Command 8: Fighting Fairly and Rightly

Character Commandments Review

I’ve been discussing the 10 “commandments” of sound character development. Heeding and mastering these directives is key to becoming psychologically healthy and socially responsible. I’ve discussed the importance of overcoming our inherent egocentricity. This lets us and come to a sense of our true place in a much bigger reality. And we’ve addressed the importance of being mindful of the impact we make on others and the world around us. We’ve looked at guarding against a sense of entitlement by cultivating gratitude. We need a balanced sense of self-worth. We must be master of our appetites. And it’s imperative we be honest in our reckonings with ourselves and others.

The above-mentioned imperatives are all important to be sure. But it’s hard to think of any problem in human relations that doesn’t stem from a failure to adequately discipline one of our strongest instincts: aggression. Freud had it right. Our untamed sexual and aggressive instincts are at the root of many of our relationship problems. So, it behooves us to gain mastery over them. And fighting rightly and fairly is particularly key to good character.

Human Nature and Aggression

People have always done a lot more fighting in their daily lives than they like to admit. In the arena of human relations, if we’re not making some kind of love, we’re generally making some kind of war. Our instinct to aggress is a close cousin of our survival instinct. We go after the things we think we need to survive and prosper. Now, just how we go about this daily fight largely defines our character. Fighting for what we need but with principle and respect and concern for others transforms aggressive behavior into assertive behavior. Assertive folks fight hard for their own needs but with care not to injure others or trample their rights and needs. And assertively striving to improve a bad situation is fighting constructively as opposed to destructively.

The 8th “Commandment” of sound character is all about mastering our aggressive instincts. It’s one of the principal commandments the disturbed and disordered characters among us have failed to heed. And you have to reflect very long on the nature of the conflicts that rage around the world or even in our homes and workplaces to know that people don’t always take the constructive assertive as opposed to the aggressive and destructive path.

Fighting Rightly – The Eighth Commandment

Here then is the Eighth Commandment of sound character development:

Neither your tendency to anger nor your instinct to aggress is inherently evil.  (Although wrath is a “deadly sin.”) Anger is nature’s way of prompting you to take action to remedy a bad situation. You have the right to look out for your welfare. But you also have an obligation to consider the welfare of others. And it behooves you to be unnerved by certain circumstances. Some things in life really do have to be fought for. But when you do fight, fight fairly and with principle. Above all, fight constructively and for a truly just cause.

Do not strive to simply gain advantage over others. And take care not to needlessly injure. Expend your aggressive energy in a manner that builds as opposed to destroys. Respect the rights, needs, and boundaries of those with whom you struggle. Appreciate also when it’s in yours and everyone’s best interest to back-down, back-off, concede, or even capitulate. Managing your aggressive urges thoughtfully and effectively is the task of a lifetime. Yet it is a task that when well-done — perhaps more than any other task you face in life — defines your character.

Character and Aggression

I’ve counseled many individuals over the years. Some made their lives a shipwreck because they never gained mastery over their aggressive tendencies. While a few had longstanding “anger issues,” others did not. Remember, anger is not necessarily the precipitant of aggression. Sometimes, aggression is born simply of desire. And some folks simply never learned how to moderate their aggressive pursuit of what they wanted. They ended up running over others and doing great damage in the process. Some were overt aggressors. Others were more covert, slyly fighting or manipulating, to get their way. Both kinds of fighters brought untold pain into their relationships. For these individuals, acquiring the controls necessary to fight rightly was the task of a lifetime.

I’ll be having lots more to say on this very important “commandment” in the coming weeks.

Sunday Night Update

Once again, Character Matters on Sunday, Nov 13, 2016 will be a rebroadcast of an earlier program. But we’ll be back live Nov 20. So if you want to join the conversation, call in at (718) 717-8296.

More Updates

Look for information soon on the coming release of my new book:

The Ten Commandments of Character: How to Lead a Significant Life

And for all those toxic relationship survivors looking to navigate their way through our character disordered world, Dr. Armistead and I offer:

How Did We End Up Here?

Many thanks to those positively reviewing and recommending our book. Your goodwill is helping to make it another bestseller.

The Brazilian (Portuguese language) edition of In Sheep’s Clothing was released last week. It’s a wonderful addition to the many other versions of this international bestseller.

94 thoughts on “Command 8: Fighting Fairly and Rightly

  1. But when you do fight, fight fairly and with principle. Principled Willpower.

    But when you do fight, fight unscrupulously and with no principle. Unprincipled Willpower. This is how I see the DC’s learning curve, by nature or nurture

  2. Some were overt aggressors. Others were more covert, slyly fighting or manipulating, to get their way. Both kinds of fighters brought untold pain into their relationships. For these individuals, acquiring the controls necessary to fight rightly was the task of a lifetime.

    Some were overt aggressors. This is what I think happened to my uncle. He was subjected MORE, to this kind of treatment.

    AND THEN Others were more covert, slyly fighting or manipulating, to get their way. THE mother/grandmother team changed their strategy

  3. I find it very helpful to recognize that “anger is not necessarily the precipitant of aggression. Sometimes, aggression is born simply of desire.” I think the tendency of conscientious individuals is to assume that if someone treats us with aggression, we must have done something to hurt that person (and one can torture oneself with vague and senseless guilt derived from that false assumption). It is useful to understand that some people act aggressively because they find it fun and exciting and “purposeful” (in a distorted kind of way) to do so, and they do not seem to have the concern for the wellbeing of others that would prevent them from acting aggressively and make them realize what they are losing. I love the description that “assertive folks fight hard for their own needs but with care not to injure others or trample their and needs.” I think this is related to the concept of the “common good”–that we should strive to derive our self-fulfillment as much as possible from work that also benefits (or at least does not hurt) others.

  4. and one can torture oneself with vague and senseless guilt derived from that false assumption.

    If you judge actions and not intentions, (as Dr Simon teaches us) you will eliminate this.

  5. I agree that judging actions and not intentions is important, and it’s also important to judge the cumulative effect of many actions (because some covert aggressors are quite good in “justifying” each of their actions).

    1. Joey and GBS,

      All this is true, however, where one is at a loss is when one is not able to read or feel the real intent of the CD actions. So many of them are very adept at the deceit of pulling the wool over the eyes of their intended victims. Many can play the game for a long time even years before the prey figures out what may have happened or someone has enough insight and experience not to be drawn into the web of lies and deceit.

      I cant repeat the exact story, and please anyone help me here. In one of Dr. Simon’s books he tells the story of an incarcerated prisoner who has everyone believing he has changed and should be paroled, he has changed his ways and seen the light and is the model prisoner. The only person who doesn’t agree that the man hass changed is Dr. Simon.

      This prisoner then was making it out he was the poor victim and Dr. Simon stands in his way of release and tries to make Dr. Simon look like the bad guy. Turns out the prisoner has everyone bamboozled and it is finally found out the prisoner is up to no good and had everyone fooled except Dr. Simon.

      So beware they can be that good at their game.

