A Message from Dr. Simon to the Commentators

I’d like to say a few things to all the commentators, many of whom are in large measure responsible for the success of this blog.

First and foremost, my apologies for the lack of attention I’m able to give at times to monitoring both the tone and content of discussions.  When the blog was first fashioned, all comments were held in a bin awaiting moderation and approval before posting.  But as the blog grew so exponentially, and as the comments made on the articles grew to be such an important asset, I was constantly deluged with mail from folks wanting to know when they’d finally see their comments posted.  Given the apparent outstanding character of the vast majority of contributors, and also given the fact that a “core group” of commentators was making such rich, regular contributions, I authorized a removal of the moderation requirement some time ago, which, for many moons, proved both a wise decision and a boon to the blog and its followers.  Not the least of these reasons was the fact that only very rarely did comments appear that were troublesome in content or reflected a possible problematic agenda of the commentator.  And there have been only a handful of occasions in which I had to reconsider possibly reinstating the prohibition on comments posting immediately.

Second, my apologies for the length of time it’s taken me lately to both attend to and determine an appropriate resolve to problems some of you have been so thoughtful as to contact me directly about, especially the problems that developed over the past several weeks.

It will take me some time to figure out exactly what needs to be done to better ensure the character of the blog remains stellar.  For several reasons, it’s not feasible to turn over monitoring authority to a full time outside agent as some of you have suggested. And it would be equally problematic to go back to subjecting every comment to review and approval before allowing it to post.  The only real solution is better and more frequent monitoring by me and because there are only reasons but not excuses for why this has been so difficult for me of late, I’m really going to have to be thoughtful about how to accomplish it, so I beg your indulgence. I’m also open to any suggestions.

I also pray that the longstanding “core” of the discussion group not only find it within their hearts to bear with me as I sort through this matter and to keep in the forefront of their minds the ultimate purpose and benefit of the blog, all of its rich content (which for a long time has been comprised of highly informative and helpful comments that have done more than merely supplement the articles), and the impact this enterprise has had and hopefully will continue to have on the many persons out their who both need and value the resource.

I am deeply indebted to all of you who make this whole enterprise work so well. And again, my sincerest apologies.  I will be meeting with advisers and considering a variety of options to improve safeguards.  And as I mentioned earlier, I welcome all comments and suggestions.


43 thoughts on “A Message from Dr. Simon to the Commentators

  1. Thank you Dr. Simon, for your interest and care. I just looked up the New York Times guidelines for their comments/moderation (http://www.nytimes.com/content/help/site/usercontent/usercontent.html#usercontent-register).

    Having users register could be a first step; perhaps a “sticky post” at the top center of your website’s landing page indicating that comments may only appear once moderated, and this may only happen 1x/day, 3x/week, or whatever. I know that may dampen the flow of conversation, but considering what we’ve all been through, I feel that members’ need to feel safe should be of paramount concern.

    If the poster is “well known”, as in always there for everyone, always supportive, etc. then permissions can be granted to allow immediate posting.

    Once again, thank you for everything.

  2. Thank you so much, Dr. Simon, for moving promptly on this. We need your wisdom to guide us in dealing with so many of these CDs. I will be praying that God give you guidance and physical strength to deal with whatever problems may come up. Peace and Hope from Elva

  3. Thank you Dr. Simon, I will be praying for wisdom and strength for you in all things. Trust in the Lord and he will guide your path . My prayers to all kindred spirits on this blog that you find the answers you are looking for. If I may suggest maybe we all should take some time to reflect on all the good we have received from Dr. Simons work and this blog. I know Dr. Simons writings have affected me in a profound way, so clear and simple and all so true. Blessings and my prayers are with you Dr. Simon

  4. Dr. Simon,

    Though I am newbie here, and definitely NOT one of those who contributed to the success of this blog, I feel compelled to comment on this matter.

    In case this may be of help, please allow me to add my own perspective and personal experience regarding the issue at hand.

    To me posting and receiving replies on this blog started as a uniquely positive experience. For a moment it felt as if I have been among real family members. I was welcomed here with compassion and understanding and with much more love and care than what I have ever experienced in my “family”.
    Due to certain really honest, caring and sharing participants of this blog, here I felt even more validated than in the therapist’s room. I have never participated in support groups per se, but now I can imagine they exist exactly for purposes like that.

    However, the initial positive and validating atmosphere, and the dialogs through which I experienced it, was suddenly subverted into its opposite when I found myself confronted with the manipulative behavior of one user (J), who repeatedly diverted our topic towards his/her own personal slanderous agenda against another user (Elva). I was drawn into this conflict by J for no reason whatsoever. The only “reason” we can identify, he/she apparently tried to undermine/stop my conversation with Elva.

    When I repeatedly asked J to leave me out of that conflict as I am seeking peace and harmony on this website, J started to reveal his/her real self and started to use a clearly patronising and mocking tone against me.

    I am also very grateful that you have addressed this issue in a blog post designated to this. To me the question of moderation or no moderation of a website seems a giant one.
    With reference to a recent podcast by you, just like in societies the same might be true in online environments: the price we all pay for our freedoms remains high as long as dishonest people are among us.

    I do find your blog and all your work to be of unique value and I pray and hope that this website will continue to thrive.

    Just like in the first comment I posted on the site I wish to take this opportunity to thank you again for the invaluable knowledge I could gather from your book on manipulative people. My first reason to seek your website and contact you was my intent to express my gratitude – your work literally saved my life and saved much of my energy from wasting on my manipulative mother.

