Bearing the Burden of Responsible Living

Life is inherently hard, and leading a conscientious, responsible life is harder still.  But some folks seem to have both the internal resources and the willingness to assume the burden of responsible living, whereas other folks either uncaringly allow the burden to be borne by others else or actively shirk the burdens they’re asked to bear.  And therein lies the dilemma many decent folks have faced in their relationships with disturbed or disordered characters.

Many have wondered why some folks seem to accept the burdens associated with responsible living so readily, whereas others do so only begrudgingly, and still others refuse the burden altogether.  What makes the difference?  What makes some folks so willing to shoulder responsibility and others so adverse to the notion?  Such are the questions the current series of articles will address.

I’ve written before about some of the reasons disturbed characters have such a hard time accepting the responsibilities of life.  For one thing, they tend to be inveterate comfort and pleasure-seekers (for more on the disturbed character’s penchants for “hedonistic  thinking” and pleasurable sensation-seeking see the articles: Hedonistic Thinking and The Will to Bear Discomfort: A Key Character Trait), adverse to bearing any kind of burden that’s not purely and immediately self-serving.  Learning to be responsible is largely a matter of accepting burdens for the greater good, and folks lacking in empathy rarely have the motivation to bear such burdens.  The willingness to do so can only arise out of love, which is why a person’s incapacity to genuinely love is always reflected in their shirking of responsibility.  Still, it’s surprising how many people enter relationships fully aware of their prospective partner’s irresponsible behavior tendencies yet delude themselves about that person’s capacity to love.

All three of my books, Character Disturbance, In Sheep’s Clothing, and The Judas Syndrome, devote substantial attention to the socialization process (i.e. the essential tasks of character development that must be mastered for a person to lead a responsible life).  And in Character Disturbance, I sum up my philosophy of how a person becomes responsible this way:

Even though a person might begin life as a prisoner of both the natural endowments he was given and the circumstances under which he was raised, he cannot remain a “victim” of his environment forever. Eventually, every person must come to terms with him or herself.  To know oneself, to fairly judge one’s strengths and weaknesses, and to attain true mastery over one’s basic instincts and inclinations are among life’s greatest challenges. But ultimately, anyone’s rise to a life of integrity and merit can only come as the result of a full self-awakening.  A person must come to know himself as well as others without deceit or denial.  He must honestly face and reckon with all aspects of his character.  Only then can he freely take on the burden of disciplining himself not only for the sake of himself but also for the sake of others.  It is the free choice to take up this burden or “cross” that defines love. And it is the willingness of a person to carry this cross even to death that opens the door to a higher plane of existence.

In the articles to follow, I’ll be presenting some vignettes that illustrate not only how various disturbances of character impair a person’s willingness to accept the burdens of responsible living but also how certain aspects of modern culture as well as the often well-intended actions of the overly conscientious (i.e. “neurotic”) among us “enable,” promote, and even reward character dysfunction.  I’ll also be discussing these same topics on Character Matters over the next few weeks, so feel free to join the discussion by calling in!





55 thoughts on “Bearing the Burden of Responsible Living

  1. To know oneself as well as others without deceit or denial.

    Neurotics really have trouble knowing themselves, but it IS possible, it’s got to be.

    Really, the automatic tendency of the mind to shut out unpleasant realities is bothersome. It’s my admittedly contentious opinion that such a tendency shouldn’t be there at all.