      1. BTOV

        I googled it, is this what you are describing

        Manipulators are often quite skilled in the various ways to decieve, con, and otherwise lie. One of the most subtle but yet effective ways to lie is lying by omission. A very skilled manipulator might even recite a litany of very true facts but then (possibly unbeknownst to you) deliberately leave out a key detail that would shed an entirely new light on the reality of a situation. All of this is done for the purposes of impression management and outcome manipulation.
        An incarcerated female criminal offender put in an “emergency” request to see the consulting physician. She told him that she had been treated for “anxiety” and “depression” in the free world but that no anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication had been prescribed for her since arriving at the prison (true fact). She rattled off the names of several persons she knew who had been prescribed medicine, whereas she had not (again, true facts). She stated that was being discriminated against because she had filed an official grievance (it was factual that she had filed a grievance). She painted a picture of a hurting, unfairly treated person with a serious condition who only wanted help but was denied. She was the victim, the “corrupt system” was the victimizer (playing the victim role is an effective tactic in itself). The consulting physician was unfamiliar with treating individuals with severe disturbances of character. When the physician consulted with the rest of the staff, she was leaning toward prescribing medication to this inmate. She then learned what the inmate “left out” of the story. She had been to many clinics (i.e. “doctor-shopping”) in the free world and along the way managed to score many different diagnoses and abusable drugs until the medical community in and around her town became aware of her game. She didn’t say that she had been given two independent and complete psychiatric evaluations, with both psychiatrists deeming she had no true mental illness (unusually, she even had no chemical addiction issues of her own – her criminal ”business” was dealing in abusable prescription drugs) but was merely trying to secure drugs she could sell even in prison. In fact, she had been caught selling drugs she entered the prison with and that was one of the many reasons she was screened so carefully with regard to any possible real need for them. It was also no accident that this inmate put in her “emergency” request on a day that she found out that a consulting physician who had never consulted to the prison before would be on duty.
        This particualar case illustrates not only how subtle and crafty lying can be, especially when the main technique is omission, but also how convincing and unnerved a liar can be while exercising his or her craft. A good “con” can get the better of anyone. They paint the picture they want you to see. If you look no further, you’re likely to be duped.

        joey

        1. Joey,
          Thanks, another good example. This had to do where Dr. Simon was the Psychologist on staff. Prior to this prisoners release he had to go before a board and be examined, the warden spoke up for him, the chaplain, spoke up for him and so on except Dr. Simon didn’t give in or change his original decision and held his ground and disagreed.

          This prisoner than set out to make himself the victim and Dr. Simon the bad guy who stood in his way of freedom. To make the story short Dr. Simon did not change his original evaluation of this prisoner even under pressuring circumstances and in the end Dr. Simons assessment of this individual proved correct.

          Thank you for checking, perhaps its in Character Disordered. My copies are out on loan at present.

          1. Guys sorry for jumping into the middle of this discussion. I can’t remember where I posted one of my last comments regarding the question of how many victims of CDs have actually committed suicide. Well, well. I think I may have mentioned there have been a couple of suicides in my area now. I met the mother of one of them yesterday. To cut a long story short and because I had not met her previously I asked her if she would mind if I asked her a couple of questions. It was something she said that prompted me to ask this. This is a seriously distraught women in great emotional pain. I asked her about her son’s relationship with his wife. She went into quite a bit of detail and guess what. She described a NCD to a T.

            Her son was 38 and married an ex prostitute he apparently saved from drug addiction. He later married her and they have 2 kids 10 and 6. She has another child to a previous relationship who is 16. The mother is now gravely concerned for the children. She is coming over for lunch on Sunday and as she has limited internet I’ve told her I would consult with you guys for further advice and any reading material you can recommend at this point that I can print out and give to her. I’ve got quite a bit on hand and several books but you guys really know your stuff and you might have something that may really help especially regarding the children. I’ve told her to tread very wearily and to not let on you suspect she is CD. I’ve found a really good and very well written succinct piece on narcissistic supply and injury. Link is below if you want to have a look it’s very, very good.

            http://blog.melanietoniaevans.com/what-is-narcissistic-supply/

            I’d like to do everything I can to help this lady. She’s suffering a great deal and she was very glad to have met me at the time she did because she thought she was losing her mind. We had a really long talk. I told her about my experience and let her know that what she is going through is far from an isolated event. We talked about gaslighting, a term she was unfamiliar with but what she was describing to me was text book gaslighting. She said while her son was with her he changed completely and she barely recognised him in the end. The suicide was a complete shock and she was the one who found him. I can just imagine. I’ve lost somebody I love to suicide also but not a child. I could not imagine anything worse.

            If you guys have any strategies specifically for children or any information that may help this lady carry on with her life and at the same time be in a position to protect those kids I and she would be very, very grateful.

            Thanks everybody.

          2. eudoxiajones,

            In short term, I guess she just need to stay in touch wit hgrand children. She should probably see some therapist to gain strength to deal with a women who is suspected to drive her son to commit suicide.

      2. BTOV

        Dreams Are Best

        by Robert W. Service

        I just think that dreams are best,
        Just to sit and fancy things;
        Give your gold no acid test,
        Try not how your silver rings;
        Fancy women pure and good,
        Fancy men upright and true:
        Fortressed in your solitude,
        Let Life be a dream to you.

        For I think that Thought is all;
        Truth’s a minion of the mind;
        Love’s ideal comes at call;
        As ye seek so shall ye find.
        But ye must not seek too far;
        Things are never what they seem:
        Let a star be just a star,
        And a woman — just a dream.

        O you Dreamers, proud and pure,
        You have gleaned the sweet of life!
        Golden truths that shall endure
        Over pain and doubt and strife.
        I would rather be a fool
        Living in my Paradise,
        Than the leader of a school,
        Sadly sane and weary wise.

        O you Cynics with your sneers,
        Fallen brains and hearts of brass,
        Tweak me by my foolish ears,
        Write me down a simple ass!
        I’ll believe the real “you”
        Is the “you” without a taint;
        I’ll believe each woman too,
        But a slightly damaged saint.

        Yes, I’ll smoke my cigarette,
        Vestured in my garb of dreams,
        And I’ll borrow no regret;
        All is gold that golden gleams.
        So I’ll charm my solitude
        With the faith that Life is blest,
        Brave and noble, bright and good, . . .
        Oh, I think that dreams are best!

        Joey

        1. Joey,

          (((((HUGS)))))
          Thank you absolutely beautiful.

          It seems that all I have done in my life is a dream and I dream that things would be different. I have lived my life and never lived. My dream is to live, to make these the best years of my life and find that dream that will come true

        2. eudox,
          Nice to hear from you, I am sorry this is going on with this woman. I have followed so many individuals and so many have a suicide in the midst of the CD person. It is to obvious for it to be considered accidental and I think at some point in time the medical profession will connect the dots.

          Anyway it is a wonderful thing you are helping this woman. I would encourage her to go to group meetings at the woman Resource Center in her area. They will also have insight to avenues she can utilize..

          Encourage her to utilize this blog for support. Thank you for giving of yourself Eudox and I will pray for all of you.

          Blessings and let me think about this and I am sure the others will chime in.

          1. Eudox,
            I would encourage you to keep us apprised of this woman emotional health. No problem in jumping in anywhere at anytime. These things take priority, don’t every feel you can’t post here when a crisis is taking place. There also is a Crisis hotline. It is very kind of you to help this woman, that is what we are all about. If we can bring her back to reality.

          2. Thanks BTOV I knew I could count on you guys. At the moment I’ll call her L she is breathing a sigh of relief that she’s found somebody who understands what she’s been going through. This is a big relief for her as we all know when we actually crack this egg and we find out we are not alone in the boat. She still has an enormous way to go yet though.

            I want to be really careful of what any advice I give to her at this juncture. L told me the wife has done everything in her power to character assassinate her – typical of them, it’s what they do and at one stage she was even considering not going to her sons funeral.

            She is aware of her manipulation tactics and strategies. I’ve told her she really needs to hone up on these strategies and become intimate with all of them so she can defend herself against them. Understanding the subtle cues is so important. The trick here is how does she relate this to her grandchildren?