    For someone unassuming, naive, unsuspecting, well meaning as I was and still am, the issue of manipulative people has been one long scar over my whole life. I have invested an immense time and energy in trying to analyze and understand how they think, how they see the world, I tried to figure out what’s going on in their minds, how to approach them, how to make them understand that being loving and caring is a real thing, and it is not a sign of my “insanity”, it is not my way of manipulation either, it is not pretension for a personal agenda, as they assume it to be.

    One of the many questions that still persists: as long as manipulative people can go on forever projecting, feigning innocence and vilifying their victims, using their ambiguous language and other subtle methods to discredit the honest ones among us, HOW can decent people ever be free from the games manipulative people keep pulling us in?

    This is a huge question that I keep asking myself all over again – a question that one can raise also upon the said negative experiences inflicted by the manipulative conduct of someone on this site. Even if one has the skill to identify and deal with them, WHO has the preference, time and energy to waste on dealing with them?

    By now I think I have acquired the skill – via my unlucky opportunities – to eventually identify manipulative people but whenever I encounter one I just walk away. By enduring my my manipulative mother’s abuse throughout a lifetime, I prefer not to waste one more second on trying to reason with those who are committed to misunderstand me or to pretend to do so.

    Thanking you for your very kind attention, I wish the very best for you, for your incredibly helpful books and website and for all the well-meaning, caring and honest commenters on this blog.


  5. Marianne, that was so well written and expressed. You seem to have such a gift for that. Thank you for inadvertently speaking for me on many of the points you raised and certainly about Dr. Simons web site. I don’t know what to make of the J issue. I was out of that loop during some of the time it was developing and simetimes the suposed villan can be other than what it appears but there is cause for concern no matter what. I agree with your points about “him” drawing things off topic but what his true intentions are/ were, I have no clue how to sort that out.

    1. Hello Puddle, I hope you are well and everything is working out. I have much to say about what I had observed from the first concerning j. Its like Marianne expressed somewhere, the time was not ripe and no one would had believed me, referring to the victim and perpetrator. I had to sit back and watch the bonfire, but the Lord has sent many firemen. Hopefully, we can use the experience to learn from and grow stronger and use it to shed light on the truth. There were Red Flags everywhere. Dr. Simon work needs to continue and he needs all of our support at this time. Blessings to all.

      1. Hi BTOV, I have certainly had concerns about the J and I don’t question that there were issues there, I’m just not certain want the true nature of the issues were. I don’t mean to undermine anyone’s feelings about their own assessment, I just basically don’t know. I think it is better that he is not here, for us and for him. Giving him all benifit of the doubt, deserved or undeserved, my feeling is that this was not the place for him to have the discussions he seemed determined to have and that he was not a true victim of the type of situation we have had to deal with. I am sure I expressed this to him in more than one way on several occasions.
        I have a hard time sorting these things out and reaching a conclusion. I always ere on the side of “wait and see”, so what may be stuck in a grey area for me may have already become obvious to another person or several of them.
        Anyhow, it’s water under the bridge at this point and I think for the better. J’s comments felt like distractions to what people who come here are looking for and so desperately need.
        My ongoing best to you BTOV and everyone here!

  6. Hi Puddle, I am with you on this. Sometimes the original perpetrator(s) aren’t evident in a long chain of events.

    Elva, you subjected the forum to paragraphs long rants about J a while back. It was an inappropriate attack and it came right out of the blue. J, very graciously discussed what he thought set you off and shouldered some of the blame. He agreed with you that he was off topic and out of line. What more could be have done?

    You went so far as to warn Marianne about him, in one if your initial posts, referring to certain poster or posters as dangerous. You invoked God’s protection for her to deal with the dark and sinister forces on the forum. J should have reported this immediately to Dr. Simon instead of involving Marianne in this conflict. He made himself look nuts and guilty. And maybe he is a bit nuts. But, I also sense he is a lonely soul looking to connect with compassionate and intelligent people. For all anyone knows this forum may have been a lifeline to him and represented a family of sorts.

    I would hesitate to involve Jesus or God in this shenanigans. The high fiving in God’s name, over the dismissal of a flawed but valued (by me) member is shameful.

  7. LisaO, nicely said on many levels. As I have said before, Dr. Simon is clearly a religious man and at the same time does not lean on that or throw it into the mix regarding the things he discusses here. This is not a recovery site for Christian and I see no need to use Christian references here. It’s just not necessary to “go there” and I do agree that Elva was out of line in regards to what she said about J to Marianne. Just, WHY would you go there Elva?
    Again, I don’t claim to know the whole truth about a lot of this or the actual intentions of the people involved but throwing an accusation of someone being evil, opinion based or not, is just begging for conflict.

  8. LisaO, in my thinking this is a separation of church and state issue. Dr. Simon may be a religious man and a Christian but he is also a psychologist and an expert in this field. If he can refrain from muddying the waters of discussion and support in his attempt to help those who suffer at the hand of a CD, I would like to see his commenters follow his lead on this blog. I have had feelings and thoughts along those lines for quite a while but have tried to weight the pros and cons of each posters overall contributions. I know that I don’t feel the necessity to have any mere mortal bless me on Gods behalf? Or to lead me in the direction of thinking someone here is evil or divine. I suggest that on this site, we follow the lead of AA and let our higher power be our higher power and let that remain annonimous.

  9. Elva, At the same time, I appreciate you on all other levels. The pain you suffered as a child, at the hands of a CD mother must have been pretty awful. You seem to have almost literally taken a sow’s ear and turned it into a silk purse (what with your sewing skill, too)LOL.
    I want to also highlight that I have taken your advice when I have trouble sleeping and imagined soft breezes blowing through my hair and felt the sand between my toes, as if I am standing on a beach in Hawaii. Whenever I do this I think about you and all of your helpful tips.

