Disturbed Characters and Making Amends

My last post dealt (See: The Importance of Making Amends) with how important it is for the health of a relationship for the parties to be willing to make amends for injuries inflicted whether intentionally or inadvertently.  But when character disturbance is present in a relationship, the process of making appropriate amends can get quite complicated.  Overly conscientious, “neurotic” types in relationships with disturbed or disordered characters can get lured into accepting too much of the responsibility for problems and going the extra mile to try and fix them, in the process only “enabling” the dysfunction in their relationship to continue. And as anyone who’s been involved with a disturbed or disordered character knows, how such characters approach the whole idea of acknowledging fault and making amends for damage they’ve done is as hard to comprehend and accept as it is reflective of the nature of their character dysfunction.

In my book Character Disturbance, I present a vignette featuring the interaction of a divorced mother doing her best to raise her already significantly character-impaired teenage son.  Tho mother is a very conscientious type who has big sense of guilt and shame, even for things she probably shouldn’t harbor much of either.  Her son knows this, and uses many of the manipulation tactics I describe in In Sheep’s Clothing, including minimizing, shaming and guilt-tripping to skirt responsibility and maintain an abusive upper hand in their relationship.  In my office, their interaction (which I’ve edited considerably for this post) went something like this (again, as always, the vignettes depicted in all my writings have been altered in unessential ways to preserve anonymity):

  • Therapist: What brings you both here today?
  • Adolescent: She (looking glaringly at his mother) thinks I have an attitude problem.  But she’s always doing stuff that makes me mad.  She knows just what to do to piss me off.
  • Therapist: Of course, no one can make you be angry, and anger is a normal, healthy emotion, rarely a problem in itself.  What is it you do when you’re angry?
  • Mother: He curses, says vile, hateful things to me.
  • Adolescent: She starts it.  And look, this whole thing is because I shoved her once and not hard and only because she got in my face again.  I’ve told her a million times about that.
  • Therapist: Are you telling me you’ve been physically aggressive with your mother?
  • Adolescent: I barely touched her.  But she wouldn’t leave me alone.  I kept telling her to back off but she wouldn’t. She knows how to get me upset.  She never has anything good to say about me. She’s constantly on my back – on my case all the time.
  • Mother: Perhaps he has a point.  I do gripe at him sometimes.  He’s always getting in trouble.  I try to help him learn.  Maybe I’m too critical, so maybe it is partly my fault.

Now the dysfunction in this case is relatively easy to see.  One party is perhaps overly willing to take responsibility and the other minimizes, blames, heaps on the guilt, shames, and uses every tactic in the book to resist taking any responsibility while simultaneously manipulating his “opponent” back into her customary one-down position. And as those who’ve read this vignette in my book already know, the first step I took to restore a proper balance of power in this relationship was to work closely with the person who at the time I felt was most amenable (i.e. the mother) in an attempt to restore a proper balance of power in the family. And by denying visits to the youngster until I felt he might be sufficiently motivated to work (At the time, he would have only wanted to come in to attempt to manipulate me and ensure he retained a position of power), I gained therapeutic “leverage” by defining firmly and adhering to the terms of engagement and I also set the stage for future work.  That work would not merely focus on him surrendering his resistance to accepting responsibility for his actions. Doing that was actually the least demanding thing for him to do.  The bigger challenge was developing in him a sufficient sense of obligation to repair the damage he’d done to his mother, his relationship with her, and to his own character development.  And how committed he was to the work of making amends would be the best barometer of his progress.

Researchers on character disturbances have long known that a hostile attitude toward accepting obligation is perhaps the single biggest predictor of problematic social behavior.  Disturbed characters with narcissistic and antisocial tendencies tend to feel both above the need to accept obligation and disdain for the notion of submitting to what they know are society’s expectations of them. Owning shortcomings is distasteful enough for disturbed characters.  But making amends involves work, which they don’t gravitate toward easily.  As I’ve written before (See: When W-O-R-K is a Four-Letter Word) about the negative attitude disturbed characters have toward work.  And it’s not just any work that to which they’re adverse.  They’ll expend all kinds of energy in self-serving pursuits.  But they simply detest work they perceive is primarily on someone else’s behalf, or working for something that’s not clearly and intentionally self-serving, despite the potential benefit they might derive in the long run.  That’s why they tend to give assent or “lip service” to the natural demands of a relationship (Assenting is one of the responsibility-avoidance tactics I outline in In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Disturbance) while resisting the real work of making amends.

Next week’s article will feature some additional vignettes illustrating the importance of making amends and what can happen when disturbed characters appear like they’re working to make amends and to change but their efforts are less than sincere.

Character Matters will be a live program this Sunday at 7 pm Eastern, 6 pm Central Time, so calls can be taken.  And we’ll be talking about this very topic.


104 thoughts on “Disturbed Characters and Making Amends

  1. I would appreciate that my real name be assigned to the post. I would like to use the name BOTV for Bonfire Of the Vanities for comments. Would you accommodate the change? Thankyou

    1. I have just stumbled onto this blog by searching for manipulation.

      I cannot even express the emotions and thoughts that I am feeling and thinking. Mostly I am grateful.

      I am divorced now for 6 months after living with this for 15 years. Struggling would be an understatement.

      One incident that happened fairly recently in this story of mine.

      Years of the craziness, he had an affair and walked out on me immediately. Returned after 2 months. I was trying so hard to reconcile with him and he led me to believe that he was too. It felt false, my gut was screaming.

      The clear manipulation, in retrospect. He finally expressed what felt like emotion, remorse after months of nothing.

      Then a month later I discovered that he was involved with another person and that at the time of expressing that heartfelt empathy and remorse, it was a lie. Immediately after calling me at work to express this, he called his new girlfriend.

      I didn’t know this until after he left the second time.

      It is just incomprehensible to me. His response as to why did you even say that to me? Well, I felt it for a moment.

      I have been reading and reading, everything I can find and this blog has been like a beacon of light. I just feel this incredible need to understand what I was living and why it always felt so crazy.

      I hope it is okay to post this here. I haven’t quite figure out how this works.

      1. Hello Freedom, and welcome. Glad you are now free of legal ties to your ex. Probably you will find that it takes longer to work through all the psychological wounds and issues that you have endured. Almost everyone who posts here has been through something similar, we have been where you are, and will try to help encourage you on your way. And it is OK for you to express your hurt, your anger, life is not always fair. You may have tried to explain to other people what you have endured, but unless they have experienced it, they don’t understand.

        Peace and hope from Elva

        1. Thank you Elva, so much. I have been struggling so much, just trying so hard to pick up the pieces.

          I just found this today, this blog. I am so grateful but at the same time I find myself physically ill. It felt like a shot to the gut. I had to call in sick to work.

          I can’t explain, it just feels like the validation of everything I felt and thought but couldn’t make any sense of.

          This is a hard road. I know I could use some help but the internet is all that is available to me at this point.

          I am not as bad as I was but it is still so hard.

          Hurt, anger, I never knew it could be so deep. You are right it is very hard for others to understand. It is even hard for me to understand!

          1. Freedom. Elva is absolutely right in saying that the psychological part is the hardest part to recover from and it takes the longest. You will prevail. It may not seem like it now, I totally understand how hard it is to believe initially, but you will. I didn’t believe I would EVER be out from under the state I was in in the beginning of the spell breaking phase but I am on the other side now. It still hurts but nothing like it did then and the more clearly I see him and all those that surround him and prop him up, the better it gets. BUT, it is a bitter jagged pill to swallow, no doubt.

          2. Freedom, you may never fully understand these types. You will gain insight as to what happened but you may never understand how or why they do what they do. That is how we get hooked and why it’s so hard to leave, we have no frame of reference to translate the craziness they thrive on.

          3. Hi again Freedom — I can suggest some “first aid” things you can do for yourself. And you can also continue reading here, look back through the archives.

            First, start a journal. Date the page, physically write with pen or pencil, just what you are feeling, thinking. If you keep that anger and hurt bottled up inside you, those feelings will eat you alive. That will help get some of those feelings out of your system (scientifically proven, won’t bore you with details now, but it really does help). Also, try to find at least one thing every day for which you can be grateful — you saw a rainbow, a co-worker gave you a compliment, your neighbor has a beautiful flowerbed, etc. Also list those in your journal.
            Next, visit greatday.com for a daily, short, uplifting thought to start your day. If you would like to read the Bible, go to biblegateway.com. There are over 40 different English translations available at the click of a button. My personal preference is J.B. Phillips New Testament in Modern English.
            If it is possible where you live, get outdoors, go for a walk. Trees, flowers, green lawns are proven spirit lifters. If you can’t get outside, find a picture of an outdoor scene (maybe from a calendar?) that you like, gaze at it, imagine yourself walking through it, smelling the pines, feeling a soft breeze ruffling your hair.

            Cry if you need to, let yourself go. Tears release a healing hormone that will help you along your way.

            Take care of yourself physically — when you are under stress, your body uses a LOT of B & C vitamins, so you may need to take extra of those. I can give you more information along this line if you would like — just let me know.

            These are all simple things that you can do to help yourself feel a bit better. Keep reading, studying, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

            Peace and Hope from Elva

          4. Hi again Freedom — sounds like you are already doing good things to help in your own recovery. I do have some other suggestions that may be helpful to you, but it’s almost time for me to open for business, so I will post more, later this afternoon. Just one thing, don’t fall into the trap of “If only I had done this or that, things might have been different.” With CDs, they are so badly flawed that it wouldn’t have mattered whatever you did or didn’t do. I will post more later today, but have to get to business now. Peace and hope from Elva

      2. Hi Freedom……… ((((HUGE healing hug to you)))) I am so sorry for what you have been through and please know that everyone here understands the pain you are experiencing. It gives me a lump in my throat in recognition,,,,,,,I feel it in your words.
        This is something that will take a while to work through, please be realistic and kind with yourself and let go of any expectations you might have about “should” and “could have” EVERYTHING about the aftermath and recovery from one of these idiots is different than a normal break up. It is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together that someone has hidden some of the pieces. Just continue your reading and self education and know that we are here to listen and support you.
        Welcome Freedom

        1. Thank you for your welcome Puddle. I can’t stop reading here. I have gone to the beginning and am working my way through.

          It makes you feel a bit crazy. I was beginning to wonder if I was disordered, this intense pain and then for lack of a better word, flashbacks to the abuse. It’s as if I didn’t see it for what it was when it was happening. The extreme incidents were clear but the manipulation. It just keeps on hitting me.