            My advice to her at this point is to just continue on with her own healing at this present time until she feels strong enough to engage this woman in a dangerous game. If she is going to go for custody of the children then she has to play it very, very carefully. Document everything, limited verbal contact etc. But the most important part at the moment is her own healing and her own education regarding CDs. In order to engage the enemy you have to know the enemy and we can’t be debilitated if we wish to engage them. Of course the best thing to do is not engage them but if there are kids involved one has little choice. I’ll be showing her this blog on Sunday, she has limited internet where she is. She’s quite isolated.

            Thanks for getting back to me so quickly BTOV – I”ll be checking back on a regular basis plus I get the emails as well.

  6. Thanks for sharing the story (I read only In Sheep’s Clothing and do not remember this anecdote, or perhaps it’s in another book). I also feel that the skill of manipulators cannot be underestimated. Without the strong boundaries that conscience should pose, they feel quite justified in using their intelligence and creativity for the “art” of manipulation. I think that some also equate being manipulative with being “smart.” The ability of the manipulator to conceal his agenda is something that Shakespeare depicts effectively in Othello (with the character of Iago) and in Richard III.

      1. I’m an outsider I’m in Oz but in all honesty Clinton is a fully fledged psychopath. So is Bill. There is far more to these two then you can imagine, you really need to do some serious research on the Clintons. There is plenty of information out there.

        This does not mean I support Trump but in my opinion he’s the lesser of two evils here. Why do I say this. Firstly he’s an outsider. The Clintons have been the in the WH for over 20 years in one capacity or another and look at the damage this has caused the US. This pair is evil incarnate. Many books have been written about her. Quite a few documentaries have been made.

        The thing to watch for is who Trump puts in his cabinet. If he’s going to stock it with more Bush/Clinton favorites as his advisors then this planet is doomed. Let’s face it you’ve had a Bush or Clinton in the WH for over 40 years now. Take a good look around. At this stage Trump is an each way bet. Had Clinton got into power it would have been odds on for WW3. She’s one of the most dangerous psychopaths alive on this planet today and while she breaths she poses an existential threat to our survival as a species and I mean it.

        There is an excellent book called Political Ponerology by Andrzej Łobaczewski

        I don’t wish to incite political debate here nor do I endorse Trump nor for that matter am I a US citizen. But I’ve studied the Bushes and the Clintons for some time and please trust me when I say you never want another of them to fill the halls of power ever again.

  7. I am, on a continual basis, dealing with an aggressive CDN while going through the divorce process. He is aggressive, not following court orders, filing his own pleadings while not even being pro se, in essence running his own show. Keep in mind, this man is a disbarred attorney.
    It took me more than a year to not feeling extremely angry. That anger was there and I really had no control over it. It has now dissipated with time and knowledge. But make no mistake, I’m still angry. At times I feel aggressive. The bullying is so extreme that it brings out that fighter in me. But there is no way to channel the aggression. That has been problematic. I cannot channel my anger and aggression towards the man who is causing it. If I did, I’d be in court constantly, having even more petitions filed against me, causing enormous attorney fees. The SB (shitbag) even, at the beginning of the divorce proceedings, filed a motion because I took a casserole dish out of the house. Yep, he’s a real winner.
    Andy, I know you’ve got to have some anger over what’s going on in your divorce and the dealing with your child. I Don’t know how you are keeping it under control.
    When the CDN emotionally abuses my daughter – who has now become his source of abuse since I’m as little contact as possible – it brings out a rage in me – but I still have no outlet for it – because I’m trying to go no contact.
    This article is helpful to me in that it explains how to be assertive and not aggressive. The aggression is not productive. Aggression is what SB uses.

    1. Lucy,

      Things is that I do not need to keep things in control.
      I just need to find things that I can control and do them. So, my plan is to file child custody petition, fight it in court, win at least visitation rights, try to exercise visitation rights and see how things go from there. If needed enforce visitation rights legally, rinse and repeat.
      And, if my wife starts and successfully completes child alienation project, then so be it. Time to move on.

      Attempting to keep things in control is futile. Let things flow as a leaf would flow in a river. 🙂

      Maybe your husband is big shark in same river. Maybe he is curse from hell. Maybe he is a gift that gave you insight into people’s nature. Maybe you’ll educate your daughter. Maybe she will drive benefit from that knowledge and enjoy the life that you missed out while dealing with your lovely shitbag. 🙂

      PS: Thinking about my past (wife etc) and future (divorce, kid etc) usually gives me a sinking feeling, and sometime make me angry. I hope one day I can be detached enough from that, and avoid stronger emotions.

      1. You’re right, we can’t control most things.
        I hope you have success in court. It sure can be a battle and expensive.
        When this divorce is over I hope to feel more at peace. I’m sure there will be a major financial clean-up after, but there has to be peace at some point, surely.
        I try to teach my adult daughter about dealing with abusive father, but she sure does hurt. And now she sees what a loving more normal man figure is by watching myself with my boyfriend, who is a very kind, gentle man. And she sees how happy I am with him, and it makes her happy.
        I know that sinking feeling. It feels like defeat. Then we get back up – and start a new day.

    2. Lucy,
      Your being very kind calling him a SB (shitbag) even that has a useful purpose. I think your dealing with toxic sewer sludge. They don’t know how to get rid of it.

      1. AndyD, Lucy, Joey,

        Great topic, I know we all know what fair fighters the CDMN are don’t we.
        I was told by a therapist when you get angry take a baseball bat to your mattress. You’ll get a lot of frustration out. In the end you’ll just end up with a lumpy mattress and something else to pay for.

        Seriously, if you want to keep your sanity, you need to step outside of your circumstances and see it for the carnival act it really is. Be glad your not on the inside and have a genuine and authentic self rather than the house of mirrors that is just an illusion. I do know the illusion can strike a fatal blows if you are in the way when the mirror shatters.

        So always be on guard and never turn your back.

    1. In response to your question: I am fortunate that my husband and close family are good souls and healthy characters, but I think I have encountered some disturbed characters in life’s wider circles. What amazes me is the mental agitation that disturbed characters are able to create even when they are not that close to me so that theoretically I could ignore them quite easily. Their ability to agitate me without much real presence in my life has taught me the following: (1) that while intellectually we can understand that bad behavior does not mean that the person is a victim, it is much harder to protect the heart from senseless quilt and self-doubt (2) that the skill of manipualtive people in turning your mind into your own enemy should not be under-estimated. With an impaired conscience, their creativity and intelligence can do much harm (3) that perhaps not all people are equally vulnerable to manipulators. I know some good people who seem innately stronger than myself in ignoring disturbed characters and do not seem to quite understand the agitation that they create , and I also think there are people who enjoy being under the control of a manipulative character (in the same way that people follow dictators in politics), so in dealing with disturbed characters one has to be prepared to feel isolated (4) there is always much beauty, truth and inherent value in the world, so disturbed characters will never “win” in a true sense.

      1. Why do you believe people like being under the control of a CD? The tactics they use are underhanded and full of fallacies to the point the one being manipulated does not really understand what is happening. Possibly a CD being controlled by a CD? Typically though a CD likes to run the show – his own show.

      2. And you are so right, their creativity and intelligence and lack of conscience absolutely does much harm. And they can be relentless.

        1. Relentless us is one way to put it Lucy, I’d call it terminally insane attacks. They have no impulse control they act like angry wasps. When they fail to get supply and go back into injury that’s when the fire works start and the become really deranged. They up the ante like never before and just turn into rabid dogs.