    1. after a destructive relationship with a “narc” narcissist ive had to face myself in it all as well (enabler/empathy etc) and as article sais I deluded myself about that persons ability to love even though he shirked all responsibility. as women we cant lie! it IS true the stereotype that we find a broken man who seems he cant love and want to “fix” him.
      like a project. but with good intentions and true deep feelings of love. (but after wards we find out the male in the relationship ended up rebelling against realizing he was a project..he is the one who takes it as an insult or something, whilst the female is truly feeling love and care) but to mother a male is never really a good thing unless he can accept it.(some men are healthy and love that)
      the word project could never enter my mind or heart, I meant that is a hindsight thing. the coldness I received from him .
      well shutting out pain.. with its knowledge is self preservation. sometimes something learned wasn’t needed. and people try to intrude in your life and bully you into “taking” and “acknowledging” them. basically like a narc with supply and demand. they need supply. and you are supposed to cut that supply off. to make them grow up. and get it from God, their own family first, themselves etc.. and not a “once” “stranger” who has a right to go back to being who he or she once was (complete healing in God as a son or daughter) and not a “partner” (son or daughter healing comes first before one grows up to become a healthy partner) some demand a supply from you before you have finished your healing as Gods daughter first for example. and they even KNOW you have that right and need and make moves to halt it. for they fear for THEMSELVES and their own “supply” (which is in my opinion imaginary that there even is a supply)

  2. Dr. Simon,
    Do you think that every person has the capacity to evaluate their own character accurately? Or do some and not others?
    And, if a person is surrounded by people with poor character development or other personality issues, how would they know that the traits they have taken on as a result are actually faulty? That what works and is acceptable in their microcosm is not acceptable in the macrocosm?

    1. Intuition about what others could think?

      How much behavior disrespectful of others’ rights persisting despite adverse consequences?

      Is a coping style more independent or more of I’m-tagging-along-just-to-get-along like in brainwashed cultists with crippled autonomy?

      1. I am talking about a fairly closed circle, say a family unit, where it is not only accepted (the Spath code of conduct) but encouraged and colluded with by the other members. It becomes a group “us against them” mentality, “us” is right and “them” is wrong. God help the “thems” if they do something that displeases “us”. If a person is raised in that environment, has never separated from it and continues to be surrounded by it, supported by it, how do they self evaluate apart from it?

        1. by the same token, so long as someone outside of that family unit isn’t actually trying to break it.. its all about approach. if you were dating/married to such an individual you cant seem threatening. only understanding of it. while gently saying, ok this is how your family made you to feel/believe and how do you now feel as you branch out/test your wings?”..rather than going around huffing and puffing like an “animal” on the outside pacing back and forth which will seem strange and threatening to the “safety of the pack” if you act like YOU will “get something”(challenge/competition) out of their break..if its a sudden and unnatural break due to their weaknesses and insecurities, it will backfire. they will return and rightly so.
          til trust is built again and its not about “you” but about them. it is their life after all and family structure. they could have “met” 1,001 different men/women.. (I mean just one that comes along) who could handle it differently…….
          I was family scapegoat so anyone I met I was actually rebelling with so they’d have NO problem with my family! if anything I was all about being the odd one out and getting away from them etc.. but scapegoats hold deep family loyalty as well in ways unseen. we can even seem to be attacking/destroying our fams (as we feel they actually did to us first) while protecting them.. and the new person who feels “chosen” over the fam is actually taking a big chance. by being too secure/taking advantage in that dynamic since its painful and shouldn’t exist anyway.

    2. No, Puddle, not everyone has equal capacity in this area. And, of course, while some folks actually have the capacity, they might still lack the desire to modify aspects of their character even after they’ve fairly sized themselves up. You also make a good point about how hard it can be sometimes to make an accurate judgment when you’re surrounded by varying degrees of character disturbance and you might in fact appear relatively healthy. Still, in my work, I’ve found that even folks who’ve grown up in very biased environments have some inner sense of what would be a healthier path, even if they’re not inclined to follow it. That’s why it’s so important when dealing with the character impaired to focus only on the behavior you wish to see modified and to simply set expectations and boundaries and enforce limits and contingencies. We all come to the challenge of character development with different environmental and innate impediments. Still, our task remains the same: modify our ways for our own good and the general good.

      1. Dr. Simon, thank you for your reply. I typed out a further explanation of the scenario I was refering yo but lost it somehow.