  10. Puddle,

    Both you and I have been targeted and driven off a forum. In my case, I had no idea what the hell was going on. I hadn’t fought with anyone, disagreed with anything anybody said. Was thanked profusely by many posters. After fishing for as much info as they could get from me as to my real life identity (fruitlessly) they disabled my ability to contact them behind the scenes, in a pm. So I had to call them on the public forum about the uneasy feeling I was getting that although I got along well with fellow posters, at least one of them seemed to not want me there. They denied this up and down, told me I was paranoid, etc..etc… Finally one of the odd mods started screaming in caps that she had been suspicious of me from the beginning and kept up the harangue. They booted me off and started a sticky thread where everybody was free to log on and express all of their misgivings about me. It was then established that I was a psychopath myself. The horrifying thing was, one of the mods and another poster who had been super friendly to me, logged on with a, “ah hah. See how clever these types are. In retrospect its abundantly clear what she is!!” And what proof did they have that I was evil? Why, that I appeared so much NOT to be. It was a no win situation. But ouch ouch ouch. Hurt so bad. I had just been through the death of both of my parents, had difficult marriage, been manipulated and discarded by a master manipulator, was very physically ill and trying to figure out where I stood with Nar-siblings.

    I was rebuilding my life and genuinely trying to help others at the same time. It shouldn’t have had the effect it had on me but seeing my handle show up as a sticky with a couple of posters thanking mods for keeping forum ‘safe’ by kicking me off plunged me in to deep despair. I had no family to call on for moral support. My husband was away from home and I didn’t have any close enough girlfriends, at the time, to talk to about it. As pathetic as it must seem, the forum members had become my friends. I was living a shut in existence. Thank God I was on therapy at the time.

    I feel people have to be very careful how they treat others in the digital age. People form online bonds
    Sometimes it is all they have.

  11. BTOV, Puddle, LisaO,

    Thank you all for your supporting replies and also for your sharing with me your concerns.

    Based on reading your doubts on this issue, now I am not sure if any more effort I invest in trying to express what I have experienced could be of help. Yet I am trying, for the sake of justice and for the sake of doing my best to avoid that the innocent party would be blamed in this case. After having the initial wonderful experience here, it feels like I have entered the twilight zone that I feel the need to do this on these pages.

    I have put together this analysis as I do understand how difficult it is to try to decipher this case. For some time I have been in the dark as well, since I could think of prior circumstances – which I was unaware of – as the reasons why J was getting defensive.
    But I kept reassuring J that he didn’t have to defend himself. He was one of those very kind commenters who welcomed me here, gave me advice, and I have been very grateful for that. It just didn’t make any sense that he kept pressing on this issue.

    I am aware that it is extremely difficult to see the difference between someone who just doesn’t know any better (just nuts) and a manipulator who just plays the game.
    One has to be a detective, sort of, to discover the difference. And I am one. As I mentioned earlier, I have had one long and hard practice to learn to discern between the two. In this issue to me it is irrelevant if it was J or Elva who “started” this conflict at an earlier time – especially because the manipulators start it is an insidious and gradual way. But even if I could tell who “started” it, in this particular case it didn’t matter. I will explain why.

    LisaO, you mentioned that Elva posted a warning message regarding J. This might throw a new light on the conflict, but when I look back again, I still stand with my stance that the aggressor has been J. Again, I can only talk from experience: Elva did NOT commit slander, but J did. Elva merely gave me some hints of warning which then I thought of as her concern that me being a Christian may cause a conflict between J and me. But I didn’t follow up on Elva’s warning as I am perfectly fine with J being an atheist and I didn’t assume that J wasn’t fine with that. I can get along very well with atheists, moreover one of my dearest online friends from the past was an atheist as well, and we had high regard towards each other’s views.

    Another point pertaining to your comments: when I expressed on this site that I am a Christian, I did so indeed knowing that Dr Simon is also a Christian, so I thought I might be safe as such here. But I didn’t do so to offend or convert anyone, it is just being a Christian is an essential part of who I am. Then in another post I mentioned religion in a different context, as it is being one abused by covert aggressors.

    Another point related to above: one’s religion, or lack thereof, is simply an essential part of who we are: it is one’s own philosophy, which is not any less than any other attributes we have. Actually it is not just more; it is everything. If I can’t say on these pages that I am a Christian then I may as well just can’t say anything.

    If I offend anyone by stating who I am, as I apparently offended J, then the next question is indeed, what is the norm? And who is the bully? I was not offended by J’s claiming that he is an atheist. If it is part of the norm to advocate atheism, why isn’t it the norm to explain my theism-based philosophy?

    So now when I think back, turns out Elva was right when she warned me. She did so because I have expressed my Christian faith, and Elva knew, from her very own experience, that J would try to stir trouble over my being a Christian. But since I didn’t follow up on Elva’s warning – I didn’t because first I didn’t find it relevant – J started to bombard me with his long and meaningless, unstructured, repetitive posts.
    But I started to realize that J was anything but nice to me, after he started to use a patronising language and ad hominems.

    In addition he committed many other kinds of fallacies, including argumentum ad nauseam, red herrings, strawman, which are all big red flags as to one’s integrity, but the final deal-breaker has been his absolute lack of empathy and understanding when I repeatedly expressed to him my preference that he would leave me out of this obscure conflict.

    I simply didn’t take sides – I couldn’t in lack of enough info, and I didn’t want to as I didn’t think it was my concern – and expressly asked J, more than once, to discontinue involving me in this conflict, yet he kept pushing it. Then after I posted him a reply in which I expressed my disappointment and that I found his behavior manipulative, J started to ridicule me, patronize me and ordering me around about what I should be doing.