          It reminds me of the adage of the frog and the scorpion. A scorpion is stuck on the wrong side of a river. A frog comes along and says hey scorpion I’ll give you a lift accross to the other side if you promise not to sting me. The scorpion promises he wont sting the frog, then when they get to the other side the scorpion stings the frog. The frog is most hurt and confused and asks the scorpion why he stung him. The scorpion replies coldly “because it’s in my nature”.

          BTOV hit it on the head when she said SB was entirely too kind a name. The term toxic sewer sludge is certainly apt, they are most certainly toxic and I hope BTOV is a she? I have the impression you are a woman BTOV please correct me if I am wrong.

          1. That was a great book! Shame the movie could not produce the same affect.
            The styrofoam peanuts was particularly hillarious.

            How does replying to this email work? Does it go onto the forum??

  8. I cannot understand (in the sense that I can feel it myself) why some people like to be under the control of disturbed individuals, but I think there are some people whose need for certainty and authority is greater than their need for freedom. We can see that when people join cults or come under the control of political dictators of religious fanatics.

  9. As far as cults, I think that is a whole nuther psychological topic. i would think that cult followers would be people who have been hurt , people looking for love and not knowing what love truly is, people who have lost their selves. This type of person is easy prey for a manipulator, especially a master of manipulation such as a cult leader. The tactics they use – it’s criminal. I think the followers are blinded to what is really happening to them as the leader chips away at any sense of self they have. Then they are left with no sense of who they are anymore.

  10. I think you are right in your description of cults.
    While it is hard to speak about the followers of a manipulator as “happy,” some people do follow manipulators their entire lives and may not necessarily seek true happiness, so I can only assume that, in their own limited way, they are “happy.”

  11. Lucy and GBS

    1) that while intellectually we can understand that bad behavior does not mean that the person is a victim, it is much harder to protect the heart from senseless quilt and self-doubt .

    The CD is not a victim as they always have a choice to use or abuse. We have to get beyond intellectually trying to understand that this is a character problem we have to deal with in society is about behavior and decency. The CD are masters at pulling the strings of the heart causing senseless guilt and self doubt in another. Logic does not apply with the the dynamics of the CD.

    (2) that the skill of manipualtive people in turning your mind into your own enemy should not be under-estimated. With an impaired conscience, their creativity and intelligence can do much harm .

    This is so true, however, it takes time and experience to weed out these skilled manipulators. These skilled manipulators can pull you in for years and a known fact is when they marry you the CD takes ownership. This is why so many individuals saw a different person before they married.

    (3) that perhaps not all people are equally vulnerable to manipulators. I know some good people who seem innately stronger than myself in ignoring disturbed characters and do not seem to quite understand the agitation that they create , and I also think there are people who enjoy being under the control of a manipulative character (in the same way that people follow dictators in politics), so in dealing with disturbed characters one has to be prepared to feel isolated

    People of all shapes, sizes etc… are vulnerable to a manipulator, (Bernie Madoff) where innately good strong people.. were duped. I think many of these people that are able to shut off and ignore the CD have some of the CD traits themselves and the CD usually stay out of the way of their own kind or strong charactered individual.

    You say people enjoy being under the control of a manipulator. Have you ever asked them? For many of the victims it is a learned behavior, they came from homes where they only knew a manipulator. Many were taught from little on this is all there is. Children growing into adulthood, never knowing what personal boundaries are, what it feels like to be held and told you are loved. They are stuck in a cycle of abuse. How can one stand in their shoes and say they like it. Did you ask them how they feel deep inside. Do they have enough courage and self confidence to to express their own feelings or have they become one of the living dead serving the CD.

    Why would you begin to feel isolated, the victim is isolated with no one to help and no where to go. Would you like to volunteer at the Woman’s Shelter, there you will feel and see isolation. They follow because they want something to believe in and want love.

    (4) there is always much beauty, truth and inherent value in the world, so disturbed characters will never “win” in a true sense.

    The sad part is the CD would destroy anything that is beautiful if they feel you want it. We can’t hide in beauty, we can use it to calm us, but in order for things to change we must be ready to actively confront the evil the CD do. Without the proper knowledge the seasoned CDN is a worthy opponent and one to be reckoned with.

    All of this is not that cut and dry, it is very complex, my heart go out to the victim, it is not a matter of giving the words of hope. Its giving them ongoing information and support.
    Many would rather look the other way when they realize how complex this all is and the fortitude it takes to bring another from the brink.

  12. BTOV, thank you for your insightful and thought-provoking response. In response to (1), I completely agree, but I find it hard (though not impossible) to apply because “intellectually trying to understand” is such a strongly ingrained habit. Also, I think that the intellect can be helpful in understanding/analyzing (though not justifying) the behavior of disturbed characters. Ron Rosenbaum’s Explaining Hitler is great in exploring the difference between “understanding” and “excusing.” (3) I find what you say in the “Have you ever asked them?” paragraph very moving , and no, I have not asked, but I still wonder if that there are some situations in which a relationship with a manipulator works for someone (perhaps because that someone is either disturbed himself/herself or has a strong need to be controlled and told what to believe/do, or perhaps has a need to be in the position of the rescuer, since manipulators can be effective in posing as victims). How do you help a person who is potentially being controlled when you are not that close to that person and when that person seems “happy?” I wish I had “the fortitude it takes to bring another from the brink.” Part of the reason that I don’t is that unless someone reaches out to me, I do not want to assume that his/her life does not work for him/her. (4) I agree that beauty and inherent value should not be an escape, but I feel that they do have a real presence that disturbed people may not be able to completely destroy.

  13. Lucy, I think you are right, and since knowledge takes so much time and experience to acquire, it can be hard to help people who do not want to help themselves.

  14. BOTV,

    Thanks to you and the help and support of others I am able to cope with the CD in my life, even conquering issues at times.

    1. Thank you,
      Hey, were is our gal Theresa Maria K, you could stop in every once in awhile and let us know how you are doing. Probably should try on a Fri or Sat night.

      We all miss you and wish you well
      God bless You Kindred Spirit you added so much.

  15. GBS

    For us who have/are suffering the ties of being with a CDN, Dr. Simon’s articles explain what has gone on in some of our lives, how we got to where we are, the tactics, the lies, the facades, the abuse, and then the commenters add even more to the topics by explaining what we have gone through ourselves. We find a common thread because our crazy stories are similar in some ways. We understand each other. We realize we are not weak and crazy, but have been living in a fog (Alice in Wonderland – nothing is what it seems) created by these jackass manipulators. The totality of Dr. Simon’s blog is what helps us, and how we help each other.

  16. Lucy, thanks for sharing. I definitely think that victims of disturbed individuals are not weak and not crazy. I am fortunate in that the people closest to me are not character disturbed, and as such my comments may seem “detached,” but I do find Dr. Simon’s work and the blog pertinent because I know from experience that disturbed characters inflict harm not only on the people closest to them (although those closest of course suffer the most), and I feel that defense against manipulation should be an important part of any value-based education.

  17. “I also think there are people who enjoy being under the control of a manipulative character (in the same way that people follow dictators in politics)”

    What GBS wrote above is something I have thought about alot. (and I also think about why people vote for character-disturbed leaders in America and in other countries, but that’s a whole other topic that I don’t have the time or energy to get into).

    I assume GBS is mainly referring to intimate (romantic) relationships where the outside observer wonders why the victim stays in a relationship which to the outside observer appears to be an abusive relationship.

    What are some reasons why people get into, and stay in relationships with character disturbed people? I’ve been on the frontlines with people in these kinds of relationships, so I speak from some experience.

