Abuse Victims Mistake Interest for Regard

Abuse victims often wonder how their relationships turned so toxic. When they met their significant other things were different. That person wanted to be with them. They seemed happy to be in their company. They brought them presents. And, they did things for them. Many things. And everything they did seemed to say they loved them. So, how could things change so drastically?

Abuse Victims Mistake Interest for Regard

Just because someone sees something in you they like doesn’t mean they care about you. It can simply mean they see something they desire and hope to possess. (Read more about “possessive thinking” in Character Disturbance.)

Unfortunately, folks who end up abused and exploited often mistake great interest for high regard. But nothing could be further from the case. Someone can desire you intensely merely because they see a situation they want to exploit. Perhaps you’re stable and financially responsible and can afford them security and lifestyle. Or, perhaps, you’re so physically attractive that your mere association with them feeds their ego. When someone appears to desire you intensely, it can really flatter. However, it can also make you think they value you in other, more important ways.

Learning the Hard Way about Genuine Regard

If real loving were easy, everyone would do it. There would be no need to command it, as every spiritual leader in history has. Desire is different from love. We desire without effort. We see things we like or believe will bring us pleasure. Then, we go after those things, sometimes with great passion.

Abuse victims learn the hard way that interest doesn’t equal regard. Unfortunately, they learn it after they’ve been exploited or mistreated. Eventually, they learn that real character reflects the capacity for true caring. When empathy, openness, genuineness, and free self-giving combine, true love manifests.

Genuine Love – Unconditional Positive Regard

Loving genuinely does not come naturally. But our hearts are made for it. Sadly, our minds have a hard time grasping it. We enter and grow in a hostile world. It’s a world where everyone is grasping. In such a world, we learn to grasp ourselves. And we learn how to protect and defend. In so doing, our hearts inevitably close. It’s the way of the world.

My upcoming book on the “10 commandment of character” is all about learning to truly love. And, as you know, its release has been repeatedly delayed. That’s because I’m trying to convey some of the deepest psychological and spiritual truths in it. The task has challenged me as writer like nothing before. Changing hearts is how we’ll change the world. And that change always has to start with ourselves. I hope my book will speak well to that.

Character Matters

We may be close to a deal for a relaunch of Character Matters. The format might change some, but the main focus will remain the same. In the meantime, you can access the podcasts on the UCY.TV YouTube channel.

41 thoughts on “Abuse Victims Mistake Interest for Regard

  1. This topic is so important, it speaks to the process of how we become who we are. I believe empaths become caretakers for many reasons, just like there are many factors a charactered disordered individual becomes a narcissist, a sociopath, a psychopath and soforth.

    There was a time when I had no idea what verbal abuse entailed. I believed that one should have the ability to throw off verbal encounters, such as “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me.” I was also lead to believe though covert tactics that I was the one with the problem. Society, though the venue of music, television, movies, etc., propagates violence, verbal abuse, degraation of humanity and promotes the demigod Selfie.

    In prior Topics Dr. Simon talked about Bullies, Covert Manipulation, Deception, Covert tactics, which in reality are games the CD plays. In blunt terms the abuser
    Mind F$^&$# us. The end game is for us to be a slave, a whipping post, a scapegoat, a forever supply for the CD Individual. The CD uses deceitful mind control tactics on us with the goal to destroy our personhood. What a way to wake up.

    Simply put, verbal abuse is a manipulation tactic used to control another through non-physical means to control ones behaviors, feelings, or decisions. Many times, the controlling or coercive behaviors are disguised as love or concern. Other times the abuse of power is more overt. Either way, the abuse can result in fear for the person being bullied, fear of humiliation, fear of failure, or fear of physical violence or abandonment.

    I believe in so many instances, the empath, simply Loves To Much.

  2. BTOV

    • Whole Object Relations:
    This is the capacity to see oneself and others in a stable and integrated way that acknowledges both the person’s good and bad qualities.

    • Object Constancy:
    This is the ability to maintain a positive emotional connection to someone that you like while you are angry, hurt, frustrated, or disappointed by his or her behaviour.

    As WHOLE AND HEALTHY Humans we also possess the above abilities. We see THEIR INTEREST as Dr Simon says as regard. We see them as flawed creatures, as we see the gifts as KINDNESS. BUT???????

    The cognitive dissonance we EXPERIENCE I BELIEVE IS WHAT MAKES US ILL,
    UNTIL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    They go to far and WE SEE DO’NT WE, WE SEE SO VERY CLEARLY



    1. Joey.

      And What We See is the Ugly Truth.