  3. I may not have the time to respond much but will try. This should be an amazing series. In short, the CD’s in my life are the most miserable excuses for representation of a functional person. If I watch them closely they are all so miserable and hateful. In short I believe the ultimate answer is they want to believe a “LIE.” And I do believe they are addicted to their selves. The work I have had to do on myself and look inward is an ongoing process and it is no easy task. You could say a work in progress. All of you raise so many good points!

    1. BCTOV,

      A complete lack of humility on the one hand or a deep seated fear of anything resembling criticism, self or otherwise would seem to disable anyone from gauging their character. If a person is brought up in a combative self centered home it might even represent an existential threat. Admitting fault may equal death — at least symbolically. My siblings are mortified by anything remotely resembling g criticism. I mean their reactions are so extreme and SO arrogant that I just have to stay away.

    2. Yes. Touchy and oversized ego/being hypersensitive to criticism is different from being insecure or emotionally troubled. So is combative hypervigilance(constantly looking for excuses to fight).

      What more? Poor self-control is different from being emotionally troubled. Low self-respect(or complete lack of any real self-respect) is, too. Having no standards for how one lives is, too.

    3. BTOV — I will take what you wrote one step further and state from my experience that the CD does not WANT to believe a “LIE” but genuinely BELIEVES THE LIE as they have a disconnect between what actually has transpired (and the resulting affect of their actions) verse the LIE. The LIE is their reality. And I think Dr Simon describing “lying by omission” in his books is the major way in which CDs LIE and supports my assertion of the disconnect. They tend to OMIT the part that relates to and ties into the horrible affect their behavior causes.

      1. BTOV…. Good point and I can attest to that by experience. “People of the Lie” not People who Lie. And that is part and parcel the the crazy making?

  4. I look forward to these upcoming articles, just to look at things from the perspective of responsibility. To me it seems inherent to our species to be responsible, it’s almost a survival instinct really…although having said that there’s that survival of the fittest notion. I wonder how much of it goes back to such primitive notions on some level. It doesn’t make sense in today’s complicated world. And yet human’s need community more so than any others. Society is built around the idea of the nuclear family and that idea is increasingly no longer the norm. Single parents, and those who live alone seem to be the growing trend. How much of that trend is due to irresponsibility of partners etc would be interesting to know as it seems almost epidemic. It’s like wants are more important than needs, the hedonistic lifestyle is all the rage! I don’t know why I’ve gone in that direction with this comment but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about through my studies. The other day I caught a snippet on the news, I never knew that those celebrities nominated for Oscars get these huge gift packs of freebies from marketeers…worth tens of thousands of dollars and I thought why would they even need it! They could go out and buy the stuff if they wanted without a second thought and all that money what a difference it could make to those less fortunate. I wondered if any just gave them away or if they would be allowed to! It’s a disgusting amount of wealth! I wonder if it is that ideal that results in this mass disregard for responsibility, narcissism and lack of kindness and love that is at the heart of this epidemic of character disturbance. I want, I get and no one gets in my way mentality! Just some thoughts!

    1. I wonder if the suposed rise in narcisim is a result of the family structure falling apart. Maybe people are more self preservational, me against the world instead of the comfort and security of knowing your pack has your back. If that is part of it it would certainly not apply to all narcissists. If anything would happen to Spathtards mommy I’m sure he would be scrambling for a replacement, possibly that was his hope for me towards the beginning. He asked me once if I would take care of him! I’m sure his hopes were dashed when it became apparent that I was looking for a competent adult partner and not interested in adopting an “adult” manboy. Of course in his view this was my fault for not being able to love him unconditionally, you know… mommy?

    2. Sulky little boy, for sure.

      But to reiterate, doesn’t sound like true dependency. No, you didn’t claim it is and you don’t sound like you’d think so anyways. It does sound like piggybacking and expecting to be enabled, even if he did lack some basic easily learnable skills.

      1. He’s pathetic J. Amazing how the change in appearance once the effects of manipulation wear off and the rose colored glasses are shattered b

      2. Adds its own little dimension there. Viper, again, I see has moved out of his parents’ home times ago and according to some rumour his parents have divorced(with him being full of age, mind you), although rumour is just a rumour and I don’t know and probably can’t know if it’s true or not.

