith B

Handyman, retired landscaper

I really loved this!  It speaks to me on a lot of levels and really rings true both for spotting predators and for neutralizing them.  Takes narcissists/sociopaths/etc and puts them in a context I can understand and handle.  I like how you say not to think of them as humans but rather predators with a human semblance that use human emotion as a lure/trap. I think a big problem with dealing with these kinds of people is that we don’t understand what they’re really like.

Emilie A

Film Producer

This work offers an important perspective to mental/behavioral health issues that is not currently being addressed in our culture. It provides guidance to help people recognize and protect themselves from emotional predators. Wolhandler approaches this topic in accessible language and provides practical, accessible tools. Application of these ideas is important for the general public and for those in positions of authority in our social institutions (e.g., schools, faith community, justice, mental health, child welfare).

Beverly Kingston, Ph.D.

Director and Senior Research Associate

Written from a rare position of wisdom. Like no other self-help book I’ve encountered. Articulate, intelligent, and scientific while at the same time readable and relevant…. I mean relevant! I’ve learned an astounding amount. A real gem!!

Laurence A


A welcome addition to the self-help literature.

Having worked with patients who’ve been mistreated, I know how difficult it is for them to see their situation and their tormentor clearly. These patients will benefit from your forceful style of writing and your uncompromising attitude toward the problem of victimization and its resolution. Your book gets to the heart of the matter of helping the patient recognize how the predator operates and the importance of “protecting yourself right now.” You provide a stark but true image of the emotional predator as a landmine in the sunlit fields of your life. This book is for people that just don’t get that a person that they love has the unvarnished intent to take advantage, do them harm and make them suffer. Until and unless this insight is achieved the chance of escaping victimization is almost impossible.

Bill Kotsch, Ph.D.

Clinical and Consulting Psychologist, Santa Fe, NM

About the Author

Steven Wolhandler, JD, MA, LPC knows how abusive and manipulative people prey on the emotions of good people – and how good people can protect themselves. He has been learning about abusers and manipulators – Emotional Predators – professionally since 1984, first as an attorney, then as a psychotherapist, mediator, arbitrator, and family court custody evaluator and neutral between parents, and in the last decade as a consultant and author. He has helped hundreds of people learn the true nature of the problem of toxic people, why traditional approaches and normal reactions make things worse, and practical effective ways to neutralize them.

Protection from Narcissists, Psychopaths, and other Users, Abusers and Manipulators

Serious Help for Dealing With Seriously Difficult People