Consultations

Arranging a Consultation with Dr. Simon

I get hundreds of requests for consultative advice every year.  And it’s always a pleasure to learn how folks were able to use such advice to put the principles I advocate in my books and other writings into practice and better empower themselves.  So I’m happy to provide some information on the types of consultations I engage in and their parameters:

Collateral Case Consultations

Providing therapeutic guidance to individuals with significant disturbances of character is both a difficult and a highly specialized endeavor.  It’s also often a challenge to provide the right kind of support to someone who’s been the victim of a character disturbed individual’s behavior. Many therapists, especially those trained and experienced primarily in traditional approaches, lack the specialized skills to deal with these kinds of issues effectively.  And I get more requests every single day from folks looking for a therapist “who gets it” than any other kind of request. Toward that end, with both the treating professional’s and their clients’ permission, I offer collateral case consultation, assisting therapists in diagnosis, assessment, and most especially, intervention planning.  The consultations occur on a mutually agreed upon schedule.  And while the consultation itself is not a direct therapeutic service that can be billed to insurance by the client, it can often be coded by the therapist as an ancillary service and may be subject to third-party reimbursement.  Collateral case consultations can be conducted via regular mail, email exchange or chat, telephone, Face Time, or Skype.

Individual Consultations

For a variety of important reasons, it’s not possible for me to either adequately assess or provide fair, direct advice specific to anyone’s particular circumstances from a distance. But I do offer scope and time-limited consultations designed to maximally empower individuals by helping them both better understand themselves and better understand and deal effectively with the character-impaired people in their lives. The consultations focus on expanding upon and/or clarifying the principles I advocate in my 3 books and numerous other writings, and provide helpful illustrations about how to put those principles into action.  The consultations are neither meant to be construed as therapy nor are they meant to supplant therapy.  As such, they are not billable to insurance.  The initial consultation is time-limited to a maximum of two hours and there is a possibility of a one-time follow up (one-hour maximum) at 4-6 months. Maximum effective use of the consultation time is facilitated by good familiarity with my books and other writings and the submission of via email in advance of the specific issues/questions that need to be addressed. Payment for the consultations can be made via PayPal and credit card.  Individual consultations can be conducted via email exchange or chat, telephone, Skype or Face Time. To arrange a consultation, click on the Contact Dr. Simon feature on the Contact page of the blog.

Customized Special Consultations

I consult with businesses, schools, special interest groups, churches, pastoral counselors, etc. on matters pertaining to character development and dealing with character disturbances.  If your group or organization is in need of information, training, or consultative services, a customized plan can be developed to address your concerns.  Use the “Contact Dr. Simon” feature on this site (i.e. the “contact” button on the homepage header and/or the form on the contact page) to send a message outlining your needs via email.  I generally reply within 7 days. But it can take me a bit longer to get back with you if I’ve been on speaking tour or have an unusually full email box.

46 thoughts on “Consultations

  1. Dear Dr. Simon,

    Hello, I am a survivor of the things that youre talking about on this website and I just wanted to say thank you so so so so so much . emotional abuse is such a painful and traumatic issue that isnt understood and is very difficult to expose. As a result the people who go through this feel ostracized . Resources like this will help people see that what theyre going through is a thing. I tried to start a blog called “abuse doesn’t always leave a mark” but i certainly feel distrust and fear a bit too much still to put my ideas out on the internet like that. Thank you for this and if there is anything at all I could ever do to help or anything please let me know I would love to help this cause in anyway I could.

    1. My fiance ultimately ended his life under a drug induced psychosis. His real issue after myself researching even before his death….PARANOID PERSONALITY DISORDER. I was with this man for 4.5 years and a psych major in college. He had an older brother (he was a middle) with full blown schizophrenia. My fiance was undiagnosed because his mother made excuses for the eldest brothers state. It’s sad the amount of people lost from ignorance

  2. If you could recommend a bit of reading to me for getting over the distrust, social anxiety and fear that houses your rational psyche id greatly appreciate that. And maybe something for the physical responses that you get conditioned into as well. thank you!!!