      No matter how ugly: The Truth Sets Us Free……………………………….

      Kindred Spirit

      Bonrfire of the Vanities

    2. So true. Our son, such a bully, verbal abuse, silent treatment, no contact. The worse is he is the “gatekeeper” & he will not let us see or call our 4 GC. We have been very involved & close to these children. My last meeting with him he said “ they will quit asking for you & forget all about you.” So mean to his Mom & Dad.

  3. Off Topic

    I am completely alone at work tomorrow (16 th July)
    I will be in charge of £ 1 000,000 worth of machines

    Wish me luck I will need it, I am nervous

    1. Joey,

      I believe your employers entrusted you with an important job before. Your employer knows you can do it. We believe in you too. now believe in yourself,
      I know you will shine.

      Many Blessing

    2. Joey,
      Let us now how it goes. I can imagine the nerves . . . You’ve come a long way. Cheers to you.

  4. Joey,

    I believe your employers entrusted you with an important job before. Your employer knows you can do it. We believe in you too. now believe in yourself,
    I know you will shine.

    Many Blessing

  5. Off topic,
    I had an “interesting Facebook conversation recently and the tactic this person used was irritating, but amusing, but I immediately saw the red flags. I want to share some of this conversation: It was a political conversation.
    After being called out on using falsities in his argument, he posted:
    Bill: Actually I was making stuff up to get a reaction . . . kinda like the media does, right? smile face j/k
    Me: That’s messed up. You’re a waste of time.
    Bill: Good grief . . . did you see j/k? That means “just kidding”. Some folks take things soooooo seriously!
    Me: That wasn’t a joke. Bullshit.
    Bill: Really? If you weren’t so uptight, you might find your sense of humor somewhere. Relax, lady, it’s gonna be ok.
    Me: I’m fine Billy. YOu need to relax and not get so uptight about others not laughing at your veiled “jokes”. It’s ok. You’ll find an audience for your comedy. Geez – you can’t take a joke.
    Bill: Only my wife gets the privilege of calling me Billy. Thanks for respecting that in the future.

    At this point I did not respond again. I got the last word and I got his goat.

    1. Lucy,

      Stopping on first line would have worked perfectly fine… 🙂 assuming he was almost stranger, a group member, or friend’s friend.
      Bill: Actually I was making stuff up to get a reaction . . . kinda like the media does, right? smile face j/k
      Me: Good Bye

    2. You did exactly what he wanted—you fell into his trap You did NOT “get his goat”——and did exactly as expected-definition of internet troll is Billy.You gave him your time,etc. He “won” and “got your goat”

  6. You have all these “professionals” – yourself included – dictating what is and isn’t appropriate human behavior…. People in crisis like me turn to you “experts” and adapt our thinking and behavior based on your “theories” and subsequent advice….. only to discover years later that the “theories” and advice were – “misguided”….

    I have a 31 year old daughter whose life is far from being functional due to the parenting style I chose to follow based on the “current psychological theories”….

    Psychology is “crap shoot” and your “theories” – just like “cults” have far reaching consequences.

    Be very careful with the sword you wield…

  7. Bill: Actually I was making stuff up to get a reaction . . . kinda like the media does, right? smile face j/k

    My reply

    Joey: Actually I was making stuff up to get a reaction . . . kinda like the media does, right? smile face j/k

    Just to say IS’NT MAKING STUFF UP CALLED LYING. I wish to point out about YOUR BEHAVIOUR.


  8. The depth of human destruction from betrayal (personal and professional) is far reaching.

    Most of us are groomed to live by the mantra “do unto to others as you would have done unto you”. A very noble human construct to live by”.. until You find yourself immersed in the current psychological theories… Whoa – what once was considered as doing unto others is NOW considered “projecting”…. wanting and inexplicably needing to bond with others is considered “codependent”… Where does a highly conscientious and empathetic person go NOW ?? The destruction if this relationship was unwittingly MY fault.. ??!!

    1. I am the “product” of the psycho local theories of the 80’s… strictly subscribing to the theories and advice … My 31 year old daughter has absorbed the “entitlement” unwittingly gleaned from my raising her under these “expert” constructs …. NOW I’m told their “theories” were misguided ….