    I need to emphasize this again: J had no reason to defend himself in front of me – there wasn’t any conflict between J and me – hence his only reason to present his conflict with Elva was to offend Elva and to confuse me. His slandering Elva and dragging me into this conflict may have served another fallacy known as poisoning the well. The conflict that J created then could be presented to the world as the conflict created by Christians. J wanted to kill two or even three birds with one stone.

    The bottom line is this: I can only talk from the replies said commenters addressed to me, and from that it is clear who manipulated whom. And I can tell the difference when someone speaks in clear language and honest intentions and when someone tries to hide the truth behind flowery and overly complicated gibberish. Clear language is to express, to be truthful and to make connections, whereas vague language is to impress, to confuse, to make the other party feel helpless, and to “enjoy” the sport against the prey.

    I am certain that Elva meant well, and she is the innocent part, and I feel very sorry for her if after this incident she would want to or would have to leave.

    1. I just need to say one thing quickly, there is a difference between being a Christian, which I certainly have zero problem with, and using Christian rhetoric about evil to lead people on a witch hunt. I’m not saying that is what you did but this whole event has felt like that to me. I have also tried to keep in mind that J is from a different culture and speaks a different language. I have felf that some of his comments may have come across oddly because of that. I am not necessicarily defending him or advocating for him only trying to look at this objectively. I have had both Elva and J express kindness and support to me and I have seen them both go off in a way that seemed odd and has raised concerns in me. I feel that they were both out of line in this for different reasons. Just my two cents in that regard. I have not read your entire post so I will revisit it when I have more time.

      1. Please know, and I repeat, I’m not saying J was right. He was not but in my oppinion neither was Elva in this situation. They seemed to be feeding off of each other for quite some time and to me it felt like triangulation. Saying what they felt and thought about eachother only not to each other.

        1. Puddle, You are by far the most diplomatic poster here. Thank you for highlighting the potential for zealotry, divisiveness and scapegoating that can accompany even the best intentions by those who view life through the reductionist lens of fanatical belief.

          I read People of the Lie and was taken by Scott Peck’s interpretation of the cause of so many evils. He reasoned that sloth, laziness played a prominent role in the lives of the wicked. This hadn’t dawned on me before. Taking up a philosophy that defines people as wicked, much too readily, can be a form of mental laziness…plus it flatters the self and provides a lot of drama. It is distasteful. Without spending time with someone in the real world, it is impossible to know what the heck they are. Most people who are merely disagreeable should be classed as simply ‘weird until proven guilty.’

      2. Marianne, I am sorry that I have missed some of the components to this whole ordeal. I should not have expressed my opinions in this beyond the very obvious upheaval regarding J and Elva. I have absolutely no critism towards you or your unfortunate part in this you got caught in the crossfire and I’m sorry that you did. I’m afraid that this blog site is no different than the world and life in general in that it is not perfect. I know that most of us try to make it a safe and welcoming place but none of us are perfect. In the final say, you are ok here as a Christian and I have never felt that you have offended anyone as such. You seem measured and not fanatical and as far as I know are not shoving your philosophy or religion in anyone’s face. I hope that I haven’t said anything to make you feel like I think otherwise. If I have I sincerely appologize.

    2. Hello Marianne, Very well said and I wholeheartedly agree, I too, am a Christian. I took the chance to post on Dr. Simons blog just like you, because I had read the Judas Syndrome and knew Dr. Simon had to be a man of faith to have written the truth the way he did. At times the only sustaining lifeline I have is my faith in Christ and I am forever, grateful, for his gracious mercy, I cannot deny this truth. I agree with your memory of events, because I read the posts as this whole sordid mess began to unfold with you, j and Elva. I believe Elva acted in her usual professional, thoughtful and kind way and I found no evidence to contradict Elva’s conduct anywhere on this blog. However, I constantly, was alarmed by many of j’s posts. There have been others who have questioned j scattered on this blog, including myself. So it was a matter of time and it was building. I am sorry you had to go through this just when you had trusted enough to share your most innermost pain. I admire your fortitude to stick it out and care enough to put the time and effort into answering and staying involved in this mess. Marianne I am sorry you had to go through this. It seems the Lord uses us for the gifts he has endowed us with. God’s blessings Marianne for standing up for the Truth.

      There have been so many responses here today, I hope you noticed the post I addressed to you on the previous subject post relating to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I mentioned a book that you may be interested in, that touches on many of your questions posed in your initial post. This is another book that you may find helpful; People of the Lie by Scott Peck M.D., he is also the well known author of A Road Less Traveled.
      Marianne, thank you for your courage,God be with you always.

    3. Hello Marianne — I am so sorry that you received the full brunt of J’s sickness, which is, I believe, “covert narcissism.” I had been trying for months to get others to see what he truly was like under his sometimes charming facade. Now that his smokescreen has been blown away, I am being blamed for the soul-sick ugliness that was exposed. Going into more detail on this is frankly not worth my time.

      I am a Christian. God has saved my life several times and I have seen actual miracles. But my experiences are not apparently welcome here at this time. My previous offer to you is still open; as I said then, I will not be offended if you are not interested. This post and another post to Margot will be my last posts here.

      May I commend to your attention the following Bible texts: Acts 28:26, 27; II Timothy Chapter 3; I Timothy 5:20; Ephesians 3:14-21; Romans 13:10; Romans 16:17-19; Matthew 10:14; James 4:17. I wish you well in your life and I hope that you can find some of the answers you are seeking. Peace and hope from Elva

  12. Marianne, You aren’t being criticized. Your reactions are understandable and it is regrettable that you were confronted by J in the way that you were. He was very wrong in this instance and you are understandably seeing him in a bad light. A big hug to you!