          Then it seems I have that moment of acceptance, he really is not “normal” and then I doubt myself again. I doubt my view and wonder if I am blowing it out of proportion.

          I can’t tell you how validating it was when I started reading here this morning. Painful but validating.

          1. Having little trouble keeping up with the posts! Elva, I appreciate all of your suggestions and will gladly welcome more.

            I am a bit better than when I started realizing all of this. The first glimpse into what the truth is was in January of 2014.

            I do try to be grateful, appreciate the good things. I suppose that writing them down would be a good idea, really make it firm. I do have a lot to be grateful for.

            I have started singing and playing music with a good friend again after 15 years. We play weekly and I cannot describe how much that helps. It seems to be the only time that my mind does not drift into this mess. Like a vacation.

            It is bitterly cold here now. In the nice weather I spent a lot of time at the beach.

            It’s just this seemingly never ending pain. I keep having conversations in my head with him. I stop them when I realize I am doing it but it is exhausting. I feel like I have to police my mind constantly. Also the sleep is an issue, no matter what time I go to bed, how tired I am, I wake up at 3am. The nightmares too, pretty much every night.

            I do exercise too.

            I also belong to a wonderful site centered on infidelity. It was so helpful but this is just a bit different. The years of abuse that preceded the infidelity, that seems to be the twist. Why did I stay so long? Now, in retrospect, all of this was inevitable.

          2. Freedom, I can completely relate to the conversations in your head. For me, I will replay conversations but do it better. I also replay a lot of the conversations as they were and get stuck in them due to the going around in circles, the complete craziness of them is sometimes hard to wrap ones mind around. One thing I make sure to do is allow myself to feel hurt, angry, betrayed when I get stuck in it. One thing my counsellor had suggested to me was to write a letter to my hb and let it all out, the anger, the hurt, the betrayal. And then burn it or shred it. It doesn’t fompletely go away, but their is certain areas that used to bring up a lot of emotions in me and it seems to get better over time. Sometimes I’ve written several letters about the same issue until that one doesn’t seem to have control over me anymore.
            I wish you well, I am so glad that you found this site, I know foe me it has been a lifeline to sanity. There are so many people on this site that I truly feel can understand in a way that not even my counsellor can get. Keep working, keep growing, keep reading and learning all you can. I have good days, bad days, and downright days of depression…but they do get better

          3. All of this you describe is a normal reaction to this type of situation, self doubt leads the parade. You will see in time Freedom…. It will all come together and make as much sense as one of these involvements can. There will be ups and downs, clarity and confusion, steps forward and some backwards. It’s just the way it is. It’s all like Alice in wonderland….enlightening and disorienting. It’s valudating but can create self doubt as well. There is a lot of help available, many good books. A word of caution about victim/survivor web sites……. Just be cautious. Dr. Simons site is very safe but not all of them are as safe. There are truly Wolves in Sheeps clothing out there which I didn’t know before I encountered some of them. So, I don’t mean to frighten you away from other sites, only to caution you.

          4. Freedom welcome, I read your post and it reminds me of how I was when I first came out of the fog. Just like all of us here when we try to make sense of the intense confusion. It’s all normal and don’t expect any immediate miracles, it takes time, the emotions are so complex. I have been out just over a year and one trip to a lawyer earlier this week put me right back at the beginning. Yet this time it’s easier to climb out as I have a few more tools in my tool box and you will get those too! There’s so much good advice you’ve been given, taking care of yourself and walking in nature is such a good one…to appreciate the beauty around you. That helped me, just one day seeing a scene that took my breath away and for a moment I forgot all my troubles. Moments like those are precious, a cleansing and a reminder that YOU are still there and he didn’t take everything away. That is like a spark of hope that keeps you moving forward. You can do it Freedom and I love your name Freedom, that says to me that deep inside you know what you want and that’s so positive. Big hugs to you and keep strong and move forward soon you will find those doubts won’t come as often and you’ll see things with more clarity.

      3. Good morning everyone. Thank you so much for all your support, replies and advice. It helps that you understand, it makes me feel a bit less “crazy” but at the same time I am sorry that you do know about this, lived it.

        I am still trying to figure out the mechanics of posting here. I wasn’t sure which reply button to hit and there was no reply button after the last post so I just hit the first one. Any tips???

        Sheri, I keep thinking of it like The Twilight Zone but not sure if I just walked into it or out of it!

        With the conversations in my head, I try to make them better too. I say all of the things that I wish I could have said and didn’t. I didn’t say them partly because I didn’t really know what was happening which inspired my search for “manipulation” and partly because I feared him. He was physically abusive a few times, once really should have been too much. The first time changed me, changed how I reacted, it showed me, even if I didn’t admit to myself at the time, how far he really could go. It showed me that yes, he really would “do that”. I just wanted to see it as the aberration as opposed to the real person.

        As I read I find my story is quite common. The beginning of being cherished, I could do no wrong and when I did it was okay, mistakes were understood. Then gradually, I could do no right. I was raged at and condemned for things that were only in his imagination. It was crazy making. He would twist my words, actions, even my thoughts into this horrible person that just was not me. I don’t even know if he really believed it or was just trying to manipulate and control. The longer I am away from him I am thinking manipulate and control is more likely.

        I keep thinking of a conversation that I had with him last year, after he returned from the first affair.

        “when you get angry, start yelling and say those awful things to me, do you mean it? Do you really believe what you say?”

        His reply, “no I do it to shut you up. I say whatever I think will hurt you the most. I manipulate you, I know I do that. Everyone does and if you don’t believe that you are naïve”.

        Chilling. If I would ask him questions with a very calm, unemotional demeanor he would say these kinds of things. I learned this because if I showed emotion he would shut down or become angry.

        It is so hard to wrap your head around. I suppose I should be grateful that I can’t understand this type of thinking. I do have to remember though that there are people that really do think like this. Even those that claim to love you.

        Tori, I have questions for you! You said that you have been out of the relationship for a year now?

        I have had complete no contact for about 6 weeks now. He was contacting me still through the mail and driving by until then. It has now stopped.

        I was wondering, do you still have those moments when you “miss” him? At least who you believed him to be. Do you still have those thoughts, even if briefly, “could he change?”

        I know that I don’t miss him but still this pain is constant. I guess I miss my illusion. I know he can’t or won’t choose to change. He has proven this to me.

        Just wondering I guess, how long until I just feel better without having to work so hard at it. I am so tired, just drained.

        The everyday life issues do not help either. I am in the marital home still, no choice at this point. I am barely making it financially, we needed two incomes to support it. He is supposed to pay alimony but does not. I am afraid to pursue it because that will initiate contact again. I get so angry about this now. I never would have bought a house if I had know I would have to manage it on my own. It was built in 1900 and so many things are going wrong now. I try to just keep it one day or thing at a time.

        My name, Freedom, that is my daily reminder that I am free from so much now and free to do so much now. I use it wherever I can.

        I was feeling for a while like he did steal me, who I used to be, the good of me. It hit me, probably just a week ago, I am still here, I am still me and I am now free to be me again without fear. That all of the ways he tried to demonize the good of me were lies, the good in me is still here and no one can ever take that.

        Sorry for the length of this. I have so much inside me that needs to come out and saying it to others that understand, well I feel like I can be totally honest and open. Not quite true in real life, you get those looks.

        1. Freedom, I know you asked Tori a question but just wanted to mention briefly that these relationshi*s have a very addictive quality to them because they hook you and speak to you at a very deep place. They can speak to needs you never knew you even had or didn’t realize we’re as intense as they are. They find your weakest place, not to be confused with being weak, and sink their teeth in. So, in the missing him department, think withdrawal and all that goes along with ending any addiction.

          1. Hi Puddle, I am grateful for all of the support! Please chime in anytime! I am trying to respond to everyone that responds to me, hard to keep track!

            I just read the article on moving on after a toxic relationship. Very helpful. Very true, all of the questions and focusing on the loss of investment.

            I keep having this urge to send all of these articles to him. Then I just remind myself or ask myself, “what is the purpose of this? What is the goal?”

            It is so hard to let go, to detach.

            You are right about them finding your weak, vulnerable spots. He played into my desire for love, acceptance, understanding. He would often spout out about “our history”, how important that was.

            Having grown up in an alcoholic home with no protection from abuse and not knowing what “normal” was, this felt like the home I dreamed of. Except it was all a lie.

            Reading all of this is helping. It is helping me to see what was happening and making me believe myself. I feel like I am reading my life here.

            It does feel like an addiction. I know it will harm me but still I crave it.

            The nightmares are really starting to take their toll. They seem to be more graphic lately, not sure why. I have been waking up screaming and crying. Then I feel shaken for the day.

            He is now becoming clear in them, before it was a vague impression of him or just a feeling of him, this past week, so real that when I wake I am not sure for a moment if it was a dream or real. Maybe just a part of processing this. Did you or do you have nightmares?

          2. This is a trauma Freedom. The realization that there really are these types in the world is traumatizing in and of its self let alone that one was in your life, heart, home and body. It has been something that caused me to be diagnosed with PTSD by a doctor and a psychiatrist. Everyone has their own level of ability to handle and process trauma and mine is low. It’s even worse when it scrapes open old primal wounds as most of these do. Nightmares, reoccurring and obsessive thoughts, lack of sleep ability……. All symptoms, so do some reading on Post Traumatic Dtress Disorder as well.
            We are here with you, you are not alone. Hang in there and as I said, don’t base your expectations on shoulds and shouldents, could haves and the like. And don’t confuse vulnerabilities with being wrong for having them. A vulnerability is only bad thing because someone took advantage of it. A real man would have treasured and respected your desire for love and acceptance as a positive.

          3. It’s my opinion that your nightmares are the fear you had during the time you were with him, repressed and quieted by his manipulative BS.

          4. Freedom, I did have nightmares for a while in the beginning and the worst were the dreams I had about him being in my life still. I would wake up and he wouldn’t be in bed and I’d get up looking for him thinking we had had a fight and he was upstairs or out having a smoke. That just made me cry typing it Freedom. I was in DEEP with him and when we split and i started coming out of the fog and putting the pieces together it was like I had lost a limb, like a part of me was missing. he will NEVER know wha he did to mean further more, never care even if he did.
            I had a bad dream about him a little while ago, maybe a month or so ago? Not a “nightmare” but a bad dream where he was telling me that he had been cheating on me the entire time we were together and he was laughing about it. I would bet money he was too.