      1. Please – for your own well being – weigh the information you’re receiving – and follow your gut – not some advice you gleaned from a book or website…

      2. Leslie, I think this is part of my sons problem too. Lots of Naricisstic traits. He has estranged from us & NC, especially with our 4 GC. So sad

    2. Leslie,

      “The destruction if this relationship was unwittingly MY fault.. ??!!”

      In my opinion, questions should be:
      – Are you still in that harmful relationship?
      – If yes, are you taking steps to protect yourself?
      – If no, does it matter what others think?

  9. Leslie,
    You’ve said a lot there.
    I’ve come to learn to throw away many of the quotes of advice I grew up with. They don’t apply when dealing with character disturbed people, nor are those sayings applicable to every situation. Life is not black and white.
    We deal with relationships in the ways we think is right, the ways we’ve been taught, and guided (or misguided). Ever notice how siblings of a family have their own way, their own personalities, their own way of life, coming from the same family?
    As an adult our “children” need to step it up and take responsibility for their own behaviors.
    If you haven’t read Dr. Simon’s books, I highly suggest you read them. THey are informative on all issues surrounding the character disordered person.

    Did you come here to give “warnings” or come here to learn?

    1. Both…. I suppose.. I learned in my early 20’s how everything I was taught growing up was “wrong”.. I “regrouped” and changed a lot of my thinking patterns and behavior accordingly… only to discover years later that the information was “misguided”…. How in the world does anyone learn what is and isn’t “socially acceptable” ?? Isn’t caring about what other people think thoughtful and conscientious ?? but wait – then I’m told how I shouldn’t care what other people think… I’m taught the “golden rule” then told that I’m “projecting”… Life is definitely not “black and white” but it sure would be easier if the “rules of engagement” were more clearly defined..

      1. Leslie,
        I’m constantly regrouping. We live and learn. If people think badly of what you’ve said or done, that’s their head, their brain, their thought process. You can’t live your life according to what someone else “thinks” of you.
        Take what you’ve learned and apply it. Life is difficult. People are difficult. You got to find your happy median in there somewhere. There is no rule to follow.

        1. Lucy, Leslie,

          Me too, I’m constantly regrouping. Other people don’t know what’s best for us, we do. They may think they do and they may or not have good intentions. I’ve had a lot of therapists give me, what in hindsight was terrible, guidance and feedback and I applied it and felt like a big fat failure because it only made things worse. Live and learn.

          For me it has come down to getting as much information as I can, check the validity of my sources and their potential agendas (predators often act like they know best and it’s NOT what’s best for you), and figure out what makes sense to me according to my values. If it affects the other person too, well then, yes, I care what they think/want. If it doesn’t affect them, then no. Not everyone will be happy or approve of what we do, but that’s their issue. We give away a lot of power when we look to others for permission, approval, etc..

          I think the “rules of engagement” change according to who you are dealing with. If someone tries to make me doubt myself, I don’t listen to them and get away from them. If someone tries to make me feel less than or bad about myself, I don’t listen to them and get away from them. They are not a reliable source of information and are not a healthy person for me to be around.

          As far a my daughter, who is slightly younger than yours, I think I have an idea what you mean. I worked my butt off and really tried to “get it right”, to be the healthiest parent I could be. I went to therapy and sought guidance as to what limits were age appropriate, how to help us both deal with her father’s destructive behavior, etc… I also made sure she had therapy to help her deal with her feelings.

          I did my best, followed the guidance and the results are very disappointing so far. I know I did my very best, I gave it my all.

          All we can do is do our best with the information we have, learn our lessons, mourn, dust ourselves off, and keep moving forward.

          1. Lucy, Joey, Andy, Lydia, E, Jean, Ariel, Kat, Lydia, Sdyney, Healing, Leslie, so many of you you who follow along, your voices are important.

            I think it all boils down to choices, choices to accept, deal with, hide, blame others using fear, obligation, oand guilt or decide to work through Dr. Simon’s new book : The 10 Commandments of Character, wherein we accept the onus is on us. Truly, we can only change ourselves and mayhap by changing ourselves, we can be the change for the world. I don’t know, in time we will see.

            Blessings to All

  10. Ariel,

    Are you ok? Haven’t heard from you in a while. And Jean. Will you pop in and let us know how life is?

  11. Leslie,
    Can you describe a specific example? Its hard to understand generalities. Were you accused of projecting and what led to that accusation? What was your intention and how were you perceived differently by another than what your intention was? I think its easier to untangle thinking when there are specifics. I find a lot of peoples behavior confusing and often don’t understand unless I know a lot more about the person. Its difficult because often people have assumptions and jump to conclusions. We all do it though.