    As GBS stated: some people “enjoy” it (and GBS has already explained what she meant by that).

    Some people don’t like making decisions or being responsible for their choices and decisions because they are averse to thinking for themselves (or as GBS has framed it, averse to freedom).

    Some people are attracted to partners who are sexy, beautiful, exciting, dominating. (This is common with men I’ve known who get into relationships with CD women, over and over again.)

    Some people are cognitively slow, due to brain injuries or FASD, and are no match for a disturbed character.

    Many stay because their partner is providing the income that they use for their drug, alcohol, shopping or other addictions (quite a few women are like this).

    Many stay because of the status, public image and lifestyle they have being in a relationship with a wealthy, high status partner.

    There are probably many other reasons too (besides the obvious ones of “the children” and “financial dependency”) that have less to do with being manipulated and more to do with what the person is getting from the relationship vs. what he/she loses if they leave. It’s a mutual parasitism. Only the two participants really know their reasons.

    And in writing the above, I am not discounting the majority of unhealthy relationships, where the man is typically the aggressor and the female is typically the victim, such as the scenario that BOTV describes. But let’s not kid ourselves about women and their passive covert aggression (there are statistics that say that women are the worst aggressors in initimate relationships). Character disturbed mothers who leave relationships lie and manipulate to get the social and financial help and to get the advantage in the legal process of dividing property, getting financial support from the father, and getting custody of any children. Character disturbed fathers do their own versions of sabotage, often involving killing their ex-spouse, their kids and/or themselves.

    Saying all this is not to blame the victims. I like to understand things, even the uncomfortable and contradictory. People are complex, and they cannot all be painted with the same brush. When I observe a man or woman in an unhealthy relationship, I ask myself what the motivation is to stay vs. leave, (whether this person is a man or woman, in a heterosexual or same sex relationship). I have observed people leave abusive relationships only to go back again. It’s frustrating, but those people cannot be helped until the underlying motivation is understood and addressed.

    BOTV is correct, everyone is susceptible to manipulation to some degree: whatever their background, education, intelligence. I think I read it on this site … and this is such a very important lesson … that the skilled manipulator discovers our internal narrative (desires) and feeds us the stories and lies that we are eager and open to hear. That’s how we get manipulated. As BOTV and GBS pointed out, they use our minds against us. To use BOTV’s example, Bernie Madhoff likely played on people’s internal greed and money worries to hook them in. His victim’s own blindness to their motivations and desires helped Madhoff to prey upon them. The antidote to this is self-awareness.

    Not all CD people and manipulators are the same. We’ve all had our own unique experiences with manipulators, so each relationship has its own dynamic. I resist characterizing every CD or every victim in the same way. (I am fortunate not to have been as badly used or damaged as some commentators on this blog, or as some people I know in the real world).

    I know some of you may read what I’ve written above and get offended. Please re-read it before you do. And please understand how imperfect any of our communications with others are, be it verbal or written. No one is going to read what I wrote exactly the way I think I wrote it, or the way I want to be understood. And vice-versa. That’s just the imperfect nature of human communication.

    1. Anne,

      That is very good and balanced assessment.
      Especially the part on imperfect nature of human communication. Funny thing is that character disturbed also know it very well, usually much much better than average people, and use it to hoodwink others. 🙂

      1. Thanks Andy. I can’t say I’ve noticed a CD person using “the imperfect nature” of communication to mislead anyone. I can’t think of anything as an example, except perhaps outright propaganda or lies, or doublespeak. Do you have any examples of what you are thinking of? Lots of people do not communicate clearly, or at all, they just don’t have the skills.

        1. Anne,

          Regarding “imperfect nature of communication”.

          I did not mean two extremes: outright lying at one end, and total lack of communication skills.

          My take is that we cannot usually express ourselves in most accurate manner. Even in case we do, listener tends to interpret spoken words through his/her own experiences/perspectives… sort of “looking at the world through coloured glasses”.

          Most of us are aware of it, so we tend to give benefit of the doubt to the speaker, and we also try to understand from the speakers perspective. And, that works very well between two normal people, they are content with 80% mutual understanding. Pushing for anything higher will result in long series of argument that will end in precise mathematical language expressions to ensure 100% accuracy.

          But, between a CD (character disturbed) and normal person, CD tends to take advantage of it and normal person keep on falling thinking like, “maybe he meant that…”, “maybe she really did not mean so much harm…”
          For example, when a CD (character disturbed) makes a statement in threatening tone, and target questions it, the CD may immediately change track and claim that target is reading too much into what was said. And, target gives benefit of doubt, “may be he/she really did not meant that and I misunderstood as I was upset”.

          1. Thanks so much for the clarification Andy. I get what you mean now, and I have observed it, and had it used on me many times. Part of my brain knows something is not right, but there is always a bit of doubt, since we can’t ever know the true intentions of another person, until we have observed their behaviours over a period of time and see the patterns. I can only know my own intentions in my communications, which requires self-awareness and self-honesty.

            The CD will use this tactic in both directions I have observed, and either say things like:

            1) I didn’t understand you. Now that I understand what is bothering you, of course I won’t do that anymore.

            or

            2) You misunderstood me. I didn’t really mean that/do that/say that.

      2. AndyD,
        The CD know it very well, usually much much better than average people, and it is used to hoodwink others and the hoodwinks are numerous. Its comes second nature to them.

    2. Many individuals stay with their abusers for many reasons, reasons you or I may not agree with but they do. So plainly have no choice. I don’t know of any dog or human that enjoys being mistreated or abused unless they have severe issues of self esteem, emotional or mental health issues.

      I believe if I asked anyone of the woman I met over the years at the Shelter if she enjoyed being with an abusive individual and treated badly I can guarantee a resounding NO. There seems to be misinformation on this particular issue.

      1. BTOV, I agree that when the abuse is obvious, no human or dog would enjoy it. However, I wonder if there are people in relationships with sophisticated covert aggressors who do not realize that they are being used and who may not wish for freedom from that relationship. I also wonder if the women at the shelter represent the wider population of people under the control of disturbed characters. I imagine that to end up in a shelter, a woman would have to either be abused in obvious, overt ways or have enough insight to understand covert abuse. However, are there people in controlling relationships with covert aggressors who are actually quite well-suited to serving the covert aggressor? In other words, they are in the relationship not just because of fear or material interests but because that relationship actually works for them. I wish to live in a world in which the answer to this question is always NO, but I am not sure that this is the world we live in.

        1. I would suspect if you were in a relationship with a sophisticated covert aggressor and you do not realize the abuse, how could they think any other way if they don’t know.

          I think many of the questions you are asking in re of the statical reasons individuals end up at shelters may be best answered if you were to make an appointment with a counselor.

          I believe many people are in unhealthy relationships for various reasons and that being their own business.

          Where are you going with this questioning, I thought your initiative was to use Dr. Simons work in your literature studies to teach lessons of character. Am I missing something here?

        2. GBS,

          ” In other words, they are in the relationship not just because of fear or material interests but because that relationship actually works for them.”

          Possible, but it will be small set. Basically two not so normal people together where non-normal behavior actually complement each other.