          5. Freedom just wanted to say I still have nightmares. I had them during the relationship too! I didn’t know what they were then but I do now and they can be very graphic. It feels so real sometimes. I hate it when they are so terrifying I actually scream, wake myself up and my son. He’ll come running into the my room so worried. It’s awful. Flashbacks come and they can just freeze me up. I’ve been standing in a supermarket and been almost frightened to move, I remember once scanning the place, knowing that he couldn’t possibly be there but so terrified I’d see him. Thankfully that kind of thing has eased. That was earlier on when I was in the midst of the trauma. Everything eases with time, it’s frustrating when they keep coming back when you think you’re over it only to find it’s all still lingering.

        2. Hi Freedom — will try to keep this to a reasonable length, I’m guessing you are still feeling overwhelmed.

          Don’t worry about which reply button to click on, do the best you can, but be aware that the latest comment from anyone will show up at the top of the column titled “Recent comments.”

          I promised to get back to you with a bit more information; I’m going to focus on nutrition and insomnia. Disclaimer — I am not a doctor, nurse, dietician, or therapist. I can offer you sources where you can get more information, and I can tell you what works for me. Phyllis Balch wrote a book titled “Prescription for nutritional healing.” It’s now up to the 5th edition. It’s 883 pages packed with all sorts of good information, most health food stores have these for sale, or try interlibrary loan. Getting enough sleep is vitally important. There are many possible causes for insomnia; you need to read this stuff for yourself. If you did not have insomnia and nightmares before all the problems with a CD ex-husband, then probably the stress you are still experiencing is the cause. If you are not taking any vitamins / minerals, the book recommends calcium, magnesium, melatonin, B-complex, niacimide, and zinc. Herbal supplements recommended are California poppy, hops, lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, and valerian root. Chamomile tea might help. I can really sympathize here because I’ve had insomnia for years. Just recently saw that there may possibly be a genetic component here, as in my brain simply does not shut down at bedtime. So I have to dose myself every night.

          You spoke of financial difficulties re supporting an aging house. So, here’s a good source for vitamins and such. Go to nourishingfoods.com for really good discounted prices. This is a family-owned business, not part of any chain. It’s located in Houston, TX, and they do mail order. (And by the way, don’t click on any link, even on this website, unless whoever posts it tells you in advance what kind of a site it is; I got a really unpleasant surprise when I clicked on a couple of links posted here. So obviously I will not click that person’s links ever again.)

          Music — playing and singing with a friend — is an excellent way to keep your mind off your problems. You said it was hard to explain, but because I’ve been a church organist / pianist / chorister, I know exactly what you mean. Another book which might interest you is Joshua Leeds’ “The power of sound” — 2d edition, I recommend it highly.

          Probably that’s enough information for this post. I do tend to “firehose” people with almost more than they can absorb at one session. Please feel free to ask me questions — try to keep yourself busy so you don’t dwell on all the negative thoughts. We are all cheering you onward and upward, Peace and hope from Elva

          1. Thank you Elva for all of the information, I will look into the vitamins and supplements. I need to do something with the sleep problems. It is going on 2 years now with the nightmares and early waking. It started when x left the first time in Oct. 2012 and has never really improved.

            I will be careful about the links, thanks for the warning.

            These articles are just absolutely incredible. Everytime I read about a behavior of these types, it just floors me. This is real, I was not creating it, I did not cause it, I was not stupid or a liar or not seeing that I was a liar…it goes on and on.

            It is helping me to make sense of this and to hopefully gain a little trust of myself back. I really questioned if I was these horrible things he said and there was something wrong with me that just did not see it. I just got so twisted.

            His last letter to me, simply, “I forgive you”.

            I wanted to scream, not replying to that was so very hard. I have learned though by replying I am only opening the door to more hurt and pain.

        3. Freedom when I read what you say I can hear your pain, I even hear my own voice saying those same things. It’s terrifying being left in the family home and wondering what to do? I also was stuck like that, not knowing what to do, trying to figure out what was the best. Going through the hope bubble that somehow he would magically change and things wouldn’t be so bad. Making decisions during a time like that is one of the hardest things to do. It’s like that song Elvis sang, This time you gave me a mountain. A rocky unclimbable mountain with this cliff on the other side. I feel everything you say Freedom. As I said this last week I fell right down deep in that old pit again. It was like it all happened yesterday. And yes I do still miss him, that good him, the thoughtful person. Actually to tell you the truth I was hating reliving the bad things…having to tell the whole story again to someone new. I wanted that good side of him and again felt so in love with him. It seems ridiculous to me that after a year I felt that again so strongly but as Puddle says it is an addiction. It has to be because otherwise you wouldn’t want something so bad for you back. And I don’t. It’s such a complicated grief process, it’s not like losing someone who has died, they are still alive and that is where hope comes into it but Freedom it is and always will be a false hope. Funnily enough he did a good thing yesterday, paid some child support…ha and I was shaking and scared because I saw this money in my account! I’d like to think it’s because he cares, he has a conscience and that his son means something to him. It’s not, I’ve initiated a legal process again, that’s all it is…another manipulation, an impression management strategy should this end up in court. It makes me sick! I just don’t understand how they can be like this and think like this. I’ve said it before I will never get my head around it. Keep strong Freedom because it is a hard road…I hope that once I get over this last hurdle it will be easier. I still will have to deal with him with regards to our son on some level but sometimes I hope for my sake he keeps this nothing to do with him up but I hate that because then my son suffers. I get scared to initiate anything with him too, I hate the contact it scares me but with my son I keep it to minimal answers to his questions if he EVER has any!

  2. Dr. Simon………..What if the entire dynamic on the part of the CA is covert? In other words, there is nothing solid to point to to even expect them to make amends for?? I am just not at all sure how to ask this question. If you are being toyed with and covertly manipulated and as LisaO said, “they keep moving the goal posts”, the behavior you THINK is the problem in the situation is NOT the problem. This is the hard and painful part to sort out after the fact, one of them anyhow……….we as victims spun out wheels trying to confront, address, ask for, demand, etc. many many things but never knew there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in he** that they ever had any intention of even staying with us, let alone meeting our needs in an adult relationship. So, even the things that we perceived as “issues” is a vast variety of forms, were manipulations in themselves!
    What I’m saying is that the type I’m talking about is a fake ALL the way, even in their hurtful and destructive behaviors. It’s ALL done to manipulate but in different ways.

    1. Another party hasn’t yet realized what’s going on(covert aggression) and a manipulator doesn’t do anything overt?

      1. They might do SOMEthing overt???? but what is overt and what is covert with them? It’s a little like “the boy who cried wolf”. Once one thing is discovered to be a lie or a manipulative play, everything comes into question and all legitimacy is in question. I know that Spathtard set me up at LEAST once to discover him drinking when he said he was not. I look back on it now and it’s SO clear, the acting is like a REALLY bad soap opera. Just like that song video I mentioned here long ago……just lies……all of it in one form or another.
        That IS the most painful thing for me……ALL of it is a lie to me now after everything I have discovered and pieced together.

      2. J I agree with Puddle here, I think CD’s are all manipulative and practice both covert aggression overt aggression. I think it’s indicative of their plays on sympathy after doing something overtly aggressive, when they pretend remorse, promise never to do it again and say “I don’t know why, there’s something wrong with me, I need understanding…etc” they put on such a display and manipulate your emotions so that you fall for their BS again.

      3. I agree here too, with my spouse (whom I’ve been with for a little over 23 years) I can probably count the obvious “overt” things he did on my fingers; and even those he could find such subtle and manipulative ways to end up dodging the issue or twisting it around and somehow making it a problem about me. And also, since the overt things he did were few and far between, they really couldn’t be thought of as repetitive patterns of behavior or happen often enough. Now that I’m more aware of his tactics they I can see what he’s doing, his behaviors are now more obvious but that’s only because I’m aware of what those things are and can see them. Also, I noticed that, with a covert manipulator, once a tactic is found out and doesn’t seem to work anymore they can easily alter it to get the same effect they want. Once some of their tactics seem more overt because you’ve discovered them and don’t accept them anymore, they will find even more covert ways to use that same tactic.

        For example: Concerning the making amends, in the past if we’d discuss an issue and he’d use all of his tactics (which I won’t entirely get into here because in one confrontation he can throw so many tactics at me within a matter of minutes that it would take me half the day to try to articulate it), if I hadn’t backed-down, given-in, forgotten all about it, or if I wanted to discuss it further to attempt to resolve to get an idea that it wouldn’t happen again, (sometimes just within minutes of the confrontation) he would say in an angry, sarcastic voice … “What?!? Haven’t you forgiven me yet?” (he would often throw in other things with it like “I’ve said I’m sorry, what more do you want from me?”) and I would back down. Within the last few years he has had me and others point out to him that when he does that he’s trying to bully me into forgiving him which is abusive and controlling.

        So now, after a confrontation which usually goes about the same with all of the tactics for him to try to manage my impression, avoid responsibility, find a way to blame me, etc, If I don’t give in and back down, he’s now changed what he says to “Well, I hope one day you will forgive me!” He’ll even slump his shoulders and look and sound slightly defeated, etc.

        For a while this worked, until I realized that he was basically doing the same thing as before, he just found a more covert way to do it. And even though I’ve now caught on to that, it took me a while and prolonged my realization that he wasn’t truly sorry, so that the next time he repeated whatever behavior was the issue I would be thrown off guard. But now I’ve caught on … however now to anyone “helping” him, he seems like a changed man. Others would definitely say the first way was abusive, but his new way seems so humble and like he truly is sorry. They have no clue that he’s using the exact same tactic, he’s just gotten even more covert. So now those that are helping him are “patting him on the back” telling him how much he’s changing and I’m the only one who has realized that he’s just found a new way to do the same old thing.

        1. Sheri………I feel sick when I read these things about your hb. Sick and angry.
          You are in such a good position to REALLY see how they work. I was just thinking, what a great counselor YOU would make after having been a victim, waking up IN the relationship and then being able to see his tactics for what they are while still exposed.
          I think the best thing is just to know know KNOW, that if he IS being sincere…….you will FEEL it and know it that way. If you don’t, he isn’t. Having just said THAT, I thought I DID feel it on several occasions. I have a very hard time sorting out things like sincerity though.