    1. I was in what I now know was a “pathological love relationship”.. It ended horribly… I stumbled upon a new term called “reactive abuse”… Look it up… It explains a lot.. In my desperate effort to save myself both personally and professionally – I was the one who lost EVERYTHING because I couldn’t control my reactions and ultimately was/am viewed as the disordered – even viewed as such from the professionals I was desperately seeking help from… I’m told I’m not an island and don’t have to go it all alone – but I don’t have much faith and trust left – even for myself because I should have known better… At a time when I needed my brain and innate survival instincts to override all other systems … they failed me… ie… I no longer trust myself to protect myself…

      1. Leslie,

        I’m hearing you and will come back to this. Really busy at work at the moment.
        You’re going to be all right. First step is you’re out of a troubled relationship. Now you’ll able to work on yourself.
        I promise, I’ll get back to you.

        1. Leslie,

          I am glad you found Dr. Simons blog and would encourage to continue to post and read the blog. I am sure many of the regular commentors will get back to you. You are not alone in this, it happens to manner. The CDNSP are very skilled in turning everything on their target victim.

          What is important right now is to be kind to yourself, understand it isn’t your fault, redirect your attention to yourself and begin the healing process. Many posters on this blog have experienced what you are expressing, your not alone and we do believe you.

          Leslie, don’t give the rest of your power away, fight for yourself and grow. You can go forward and start over as so many of us have done. Its not an easy road by any means, however, you will find reward and blessings you never imagined. Just take it one day at a time, one hour at a time or even minute by minute. Leslie, you are a valuable person, don’t let a CD individual keep defining you.

          Leslie, I hope you will check back and continue to post. Know you are welcome and we will try to help you as much as possible. I will add to your post later, in the meantime;
          Hugs dear one, be well and God Bless.

  12. I have some news

    I drove home through the village that my the mother lived in. I still like the area, it is a nice place.
    As I drove through I think I saw the niece. standing at a bus stop as I drove through on my way home.

    She has putting it mildly PUT ON SOME WEIGHT. I am fat my self, But I think she must have put on some 100lbs in the space of three years. Gathering from what I briefly saw things do’nt look to good.

    My point is, when You abandon them, you leave their troubles for them to deal with.
    If you cannot except things and feel shame, then you will never learn.


    Note to all

    Thank you so much for your kind words with regards to my job


    1. Joey,

      I have tried to follow your back round, if I may ask, how does the niece fit into all this? As I am reading your response “when You abandon them.” At first I felt like I did abandon ship, then I felt like I was abandoned, today I feel their was no abandonment on either side. I couldn’t abandon someone that was never there, nor could they abandon me as I really never existed. If this makes sense?

      Please let me if know if I am reading this wrong and point out what I may not be understanding. Thanks

      1. Joey,

        You do make sense. What you said is so true. I felt as though I had abandoned my brother, but I didn’t. He was essentially never ever there
        in the 1st place. To that extent he only ever truly existed (as did my mother) in my imagination. So sad to try and cling so fiercely to what essentially
        never existed. But this is our world and also that of those who are covertly CD. They can make us believe at times, as if our entire lives were a lie. While at the same time knowing, on some level, that we always knew the truth even though it often eluded us, in this sometimes backward upside down
        world. Trying to comprehend the incomprehensible takes extraordinary strength of character.

        So grateful for having found this place, where others share their hard won
        wisdom and insights. You are all a gift to me. In a world where some of us
        are forced to face the hardest truths and many who we turn to for solace are
        unable to be there for us. They are suspect they do not understand it is
        easier to let us go than to accept our truths, pain and confusion. We’ve already lost a great deal but ironically also gained great strength. It is
        at times, as if our whole lives at last made sense. And now we’re able to say, “be gone, you have no power here,” from the Wizard of Oz. And also, from
        the poem “Invictus” I believe it is, “I am the master of my fate, I am the
        Captain of my soul” or something quite similar.

        Thank you all for being exactly who you are and who you were always
        meant to have been, Jackie

  13. Jackie,

    Thank you for your insightful and beautiful post. I know, had I not gone through all the trials and lets say nightmares I have endured I would not be who I am today. Unless one has experienced what many of us have gone through, one wonders how another can even imagine or empathize.

