You can sum up what all major life turnarounds require in one word: willingness.
People, places, and things can’t possibly make us happy. But we can keep happy company with them. Finding our own happiness first is the key.
These days we have all kinds of ways to explain people’s dysfunction. And while there are indeed times when a perfectly healthy person’s biochemistry suddenly and for no apparent reason goes kaflooey, and cases where unpredictable tragedy so traumatizes that it temporarily impairs even the most well-adjusted person, more often, a person’s character not only predisposes the problems they experience in life but also exacerbates those problems when they occur.
Narcissistic grandiosity is mostly a matter of exaggeration – especially exaggerated self-importance and capability. And, when such grandiosity goes unchecked, it can lead to much bigger problems.
When we try too hard to understand we inadvertently revoke the power we have. Understanding can’t itself empower. Taking action empowers.
No one makes a major life course-correction without submitting to a higher power or operating principle. But narcissists have a big problem with that.
In many ways, character is like a psychological immune system. Stressful things happen to all of us, but when you have a rightly developed will, you can more readily summon the internal resources to weather the storms of life. Still, the strength and solidity of our will must always be tested.
Not all undisciplined behavior represents a genuine addiction. And while there are some rare exceptions, most true addictions don’t just develop overnight. There’s a typical pathway to getting “hooked.” And that pathway is littered with many clear warning signs. Healthy characters respect and heed those signs. But underdeveloped characters tend to ignore or disregard them. That’s why character, and mastering character’s “sixth command,” is so important.
It’s an unfortunate reality that when character disturbances either fail to be recognized or are improperly labeled as something else, the problems associated with those disturbances can be “enabled” to continue or even worsen.
If someone’s behavior and impulse control problems are truly a problem of chemistry, then appropriate medication (and supportive counseling) is what’s indicated. But if the problem is primarily one of character, then the person’s way of looking at the world – the various ways they think about things, the attitudes they hold, etc. – all need to be confronted and corrected in within a highly specialized treatment framework.