          Just thought of one extreme example of sadist and masochist together. They will probably have wonderful time for several years, as long as degree of their disorder is reasonably close. A mismatch in the degree and
          – a sadist too sadist for the masochist will get bored
          – masochist too masochist for the sadist will get bored

  18. Anne, thank you for the thoughtful analysis. In Shakespeare, Hamlet suffers the lonely torture of being deeply agitated by his uncle Claudius while other characters, including Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, are quite willing to accept Claudius as a leader, husband and a “nice guy.” Shakespeare makes it clear that Hamlet cannot stand Claudius even before the ghost appears and tells Hamlet that Claudius murdered Hamlet’s father. In performances of Hamlet, the actress playing Gertrude has to decide what kind of woman she will be: the tense and fearful wife of a controlling husband who knows things are terribly wrong but cannot break free because she is attached to her status and privilege or a woman who is genuinely attracted to the charismatic Claudius and quite “happy” to serve his agenda. Hamlet feels that he is the only one who cares about the domestic corruption of the Danish court, and he describes his isolated position with the statement,”I have that within me with passes show.” To me, this Shakespearean quote articulates a fundamental difference between people who are deeply hurt by disturbed characters and those who are less bothered by them. Hamlet has much to lose by refusing to accept Claudius (if he accepted Claudius, Hamlet would be the chief courtier and heir to the throne). Instead, Hamlet pursues a tragic course because his soul cannot tolerate a situation in which a disturbed character creates distortion and expects others to accept that distortion as “normal.” Hamlet feels that the truth is worth fighting for. The same is not true of his mother, and of people in real life who let disturbed characters lead–both in the domestic sphere and in politics. On another note: I agree with Anne that we should not assume that the woman is the victim, as some women are indeed skilled covert aggressors.

    1. Thank you GBS for that detailed look at Hamlet. I’ve seen several different performances of it. I hadn’t thought much about the character of Gertrude, but that is interesting, as I’ve seen that in other theatre: the different ways the same character can be portrayed, and how I like some ways and not others. I saw the Hamlet with Cumberbatch this past year on the movie screen, and I am trying to remember …. I don’t think Gertrude was portrayed as a fearful and downtrodden wife. She stands firmly by her new man.

      I am definitely a “Hamlet” type. Contradiction, distortion, irrationality, dishonesty, manipulation, hypocrisy really bother me when I recognize it.

      Hamlet let his reactions and emotions overwhelm his ability to act and think. I’ve been there, but I think today I handle things differently. When someone else’s reality is too far from my own, I have learned to recognize that now, and deal with it in a practical manner, instead of getting anxious, upset or angry (it could also be due to old age … I am getting too tired to get upset over things anymore). People who are obviously mentally ill and/or character disturbed I don’t confront or challenge, don’t waste energy on trying to reason with them, just acknowledge and agree with their reality if it won’t harm anyone, feed them lies if I have to, until I can get them out of the room.

  19. BTOV, in response to your post: my tendency is to think freely, and part of it is to ask questions (both in teaching and outside of teaching) which I hope are useful for understanding human nature. I find Dr. Simon’s work very helpful for understanding manipulation and character disturbance, and my previous observations were intended to highlight a phenomenon which I think is important to pay attention to: the success of many covert manipulators in securing the loyalty of followers who are not necessarily suffering in the same way that self-conscious victims are suffering (but I realize that these less self-conscious victims are probably suffering nonetheless).

  20. Anne, I loved your description of the “Hamlet type:” “Contradiction, distortion, irrationality, dishonesty, manipulation, hypocrisy really bother me when I recognize it.” I wish there were more Hamlet types in the world. Unfortunately, I think there are more Gertrude types–who go along with corruption and suppress their awareness of it–than Hamlet types. I like performances of Gertrude that portray her as in love with Claudius more than those that portray her as tense and guilty because I think that this is an accurate depiction of the appeal of a manipulator like Claudius–and the resulting isolation and “madness” of the “Hamlet type” who senses that something is wrong. Hamlet does let “his reactions and emotions overwhelm his ability to act and think” (although he ultimately produces a play that exposes Claudius’s guilt), and I agree that there is a lesson there for “Hamlet types.” I have much to learn from your advice, “When someone else’s reality is too far from my own, I have learned to recognize that now, and deal with it in a practical manner, instead of getting anxious, upset or angry.” I have still not fully learned how to deal with such situations “in a practical manner,” and your description helps me to do so. I am blessed with a husband and other close family who are very good and supportive people, but when I encounter a potentially disturbed character, even if the interaction is rather minor and distant and can theoretically be easily “compartmentalized” and forgotten, I have a tendency to doubt myself, let that interaction get into my mind and run inside it in “loops.” Dr. Simon’s In Sheep’s Clothing has been helpful in working to overcome that draining tendency.

    1. GBS: I’d forgotten about the scene with the play-within-a-play. You’re right, Hamlet did come up with a plan. (I like to joke that our apparent maturity/calm as we get older is more from declining memory and energy (to get upset or angry), than from acquired wisdom.)

      This all begs the question(s) that I’m sure you ponder alot: what makes one person a Gertrude and another a Hamlet? and under what circumstances would, or could, we switch and become the other? Could I? and under what circumstances? Humans, individually and in groups, have been “slaughtering” each other in various ways, on small and grand scales, for thousands of years. I don’t get too upset about the american election because the world has seen all this before in other times and places.

      Perhaps Dr. Simon would divide people along the neurotic vs narcissistic spectrum, into Gertrudes and Hamlets.

      I know what you’re saying: I run the “loop” thing too, and it is draining. It’s easier to be non-chalant in situations where you don’t have to work, live or daily interact with the person, and when they are clearly character disturbed or mentally ill. When people and situations are less cut and dried, and the person is important in your life, it’s harder. I worry about what I did or didn’t do, I have doubts, which is the neurotic in me, as I have learned, and what a manipulator will use against me. But self-doubt is good, if harnessed appropriately, and so is curiousity, and imagination. I’ve been listening to audio programs this past year about all these attributes which I seem to have in spades.

      1. To me this is a place victims can come to vent and find peace and answers to their most obscene life experience rather than be compared to literary publishing’s. Many of these individuals have no clue to what you are talking about,.

        We are not here to be observed for analysis for lit class. I am glad you seen an opportunity to possibly present our dilemma but it appears it is not working. It appears you are trying to get a grip on something you really have no clue too.

        The victims of CDN are a very intrict realm of feelings, heartfelt emotions, of judgement, life and their very being. This is not something that can be explored by pure novices that what to present to their echelon classes.

        You are treading ground you have not clue to and I would suggest to if you stay to stay on topic. I understand and perhaps a few others will but the majority that come are on their last leg. We need not complicate their situations of talk of gobbledygook they have no conception of.

        I myself enjoy this knowledge but the others that really need basic down to earth talk wont. I would love to see you open your own blog.

        1. BOTV,

          Yourself and others (past and present) who comment on this blog do a wonderful service of providing support, encouragement and information for people who come here seeking that, typically people who are struggling immensly in the present moment with the character disturbed people in their lives. It is obvious that the people who come here for that reason very much appreciate what you and others provide here.

          However, some of us want to participate in this comments forum for reasons that are not the same as yours, reasons that don’t fit your paradigm. This is causing you, and perhaps others, upset and distress. I don’t know why.

          GBS, for example, has been nothing but gracious, civil, and sincere in her comments on here. As long as people are civil in their discussions with each other, then, as far as I am concerned, people can post whatever they want. We all have the power to *not* read, *not* comment on, and ignore what we are *not* interested in. It’s very easy. I really don’t see what all the fuss is about.

          BOTV, I find your behaviour on here territorial and controlling. GBS is not the first poster that’s been chased out of here. I find that unfortunate, that this is happening again, because I think their presence enriches this forum.