        Like a good friend said to me: “Some people just have rotten machinery.”

  5. Tori

    Thank you SO much for expanding on the theme of cultural narcissism. It’s crucial to evaluate interpersonal disaster within a greater context. I think that when we do that we can take small but direct measures, in our own local sphere, to reach out to those who live lives of quiet desperation. It could be the sullen clerk at the grocery store, whose sullenness has an arrogant edge or appears to because she’s forced to endure daily indignities of low pay and loneliness.

    I became so much more aware of the crushing nature of loneliness and how psychologically vulnerable people can become when it becomes unrelenting.

    Big hug for your big thoughts. They are so appreciated!

    1. Hi LisaO — about cashiers, for their side of the story, see Besides low pay and poor managers, they must endure rudeness too, many people think cashiers and clerks are some kind of sub-human critters. I make it a point to always give a bit of banter or a joke when I go through the checkout at the market. Result is, I am always greeted with a smile — Peace and hope from Elva

    2. Thank you LisaO, there’s so much that we are not aware of in the daily struggles of people. Sorry it took so long to respond but work, study and other things have been inundating me lately and I’ve found myself really thinking about different aspects of these things in character disturbance etc…and really can’t get my thought processes into words just yet! There is always a wider picture and I think at times that needs to be addressed too! You’re so right we can make some direct measures in our local communities to make a difference and I feel heartened that there’s so much going on at a grass roots level that we don’t often hear about or acknowledge!

  6. the character disordered “… uncaringly allow the burden to be borne by others else or actively shirk the burdens they’re asked to bear. And therein lies the dilemma many decent folks have faced in their relationships with disturbed or disordered characters.”

    this is so true. and our society, including our courts, have difficulty in recognizing this and as such perpetuate the character disordered’s shirking of “burdens”.

    what then is someone to do who has to actively associate with a character disordered? for example, if the CD is required by law to have parenting time but uses that time to be subtly abusive (mentally, emotionally) to the children? the children recognize there is something amiss and do not want to go with the CD. Now what? In effect, the CD is shirking their parental responsibility. How does one show a court this CD behavior – which when given in small doses or as one example, is viewed not as wholly upsetting or as destructive as Dr Simon has explained so well in his books. When viewed by someone without a deep understanding of character disordered the tendency is to say the CD is really acting out of being wounded; which of course is the “explanation” and reasoning or position the CD takes.

    How does someone show the CD’s actions are the cause and affect on the problem?

    1. Elsbeth, this is a huge and frustrating problem for so many people and in more ways than with children but what you are discribing is really horrible. I have seen so many different versions of this and basically the burden ends up on the other parent in SO many ways. When I see a man hide his income so he doesn’t have to pay so much child support, and throw the money away on partying and living like an adolescent while the mother works hard and struggles to maintain it makes me so angry. Honestly I can’t wrap my head around it. I can’t imagine how the father of a child(s) would not WANT to give everything they possibly could, including a good example of right living, to their offspring. To not do so is a curse to the child and at the very least placing an unnecessary obsticals in that child’s life that they will havevto recon with someday. Horrible.

  7. Thanks for the response Lisa. J I think with time we can get to know ourselves. It may be a lot of work with deep soul searching. A good support network of positive individuals with objective input. Constructive criticism with the knowledge of CD behavior. Elizabeth I have had experience in the courts but don’t have time to comment now. I’m sure the people here can give you a lot of info on their experience. Work on yourself. find positive supportive people. Maybe a faith based support group and church supported activities groups out their for children. I’ll get back to you on this. Cleaning up the wreckage and it was a great storm too, with ongoing lightening strikes. The “wizard was dethroned” lots to do.
    Blessings and prayers. Your in good hands here.

  8. The voyage of self discovery is pretty uncomfortable. CD’s have a low tolerance for discomfort, to begin with. That’s just for starters. Being aggressive in nature runs at cross purposes to admitting or submitting to criticism. For a psychopath, it’s like asking a cat to consider carefully what the mice think of him. Not going to happen!