          1. I can relate, even knowing what I know I can still get taken in. He knows how to push my sympathy and guilt buttons, that’s been my biggest hurdle to overcome these past few years. I am getting better at telling myself not to get taken in. I’ve even developed a new thing to say in response when he tries to convince me that he’s truly sorry. Would like yours or anyone’s feedback on something along the lines of. “I can see your expressing a lot of emotions over this, what do you think could be done differently if you find yourself behaving this way again?” Often at this point he will tell me how he wants me to behave differently. So I’m thinking when that happens I can respond “no, I mean what can YOU do differently.” Often then he’ll say he doesn’t know or try to use a litany of tactics to answer without truly answering. At that point I think I can say, “well, if you are truly sorry and are willing to try a new behavior then let me know, until that time I don’t see how we can truly resolve the issue.” Sometimes he will give me what sounds like a really good answer, that seems like he truly does know a better way to behave,, and then I’m taken in again and then when he doesn’t follow through, the craziness begins again. So now when he seems to have the “right”answer I think I’ll respond with. “That sounds good, i will be watching for this new behavior, when I notice it I will let you know” and then walk away and leave it up to him. I don’t know I’ve been thinking a lot about having planned responses.

          2. Sheri, my honest opinion is that it sounds very parental and too high maintenance..
            My thinking is this……….if he is interested in finding a better way he will. period. and all of the discussion and hand holding is just feeding him in some way, attention? Entertainment? But planned responses seem to be a good idea, just keep it about you? Like “I would like that”. or “that would be nice” or if he wants to know “how”, just say, “I don’t know what is right for you”. Seems like when they really DO want something, they have no problem figuring out how to get it/ make it happen.
            I don’t know Sheri, your situation is V E R Y different than mine was so I don’t have any experience there!

          3. Yes it is very parental, however I think since his empathy and conscience it at a less developed level that’s the way I need to approach it. Except he’s not a child so I can’t actually tell him what to do, he needs to decide that for himself. And yes, it is high maintenance. But as long as we are living in the same home I need to be prepared and realize that it is high maintenance. I’m not quite sure how these responses seem like hand holding, I was trying to go more for keeping the ball in his court where it belongs and using these responses to shorten the discussion time by leaving it in his court and not picking it up by engaging.

            As well with keeping it about me, I do that with me. There is no telling him what I want or need or engaging him in any way concerning that. That only gives him more ammunition. When engaging him about my needs I will only disclose what I will or will not engage in and what I’m willing to do about it.

          4. Sheri, by hand holding I was referring to needing to explain things to him. Or maybe him needing you to explain. It was more to do with the other thing I said about when they do want something, when it suits THEM, they have the ability to figure out how to get it done.
            The “keeping it about you” part is in responses. So it’s like not responding in relationship terms. I’m not sure how to put it into actual replies though in your situation. Even children are able to figure things out when they really want something and are in the position where someone won’t do it for them.
            This sounds hand holding……” So now when he seems to have the “right”answer I think I’ll respond with. “That sounds good, i will be watching for this new behavior, when I notice it I will let you know” and then walk away and leave it up to him.”
            I guess, from an objective perspective, I would stop with “That sounds good”.

          5. That makes sense, just leaving it at “that sounds good”. I do get caught up in the explaining off and on still. However, I am long past trying to “get him to see”. Since no matter how much he feigns innocence or ignorance, he knows exactly what he’s doing as well as his motivation for doing it. Typically now I just say what I’m willing to do or not do, no explanation needed. However, there are still times where I need to confront him and I do need to be as prepared as possible for the many different ways he responds to the confrontation. But not sure if I was unclear, but I haven’t done the hand holding for a long time now. It’s all straight to the point, and a constant of holding him accountable to keeping his end of communicating straight to the point. But it is constant as he is really good at evasion and diversion

          6. Sheri, that could be a response in it’s self……….
            You know what you are doing and why you are doing it so if you don’t WANT to do it anymore then you can find …………….
            Towards the end, actually after the end, when he would ask me a leading question, a meaningless go nowhere question, like “why would I want to ………?”, I would reply, “why are you asking me a question that you already know the answer to”? or “why are you asking me a question that only you know the answer to”?

          7. I treated him like a child,,,,,,,,,,,,I didn’t do so intentionally…..just responding to his childish crap. I think about some of the things I did and said and it makes my stomach turn. Not so much because of me but just the whole deception and how fooled I was. how clueless as to the real situation. he knew, I didn’t.

          8. Yes, I’ve actually used that response before. However, I don’t even get to the “why” anymore. If the behavior is wrong or hurtful the “why” doesn’t really matter.

          9. Sheri, I didn’t even ask the question wanting or expecting a reply. Just putting the ball back in his court because I knew it was not a real question to begin with.

          10. Sorry Puddle if it sounded like I was referring to your comment about the asking why. I was talking about myself, I used to ask why a lot, so when I said that the why doesn’t matter it’s something I need to keep telling myself, sometimes I will still say why to him and I dont even really mean it, for me it’s more of an expression of exasperation

  3. Dr Simon and others, I’ve been mulling over a few things with regard to therapy sessions. I was wondering if there is a standard or should there be a standard questionaire that asks questions about differing aspects of a clients life before every initial consultation or maybe during. As I read the scenario above the mother was upset with her son’s behaviour and indicated that he had shoved her and perhaps that what eventually precipitated her to finally seek help. I wonder if it had been her husband would she have done the same thing? I ask that because when I think back to how often I visited doctors, psychologists, relationship counsellors while married I went there because of MY anxiety, depression etc… thinking all of the problems were because of me so I filled out a depression questionaire and of course it would indicate that I was depressed. Yet you walk in and it’s how can I help you? Or an opening that gets you to talk about yourself to get the session going. I often wonder now if one of these doctors or therapists had asked one question, has your husband ever hit you? Then I would have been honest and suddenly the doors would have been open to all the things I’ve learned since leaving. I remember two medical doctors asking how was the relationship and I said fine. Which you do because of various reasons, it’s a sort of generic question. I ask this because a straightforward question like that opens up to a whole different conversation. One that can explore many reasons for the anxiety and depression in the first place and then also allows a therapist to understand how to continue with the patient. As it appears from what I now understand if there is violence in a relationship then there is really no way couple consultations are helpful in fact it can be very dangerous, so it would be beneficial for that knowledge to be known beforehand. Maybe it is standard in some places but all I know is not once was that idea ever approached in any sessions I had. It’s almost assumed that your depression and anxiety comes from some chemical imbalance in your brain and all you need is a pill or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy when the real reason for you anxiety maybe absolute fear and trauma from a situation you are living in. Of course if violence is involved then that needs a very different solution which is usually encouraging the person to get out!

    1. Tori…………I have had these exact same ideas/ questions! For example……..when Spathtard and I went to a relationship counselor, it was a total joke. First of all i was having an extremely hard time following her and the course of what she was doing. I mean I was totally confused. Anyhow, I came away from that particular situation seeing clearly that what SHOULD happen when two people engage in counseling, the councilor should meet with both parties X number of times prior to meeting with them as a couple and be prepared to ASK SPECIFIC QUESTIONS to both individuals, as individuals before anything happens as a couple. We also went to another counselor before her and that was a mess that I got scapegoated over because this woman jumped my case because I didn’t understand something she said in out first session, rather she contradicted something she said in the first session in our second session. All around both situations were a joke……..but not at all funny and a complete waste of time.
      When you consider the potential consequences that a possible victim of an abusive partner faces, one would think that a QUALIFIED therapist would want to weed out that possibility right off the bat because if there is abuse present in the situation, no improvement will happen until that issues is addressed.

      1. And seriously? I would imagine that without a whole lot of effort BUT a good measure of educated knowledge, a person (or group) could come up with a list of twenty pointed questions that could nail the potential of abuse down tout sweet! (Tori!) It should be mandatory for ANY relationship counselor to use these questions as a screening device.

  4. The example Dr.Simon gave was a mother and child relationship where the child is purely parasitic and not particularly covert. His mother just hasn’t realized that she is in an actual battle ground where giving ground after a shelling of guilt by her son, is not the way to achieve strategic advantage. Unfortunately, as Dr. Simon seems to be saying, until the kid accepts responsibility, this is how his Mom should frame her life with her son. Pretty lousy. How do you remain bonded with a child like that? It must be so awful. And you can’t just divorce your kids.

    As psychopaths age their parasitism revolves more around charm. They are much more practised, skilled, develop wonderful senses of humour, quite often. For me, it was the sense of humour that was the hook. Humour is disarming, it ‘breaks the ice,” socially. In a friendship, humour is engaging, makes the comic friend seem more real, more invigorating, more accessible. At the same time humour, for some reason, inspires trust. When someone is engaging and laughing, they seem ‘safe’ to be around. They seem to really like you.

    It would be so lovely if Dr.Simon would do an article on humour as a device to literally ‘disarm’.

    Puddle, if I remember correctly the soul squisher you were involved with was very funny, too.

    They learn that they can get more with honey than with vinegar. Sad.

    1. LisaO, he was very funny and we laughed constantly. Here is another aspect to the humor tactic………laughter releases dopamine. I think it’s all tied into that dopamine/ serotonin/ (and another feel good/ bonding hormone I can’t think of). It is another “feel good” element they use…….what ever it takes, right?. It’s probably one of the MOST important qualities a person has with me. Why is a very long story wrapped up in my personal history but yeah…..it is a huge hook.

  5. Dr. Simon;
    Thank You for this article. I really do believe that your books should become recommended reading for all therapists, pastors, etc.

    This statement that you made above at the beginning of this post (“But when character disturbance is present in a relationship, the process of making appropriate amends can get quite complicated. Overly conscientious, “neurotic” types in relationships with disturbed or disordered characters can get lured into accepting too much of the responsibility for problems and going the extra mile to try and fix them, in the process only “enabling” the dysfunction in their relationship to continue. And as anyone who’s been involved with a disturbed or disordered character knows, how such characters approach the whole idea of acknowledging fault and making amends for damage they’ve done is as hard to comprehend and accept as it is reflective of the nature of their character dysfunction.”) Is so true to the situation.