    1. I have your two books in two forms, on my Kindle for all devices and in hard copy. Awareness was the first step to healing and breaking free from the need to defend my stance (conditioned response 101). When you described it as a battle, or defining the rules of engagement I disengaged my emotions and watched his tactics in a third person way. Telling myself he is in a battle to get his way, and he is fighting dirty really helped me engage properly. Divorce became my only option. I still have scripts in my mind that I have to rewrite, my husband should hold a PhD in covert tactics. I was on multiple medications for anxiety and have seen more counselors than I can even name. I was told over and over that I was causing him to be oppressed! Wow, I still can’t believe how many people helped him convince me I was the problem, so he could stop me from confronting behavior I knew was not in alignment to the values and codes he claimed he lived by. He wanted me to doubt myself so he could continue to live the way he wanted. He even bought your book and told me that he now sees how I need help, and said he is willing to work with me. Sad thing is, a year ago I would have believed him. I have raised the bar in my life and he resented every healthy step I took. I am a wonderful person who now holds my shame, remorse, and self reflecting as a badge of honor. If I do something to hurt another I can’t sleep till I ask for spiritual forgiveness, evaluate where I should take responsibility, and reflect on how to never do that again. Knowing this about me reminds me that I am a good person and that takes his power away. I thank you for all you have done, not only to change my future but also the 3 boys and 3 girls who are learning for the first time how to engage with character. You have help countless people just in my family and those we touch. Thank you so very much for all you have done and are doing! I serve others, and now I can help them love themselves and protect themselves from the horrible tactics of manipulation! Even if it is only having awareness 🙂 God Bless and I pray I will be able to shake your hand someday!

  3. CALLINGTHE POLICE AT A PHONEY BUSINESS IN 1999-THESE PEOPLE LITTERALLY CAUSED ME BY NOT SENDING ME UMEPLYMENT CHECKS TO HAVE THE NEIGHBORS STERAL OUR LIVES AFTRE I GAVE THE NEIGHBORS CHILD A RIDE TO SCHOOL BUT TOLD HER TO HAVE HER FRINED IF THEY SUCH GREAT FREINDS TAKE HIM AFTRE THAT-SHE IS A TEACHER AND HE DID NOT NEED TO EVEN GO TO THE SCHOOL-GOD, GOD SAKE!
    i WS NOT BEHIND ON MY LOAN AND NOT LEAVING MY CHIDLREN ,
    I HAVE NEVER OWNED A BUSINESS OF MY OWN AND WAS EVEN SCAMMED BY CURTIS INDUSTRIES WHEN SOENE MQAN CALLED THE HARRASSING ME IN ANAHEIM.CA IN 1981 AND CAUSING ME TO BE UNDER PAID LATER AT A TARGET STORE-
    949-497-2959

  4. How do you get a manipulator/covert-aggressor/borderline person to finally recognize his behavior and STOP! He is a master manipulator and can con any therapist he meets, especially since most are not privy to the skills he has (they’ve rarely read any of your books or so many other great books on the subject of BPD/narcissim and tend to be quite the narcissists themselves regarding being the “professionals”), and usually refuse to believe the descriptions I tell of his behavior outside of their office. Mostly I think, because he plays to their egos about how they are the professional and I’m trying to do their job by diagnosing him! and he always adopts this absurdly meek personality in their offices, he slumps his shoulders and wraps his arms around himself and casts his gaze ever downward only looking up to speak. In reality he is loud, angry and intimidating. I’m at a complete loss since every time we see a new therapist as they lap up his act and it only serves to strengthen his belief he’s perfectly fine and I’m the one with problems because of how dramatically he flips/twists/spins the stories to benefit him and make me look bad!!

    1. Andrea,

      You’re fighting a losing battle. He likes who and what he is. You have decide what to do with your life, decide if you want to spend more time with this person, as he is, or get on with your life without him. You are losing money and time on this person. I’m sure he’s smirking at you how he’s “gone along” with this therapy program and playing games.
      Sorry to sound so callous and cold, but I speak the truth.