  13. Dr. Simon,
    I’m not sure if your website software supports it, but sometimes the easiest solution is a ‘Report comment’ button. That way you don’t have to monitor/moderate all the comments, but they won’t necessarily go unmonitored, since your regular readers will be able to alert you to any problems.

    The other benefit is that you’ll be able to see who has alerted you, and if the person who has raised the red flag is a known and trusted user you can be pretty confident in the need to hide or remove the flagged comment.

    1. I also second the suggestion to clearly post the forum commenting guidelines. That, combined with a few deleted comments with the tag “This comment has been removed for violating commenting guidelines” will probably get the message across. Even “This user has been banned” in more extreme cases.

      What’s that they say about crime rates? It’s not the penalty that deters crime, it’s the probability of getting caught and prosecuted.

      I’m a big fan of Bob Sutton’s book “The No Asshole Rule” (I think he’s saying the same thing for business you’re saying for mental health). Since reading T.N.A.R. and I.S.C. I no longer worry about what people’s intentions are, I just look for evidence of ‘assh*le behaviour’. I give them one chance to correct it; if they don’t I remove the person immediately. It’s made the groups I run smoother, easier, and much more rewarding.

      I believe you and Sutton share the same general philosophy: get rid of the bad apples and the rest will sort itself out.

  14. Dear All,
    I apologize for being/appearing ignorant to what was going on, but there’s a reason for that, i.e….you’ll be laughing, I am technologically retarded (narcissistically speaking, brilliant at anything else..haha, actually no, I believe this isn’t their typical vocabulary, rather ‘I can’t’, to exploit you) I still haven’t worked out to how search some things on this site. Can anybody explain how to find a discussion you want to go back to, if you don’t remember precisely the name of the article, or find replies to comments etc. Pls, I couldn’t find a tech support of anything of this sort either.
    However, I want to express my gratitude to all of you and to Dr. Simon, of course, for the fact, that this wonderful site exists. I visit many, but this has been my favorite. This perspective helped me to put dots together, for the first time. See, I am a ‘mob victim’, plus ALL the other things happened (off topic), so I know many ‘psychos’. Traditional explanations just didn’t help to systematize the whole story/s. I may be wrong, but I feel, I can now feel the pattern, and before I couldn’t.
    For the absence of info, I can only say that I myself feel comfortable here, and the attitudes had been really kind. (or I just missed on some ‘nastiness’???..haha). Pls, keep in mind, that I am only aware of what I read in this discussion (almost only)… Marianne, I too believe one doesn’t have to be on a Christian site to express their believe. Neither I think, that expressing equals to imposing on others. Neither I think, that the believers should be in defense. You don’t have to justify yourself. Elva, you’ve readily passed me the info on the particular prayer, thank you. I can also understand those who hold more of the atheistic stance(apologies, if the description is incorrect). Perhaps we have to try and hear each other. For ex., I am ok with keeping the ‘state’ and the ‘church’ separate, but it isn’t the same as the ‘state’ and GOD. Dear atheists, if we (believers) thought otherwise, we wouldn’t be believers, as we think, that GOD is in everything, including atheists btw. That’s why, from the Orthodox Christian (at least) perspective, GOD loves atheists, believe it or not, HE(apologies to feminists) doesn’t love Satanists only (what a pity there has been an auto-correct, this word came with the capital..uuff). Also, things go off the topic for various reasons: one can deliberately redirect the conversation, but it can also be the way an individual is accustomed to think, due to a Faith, or an occupation. I for ex., have mentioned something on colonialism and linguistics (both, my professions…unfortunately..I should’ve been studying the LIFE instead). Also, I often go what I call friendly-sarcastic, just because I feel comfortable and understood here. Always feel free and ask to clarify, if you feel you didn’t understand, BUT FIRST TELL ME HOW TO FOLLOW, ok??..hahaha. Re: J, I don’t know, of course, but I remember, I didn’t express myself properly, at one point. I just really wonder what happened, is there any chance, opportunity, necessity of bringing him back? Who decided and based on what? Briefly…thanks.

    1. Hello Margot — I’m glad you commented again. I tried to answer you earlier, but couldn’t find your post. I’m glad that I could help you a bit. Please understand that under J’s sometimes charming facade, there was, I believe, sickness in his soul (probably covert narcissism). Marianne experienced the full brunt of it. I won’t be posting here anymore, but I wish you Peace and Hope in your life.

      1. Elva, I have no clue what the exact details of this mess were and I do think I missed a few episodes. I do not think you are being blamed for J’s part in your apparent feud, only for your own part and that is just my view of it which some others do not share. We all have our own subjective views and rarely are they EVER unanimous. I think there were some choices made in how you chose to reference your OPINIONS about J that were not helpful here and while I do not have a problem with any person believing in what ever they believe in, there is no need to parade specifics about your belief in a forum like this. Just like in AA, a persons belief system is theirs and theirs alone, that’s why AA works. It HAS to be the way to not detract from the message and methods of recovery that have helped millions. This ordeal demonstrates what happens when specific religious beliefs get thrown into the mix.
        I wish I could really get a grasp on this whole conflict but I just can’t. Ultimately I don’t think that you or J can be blamed alone, I think it was a combination.