    I’ve found with the disturbed character in my life that “making amends” is not even an option on his part, but he is really good at “faking amends.” He can be so convincing, even to therapists, etc. It becomes very difficult for those of us who live with them as for so many years, if I didn’t back down or give him a “get out of jail free card,” I was the one deemed with the issues and problems. I really did spend our relationship making amends for all of the “inappropriate” ways I handled the way he was behaving in the relationship. My hb could “fake amends” so good that when he’d repeat the hurtful behavior I would actually be surprised because he could “act” so sorry for what he’d done.

    I really want to thank you for your writings, there are so few people in the helping profession that truly “get it” with respect to disturbed characters. For years I knew that something wasn’t quite right, but a lot of the help and information I received and read just didn’t seem to fit or would truly point me in the wrong direction. I often wouldn’t accept the way he attempted to “fake amends” and then I would be criticized for being unforgiving, so I’d try harder to forgive and trust even though it didn’t seem quite right. When I first read your material on making amends and true contrition, it all made sense. It was all I needed to help me know that my not being able to trust his “apologies” were not truly a character defect or issue on my part, and it made all the difference in the way I was able to truly look at what my issues really were and begin to work on those. Instead of spinning my wheels trying to “fix” things in myself that didn’t really need fixing, I could truly put my energies on those things that I really did need to work on like coming out of the fog, building healthy relationships with people, like focusing my energies on building my life. I really do still need to work on living in the truth, it is really easy for me to take his invitation to feel guilty or pressured into taking responsibility for that which I have no responsibility or control over, to take the focus off healing and getting free and putting it back onto his dysfunctional behavior. But with the material that you (and a few other enlightened people) offer it really helps me stay grounded. When I begin to fall back into my old patterns I know that I can reread your books, or spend some time reading your posts and I can get centered back where I need to be.

    Thank you so much!

  6. To Dr. Simon and all on this site,

    I have been following many sites for years which have been very informative and helped me on my journey but by far Dr. Simon yours is the best. I believe that with the helpful sharing of all the participants which have been so giving in their personal stories, many doors can open in our society for at least the victims involved with individuals afflicted with the insidious moral decay of their character. I enjoyed your third book but think it just touched the surface. I hope in the future you burrow deep into the heart and spirit of this anathema.

    I have a library of all the top doctors on CD, Frued, Kohut, Miller, Shengold, Klien, Millon, and on and on. At first and I kept thinking there has to be an answer, just something, to get through to these people, I have several in my family, and they all have and use their own personally developed, shall we say methods, skills, technique’s of manipulation. They love themselves and the game. The higher the IQ the more deceitful and difficult to detect them. I came from a family of CD and married 2 following a learned pattern and really didn’t know the difference or that people didn’t act this way. I readily accepted blame and faults as it was a remedy I could fix. I am the fixer and want peace and good things, a helper. But what I didn’t realize is that we “are” responsible for our own conduct, personal and spiritual growth. I hate to see pain and in order to eliminate the pain I would acquiesce in order to satisfy the need to have peace. Absolutely, then not knowingly feeding the beastly and I would say evil, conceited 2 year olds I ever seen. So you see I fed the little demons and their diseased minds, hearts and souls grew and grew. I contributed to their sick minds. In fact our society admires so many of these individuals. It amazes me how many people like this are out there. It has taken me years and I am still trying to work my way out of the maze of confusion. What is still so mind boggling is they know what they are doing! It is a sickness and I believe an addiction.
    Thank you, all of you, for sharing. I have much I would like to share but so little time, I try to read all you contribute when I can.
    I am very cautious now, and always give people time and try to listen carefully, and look for flags, they tend to use some of the same words. But some of them are so developed, psychopaths/sociopaths.
    Dr. Simon, you by far have hit the nail on the head on how to deal with these individuals, so many therapists fall into the trap of feelings sorry of the CD woes, or tales of shall we say childhood abuse, traumas (they are such liars we can’t even substantiate the truth) and such, in reality making excuses for their behavior. We all have brokenness, hurts, pains and traumas, but that is not an excuse for destroying others. The damage the CD has inflicted on their prey and they are predators are far more damaging then what they may have endured. I believe it is a choice the way they treat people, a game of one up. of control, self serving conceit.
    All of you have hit on such great point, and yes, Lisa, humor is one of the disarming techniques some of them use. Sheri, the best to you for your efforts, stay strong and focused on yourself, I found what they hate most is not to acknowledge their behavior.

    1. Thanks for commenting, BTOV. So many true things.

      Would be interesting to know why you think Judas Syndrome “just touched the surface”.

      1. j, From all that I have gleaned from reflecting on past experiences of dealing with the CD, I was often left in a state of confusion. One thing always stood out with all these individuals, regardless, of their vocation, or status in life. They all in common are “know it all’s, perfect,” just to name a few. At some point in the relationship their true selves start to appear. Ultimately, as you have read from all the posts, they are toxic, every negative scenario, attribute that comes to mind, they cause confusion, fear, obligation, hate, etc…. Think of Hitler, what comes to mind????
        Sheer EVIL, Satan, Lucifer, is all that described in the profile of the CD. Read the bible and you will see. Everyone of these individuals, and everyone of stories I have read here are that founded on the “I” they are SELFISH they are their own Little God’s. They have no real humility, full of them selves (Pride) All of them spiritually bankrupt. You may not see it at first, depending how close you are to them, and how good they are at covering their deceit (covert) personality, little gestures or nuance, so very subtle, will be discerned. A person I met that fooled me for years, it was just for a moment the mask was down, he had a gleaming glow of ????? a look that disturbed me for years, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now I know the words I was looking for is “.”
        Our country was founded on Christian beliefs, many things we did were wrong, but this country grew and we did have moral values, based God, family and country. We had a moral compass, and that comes from the teaching values and living them in a Christian fashion. In following Dr. Simons work and his remarkable ability to hit the nail on the head instead of all the gobbledygook, and psychobabble, I believe this is the key element I believe is missing in them. Not to say others with strong spiritual values are wrong, the bible says “you will know them by their fruit.”

        1. It really seems you have learnt a lot from your experiences with the DC,s in your life. One site that I really like that touches on some of what you posted here that has really helped me is cryingoutforjustice.com. It is a great Christian site that really hits the nail on the head concerning abusive people. It was suggested by another poster on this site, and they even have some posts that Dr. Simon wrote for them. I think their ideas will really help validate and confirm some of the ideas you’ve expressed

          1. Thank you Sheri, I will check it out. In part to your question.
            2 Timothy 4 Chapter 3 vs. 1-9 But know this, that in the last days dangerous times will come. Men will be lovers of self, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient, to parents, ungrateful, criminal, heartless, faithless, slanderers, incontinent, merciless, unkind, treacherous, stubborn, puffed up with pride, loving pleasure more than God: having a semblance indeed of piety, but disowning its power. Avoid these. For of such are they who make their way into houses and captivate silly women who are sin-laden and led away by various lusts: ever learning yet never attaining knowledge of the truth. So also will these men also resist the truth, for they are corrupt in mind, reprobate as regards the faith. But they will make no further progress, for their folly will be obvious to all, as was that of those others.

            Describes a CD perfectly, take no offense at the silly women but you have no idea of the ones at the shelters I have talked too. They aren’t done with the first one and there on a second and third and pregnant to boot. This is called generational sin in the bible. However, women & men on this site are choosing to find answers and up until not many years ago I Silly didn’t even know there was such a thing. I thought it was that typical the one that always was preening and staring in the mirror. Was I wrong. I believe when we found out we made a concerted effort to change and do the work, look in the mirror and reflect inward. I always thought I could change someone if I made their rights a wrong. I’m willing to help, but everyone has to do their own work. I thought it was bad but I never knew how twisted the twisted could twist until I start to untwisted the twist in the twist. I’m sure one of you can beat that twist. Just a little humor, I laugh now instead of cry!

          2. Love all the “twists”, that pretty much sums it up. I totally agree, the DC in my life, even though he can genuinely feign wanting help, he has proven repeatedly that he will go out of his way to purposely not use any of the help given him. So it is a wate of energy even offering suggestions or thinking I could point him in a certain direction. He is his own god and lives by his own rules. I can see how I was a “silly” woman, not entirely thinking that it had anything to do with lust. More to do with being deceived and misled

    2. Thank you BTOV……acknowledging their own behavior?? Not going to happen, you got that right. I remember once after Spathtard screamed at me that I was f’ing crazy, telling him that he had never apologized for what he had said the other night. His reply was, “Ok, I’m sorry”! I said, “sorry for what”? he said, “I don’t know, you said I hadn’t apologized so i just DID! You haven’t apologized either!!!” OMG! my poor little brain was just so numb by that point. It really was like being around a stubborn three year old but so confusing because I don’t expect a fully grown “man” to be a stubborn three year old so I keep approaching the situation like he’s not? God forbid you do speak to them like they are a stubborn three year old……………then they are offended and it’s payback time. inSANE!!
      I thought of an analogy the other day for the aftermath of one of these entanglements. I was out in the yard with my puppy and watching him chase his tail (symbolic). He spun around and around and around and when he stopped I think his brain was still spinning because he was really wobblie and unsteady. So even when the ride is over, it still takes a while to get your feet back on the ground.
      Welcome BTOV.

      1. Thank you, Puddle,

        Watch how they whine, one time when I got flustered, all of a sudden he pulled hid legs up onto the chair, kind of perch in the recliner like a wild excitement in his eyes, and I looked: walked right past him because it was such a quire response, I felt like it was a small child I was dealing with and kept on walking. Was he mad, then he pulled another angle and I went to another room and ignored him.
        Dr. Simon could answer this. I believe they are developmentally arrested. I believe their brains are wired differently too. I believe Pet Scans show this. But I do believe they can CHANGE111111 They don’t want too!!!!!
        They love their concocted false image to much. I do have a question, how often is one diagnosed with dual diagnosis?

        If I am redundant in any of the subjects being discussed and asking previously answered questions I apologize.

        1. Sheri,
          Thanks, checked out the site and will read more later. The more we get to know about the CD, their characteristic, jargons, games, tactics and so forth, seems to make many more of them much smarter. I hesitate to give any insight to a CD person I have to deal with. Reason, an acquaintance I know that just got divorced started accusing me of things the marriage counselor must have pointed out to him. Very sneaky, I think I caught them off guard. Just called for guy info on a snow blower and ended up talking. Unbeknownst to me he was drinking, WOW I only listened and then he started on me. I thought, good! scratch him off my list for a little mechanical input. I usually, wait and let a person do a lot of talking, in the talking is a give away.
          Read the blog again, in situations with the CD it only seamed if I apologize its almost a green light for them to attack and take advantage. They all despise weakness, and to them humility, kindness, and empathy are all weaknesses. Notice how often they apologize.
          The other thing the twist can twist infinitely, I’m helping someone that’s working her way out of a triangulation of several of her children, I’ll have to try the crazy making twist on her.