    There is so much sadness, destruction, brokenness, depths of despair, human torment and the list goes on, reported on this blog. Yet, at the same time one can experience understanding, love, compassion, kindness, generosity, gifts of the spirit and remarkable strength of character by the very individuals who were victimized by the CD.

    I have to say I would never had found Dr SImons blog had it not been for my past experiences. This blog has been a blessing for me along with getting to know many of the wonderful posters past and present who have touched me deeply.

    Welcome Jackie

  14. Leslie,

    I’d never heard of “reactive abuse”, and I just read a couple of articles, and oh my goodness, that was me! So I fully understand your situation. Abuse on top of abuse on top of abuse – don’t we have to react in some way, have some type of emotion besides those that makes everything seem hunky dorey? Of course we have emotions, unless we drug ourselves enough to not feel.
    I was driven to a point where I knew I needed to stay away from the X (he wasn’t an X at the time) because of my anger and rage from the things I’d find out about him. He did things to trigger me, purposely. He knew my touchy spots. He played this game – me being the crazy dangerous person. Even filed court documents. Told everyone that would listen how crazy I was. He took it to the extreme. What a nightmare it was.
    So yes, I completely understand what you’ve gone through.

    “but I don’t have much faith and trust left – even for myself because I should have known better… At a time when I needed my brain and innate survival instincts to override all other systems … they failed me… ie… I no longer trust myself to protect myself…”
    Give yourself some time. You were fighting it, trying to make sense of it, possibly trying to make things work out, like some of us were taught, till death do us part.
    The thing is, you know now what’s happened. You’ve learned from it, are still learning. We have to regroup. We have to be rid of these crazy sayings we grew up with. We don’t have to blind trust a spouse, or other. We need to use our brains. ONLY TRUST THOSE WORTHY OF YOUR TRUST.
    Sure you can trust yourself. You are here, still learning, and you will come out ok. Learn to read the signs, and believe the signs when you see them.
    I know I’ll never again be with a person with poor character. I’m done with it. I bet you are too.

    1. Hello, my name is Chris.

      Sorry, there never seems to be enough time to introduce myself or explain my approach to life, the universe and everything…

      However, I would like to reach out to Lucy and Leslie… with a few words.

      Just “words”.

      That’s all they are… abstractions of ideas, thoughts, meaning, purpose and feelings.

      However, without the context of a relationship, for knowing, or perceiving, wanting or loving… They are just ‘words’.

      What is behind our ‘words’ – our actions? Our intentions, our motives and desires, our shame, guilt and pain?

      Our character?

      What is our Character?

      We know from his many books, and of Dr. George Simon’s views – that Character matters.

      Character is not knowable of perceivable – without the risks and danger of
      a ‘relationship’.

      So, be careful – don’t judge prematurely… wait and see… trust when you don’t know; but be wise and wait for the revelations of a person’s character that will come – only from the relationship.

      Friends at work, a neighbor, your pastor, doctor, brother, mother, wife, sister, father, daughter, son or me.

      Am I your friend? Can you trust me?

      What’s behind all of these ‘words’ – a person? Feelings, emotions… love? A narcissist? A psychopath ? A jerk?

      Words matter, people matter – but without a relationship you’ll never know. You might jump to conclusions. You might dismiss and judge. You might cause the same pain and harm in rejecting someone – that you don’t really know.

      Unless you invest the time and take the risks of opening yourself up to a relationship. You may become just as cold hearted, just as wounding – as the people in your life, in your past and present – that have wounded you. Hurt you deeply. Betrayed you, mocked you and humiliated you on a public forum.

      Why not forgive them, and try again? Take your time. There’s no rush. Just look for someone to listen, care and share your thoughts and feelings.

      A friend you haven’t met. The relationships you have tried. The person you need to seek forgiveness from? The relationships you need to heal, before you can heal? Whatever makes sense to you. Take the time to build some relationships that are healthy and safe. Kind and forgiving. Supportive and caring.

      We know you can’t have a relationship with a narcissist; but not everyone will hurt you. Not everyone.

      So take the time to find the people you can trust. Invest yourself in the support and well being of someone else. Show them, that you care. Listen when they share.

      I am not the master of my fate, nor I am the Captain of my soul. I depend on the gentle and tender attention of those who are kind enough to consider me a friend.

      Don’t build higher walls around your heart or a castle for your soul. Live by giving… and learn to be wise in choosing friends who are humble enough to listen.

      Thanks for listening,

      Chris M.

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