  15. Hi Margot,

    The blog is about character disorders. The disorders can manifest anywhere and in anyone irrespective of race creed color or religion. In this respect they are remarkably resilient and totally inclusive. Humanity represents a welcoming big tent for them. We all have to operate within the big tent where we are subject to the seven deadly sins and face choices daily. Whenever any of us, regardless of belief, actively choose to indulge our ‘dark’ side, for lack of better terms, we are moving just a little closer to the CD spectrum.
    I am very interested in how this phenomenon is playing out in the New Age movement in some but not all individuals. I am equally interested in how CD manifests in those with a more traditional Christian belief.
    In the interest of disclosure and to emphasize that this isn’t coming from a position of loftiness, I confess that I had an affair with a ‘married’ man while I was married. It was wrong. I can certainly explain all the mitigating factors but the truth is I stepped over a line that put me closer to the CD spectrum. He turned out to be a psychopath. So…lesson learned. And what latent tendency and vulnerability did he exploit? I was affection starved…most definitely. I don’t consider this a weakness. But…he was able to manipulate some character flaws I had that I hope I have overcome to a large extent. His flattery appealed to my pride and vanity. I felt like a million dollars! Yippee…ego food. Fat chick, stuck at home, reading 12 hours a day is told she is beautiful brilliant and creative. What’s not to like?? I am not implying that all people who have been targeted have character flaws like mine.

    And I considered myself a ‘good person’. Not so fun to have to do some serious soul searching. But, that’s life in the big tent. Self reflection, self analysis, humility and understanding afford protection, more than anything else. Belief alone, without these qualities acting as a kind of counterbalance, undermines the essence of the general gist of the spiritual and feeds ego and arrogance. It affords the believer a wonderful opportunity to lob grenades at others from a fortress that may appear stable. Upon closer inspection one can see that it is a protective facade built propped up by character deficits.

  16. Elva,

    You mention that you were, “trying for months to get others to see what J was up to.” First, did you consider that your impression may have been mistaken? Do you also get that in your zeal to ‘spot the devil’ you were creating conditions under which most people would lash out in sheer frustration and end up appearing to be twisted narcissists?

    1. LisaO, to the best of my knowledge, Elva is not a licensed therapist of any kind so while it may be her OPINION that J is a covert narcisist, it is only her opinion and in my view, she is not qualified to label someone she has not met as such. To say or imply that he is evil or that we need Jesus’s protection from him is just over the top and more than unnecessary. We are all adults here and free to ask for and pray for help from any troubles that cross our paths our selves.

  17. Hi again Margot,

    I just reread your post and apologize for not giving you a big ‘hello!” I am very sorry to hear you were the victim of a mobbing. That must have felt pretty awful. Do you mind if I ask what the nature of the attack was? I don’t think it would fall too far outside of the topic to describe it, if you would like to divulge.

  18. Puddle, Let me add something more for context here. I mentioned just once that I communicate to my own higher power, my guardian angel and or angels for guidance and that I have tried meditating but can’t seem to relax enough. J responded with a helpful response about ‘mindfulness meditation’. Almost immediately afterward Elva responded to ‘nobody in particular’ that guardian angels and guides can be demons in disguise and meditation leaves the mind wide open for possession by evil forces. Wtf?

    I just left it alone. I observed J trying to seek common ground, communicate and defend himself. Interesting dance it was. I just dropped any reference to religion at that time because I know that it’s a one way street that can end in house party where you have inadvertantly accepted an invitation to your own character lynching. . J didn’t let it go. Was he wrong? Yes. He misjudged the situation and ended up giving Elva a ton of ammo to use against him. Is he morally reprehensible and Narcissistic? A threat? Making the blog unsafe? I don’t know if you noticed but what makes blogs most unsafe is readers who try to gain traction against another poster by encouraging behind the scene email exchanges. Note that J hasn’t done that.

    1. And Elva has repeatedly…….
      I just keep returning to how AA “runs the show”, encouraging people to seek higher ground, out side of themselves or within, but only using the term “higher power” in meetings. Can you imagine what a mess meetings would be if everyone drug their own personal belief system, religion, etc into that ring? Prayer is a form of meditation or visa versa. It just seems to me that a persons religious beliefs and practices can stay at home and at church and above all else, Marianne seemed and sounded like a coherent adult capable of making her own assessments of J. It sounded like she was in the process of doing just that for herself. No one needs to cloud thst water for her on a public blog site, BLACH! This is all so weird and so squirreled up. Something is rotten in it for sure, what it is exactly I don’t claim to know other than my observations of J and Elva as individuals. Up to this point I had seen positive in both and questionable things as well. It feels very familiar LisaO, that limbo stage of being with Spathtard, the “just don’t know” phase? Been there done that.

  19. Good morning Dr. Simon, I have read all of your books and passed out over 50 copies, I have been that impressed with the simplicity of your work in identifying the problem with these disordered human beings that mainly are lacking humanity and humility. Your last book on the Judas Syndrome was compelling, the sole inspiration for me to have enough trust to have posted on a blog, believing you to be a Christian..

    I was born into a family of CD’s.. I can identify with Marianne and Elva, and a few others. Do you know what it is like to have never been told you were loved? Do you know what it was like to have no one, to be dirt poor? Do you know what it was like to huddle together and share blankets because you were so cold? Do you know what it was like to go hungry and be stick thin, and try to care for all the little ones because the adults were to selfish and the CD’s scapegoat at the verge of spiritual death? DO you know what it was like to be beaten and berated at the hands of a CD? Do you know what it is like to have lived out of boxes for fear you would die? Have you been sexually assaulted and then called a liar.
    The all knowing posters that sit on their little thrones and judge. Marianee lived it, Elva, did, poor Lulu torn apart by triangulation, and rejection, and I’m sorry Tory and Sheri I felt for you too. I didn’t follow your story because all that still remains in my life with all the CD’s and being the responsible one for a paraplegic who tried to commit suicide and failed all the tragedies due to the parental CD sickness. I never told my personal tradgedy ( j called it a tale) it was a living hell!!! It wasn’t a tale it is the life I was forced to live.