          This forum is not your exclusive space. This comments forum is big enough for a diversity of people and diversity of topics. It’s not your job to decide which topics are appropriate, nor which commentators may or may not post on here. Did Dr. Simon appoint you moderator and gatekeeper? I would really like to know if that’s the case. I have searched the site and cannot find where it says that this forum is restricted to topics that you approve of and that you are the authority here.

          I will continue to lurk and post, when I feel like it, and hope many others will too. I am sorry GBS left, but I completely understand.

          This whole tempest in a teapot is ironic (and I am chuckling at myself and all of us, when I say that) because the topic of this blog post was: Fighting fairly and rightly.

  21. BTOV, I am NOT studying you or anybody else on this blog for a literature class. I have expressed my observations in my own way, and literature, for me, is important for thinking about human nature. You are wrong that I have no clue about disturbed characters. I have been deeply agitated by the behavior of disturbed characters, even though my husband and close family are wonderful people.‎ In light of my inability to explain myself effectively to all readers of this blog, I have decided to stop writing comments. Anne, thank you for your last insightful reply and other helpful observations; I hope you understand my decision to stop communicating.

    1. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. If you lacking this core character trait you will always struggle. Some people possess a lot more empathy and neurosis than others. It is what makes makes the civilised world work.

      1. Joey,
        Mother Theresa came to mind when you said that. But is she really a neurotic or is she just someone that loves? She loves mankind.

    2. GBS, sorry to see you go. But I understand. (Please see my comment above to BOTV.)

      I look forward to your future research, book or publication on the subjects you have tried to discuss here. The idea of literacy and character that you put out there has inspired me to follow up with some volunteer work I was procrastinating about. Thank you. I am glad there are people like you teaching at our places of learning. All the best.

      1. I am planning to stick to my decision to not post for now (but may reconsider in the future). I wanted to thank Anne for your last two posts, which echoe my thoughts exactly. Anne, I will remember you as an inspirational, insightful and courageous person. Your strong ethical character and wisdom shine through the often flawed medium of the Internet, and you will have an impact and presence in my thoughts.

  22. So here I am, at work, at the courthouse, hiding in my office because SB has a hearing down the hall from me in a civil case where he is being sued for legal malpractice. No wonder my stomach feels queasy today. The man makes me physically sick.

    1. CDs are known to make people physically sick. It’s called hightened anxiety. My last experience left me with a type of hernia on my solar plexus. I think I am going to have it surgically removed as it’s starting to get uncomfortable.

      Stay strong Lucy. Malpractice eh – no surprises there -rolls eyes- Just stay in your office until he’s out of the building.

      1. eduoxiajones

        It was a false alarm. His hearing got continued – however, already the stomach ache.
        Wow, it left you with a hernia.
        Thanks for the encouragement.

  23. I think there have been some unnecessary judgements made here today. I can understand why BTOV made the comment to GBS. I believe the point was about people in crisis need hands on advice now and not necessarily scrolling through vast amounts of stuff to get to what will help them. I have been in crisis myself and understand the sheer desperation one can reach when under attack and recovering from attack – bordering suicidal.

    I don’t think it was BTOVs intention to chase anybody off here and a forum was made available in good faith in order to resolve it. This is important – many here have been emotionally traumatized by CDs many of us are in recovery or still going through a relationship with one. It’s important to not judge others as we have all been unfairly judged by our respective CDs in the past and emotionally raped by them over and over again – any further unjust or unfair judgement or critisism can end up causing further trauma wounding.

    This is a support group after all – we are all here to support each other not judge each other. From my observation I think GBS took offense to something that was said. BTOV offered a process for resolution and it was not accepted. Any further judgement cast at this point is just going to cause further injury.

    1. “This is a support group after all”

      No, it’s the comments section of a blog where people have found support. Topics of discussion range all over the place, but generally touch upon the general topic of the blog itself: character disturbance.

      I feel supported when I am able to freely discuss topics, such as literature and character development, with other like-minded people on here, without being judged for it.

    2. Eudox,
      Yes, I am a woman. BTOV stand for Bonfire of the Vanities. Thank you for your support. I felt we getting way off topic. GBS is a very intelligent and caring person however, I don’t think she grasps the real crises that are going on in this world. People looking for and reaching out for help.

      I understood GBS’s thought processes as I love literature, but others are looking for real sound answers to deal with their pain and day to day life.

      1. That was a great book BTOV. The movie sucked but the book was hillarious. Styrofoam peanuts LOL. He was akin to Basil Faulty – he creates my own disaster from a product of his own mind, then totally freaks out about the consequences. Perfect.

        I have also noticed that and this may sound completely irrelevant and totally off topic but – I’m putting it out there. Has anybody noticed that CDs really need spicy food? Nothing that gets prepared for them is good enough, not tasty or bitter or tangy enough, not spicy enough, not hot enough or well – nothing that ever gets put in front of them do they appreciate. I don’t think they feel so they need to turn the heat up. My sister would actually NEVER compliment the meal but she would compliment the condiments and she was a real chilly head. She liked heat, so have a few others I’ve known – in fact nearly all of them.

        It’s funny when you look back on reflection to see how certain things stick out to the point where you wondered how you missed the correlation at all.

        1. Eudox,
          The character disordered have many idiosyncrasy that many of us normal people don’t have. It has been notated by knowledgable research Dr.s in the field of psychiatry that many CD individuals have peculiarities pertaining to taste and smell. I can’t remember who the Dr. was but a whole chapter was devoted to this phenomena.

          I don’t like saying something with out researching it, I believe this is a characteristic of schizophrenia.

          How is the woman do? I have been praying for her.

          1. I haven’t seen her since the other day but she’s coming over tomorrow for lunch so I will find out then and let you know.

            I haven’t done any research into the taste thing either. I might look into it as I’ve just noticed with quite a few of them I’ve been involved with they did like extremely spicy/hot food to the point it was well in excess of hot. Two of them were gluttons they would also gorge themselves.

            I don’t think it’s really a big deal, just as you say an idiosyncrasy. I guess where I am going with this is spotting early warning signs. I’ve been duped by these assholes so many times I feel like slapping myself around!

          2. Eudox,

            There are so many factors at play when a person is under extreme stress, this person many have sinus issues. Please remember stress can cause many things, when under high anxiety our taste and smell can be altered immensely so can ones perception and so many other things. I would try to deal with the most obvious issues at hand and work from there. It is really kind of you to try to help this woman out, it can be very challenging and at the same time very rewarding. ((((Hugs))))

        2. No, I have not noticed that. My CD mainly just ate carbs – pasta, frozen yogurt, cereal and peanuts. Limited mind, limited palette. Yes, that was snarky.

          1. Lucy, Eudox.

            I thought you were rather to the point. One of the CD’s I had to deal with was always complaining of odors others couldn’t smell. I think Dr. Kernberg talked about this. When I have time I will look it up for you Eudox. Life sure seems nice when you don’t have to deal with the nuts, however, I warn you, when you just feeling comfortable another nut will come rolling in.

        3. eudoxiajones,

          Well. I am chilly head. I like spicy. 🙂
          Once I managed to get some raw Thai pepper variety… some small explosive variety, that people put just one or two in a dish for family. I had several in one meal. Taste was good, stomach was fine, but next morning was a problem. I still plan to try out something that is off the scale, but will be bit more sensible that time.

          1. LOL burning ring of fire?? Andy the CD people I know liked everything they ate HOT to the point anything offered that was not was critisized as being tasteless even though it was not.

            My sister was over the top, she would always want to go to Thai. She’d order this stuff you put on your rice. I could only tolerate a minute amount, she’d pour half the bowl over it. We bought some home one time and I had a German Shepherd who was a butter thief. Anyway this Thai stuff was in a small round take away container and she jumped up grabbed it and ate it. She survived and I’m sure if she had any fleas or worms she wouldn’t have the next day!