  9. I am really having a difficult time with the idea of “bearing the burden of responsibility”. Right now in my head I am fully aware that no matter what my hb has done, I am still responsible for all the ways I’ve reacted. I am struggling with a lot of guilt over ways I’ve reacted in the past that are typically out of character for me, I keep thinking about all the ways I enabled him to the detriment of myself and my character, I think of all the choices I made due to my feelings of worthlessness and trying to measure up to some ideal he had on me. And I am angry, I logically know that no matter what he has done or how much in the dark I was, they were still my choices … but in my heart I keep blaming him. I am having so much trouble working through this. Normally, in the past, I never avoided taking responsibility for the ways I react or behave (often I would take too much responsibility, put too much stress on myself for “behaving better”, etc.). I just don’t know how to stop blaming my hb for the feelings of worthlessness or the things I would do to need to prove myself, prove my worth, prove that I was lovable. They were my things, my choices. When I try to work through them, I just blame him.

    1. Dear Sheri — I wish I had an answer for you. All I can say right now is that I continue to hold you in prayer. I have your name posted on my work table to remind me often. You are carrying a heavy load, and flogging yourself in addition. Sometimes I have taken my Bible in hand and asked for a text to help me in some situation, and opened the Bible at random. Psalm 91 was given to me this way many years ago. Remember even a beloved pet dog will bite when in pain. I wish for you to have peace in your heart {{{{{Big Hug to you}}}}}. And hope for the end of the tunnel. Love from Elva

    2. Sheri, I don’t know how to convey how your words make me feel…I can feel all what you say and I know the torture and a big hug your way! In my opinion please don’t bash yourself up about that at all! Remember you are in a situation of manipulation by him and of course it will work on you. You are lovable, you are not worthless and you do not have to prove anything to him at all! Frankly, his behaviour is the one in question not yours! This is the problem with some of this “victim blaming” stuff that goes on! I say put the blame where it belongs and don’t feel guilty about that! He has a huge responsibility as to how you are feeling, don’t allow him to shirk HIS responsibility! There’s all a lot of work we can do on our own reactions Sheri but please do not allow him to get away with his. What’s done in the past has been done and each day you start a new page. Make your new page YOURS…you are loving person who doesn’t deserve to be treated badly. Take care Sheri we’re all here with you! 🙂

      1. Thank you, you know I know all of those things in my head…it’s just some days my heart doesn’t fully know it, I think sometimes the loneliness is overwhelming. I know I truly do not want to go back to living in the fog, but some days I think it would be better to not know. I just had to put my dog to sleep on Sunday, he was old, in the final stages of kidney and liver failure. It’s been hard, I feel like I don’t have anyone to grieve with me, a few friends, but it’s not the same. I’m really finding that when I am experiencing sadness or other stressors it can seem very overwhelming

        1. Sheri — {{{hugs}}} I remember when I had to put my dog down. She wasn’t just a pet, she was family. It was so hard, but she was suffering. Malamutes don’t typically last past 10 – 12 years, she had cancer. So I send you my sympathy — I still, all these years later, feel a tug at my heart whenever I see a malamute. If you have a chance, google for lyrics for “Precious Lord, take my hand.” Was written by Rev. Thomas Dorsey, shortly after he had lost his wife in childbirth, then the baby died too, shortly after birth.

          Please don’t beat yourself up. You don’t deserve to be beaten up. We all have things in our past that, had we known then what we know now, we would have done differently. But you are here, now, and tomorrow is a new day. May it be a better day for you, Peace and hope from Elva