      1. Andrea, Lucy hit it on the nail. I’ve been with a master manipulator, liar & overall self-centered, selfish, emotionally disturbed man for 25 years…. (that’s a quarter of a century) & I allowed my life — the best years of my life — (and ALL of my life’s dreams & goals) to be destroyed! I tried to escape to freedom, but he blocked every attempt I made…. Depression and horrendous feelings have set in….Now I have to wrap my head around the fact that I have wasted my life with a man who NEVER respected me, loved me or accepted me for who I am…. Save yourself…. Don’t waste the best years of your life! I am “YOU” talking to you from your future…. Do what you feel is best for YOU!

    2. Andrea,

      You are mistaken about “how do you get a manipulator person to finally recognize his behavior and STOP”
      Right thing is:
      – Manipulator already knows!
      – Manipulator recognizes his tactics very well.
      – Manipulator won’t stop his tactics as long as they get him what he wants.
      Things really are simple. Stick around and read blogs, I am very sure you will figure it out in few days.

      As for fighting it out…
      George Bernard Shaw — ‘Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.’

      1. Andrea,
        Both Lucy and AndyD have given you excellant advice. I will tell you from my experience you are dealing with a master manipulator, a malignant one. He know exactely what he is doing and he is playing the therapists like a violin and getting not only immense satisfaction out of it but filling ego supply massively.

        He is playing the victim act, he is making you out to be the knit picking whiner.

        It is exactly true, many in the medical field are of the old school training standards of diagnosing these individuals. Also, they are not adept at picking up on the subtle, subliminal ques that a true trained professional or person that has been around these chameleons can pick up on.

        Since you know who and what he is be very careful. If you stay on this blog and read and I encourage you as the others have to participate, do not tell him. If you do, you will lose a lot of the advantages you will need if you choose to take any type of action in your life.

        For now and I hope you keep posting, God bless and be very careful.

      2. AndyD,
        I have heard this quote many times and forgot it. These disgusting CD can make ones life a hellhole. The more havoc they can create the more they love wallowing in their filth, trying drastically and many times succeeding in pulling you in, only to crawl your way out.

        Well said, this is exactly how Lucy has told of what has happened to her and is still happening in her life with the CD she married. The CD pigs love it, they don’t care if they look good or bad, its about pulling you into the quicksand of their filth, sucking you dry, with whatever means they can muster up and when they are done with you and if they can get away with it, they will let you sink to the bottom relishing every minute of it.

        Make no mistake about these CD ones, they are evil and corrupt, rotten to the core. The only illusion is the outer skin and in time that gives way too.

        Thanks Andy, I really needed a laugh and its so true. I hope you are well and my thoughts and prayers are with you. I admire how you have handled things.

        Take care Kindred Spirit

      3. The Bible says, “Don’t throw pearls before swine”. That’s what kept me going. Things like understanding, compassion, forgiveness, patience, and love (real altruistic love), are LOST on “wolves”, and yet they use those words about themselves. Wolves in Sheeps Clothing : ( designed to mislead.

        1. Say you love trains … they are really neat to you . Is it wise or constructive to expect them to love you back and react to your presence ? If you found yourself on the track would you think your love would stop it from hitting you ? Would it make Spence to get angry at the train that hits one who put themself its path ? Is it helpful to call it names and rage against it or is it better to recognize its nature and respectfully appreciate its limitations and abilities without hating it or fearing it. Name calling and resenting is a form of still engaging with an unhealthy dynamic. Isn’t it better simply to say that we need to be discerning in our relationships no matter what and choose our response with both respect for our health, well being and personal limitations ? To simply dismiss other people as swine or wolves because they are emotionally messed up or have destructive responses is to devalue them and to perpetuate their broken unhealthy world view which serves to keep that going and ultimately justifies their perspective . The only true way to challenge the cycle of destructive behavior is to take personal responsibility for our wellbeing and get out of that destructive cycle by take ourselves out of harms way so we may be able to be reasonable instead of desperate , rational and realistic about what is healthy and set healthy boundaries for our relationships and self as well as recognize that each individual is responsible for their own healthy relationships and that it is both socially responsible and imparitive to take the best care of our selves that we can . Seeking help and saying “no “ should never result in being emotionally blackmailed or shaming if we are in healthy relationships.
          We don’t need to hate or harm anyone else to take care of our own needs or feel valid .