    From the top of my lungs and the gut of my stomach said don’t trust them, I believed in you Dr. Simon. I came to your site with the hope of camaraderie and understanding . The intruder j how he was allowed to dissect my humanity at the expense of “Improving his writing skills” and his supposedly contact with a bully gave him the position to comment on my tragedy and others. Your latest post on CBT, genuine change always occurs in the here-and-now moment, and for change to be properly promoted and reinforced, problem behaviors must be reckoned with at the very moment they occur. J’s comments indicated abnormal thought processes especially in regards to fictional characters he described. Red flags all over considering this site is for survivors of abuse. I am appalled at the ignorance of some of your posters to protect this abuser. I just finished reading WHY DOES HE DO THAT———By: Lundy Bancroff who validated my experience. I try not to cry in a puddle of tears nor due to extreme chonic pain have I allowed myself to become a fat chick reading all day commenting on peoples life when you have no idea of the terror these monsters have created and I have to protect myself having been victimized over and over..
    To tell me and others I should refer to Jesus Christ that saved my life as a higher power is to deny my savior like Judas. I will die before I deny Christ by whose grace I am still alive. Jesus Christ gives me the strength to live each day. If you think in any way the CD’s in my life were not “EVIL” I would gladly trade with you. They are sheer “Evil” when One could care less if they could squash you like an ant, I don’t know what you would call that. I have no ext4ened5 family because most of them died in Nazi Germany, I guess that isn’t evil either. No disrespect to you Dr. Simon but it seems little consideration was given to all aspects of the trauma caused here by j.
    Everything was just overlooked and Elva was the scapegoat. I would respectfully ask if Elva, Marianne, Tori, Sheri or Lulu would like to contact me I have much to share with them. I shared the posts written by j with several Doctors of psychiatry, psychology and an MD and they called this “crazy making triangulation.” One of the Doctors originally gave me Dr.imons work and hoped you would had addressed this in a different manner. I pray that God will direct you and your work will prosper in the manner you originally intended to be. God bless you Dr. Simon or is it the direction of your group I can only refer to a higher power. I would remind all of you this country was founded on Christian values! Blessings to all and if you prefer not to have blessings (goodwill) so be it.

    1. Btov,

      It sounds like you have had so much tragedy in your life. My heart goes out to you and am sure everyone who read your last post feels the same way. Finding relief, help, love and support through Christ is wonderful. I’m sure everybody rejoices for you. You don’t have to defend your faith. If I understand Puddle correctly, she is suggesting that like they do in AA, to simply limit it to ‘higher power’. I would take it a step further and suggest that people be encouraged to describe once or twice their more specific beliefs, so they don’t feel stifled — and then subsequently limit references to ‘my higher power’. Otherwise poor old Jesus, God, Buddha, Mohammad can get dragged into disputes they may not want any part of.

      My best to you BTOV. You have suffered so much

    2. I very much appreciate your support of my work, BTOV. And I wrote one of my books, unashamedly to reach the hearts of those who purport to share the faith I try to put into practice in the way I conduct my affairs. That said, this blog has a very specific twofold purpose: 1) to be a source of information and empowerment for those unfortunate to have been in a relationship with a character impaired person and were both damaged by that experience and arrested in their own character growth as a result and 2) to expose as many people as possible to the principles I’ve come to appreciate can help folks grow and develop in character. The comments to my articles and other discussions have generally served to promote that twofold purpose quite well. But at times, too many things have entered into the discussion that are best left in one’s personal possession. No one here should be asked to deny or betray their most deeply held convictions. But I consider it essential that everyone be accepted for where they are in their own growth and development at any point in time and also to be free from judgment for the path they’ve taken to further those ends. The reason I do my best to avoid potentially incendiary topics or language is not because I’m ashamed of the philosophy that guides me but rather because I want as many as possible to feel both invited into and respected in the discussion. And it’s entirely my fault that I haven’t done a better job of monitoring the character of the discourse, which has become unnecessarily provocative, alienating, and even ill-spirited at times. Sometimes the most insidious damage can be done when, in a lack of awareness about the influence of our own wounds, unresolved anger, unresolved trust issues, etc., we end up unnecessarily wounding someone when we only really mean to help. And because we all have a tendency to generalize from our own experience, it can be really difficult at times to know where someone else is coming from. So while I would never ask anyone to deny or forsake their deepest convictions, I urge all the commentators to heighten their mindfulness about the very different emotional, mental, psychological, and spiritual places everyone may be in and to generally steer clear of intense political or religious debate that might unnecessarily divide or alienate. And I’ll do my best to do a better job monitoring things (BTW, a very big “thank you” to everyone who’s been so thoughtful to contact me directly or otherwise call my attention to matters of concern on the blog!).

      Does this make sense?

      1. Dear Dr. Simon, It does make sence as does everything you say in such well thought through and presented words. I only regret that you have been bothered in this, I know you are a busy man and recovering from your fairly recent surgery. My best to you always, Puddle

  20. Hi, I have read this blog ~2X per week for the last 5 years. Just like most all of its visitors, I found unbelievable clarity, relief, and understanding in Dr. Simon’s books and on this blog at a time when I was being mistreated by a very bizarre, aggressive, unhealthy person. I am ever-grateful.
    I think it is very important to remember that J is not here to defend himself. If what I read at some point in the last week is true, he is currently banned from posting. It is not OK IMO to talk about folks in a negative way when they are voiceless. What I can say about J is that I truly liked what he had to say. He was very consistent and predictable (this is a good thing IMO) and brought up angles of perspective that were thought-provoking. If I remember correctly, it was J who recommended Theodore Millon’s work. Now let’s give credit where it is due! Dr. Simon has recommended Theodore Millon’s work in all of his books (heavily referenced). But I’m pretty sure it was J who brought it up for discussion here on the blog in the posting section. I have yet to read the recommended book, but I’ve done a lot of researching online and downloaded some journal articles by Millon and it is fascinating stuff (see link below). These were the suggestions that J regularly made. I fail to see how J’s contributions were offensive or rude. I saw a very defensive post of his recently, and it seemed very human a response for what was going on at the time:

    I am 100% with puddle that J’s contributions were unique and possibly not perfectly suited to a blog like this. But then you must define what a blog like this really is. It is so unique! According to some, it seems, it is for survivors of abuse. I would say that this is a great place for survivors of abuse but not solely for that. I believe those forums are quite special and heavily moderated for sensitivity. Recall that Dr. Simon’s message is regularly about freedom, including freedom of speech. Doesn’t it also make sense that this blog would be for thoughtful discussion around the topics of personality, character, etc? It seemed to me that J regularly contributed in that way. I don’t think this blog was meant to be exclusively filled with posts describing experienced abuse and posts expressing empathy for the others’ experience. While that is a fantastic and very necessary thing, a total life-line for some, it just doesn’t seem to be the complete purpose of this site.

    Now I have just extrapolated a ton from what I’ve read and heard from Dr. Simon. He is the only one who can clearly define the exact purpose and the boundaries for posting here.

    That said, Dr. Simon has stated he would like input and help with this matter. I saw some excellent suggestions. GG and Anne (and others!) above outline excellent recommendations. I would like to add:

    Maybe consider posting sections?? Perhaps an area where people can post exclusively on personal stories of abuse and are in need of support and hope (this may be an area for which to have a special registration); A section on CBT; A section on spirituality, etc. A web designer might be needed to assist in that kind of categorization and redesign I think.

    I also have an idea on moderation that I will develop better and share with Dr. Simon on the back channel.

    Wherever this blog ends up. I just want to say that I really appreciated that there is a great degree of freedom for expression on this site and the ability to pipe up in the moment on a specific topic, whether or not it related well to the article posted. But given the recent issues, I fully understand why Dr. Simon and others are calling for change….

    Lastly, J I hope you are doing well! Thank you so much for the contributions you have made along the way. I appreciate having been challenged to think about things a little differently based on your suggestions. All the best to you, all the best to everyone visiting this amazing site.

    PS: Scholarly articles by Theodore Millon as mentioned above:

    1. I’d like to add an important point here about “J”s withdrawal from blog discussion. J came to the conclusion, and I believe rightly so, that it would be best to leave the forum and do some serious reflecting. In a reply to a person who contacted me directly, I carefully worded my statement about J leaving. I did not say, nor is it true that J was “banned” by me. And I also think it best not comment directly about someone not present to “defend” him/herself. In fact, I don’t see much room for “personal” confrontations of any type that might easily be interpreted as attacks, smears, etc. Sometimes the discussion needs to be direct and thought-provoking, but I can’t find any reason why things need to get personal or disrespectful in any way. Besides, the very best confrontations are the ones done with such a respectful tone that only thing truly called out and therefore the rightful object of attention is the behavior of concern.

      1. In reply to what you have said Dr. Simon, in regards to J……..and on this one thing in particular, excluding any other issues right or wrong on his part……..I do feel and did observe that there was a language gap and more than likely a culture gap that I think J struggled with in his wording and communication. I think he tried hard to overcome that and from what I heard, had made improvements. Admittedly I did think this was not the appropriate place for some of the discussions he wanted to have and perhaps his timing was not always good, etc. but as I’ve said before… He did show me and others support and endlessly offered helpful, sound reading material and other suggestions, some of which were better recieved than others. I did appreciate his efforts and hope that in time this can all be seen in a better light. So thank you J for the positives that you contributed here and if this is all just a massive misunderstanding, I’m sorry if it has caused you to feel persecuted. As LisaO said, I (we) were in a situation on a different site in the initial stages of our recovery and were targeted unfairly by others on the site. We both were struggling with a very complex set of combined issues in addition to dealing with the aftermath of being targeted by one of these losers and getting your teeth kicked in by the people who supposedly understand and are there to help you was equally traumatizing and in a way, worse. But to feel falsely accused and misunderstood is a horrible thing no matter what else may be going on in your life.
        Again, I’m not saying J was 100% right or 100% wrong……….I’m just saying.

      2. Dr.Simon,

        You are such a kind and wise person, it just kind of blows my mind. I want to be less of a hot head and more like you one day!

      3. My apologies! I either misinterpreted or read in someone else’s post a different version. Thank you for the clarification. And I’m so glad to hear it. ~Linda

  21. Hi Linda, that was a very well written post and the short version of how I feel and think about the issue at hand is that I think there is more to this than meets the eye. Thank you for making some good points and for the website suggestions. I like the idea of maybe having different sections or something along those lines but I aldo think Dr.Simon has his hands full as it is. I hope that for the benifit of all people who come here, a measured and helpful direction can be found. I’m afraid these things can be expected whenever humans are involve, kind of goes with the territory to varying degrees.
    Hope you are doing well and it’s nice to see you pop in from time to time. I remember at the begining of my recovery process you always had sound and helpful things to say….. The voice of reason and sanity. I really needed that then and still appreciate it!

  22. Linda, Puddle,

    Such thoughtful posts. Thanks. And yes, false accusations are horrifying to have to deal with. Misinterpretations fueled by hysteria are also difficult as heck. The after-Path experience carries with it a risk of ending up on a forum with victims who need professional help, or moderation at the very least. If they don’t get it, the tiniest anamalous feature of a fellow poster’s experience or personality is going to raise red flags. There is also a tremendous desire, by some, to punish somebody, anybody to self empower after a psychologically debilitating experience. These are probably unconscious processes.

    I love this blog because things never spin completely out of control. Dr. Simon is here to prevent that.

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