Shahida Arabi’s The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Dealing with Toxic People

“I’ve learned that toxic people and narcissists find it quite easy to convince a highly empathic and conscientious person that they are paranoid, losing it, or just “over-reacting” when being manipulated. Therefore, these are the people who are targeted, because they can be conditioned to doubt themselves.

Shahida Arabi’s The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Dealing with Toxic People was a fortuitous find on my Los Angeles Library’s Hoopla account. It’s right next to The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk when it comes to dealing with trauma and toxicity. One of the key elements that I took from this book is holding to both your feelings on a situation and knowing key aspects of what makes it toxic. While for me it educates on specifics that I’ve already been exposed to, it could be a great introductory book for those seeking to heal.

“Gas-lighting can be extreme when it is used to paint the true abuser as a victim, which often happens in cases of abuse. When a toxic person cannot control you, they often resort to controlling the conversation about you by slandering you and staging smear campaigns.”

“The idea that we can take on the emotions of others is not an unscientific one either. Research indicates that “emotional contagion,” the tendency to “catch” the feelings of others, is more common than we think (Hatfield, Cacioppo, and Rapson 2003).

So many of my other book reviews highlight the idea within the trauma field that individuals can catch the feelings and mental states of others. Depressed people can depress others, pushing them away, and moving farther and and farther away from those that could help. Same with alcoholics. The statistics on those that resume their alcoholism increases if they’re around those who are actively drinking. One aspect about this book that I really enjoyed was Arabi’s use of outside sources rather than simply relying on personal and professional experience; it’s good to see how these writers incorporate the work of others and how the knowledge flows from one research area to another.

Work Cited

Arabi, Shahida. The Highly Sensitive Persons Guide to Dealing with Toxic People, New Harbinger Publications, Accessed on Hoopla 2022.

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