        2. BTOV, In Spathtard’s case, his mommy is part and parcel to his highness’s over inflated, yet COMPLETELY unearned, concocted sense of self. He is her big boy hero and he milks it for all it’s worth. He is intelligent but not smart and a joke of a man.
          Every time i watched him storm off to run home to mommy, he just looked and felt like a little boy and THAT made me feel angry. Like it was embarrassing, like i was embarrassed for him. BUT,,,,,,,it was all BS so in retrospect it means as much as his endless “I love you’s”. Nothing. That’s what they are, the good the bad,,,,,,,it’s all nothing.
          And yes, arrested development but very dangerous none the less. The truth of the matter is that this type of manipulation and abuse can happen to people who aren’t even old enough to have worked through their issues, his first wife was 19 and he picked her off younger than that.
          “2 Timothy 4 Chapter 3 vs. 1-9 ”
          Yes, that pretty much sums it up. So even when they don’t have anything real of substantial they can point to to be over inflated about, they still are. Spathtard’s little playmate is just a total failure. COMPLETE! but he thinks he is ALL that and talks down about people for the most superficial reasons, like physical issues………..but he is nothing!

  7. Puddle, I could swrite a book on the experiences of my X, However, I feel great pity for him. I don’t even get angry he seems to bring all the shame and pain on himself. There is something with the mother that they have not resolved. My regressed as he lost control, and it began to feel like he was the mother and I him. It was very eerie. Like Norman Bates. U was very young but I believe early on their may have been a chance for him to maybe change at least to a degree of normalcy. It’s truly sad to think of the barren wasteland in these people. I know now mine suffered from bouts of depression and at times I would see a glimpse of the real person but rarely. And yes they are dangerous, how dangerous would be nice to know.

    1. Here’s what is Erie, a friend of mine used to refer to him as “Norman”.
      Oh there is a mother issue alright! Even people who have said “no” to their being a mother issue, looked a little more carefully and bingo….mother issue. Tori??
      I feel no pity for him what so ever. He is proud as a peacock and doing exactly as he pleases. He seeks pleasure and finds it in perversion and in mommys basement for free. He is as he wants to be in spite of how much damage he has done to me and others. He will never see it or understand it because he’s too wrapped up in his own version of him. Just like his pathetic man child little buddy. They think they are sooooooo cool. As I’ve said before, if they only knew what many people really think of them……
      I used to think I saw someone I loved so deeply, someone kind and sweet, strong, fun and gentle. Then I woke up by force and when I did my homework, spoke to people from his past, the pieces all came together and painted a picture of a monster I will never feel ANYthing for again including pitty.

      1. Yes Puddle you were definitely right on the MOther issue with my ex too! It was difficult to see at the time but it’s there all right. Even with his older sister she took over the mother role to a point now. You know it’s good you could talk to old friends or at least people who knew him (as friends would be a stretch) as there is no one for me to speak to, he had no old friends and those he knew and LOVED when I met him were people he just met or work mates. Not the same thing in reality, these are people who have never spent intimate time with him as a real friendship. Also they were probably the same big losers! Well two were, people I just didn’t trust at all. I thought his family were lovely but now I see there was a family code at work and silence was the game. Not to mention the fact that at least one of his brothers is also a spath. I think work mates would say he’s a good man, hard worker but I know a couple of them know he’s bad news and possibly if I pressed I’d find others. I just couldn’t be bothered now. He has no mummy to run to now so it will be a matter of time I think before he shows his true colours again to his new woman who interestingly enough has the same name as his mother. Coincidence??? Who knows???

        1. Tori, AGAIN! so much of what you say I can relate to………code of silence for sure. His mother did tell me a couple things……indirectly OF COURSE! Actually one thing, no two, pretty directly, but that was when I was still hooked. His sister and her friends, in on it all or most of it…..could be they bought his BS slander crap, painting me as this dangerous crazed person……so bizarre. I have fallen for PLENTY of my brother’s stories though. That’s why I can relate to Sheri about how easy it is to get sucked in too. I have known for YEARS and years that if my brother’s lips are moving, it’s a lie but even recently I fell for some story he was circulating to get money from my poor father. At this time he has burned that bridge though and to think that a person who is 53 years old would put a man close to 90 through the crap he did to finally spur my father into action is revolting. I could blame drugs, alcohol, whatever….but I will not. AND, in spite of everything my brother is and has done, I still care about him and can be brought to tears fairly easily when I think about him.
          So, yes…..I went out on a limb once the fog STARTED lifting and contacted Spathtards past. A couple wives who swore me to secrecy, an in law. All very VERY enlightening and validating. Then when he slandered me, and someone local put their two cents in. The door slammed shut and my eyes were permanently open. Done, over, finished, flushed. He is dirt and damn lucky I’m not the person he tries to convince people I am. Also lucky I wasn’t one of his baby producers…….what a curse to have to deal with one of these losers because you had his child.
          The whole family is whacked, all different facets of the same stone. I call the house “the hotel dr. phill”
          {{{{{Sympathetic HUGS Tori}}}}}

          1. Puddle thank you, I had a horrible day yesterday. Legal stuff, just going through it all AGAIN!! Then to be told your story doesn’t matter! Makes me feel like nothing! It’s like being judged all over again. Thankfully they will listen with child arrangements though…I don’t trust the system to do the right thing. I wouldn’t chase it only my son loves his father and would like to see him. Of course his father doesn’t feel the same way. So I am doing this only for my son and I’ve told him that if his father doesn’t respond there is not much more I can do. I realise that his father sees it all as someone trying to TAKE from him. Selfish sod! How do you explain that to your child. How do you say that a father really doesn’t give a rats!
            There’s so much with that family stuff I could say… I was also told things indirectly from his mother but nothing straight…fill in the dots you get the picture. I think some of the members could join your hotel of dr Phil!! Ha ha! Probably some of mine too! There are days I just get so sick of the toxicity of it all.

          2. Tori, I’m so sorry. If I was there I would have us go out to do something nice….anything! How damned frustrating!! I know Spathtard’s little buddy sounds just like what you are describing. His kids LOVE him, especially his daughter. He actually hides some of his income to keep from having to pay as much child support. I wouldn’t exactly say that he doesn’t have ANY feelings for his children but it’s very very selfishly based. MANY stories about that whole mess. I feel sorry for the kids and his ex wife. Just a mess of dysfunction.
            I’m sorry Tori. {{{{{EXTRA big hugs to you now!!}}}}} Hang in there and pleas do something nice for yourself because i’m not there to do it for you!! 🙂

          3. Puddle again THANKYOU!! 🙂 I am teary as you wouldn’t believe it but I thought the same thing…wouldn’t it be great if I could ring Puddle and go somewhere…ha ha great minds hey! It’s great to know someone understands! Yeah, I did something nice for me yesterday, before the whole thing because I wanted to take my mind off it. It’s the last big hurdle I have to get over and once I do that I’ll be truly free of it all. So (((((Puddle)))) 🙂 It’s great to have your support even from afar!!! xx

          4. Tori……Awww…….you are welcome. I hope today is better than yesterday for you and that tomorrow is better yet!! 🙂

        2. Puddle, I was just reading a section of a book by Lewis Yablonsky called Fathers and Sons and had a part about Psychopathic Fathers which really confirms you Mummies boy scenario. He says that most psychopathic macho types are mummies boys and never move from that role and therefore can’t or won’t become good fathers themselves. I was reading it via Google Books.

          1. Tori, very interesting. Lundy Bancroft says it in a different way but I can’t quote. He says something about the father role and the part it plays in the young boy separating from the mother being damaged or missing. So if the father son role is defective, for a countless number of reasons, the boy child never forms an autonomous self that is separate from the mother. Now all you have to do is plug that into every mother son example you can think of to see if it has happened right or not. AND if psychopath does a genetic link, you can imaging that the father roll would be messed up in the nurture component as well. I see it in Spathtards case and in my brother and in several suspicious cases from my past. Incredible huh?
            I was at Spathtard’s house once and he did something his mother does all the time and he said, in this very weird way, “I’m turning into my mother”. Honestly,,,,,,looking back on it now (of course), it seemed staged in a way. And now I’m thinking of the whole mention of Norman Bates this week by BTOV. Geeesh.

      2. Wow, overgrown entitled, sulky little boys. There need to be some correctional programs early on in daycare centres, in schools, in orphan centres to prevent someone from growing into a monster boy/girl or otherwise seriously disturbed.

        Perhaps we could also use some early education how we can be manipulated and how it’s essentially, in form or in spirit, different from necessary discipline and healthy control.

        1. That would be a great idea J. I know they run educational programs in some schools about family violence etc… I think that’s a step in the right direction but how does a child stand up to warped family dynamics. It needs a whole societal shift. People working together and learning all the tactics of manipulation. I still think even some counsellors and professionals don’t see the manipulations or tactics of some individuals.

        2. Some reading made essential?

          *Dr Simon’s books(obviously)

          *books about psychopathy like Without Conscience By Robert Hare, Snakes in Suit By Paul Babiak and Robert Hare and The Sociopath Next Door By Martha Stout

          *Bully in sight by Tim Field

          *Personality Disorders in Modern Life by Theodore Millon(As well as Psychopathy?)

          *Gift of Fear by Gavin Becker

          *Stalking the Soul By Marie-France Hirigoyen

          *Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans(as well as Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak out and Victory over verbal abuse?)
          **Of course, Evans’ books do suppose that abusers have a dissociative disorders or are emotionally disturbed, which is a fault. They also tend to genderize abuse as happening mainly from the male side(though in VAR she does mention there are female abusers, too). Oddly she also seems to think that female abusers can’t change, because they supposedly are cut off both from their masculine and feminine sides, but male abusers can, because they supposedly are only cut off from their feminine sides. Odd. Definitely influenced by old psychological repression theories that overemphasize how “dissociable” psyche is(One such text by Jung, Dissociability of psyche in vol 8, comes to mind as a loose association). Evans’ books have many truths, but some things need to be taken with several grains of salt.

