How we see ourselves matters. And how we behave toward ourselves matters even more. Healthy self-regard defines the evolved character. And unhealthy self-regard is the hallmark of character disturbance.
Hardness of Heart What do we mean when we talk about “hardness of heart”? Folks with hardened hearts have an impaired ability to empathize. They also have an impaired ability to truly connect. This makes healthy, intimate relationships virtually impossible. The harder one’s heart, the harder it is to achieve real intimacy and to truly … Continue reading Character Disturbance and Hardness of Heart
Personal integrity reaches its height in the absence of pretense. The truly decent character has searched his/her heart, knows it well, and strives to keep it pure. This takes a great deal of persistent mindfulness.
Abusive relationship partners are often relentless. They hate to miss an opportunity to denigrate and dominate. And over time, their victims can begin to see themselves in the same negative way their abusers cast them.
Fair fighting is fighting with principle. It’s strong advocacy tempered with care and concern. When we fight fairly, with principle, and with care not to needlessly injure, we build instead of destroy.
Fighting dirty is fighting without principle-guided limits and boundaries. It’s placing winning over everything and using whatever tactics or psychological “weapons” you can think of to secure the dominant position. Such fighting is the destroyer of relationships.
Some things are well worth fighting for. But there’s a way to go about this enterprise that builds as opposed to destroys.
Assertiveness is fair, principled, disciplined, fighting. And it’s the kind of just self-advocacy coupled with mindful concern for the impact on others that defines healthy character.
Deceit is the hallmark trait of manipulative characters. And there are many ways to deceive. Some disturbed characters are so skilled in the subtlest forms of lying that they have raised it nearly to an art form.
Covert narcissism is narcissism under cover. Covert narcissists can be quite lovable and charming. So, beware. What you can’t readily see can hurt you.