          1. So well said Elva and I love the 91st Psalm. If it hadn’t been for my faith and prayer I don’t know how I could have made it through my life. Sheri, I beat myself up too, and it took a long time. I know you just lost your pet, my X got mine. I’ve been looking at doing rescue, if you decide you would like something else to do there is no long term commitment, and then, one of those little buggers may grow on you and wa la a new friend and companion. Try to step back, and maybe your wounds are to fresh, please excuse me I pop in and out. Sheri, at least here you will get very good support and insight. As I was saying, try to step back, outside of yourself, and now think about this, you are viewing lets say Tom and Mary. Hmm… look what he’s doing and saying and likewise, Mary. Now these two different people who have nothing to do with you are acting in this dysfunctional way, what would you think? What would you say? What would you tell them? Things look and become very different when we can separate ourselves and step away. To blame ourselves, is easy, because we have more control over ourselves. I beat myself and sometimes still do thinking I should had done this or that. I see looking back the mistakes I made and how contributed to the problem. Yes, they are who they are, and they are sick and twisted, and I blinded myself to all the flags and being who I am fed the monster. The most important thing is you survived, it will be hard, I mourn for yesterday and what could had been, but it is today, not yesterday, I can choose to live back there in the FOG and waste more precious time and energy or go forward. This is no easy task by no means, I get pulled back many times , it is getting easier though. Take the time to think about what you would like to do.
            I recommitted my life to Jesus, I laid all of it at the foot of the cross and said: “Lord you do with it what you see fit, forgiveness and all.” Believe me I have my days of $%^%#%^$$ you$^^^$%^^and then pray and the Lord sends blessings. In all this the Lord has sent so many I call angels (good people) to help and support me. This site is a blessing and the people who share and support each other. I know how you hurt, we are in different places all of us and have different ways of dealing with things. Take what you can and dismiss what you will. If you are here you are on your way. I have an excellent therapist and she will say “This too will pass” and I laugh and say “RIGHT.” Well it does and then I’m on to the next step. Be easy on yourself, find a place for the past, even if its a piece at a time, but don’t let it keep you stuck, because then he wins, the devil wins, and you lose. Pick yourself up and be kind to yourself, do one little thing even if its to watch the birds and see the beauty in Gods creation. Blame keeps us stuck, acceptance of yesterday but of importance and what we have is now, today, not yesterday and that’s why I was able to forgive the CD in my family, and myself, because once I did that I found I could appreciate and start to make a life for myself. I hope I was of some help, my heart goes out to you.
            Blessings to all

          2. Thank you, everyone. It helps to be reminded of what was. Sometimes I look back, knowing what I know now, and wonder “How didn’t I see?” Now in hindsight it seems so obvious. I am truly happy to be out of the fog, and once you’re out there is no going back. However, some days it’s exhausting, even when I do take those breaks, do something for me. I can accept that he was never one to support me when I was sad or down, I think with my sadness I’m missing who he pretended to be. I think I am blaming myself too much for what happened in the past. Thank you all for helping me see that. I keep thinking things like “if I had just said or done this early on”, “if I didn’t enable this…”, etc, etc, I know I am not responsible for his behavior, I think I carried the burden of responsibility for all the relationship problems for so long that it is a hard thing to let go of. I can so much better self-evaluate now, let go of things now, but some days … wow … it hits me full force.

            It is so great to have a community of people who can understand.

        2. Sheri, there is being responsible for your own behavior and choices……in normal life and with normal people. There is also being responsible for the same in situations where someone has done something that hurt you or someone you love, etc. And then, there is being involved with a covert manipulator who is undermining as many aspects of you as he possibly can with out one shred of concern and enjoys the damage it does to you. You can’t judge yourself accurately while involved with someone who is intentionally manipulating you for the sheer joy and amusement of watching you go down in flames. You really have to see the difference between the two.
          Regarding living in the fog or not? Too late. Your eyes are open now and that can’t be undone but I do understand the desire.
          I’m very sorry about the loss of your dog Sheri. I’ve been in your shoes and will be again. It’s so hard to lose our pets/ friends even when we know it needs to happen. They are just as much individuals as we are and each leaves a piece of themselves with us forever as many wonderful memories.

          1. Well said Puddle. It will never cease to amaze me and least I forget what the sick mind of the covert manipulator is.
            Thanks for reminding me!

