Rising Up: A True Story of Narcissists, Borderlines, and a Country on the Brink

Rising Up

Rising Up by Jackson Liva 

I received an ARC of this book that is releasing on July 4, 2024 (a PERFECT release date) and I am so excited to share it with you. As a quick content warning going in: this book deals with emotional abuse, toxic narcissistic behaviors, and similar traumatic experiences.

I used to wonder why a certain President’s voice could send me into the early stages of a panic attack, why I’d need to revert back to my old PTSD techniques to calm myself, and why it seemed certain mannerisms triggered a strong response from me when I’d never met the man in person. My therapist at the time pointed out some striking parallels between the POTUS and my past relationship with a narcissistic abuser.

When I heard this book was on a very, very similar topic, I knew I had to read it! I am so grateful to the author for sending me an ARC, and I’m happy to tell you my thoughts on the book.

Rising Up: A Review

Rising Up: A True Story of Narcissists, Borderlines, and a Country on the Brink by Jackson Liva is a thought-provoking and fascinating story that expertly weaves together political commentary, personal development, and psychiatric abuse. Liva examines the delicate, sometimes disregarded interplay of codependency and the difficulties of relationships characterized by borderline personality disorder through the eyes of a very flawed but likable protagonist, Greg.

The narrative opens with Greg’s chance encounter with the fascinating and mysterious Serena, all set against the turbulent political landscape that followed Donald Trump’s election. A quick romance quickly turns into a tumultuous and emotionally taxing partnership – I found this part especially relatable. Greg finds Serena’s volatile behavior and rapid mood swings to be confusing and upsetting, drawing him into a destructive cycle of extreme highs and lows. One thing we don’t always see when we’re deep in a relationship with a person who struggles with mental/behavioral health is that it can cause our own mental health to decline.

Liva’s sensitive and nuanced interpretation of Serena is especially remarkable. It’s not here to disparage or attack people who struggle with these issues, but more to explain and highlight the issues. Rising Up presents a sympathetic viewpoint, stressing Serena’s battle with her own inner demons, in contrast to numerous stories that stigmatize people with borderline personality disorder. Because of this sympathetic portrayal, which makes Serena’s character believable and approachable, readers are encouraged to think about the humanity hidden beneath the condition. This was such an important takeaway for me!

Reflection and Growth as Themes

Greg’s journey is not one of passive victimization but rather of self-examination and development throughout the book. In this way, I think it can truly help others who may be going through similar issues. Greg explores the reasons behind his connection to Serena with the assistance of his buddy Vanessa, a psychotherapist, and discovers his own codependency habits. The subtle yet profound nature of this inquiry prompts readers to consider their own relationships and any potential trauma links they may have. Greg is portrayed by Liva as a broken person seeking understanding and healing rather than as a flawless or heavenly figure, which makes his path all the more interesting and real.

POTUS and Narcissism

The comparison made in Rising Up between America’s relationship with its new president and Greg’s relationship with Serena is among its most fascinating features. It’s unsettling and perceptive for Greg to realize how his inner turmoil reflects the turbulence of the country. This metaphor deepens the story by implying that individual and societal healing are related processes – this was another key takeaway for me. Even while this political comparison isn’t overt, it adds depth to the narrative and makes readers think about the larger effects of dysfunction in both society and the individual.

To sum up, Rising Up is a profound and reflective book that provides a sophisticated examination of abusive psychological relationships. This book is engaging to read because of Jackson Liva’s sensitive depiction of borderline personality disorder and its nuanced analysis of codependency and trauma connections. This book is a must-read for everyone looking for a genuinely human and believable tale that makes them think critically about their own relationships and the society at large.

It’s 5 stars from me!

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