    3. I come on this blog for support from commenters and to read the current postings from Dr. Simon regarding character disturbance. I receive much needed support and try my best to provide support for victims dealing with the CD. I offer what helps me and I take to heart and practice what help is offered me, because we have that thread in common, abuse, which being manipulated by a CD is abuse. I found it offensive the theory that it was a choice to be in the relationship with the manipulative CD – the choice is taken away when one is constantly being tactically abused and confused by the CD. Once I realized what was actually happening to me – I left the SOB. And I’m still learning and still healing from it. And helping others helps me.
      REading commentary about Shakespere led me to just bypass the comments, because they are of no help or interest to me, personally. I can see you a new person seeking help from Dr. Simon’s blog would be turned off and quit reading, which is a shame, when someone comes to seek support and doesn’t find it, because there is plenty here.
      BOTV is not a blog controller. She saw commentary that went astray and comments that could be construed as offensive (I felt offended) and commented on it. She is a lady who has, from what I’ve read here, worked in shelters of abused women, has gone through and still going through turmoil created by the CD husband, and has a lot to offer.
      Had I come to this site, when in severe anxiety and anguish, and went to the comment section and read about Shakespere, I may be been easily frustrated and turned away to seek help in some other way.
      I do read the new topics and try to comment on it, but eventually I go astray if something is currently bothering me.
      I’ve seen others go and I’ve seen commenters use false names and change names and get caught in lies, as SusieQ did ( I think she’s the one).
      I wonder where Jeanie is. She was having a very difficult time. Where is Theresa Marie — who I’ve fondly used her term – SB – shitbag – for the husband I’ve been trying to divorce for two years.

      1. Lucy and others.

        Thank you for your thoughtful and sincere comment Lucy. From skimming your posts I understand you are dealing with an awful CD ex, you are distressed, and have many struggles. You have my empathy, as do others going through the same. People going through the same experience are a support to each other. I know from my own experience it is a long process to learn and heal. I am still making mistakes, dealing with the anger, confusion, doubts, and other emotions from previous relationships. Your reasons for coming here works for you and others, and I have no problem with that. As I have commented before, this place is big enough for diversity of people and diversity of topics.

        Lucy, I can understand your offence when people discuss “choice”, but I won’t feel responsible for it. Getting offended is your issue and your choice, because, from my perspective, no one posted anything offensive. No one was discussing you personally, or anyone else personally, on here. I say that to you and any others who got offended or upset, in the kindest way I can.

        I will repeat: this is not a support group, nor a crisis support group. People come here for different reasons. Some of you (many?) are using it as a support group to discuss your personal and compelling issues. I have no problem with that. I skip over most of it. I have no desire to be a crisis support counsellor. It’s not my expertise. BOTV and others who are inclined, do a good job of it.

        Because this is not a support group, people who come here in crisis, perhaps feeling suicidal, will have to wade through all kinds of comments, some of it trivial and distracting and way off the topic of manipulation. It’s a HUGE site, with hundreds of blog postings by Dr. Simon, and thousands of comments. A very very small fraction of these comments were my discussions with others. I resent the implication by you, Eudoxia and BOTV, that I, and others, who are not here discussing their ex-partners, are somehow harming people who come here in crisis, or for support. I disagree.

        I too find some comments on this website to be: offensive, patronizing, insincere, demeaning, presumptious, … or … I just don’t understand what the commentator is trying to say. I don’t respond, I skip over it, ignore it. But BOTV has been displaying her “gatekeeper” behaviour for a long time, and I resent that she has managed to chase away yet another person I would have liked to have discussions with on a topic that interests me.

        The concept of “choice” which seems to have offended some people: My world is not black and white. Neither are people and relationships. Relationships are dynamic, two-three-more-way. Like other commentators here, I have frontline experience and knowledge. (This is not an argument about who has more experience). *Some* women and men, who stay in unhealthy relationships do so because they have weighed their choices, and choose one thing over another (I explained some of those reasons in a previous comment). Many women accuse men of abuse when it’s the other way around. Frequently, it’s mutual abuse and torment. Some women manipulate the social and legal system. Some people have choice, but can’t exercise it, or don’t see it. Some don’t have a choice, they are trapped. People may read what I just wrote and think I am trying to blame, judge, criticize. Rather, I am striving to understand the intricacies of human relationships, with full realization that if I was in the other person’s shoes, I might behave the same way.

        What is the purpose of the comments section on this website? Until I hear something specific from Dr. Simon, I will assume it’s whatever commentators want to comment about. It’s the commentators choice. GBS tried to introduce the topic of how literacy and literature can educate young people to recognize manipulation (hopefully before they encounter a bad case of it and get into a horrible relationship with a manipulator). What a wonderful idea and worthy topic: educate people about how manipulation works, and how victims, through lack of knowledge and awareness, may play a role in their own victimization. Isn’t that what Dr. Simon writes about?

        It’s nice of Lucy and Eudoxia to try to explain and excuse BOTV’s behaviour, but she is the one who should be doing that.

        1. Anne, I thoroughly enjoy your comments. I learned today that I am a “Hamlet” type too and I come here often to find out how I can best react to the CDs who walk among us. I often skip over people in crisis because I don’t know the history of their situation. I think there is room for everyone here.

          “What is the purpose of the comments section on this website? Until I hear something specific from Dr. Simon, I will assume it’s whatever commentators want to comment about. It’s the commentators choice. GBS tried to introduce the topic of how literacy and literature can educate young people to recognize manipulation (hopefully before they encounter a bad case of it and get into a horrible relationship with a manipulator). What a wonderful idea and worthy topic: educate people about how manipulation works, and how victims, through lack of knowledge and awareness, may play a role in their own victimization. Isn’t that what Dr. Simon writes about?

          Well said.

          1. Hi SYdNey

            I appreciate your words.

            For what it’s worth, there are a few places on the internet I go to find a counter balance, a different perspective, on being an imperfect human in an imperfect world.

            onbeing.org
            brainpickings.org
            thebookoflife.org

            I hope you and others can find wisdom and positive energy from them too.

  24. I think it’s really important that everyone, be they abused or not, have the courage to acknowledge to themselves when they are imposing their world view on others.

    If there is a lack of awareness of the intent behind our words, we can be fighting without knowing it — and fighting unfairly.

    It seems manipulative, though it might simply be born out of passion for what the individual feels are higher ideals.

  25. “If there is a lack of awareness of the intent behind our words, we can be fighting without knowing it — and fighting unfairly. It seems manipulative, though it might simply be born out of passion for what the individual feels are higher ideals.”

    What you describe, Lisa, sounds like “ignorance”, in the way it is defined in Buddhism. In Buddhism, the roots of our individual and collective suffering are: greed, anger and delusion. (Other English terms used are: attachment, aversion, hate, etc.)

    The Dalai Lama explains it better: “Everyone wants a happy life without difficulties or suffering. We create many of the problems we face. No one intentionally creates problems, but we tend to be slaves to powerful emotions like anger, hatred and attachment that are based on misconceived projections about people and things. We need to find ways of reducing these emotions by eliminating the ignorance that underlies them and applying opposing forces.”

    The response to ignorance, in Buddhism, is “mindfulness”. Again, quoting the Dalai Lama:

    “It is felt that a disciplined mind leads to happiness and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering, and in fact it is said that bringing about discipline within one’s mind is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching”.

    This is all summed up in the Four Noble Truths.

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