  10. To blame yourself for being covertly manipulated, lied to and deceived is to ignore the word “covert”. To say that you enabled someone to abuse you implies that you knew exactly what they were doing and why, consciously CHOSE to help them do it and knew the risk you were taking in doing so. There are people who have gone over the edge and people who have taken their own lives as a result of this type of abuse. To be honest, I felt like I was teetering on the edge of the cliff several times towards the end and right after. I look back and I’m not even sure it was me, it’s a very weird feeling.
    These are not just poor relationship choices we made they are sadistic, self serving, parasitic monsters. While I highly respect Dr. Simon, value his work and appreciate all of his efforts and guidance, sometimes I think it lacks the appropriate punch. Most of us here are “older” and in spite of having been victimized by one of these a holes…..might have enough life experience and self actualization to sustain us. Picture someone in their teens, from a rough childhood, just getting their feet wet as an “adult”. Things might not turn out very well and I know of a couple cases that have not.
    I have a life history of poor choices and have made plenty of mistakes but this looser, Spathtard, stands alone, not only for the damage he inflicted but the way in which it was ruthlessly done. He knew who and what he really was……I did not. The only satisfaction I have now is in knowing what he really is and that his future will never be anything other than what his past has always been.

  11. Hi again Sheri — just wanted to send you a bit more encouragement.

    Ephesians 1:4 — …before the foundation of the world He chose us… (J. B. Phillips translation) What that means to me is this — that in spite of all the faults and flaws that He knew I would have, He chose me… just as He chose you. And Eph. 2:10 — …what we are we owe to the hand of God upon us. And Romans 14:8 — In life or death we are in the hands of the Lord.

    Please don’t beat yourself up with “what if I had ….” The enemy is always looking for a chink in our armor and will do his darnedest to make us doubt and fear. God who made you knows that you have always tried to do the best you know how, with the knowledge you had at the time. We all make mistakes, and when we are dealing with those who don’t value us as a child of God and try to manipulate us…well, God knows our every weakness and loves us anyway. It can be very difficult when several things happen all at once. We’ve all had those days. I grieve with you for your lost pet/family member — I do remember how I felt in a similar circumstance.

    Hebrews 4:15 or 16 — Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with fullest confidence, that we may receive mercy for our failures and grace to help in the hour of need.
    Peace be unto you and hope for a better future, love from Elva

      1. Thank you Puddle — but I can’t really take credit. The Apostle Paul wrote the words, and many, many scribes and translators down through the centuries have made the Bible available in the common vernacular, sometimes at the cost of their lives — the priestly hierarchy did NOT want the Bible available to just anyone. Peace and hope from Elva

  12. Has anyone heard of or done any “tapping” (as in EFT)? It may seem kind of new-agey, but I started using the technique a couple of weeks ago and it has really helped to calm down my anxiety about confronting the character disturbed people in my life. (As far as knowing what to say when confronted with a barrage of manipulative tactics, I write out scenarios using some of Dr. Simon’s cases described in his books, applying them to my situation. I tend to get tongue-tied when verbally attacked/manipulated and this has also been a great help to me.)

    Tapping is supposed to work along the meridians, acupuncture or acupressure; for me at least it works faster than meditation. I think some attribute the effectiveness of tapping to the amygdala and soothing the “flight or fight” response that we are biologically wired for as a survival mechanism.

    Stefan Gonick’s ( technique and explanations are what have helped me the most so far, but you’ll find many others on youtube and through Google searches (also Nick Ortner, Lori Leyden (did work with victims from Rwanda), Julie Schiffman – has youtube videos on the technique for anxiety, panic attack, etc.).

    As victims of manipulative, covert-aggressives, we need tools to take care of ourselves, calm ourselves when in the midst of the emotional storms these disturbed characters stir up so we can keep clearer heads and confront these abusers firmly.

    It hurts me to read how some of you have also beat yourselves up over these situations, when responsibility for the verbal attacks and manipulations needs to lie with the character disturbed, abusive ones, not us.

