Loving relationships can promote character growth, that’s for sure. But when someone has significant character disturbance no amount of loving care alone can fix things.
We grow in character by learning to love rightly. That takes considerable, committed effort. But the payoffs are immense. Unfortunately, in our character impaired times, too few among us are willing to pay the price.
When we live in love and act in love we have the power to change the world. That’s because we ourselves have been transformed.
How we regard ourselves and our personal power reflects our character integrity. Healthy characters don’t discount themselves. But they also don’t overrate themselves. They have a healthy sense of balance about what’s truly belongs to them and what derives from a “higher power.”
We all have distinctive, preferred ways of relating to others. And those distinctive “styles” of relating define our personalities. But when our very manner of relating is in itself the source of problems, we call it a personality disturbance. A style of relating to others so rigid, so ingrained, so extreme in its manifestation, and so deviant from the norm of a culture that it severely and negatively impacts a person’s ability to function well has traditionally qualified as a disorder.
It’s hard for me to think of a human dilemma I’ve encountered that didn’t have at its root a lack of positive regard for a person and the preciousness of their life.
Vulnerable narcissists haven’t fashioned a balanced or well-grounded view of their own worth. Pay attention to them and revere them, and all is fine. Ask anything of them, and you’ll quickly learn how “shallow” they are. This makes true intimacy impossible. They may do all sorts of things to “prove” they’re love-worthy. But they don’t know their true worth. And they neither know how to love nor how to be loved.
Embracing the 10 Commandments promotes good character. But doing so also promotes healthy, intimate relationships.
To have character integrity you have to not only be genuine but also principled. Moreover, to be properly principled you have to both respect and be willing to subordinate yourself to some “higher power” or authority.
Genuineness is a rare commodity these days. But of all wondrous things I’ve experienced in my years doing therapy, nothing compares to engaging with a person soul-to-soul.