          *Emotional Rape Syndrome by Michael Fox has also been mentioned.

          1. I would add Lundy Bancroft’s book to that list but I would wonder if such reading would be beneficial for children perhaps teenagers if there was a program based around them. Even so, it’s not like these books were written for children.

      3. As for Viper, it’s interesting. I met his parents a few times and they were okay folks. His mother was seemingly strict, but could be naive about what her son really was up to. Viper’s father was conditionally permissive. “You do this and this and you can do whatever you want then.”

        Like one of my friends said: “Some people just have rotten machinery.”

        Also heard a rumour that his parents would’ve divorced with Viper having turned 18 and moved on his own ages ago, but can’t verify it anywhere.

  8. I believe when we get into the psychopathology and it is there you will find a dysfunctional family. It seems at least with the CD narcissists that I have dealt with it does go back to the mother primarily and then the father. However, there may be a genetic predisposition to personal attributes. The N’s that I deal with are still, when you watch and I mean watch and listen to very closely, their verbiage and dynamics I start to see the malfunction of maturation to separate from the parent. They are still searching for something lost in childhood. At this time I can’t elaborate. It is unsettling to say the least the feeling of the Norman Bates and Mother, in fact very scary. An interesting read is by Alice Miller – Drama of the Gifted Child. There is so much trauma in the backgrounds of many CD. However, this is what I liked about Dr. Simon’s work……. the realty, there is help available, very often I have observed these people know there is something wrong with them, but choose not to do the work!!!!! Just as all of you are doing the work and struggling back. You accept responsibility for your stuff!
    And yes Tori, I think boot camp (a boot up the A– might help) and army training programs would be beneficial. Please excuse my crude statement, but they are crude and rude! I agree about parenting education too.

    1. I absolutely can see the dysfunction in the CD narcissist’s family that I am involved with (after we’d been together for quite a few years, I found out that when he was 16 years old his mother was still cutting up his supper for him). However, in his case, there was very little trauma. The “funny” thing is that the family I grew up in was overtly dysfunctional (going down through the generations). His family always seems very caring and almost “normal.” It’s not until you take a closer look at him and his four siblings and their children – that you see all the dysfunction in his family (a lot of triangulation, covert manipulation, control issues, lack of taking responsibility, blaming people outside the family (like in-laws, etc) for any issues going in within the family, not accepting if others want to do things a different way, etc.). So even, in the initial years of our relationship I wouldn’t have thought to look at his family dynamics and go “wow, I don’t think I can be a part of that!” No trauma, no family-feuds – but they are all just like him (3 of them show a lot of signs of covert tactics of manipulation and responsibility-avoidance and making excuses for any wrongs done by ANYONE in the family; one of his brothers even told him that my hb that he should “be a man and put me in my place, that I had no right to confront (my hb) as to why he would take a new job and not tell me, he (the brother) told my hb that he shouldn’t trust me because I had lied to him 20 years ago in which I had made amends for ten-fold but he (the brother) told my hb that he had every right to keep secrets from me). However, none of this is ever present on the surface, it has only started coming out now because I’m not acting in line with how his family thinks I should be acting.

      1. Sheri, What a mess, huh? This is why it’s easy to get hooked……….things can look quite normal initially, during the phase where the hook is getting swallowed. Then the phase where you “notice” things but they don’t make sense because you have no frame of reference to translate them with. SO many things have come together and been figured out in retrospect. How can anyone explain something like this to someone who has never been through it??

        1. I agree, I think the hardest thing is the “covertness” of it. The dysfunction in my family was not so hidden. It was very difficult, don’t get me wrong, however when I became an adult and faced some of life’s difficulties (those that just happened and those that I was the cause of) it was easier for me to deal with the things I had faced growing up, they were obvious, I knew exactly what I had to work through. He would even use the dysfunction of my family as a way to point the finger at me claiming I am the problem. However, over the years if I’d ask him to set healthy boundaries with his family or claim anything that I might have found odd, he would get angry or just completely ignore me.

          1. Sheri, I hear you. Pretty much the same here. But I did have to have things about my family put into a realistic perspective by a counselor even though I knew things were wrong…….I didn’t know HOW wrong and had never had my feelings and perspectives validated and defined in words before then.

    2. BTOV… ha ha a boot up the A could indeed help. Get it back to basics! I know there has been trials of boot camps for wayward youths around but not sure what the success rates are. Still I agree it comes down to people wanting to do the work to improve themselves even if they come out of a dysfunctional family. It’s frustrating to see those who won’t do a thing to help themselves. Yet usually they are the very people letting you know what they think is wrong with you! That’s why I love the saying Friends are the family you choose!

      1. Tori, by the time both my brother and I came out of our family life we were both on separate roads to ruin. I started drinking when I was 11 or 12 and my brother was well on his way to a sociopathic life earlier than that. all of this happening right before our parents eyes. I don’t think the proper understanding of all kinds of different “issues” were in place then and neither one of them were equipped to be the kind of parents to take the helm for different reasons. That’s why I’ve said that it was the perfect storm. For me it became a snowball rolling down a hill and I honestly think that it was some sort of divine intervention, some switch that was thrown that resulted in me stopping drinking.
        What I’m saying is….the rut gets worn deep and even though you may want to change, at least on some level, as an adult it can take a brutal blow to knock you out of that rut long enough to see it clearly. Being sober now has a similar feeling to waking up and the fog lifting after an involvement with a manipulator. I’m probably not saying any of this clearly!

        1. Puddle, I don’t know what to say and I don’t pretend to have any understanding of all family dynamics, like all things in these situations each one is unique and the effects are different for everyone so I certainly wasn’t suggesting that all people don’t seek help for themselves. I think some people are not capable of seeking help for all manner of reasons, such as in your situation. I was coming from a perspective of a family that is…well such as my own sometimes it just seems silly. It’s all toxic and was just a cauldron of anger, bitterness and impression management. I grew up in that old fashioned over protective family regime but there was abuse throughout in fights etc… I was highly sensitive so I was an easy target in someways for ridicule. Because of my sensitivity I was made fun of, it was easy to make me cry and I was told I was too weak and it always seemed that it was a very real fault to be sensitive. I sometimes wonder if it was just that old fashioned way of trying to show love etc… Yet it is living that old fashioned way as if to say I am the parents I demand respect, what I say goes and if you don’t do as I say or think then there is something wrong with you not me. They can be so filled with poison and bitterness but can’t see that getting help is a healthy thing to do. I have been victimised within my family because I have sought help. I don’t know. I just get frustrated with that kind of thinking, when someone is capable of making change, they are intelligent and are not coming from a place of addiction, they do know they can be a better person but they enjoy their own MO despite it hurting others and ultimately themselves. I am not in favour of boot camps although will say I believe me ex needs more than a boot in his derriere. I am not in favour of many instituionalised areas of life, though I can see they are needed.
          I am a big believer in the idea that one person can make a difference in their part of the world and that’s how I see change taking place. When there’s courses in schools it’s great because if one child is educated they hold on to things and change their way with their family as an adult. Other children will conform to the family mode whatever that maybe no matter how much education they are given. That is a strong foundation to go against.
          I don’t know if anyone has heard of Monty Robert’s the horse whisperer, I love his books and how he approaches breaking in horses from a position of respect for the horse. He lets them decide to engage with him not the other way round. Anyway he has used his way of working with horses with businesses and delinquent youth. I read that he would take young teenagers into his home and give them the responsibility of looking after their own horses. If they didn’t do it then that horse would go hungry, thirsty etc, he refused to step in even though he wanted to for the horses sake. His idea was to let young people see the consequences of their actions. I no longer have this particular book and can’t remember the title but he had great success with this program. Similar ones I know are run on properties here and there seems to be a great success with this approach to guiding young people on to the right track. I think this approach is great in that it seems the real problem with this wave of character disturbance that Dr Simon says often is the refusal to take responsibility for their own actions. So one person can make a difference and it is by changing one person at a time and everyone is capable of bringing about change in their own compassionate way which is Dr Simon’s mission.

          1. Tori, this man’s book sounds very interesting as does his approach. I will say that in our family there were no serious consequences. I don’t know why, I can guess but I think the real answer is too complicated to summarize accurately. It seems to me that for real change to happen there has to be an underlying dissatisfaction with your life. I LOVED to drink and party, no doubt…..it was “in my blood” so to speak, but the consequences of so many things really bothered me. There was no predicting when one of these consequences would arise but you could rest assured that something would. When I stopped initially this time, I was determined to walk away from Spathtard once and for all, again. 🙂 this was all way before we actually broke up, like a year. after a couple weeks I was looking at my self through my minds eye….picturing myself sitting at a bar at the age of 50+ and running around like a teenager and I realized that I was basically making an A out of myself. I was dishonoring myself and selling myself short. So that is what really cemented my sobriety……..kind of a moment of clarity.
            BUT, if someone is not dissatisfied with the way they are, no matter HOW rotten and pathetic they are, yes,,,,,,,,,the motivation is not going to be there, let alone these bone heads who are actually convinced that they are just fine the way they are no matter how many people they destroy. they will always have a way to down play it and I’m pretty sure they believe their own lies.
            My brother……..I don’t know. At this point i think his brain is close to fried and his whole make up is tweaked. It’s horrible and i really do feel bad for him in a way I can’t really explain.

          2. Tori, I don’t understand how this man applies this to properties? I’m afraid I’m not following you there.

          3. Hi Puddle & Tori — In case I was not clear in my previous post, I don’t like the idea of boot camps either. I remember when G.W.Bush was first elected, there was a news announcement about Bush’s wanting to have everyone vetted by a psychiatrist. I was appalled — who was going to pay the psychs, what were they looking for, etc., printed the article out, it’s in my files somewhere, watched news for further developments, but never heard or saw anything more about it. “What could possibly go wrong?” SHUDDER!!!!!

            The sad truth is that we who tend to be on the “neurotic” side would be the only ones who might benefit. The CDs who really need change would refuse. I can say that from personal experience. When I finally disowned my NPD egg donor, my foster father offered to pay for counseling, anyone we chose, psych, minister, counselor, whoever. Her response? “Absolutely not. Nothing wrong with me, it’s all her (meaning me) fault.” I’m sure both of you could relate that situation to your own stories, with variations.