    I’m just beginning to piece things together and have a long, long way to go, but I wanted to share this technique that I hope can be of some relief physically and emotionally to some of you just as it has done for me.

  13. GG, welcome. Yes I’ve heard of tapping, EFT and heard many people say very good things about it. It, as you describe, really is not new agey but it does sound like it is at first. I have tried it and personally think it did help. It’s suposed to help release past experiences and the painful emotions associated with them. I think it deals with some kind of underlying fear but I’m not sure why.
    Thank you for mentioning it here GG and thank you for the links. The most interesting thing to me about Tapping is that is free and there are so many sources available to help you learn how it’s done, all for free! I think the source I viewed was from the man who developed it. Free videos. It’s an odd thing remembering that phase I was in then and I really needed something to help me.
    You sound really clear GG and I have no doubt that you will make it through what ever situation brought you here. It just takes time. I wish you well.

    1. Dear Puddle, you are always there to respond and to encourage! I just did a tapping session – I have to talk to my brother later today, he’s in town, and the old anxiety is creeping in. I will let you know how things go.

      1. GG, I remember being so dispondent and emotionally wrung out when I heard about EFT/ tapping. I missed Spathtard SO much and was just so absolutely broken hearted. This was before I completely knew who and what he was and was still so addicted and attached. I ached for him in every conceivable way. Even just typing that now gives me a lump in my throat. I would lay in bed as I was going to sleep and cry and do EFT until I fell asleep. Damn….. That seems like years ang years ago now,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
        in a galaxy far far away ( said in honor of Leonard Nemoy, may he rest in peace).
        I really do think it helped. I just had forgotten all about it! Again, thanks for the link. I checked it out last night, looks good GG.

  14. I’ve posted about body scan meditation before and again I do.

    Tapping’s been mentioned now. Thank you, GG.

    Anyone tried body scan meditation?

    1. Basically it is scanning the entire body and releasing any tension through the breath from what I remember doing in yoga.

      1. J, one of my favorite meditations when I was doing yoga with a teacher, in a class, was a sort of body scan guided meditation after the end of a class. We would all lay on the floor on our backs in Shavasana ( the corpse pose) and he would talk us through a complete body release. We did this at the end of every class but my favorite part would be him saying to feel yourself resting on top of a still body of water, fully supported and fully relaxed and then to feel yourself sinking into the water and becoming part of the body of water. I remember how peaceful and natural it felt and I actually can still close my eyes and feel that feeling. I love the water and always have been drawn to it. Have you seen the movie The Piano? There is a scene in it that always appealed to me in that way of merging into the water.

      1. J, I think anything that focuses and stills the mind helps with awareness period, not just emotional. That’s what meditation is, the practice of awareness b

      2. Exactly. 😀

        There are many forms of mindfulness meditation.

        Then there’s mantra meditation. Transcendental meditation, one form of mantra meditation, can be practiced without joining the TM -cult and paying hundreds of currency for courses. Just pick a word that doesn’t mean much to you and repeat it. If any thoughts come up, let yourself gently return to the mantra as you let thoughts drift away. Usually to be done in 20 minute sessions, but personally I like to do much longer.

        Then another form of mantra meditation is Hamsa meditation. Concentrate between your eyes. On the inhale, let Ham(or Hang) resonate in your consciousness. On the exhale, fill your mind with Sa.

        There’s metta meditation, meditation of loving kindness.

        Also tonglen meditation is interesting in that you imagine yourself inhaling black smoke and exhaling it as white light.

  15. Don’t let others try to tell you that who you are, your temperament from birth is wrong. It’s wrong for them, not you. So they write articles on why people should change. As a person who naturally is not willing to bear the burden of responsibility because I am one of those people without the capacity for love, but has done so out of ethical and moral concerns, I’ve learned first hand what happens over time when I did so. After so many years, it wore me down to a point of physical illness, mental illness and hospitalization. Others benefitted, but I ended up destroyed. It just did not feel natural to me. So my advice to you, if you are like me, is to indeed shirk responsibility….run!!!!!

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