            Tori, you are absolutely right that it is up to us to spread the word, one person at a time, when you can let one person know, the effect ripples out to many other people. That’s why I keep my copies of Dr. Simon’s books handy on my worktable, I show them to teachers, the high school principal, the local policeman who is also the resource officer at one of the local high schools (we have 2 high schools in our small town), attorneys, other people who own small businesses, etc. “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” Peace and hope from Elva

          4. Hi Puddle, the book was called Horse Sense for People. I read it years ago and gave it to someone to read and never got it back as does happen. I was really impressed with some of things it had to say but it was a long time ago now so I am not sure of all the ideas but how he was helping businesses and kids stayed with me.

          5. Elva can most definitely relate, they won’t ever get counselling or help and as Dr Simon states most of the time they do learn something but only how to manipulate better. It’s good that you give Dr Simon’s books to people. I always recommend them too. It would be beneficial for all DV counsellors etc to read them too. Dr Simon gets to the nitty gritty of what you are dealing with and I think that’s extremely important for survivors to know that there are other factors at work. It’s one thing to say now your out you have the strength to move on etc but really there are so many questions that need answering before you can move on and you will never get them from the character disturbed individual.

          6. Properties! Oh you silly Austrailians! 🙂 no wonder I didn’t understand! I love all the terms of different countries and societies. I’m sure some of ours sound pretty funny to you too Tori? I wonder how many things get confused this way? The name of that book sounds familiar for some reason…..

  9. Hello BTOV — boot camp or some such might be a good idea, but think it through. Who would you put in charge to administer or teach? Army boot camp? — it’s well known that there are many maladjusted drill sergeants. I get a pretty good cross section of society in my shop, and there are only 4 people out of the bunch that I would trust to teach how to spot manipulation, etc. My customers include attorneys, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, many school teachers, one high school principal, law enforcement personnel, etc. NIMH estimates that 1 out of every 4 people in U.S. population has some degree of mental illness or disorder. American Psychiatric Association estimates that 1 out of every 3 people is mentally ill or mentally disordered. There is a high percentage of NPD people in church ministry. There is the person who posts here who apparently does not like Christianity. For the record, I am a Christian, as I think you probably are, given that you quoted the Bible in one of your posts. Dr. Simon has mentioned the difficulties he’s had during his career with various other psychologists who thought he was way off base with his theories. In a twisted way, what I am asking is “who will bell the cat?” or, who would you have to teach in such a class??? I am not disrespecting your opinion, just suggesting that you should give it a lot more thought. Peace and hope from Elva

    1. Good points Elva. I do think finding someone to help those children who need help would be very challenging. Plain and simple, there are not enough Dr. Simons to go around.
      Also, my brother was sent to a military school at a very young age and got kicked out. This is after he was kicked out of his previous school and before he was sent to a correctional school. All of which before he ended up in prison, not jail…..prison. Horribly sad, the whole situation was just a mess.

    2. One of my favorite quote by someone?? Morals can not be mandated, they can only be taught. I think this also goes along with “the sins of the father shall be visited on the son”? not sure about the exact wording, AND, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, all in regards to the family/ nurture aspect of some of these types.
      Here is one translation and I really see this happening. With my brother, it was a case of lack of parenting structure not bad example but there was a subtle bit of that too.
      As the Father Goes, so Goes the Family
      What God is saying is that if a father misleads his family, the family will pay for it. Each will have to pay for their own sins but the father could have prevented many of the sins that his children and grandchildren would fall into had he led his family in obedience to the Law of God. The effects of this fatherly mismanagement would be felt by multiple generations because what has been sown will be reaped because God cannot be mocked (Gal 6:7). God is not punishing the children for their father’s sins but they are feeling the consequences and having to pay for them. That is what God means in Exodus 20 and 34. These verses deal with the descendants of those children who would follow their father’s example of disobedience but each one of us are ultimately responsible for our own sins and this is what Ezekiel 18 and Deuteronomy 24 is saying. The father’s disobedience to God’s commandments have a ripple effect that keep on going until some other father in his lineage breaks that cycle.

      Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2014/06/02/what-does-the-bible-say-about-the-sins-of-the-father/#ixzz3RN8tDWmg

      1. I haven’t had a chance to digest the comments you have made. What I like about this site is that so many of you are deep thinkers. What I am looking at in respect to (boot camps)is the responsibility, disciplinary, accountability, etc… I know so many men that have commented to me that boot camp military set their heads straight. In essence they had to grow up, they had to interact, in order for a unit to function everyone has to work as team. This is an imperfect world and just as the scenario of teachers we have to trust to teach our children without indoctrinating them with their views. I believe CD need structured environments, this eliminates the ability for manipulation, no ands ifs or buts, you do what your told. This seems to the main problem with al the CD I have to deal with, they hate any type of authority, even if the suggestion is right they will do anything they can not to listen and if possible undermine the authority. Lack of humility, and pride!

        1. Hello BOTV — yes, I also have seen young men mature through the course of going through military boot camp. It seems to me that you are trying to conflate 2 different ideas — 1. discipline and responsibility, and 2. psychological health, which for many people comes only after many years of hard work, one-on-one with a qualified therapist.

          But I ask again, who would run the boot camp? Who would pay for it? At what age would you require attendance? Etc., Etc. Any CD person who was forced to attend such a camp would probably give it lip service only, just to get through it. After getting out, he or she would probably go right back to their old ways — anything to avoid work, as Dr. Simon says. If you really think this is a good idea, I suggest that you give it some concentrated thought and then write up a business plan for how it would work. (You can find instructions for doing up business plans on the web.) It’s one thing to say “someone should do ____” but another task entirely to sit down and do some hard work in figuring out how it would actually function. Since I take a nuts-and-bolts attitude to most things in life, I suggest this plan to many people who come up with the latest “bright idea.” Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the ideas just fade away into the sunset. Peace and hope from Elva

          1. Maybe I formed my comment wrong, and it was only a comment I have had many people express to me and my own personal opinion. Just like I could say they all need education in certain fundamentals. I’m sorry, if I hit a soft spot with you. It wasn’t meant as a “Bright Idea.” I know of individuals that have come out of the military and expressed the change it made in their lives to care for others, and who they were before they went into the military extremely CD and selfish. One being a special ops, with 4 tours and decorated 2 times with a purple heart. This man went on to be a well known forensic psychologist working specifically in the court system and prison system. I opined on many of the conversations I had with him in RE: to his own personal CD and the ones that he observed in relation to Boot camp and the military. This world can’t even control the kids in school nowadays let alone parent someone else’s children. I do have Peace and Hope and Faith. I never stop praying for the CD in my life. I think there is hope, just in the fact that we are able to dialogue and understand. At least we are able to salvage more of the victims nowadays. Blessings to all.

        2. Elva, let me quote and highlight this:

          “It’s one thing to say “someone should do ____” but another task entirely to sit down and do some hard work in figuring out how it would actually function. Since I take a nuts-and-bolts attitude to most things in life, I suggest this plan to many people who come up with the latest “bright idea.” Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the ideas just fade away into the sunset.”

          So easy to ignore or forget.

          Relating to that, it’s easy to think philosophy is just idle chit-chat or pastime. Really, it’s in how we act and live.

          1. I am not going to argue politics, Puddle you were right about generational sin. I have seen children that were (brats) when they first came to church school, change their behavior after being there for awhile. They wanted to be accepted and respected just like everyone else. Their selfishness and tantrums were not acceptable. Therefore change. Sure there are ones that manipulate from their earliest years and die that way. Yes, their are bad teachers etc… but were do you start. Yes, I could put a plan together, would it be followed or implemented, everyone has their own ideas and we have a society that pacifies and pampers, my plan would not work in secular society.

            From my understanding CD’s narcissist usually adapt and function better under a regulated environment. Is this a medical fact? Comments please. Thank you

  10. BTOV, I have not seen that CDs take well to regulated anything unless they are the ones in charge. Are you refering to younger ones? Like I said, my brother was kicked out of military school, then he ran away from reform school. It’s all a blur now but any form of regulation was not successful with him. They certainly seek out permissive environments and demand total freedom but don’t give it. They want no controls or expectations placed on them but want total control of their targeted victims.
    I think the only hope is by example of someone they respect……HA! Who in the world would that be?
    In Dr. Simon’s vignettes of successful out comes the characters are no where near the low level of the person I was unfortunate enough to have pollute my life and I do believe there is hope for some of them. I don’t know how you could even scratch the surface of some of their long held and fully integrated self serving beliefs. Then add to that the normal presence of some form of long held debauchery. Again, are you refering to children who might be turned around or “adults”?

    1. Puddle, thanks for responding. Both. I haven’t the time to respond adequately now. Can we get back to this? I have had conversations with many Dr.’s re the generational CD that is plaguing our society today. And I do believe as Dr. Simon says one at a time. To all blessings and joy today

  11. “Disturbed characters will expend all kinds of energy in self-serving pursuits. But they simply detest work they perceive is primarily on someone else’s behalf, or working for something that’s not clearly and intentionally self-serving, despite the potential benefit they might derive in the long run. ”

    Dr. Simon – This to me has been one of the most puzzling traits of high functioning Covert Aggressives. They (often) cannot, or refuse, to think long-term. In many ways they CAN think long-term in ways that benefit themselves. But in other ways they are resistant to acknowledging the long-term costs of current misbehavior. I wonder if a prerequisite for CA is a low level of object constancy. Something in their temperament makes someone a potential CA and part of that is low object constancy which makes it difficult to think long-term, perhaps.

  12. Hi Mr. Simon. This blog has become so helpful in dealing with my boyfriends teen. Much of these manipulative behaviors stem from narcissism and personality disorder and a neglectful an abusive environment she has come from. Of the 9 months she has lived here with therapy and meds it only seems she has just become more ept at manipulation and lying. Hopefully this further information can help me become more assertive and help my soft boundaries become more tough and resilient. I hope there is help for her and our family because frankly its exhausting. It took 6 years to repair and rehabilitate myself after living in a marriage and being divorced to a character flawed person, I don’t ever want to be pulled into that vicious cycle again. It’s so much different when its a teen and it’s not your own child yet your bullied in your own home by them. My boyfriend is scared for her and I as well. Just the few articles I’ve read have seemed so helpful. Thank you-TH

    1. Thank you for the kind words. And welcome to the forum. I hope you find the articles here and the information in my 3 books helpful and empowering.

    2. Thank You! I hope that in sifting through all the articles here and in reading my books you get all the information and resources you need to better understand and deal with character impaired people.

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