          1. I agree that hating or resenting or being angry at CD Individuals is not only a waste of our energy, but harmful to ourselves. It’s like carrying nuggets of poison in our souls.
            I’ve been surrounded by such individuals most of my life, but didn’t know it until the last year. I could always feel their intent to hurt me, and that intent often hurt more than their actions or horrible words. I have 3 CD family members who, after 20 years of me going no contact, continue to find ways to harm me by smear campaigning me to anyone they suspect is in contact with me.
            I don’t know what to do anymore because I attract the same scenarios over & over – but walk away quicker now. I feel like I have an experiential degree in CD personalities, and can identify & label their behaviours. So some good.
            I now try to view CD people as aliens – it makes it easier to calmly accept them for who they are. 🙂

    3. I’ve gone to 15 different marital therapists for over 20 years…. I’m telling you from experience that a manipulator/liar/abuser will always manipulate a therapist & will sometimes even add little “crumbs of truth” to “appear” to be emotionally honest & sincere about changing. I wasted my time in therapy having to “re-tell the truth” because he would always twist & manipulate the truth or just flat-out lie; he even confidentially boasted to me: “I can make reality anything I want!” When I had proven over & over that he had manipulated, distorted, dismissed, diminished, gaslighted, lied, etc., as a destructive pattern, the therapist just replied: “I can only go on what you both tell me….” It was outrageous, maddening & a monumental waste of my life, time, money & dreams! Marital therapists ask both partners: “What destructive patterns are YOU contributing in the relationship?” — or “What do you ‘own’ in this relationship?” as in “How are you contributing, enabling, adding, creating, playing into the problem, etc.”? I wasn’t the problem! He was the liar, manipulator, cunning-scheming degenerate who couldn’t “let go” of his “prisoner!” After 20 years of therapy, I had ENOUGH! I tried to leave but he controlled everything & blocked everything I tried to do to: getting a job, having money, getting a divoce or separation, living apart, etc. DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE IN THERAPY LIKE I DID!!! I GAVE UP ALL MY DREAMS: HAVING MORE CHILDREN; PURSUING CAREER GOALS; TRAVELING….. FINDING LOVE WITH A RESPECTFUL, DECENT MAN…. SAVE YOURSELF! SAVE YOUR LIFE BEFORE IT GETS DESTROYED PERMANENTLY. MAYBE THERE IS SOMEBODY ELSE OUT THERE IN THIS WORLD OF 7.5 BILLION PEOPLE THAT WOULD BE A BETTER, CARING PARTNER FOR YOU? When a woman wants to stay with a destructive partner I just want to ask her one question: “Why do you want to stay on the S.S. Titanic when you already know what the future will be if you do ‘stay’ until the end…?” Why go down with a doomed ship?

      1. JAS,

        Sorry you had such crummy therapists. I had only one, and immediately she caught on that he was not authentic, was a liar, was not sorry, was uncaring. She kept telling me, “Do you feel it that he’s really sorry? I’m not seeing it. ” I was trying to believe he was sorry but I knew he wasn’t.
        I pretty much tell everyone on this site if they are married to a selfish, uncaring, cold, manipulative, gaslighting, cold hearted CD to just leave if you can. Plan the leave carefully so you get out with some money, a job, some way to support yourself. But get out. Quit wasting a life. I wasted too many years. I should have left much sooner but for many reasons I stayed. Boy am I paying the price now.
        They will not change. Ever. In fact, they worsen with age.
        There are great people in the world who can make a sweet companion. I found one. I’ve got a man who genuinely cares and takes an interest. It’s so nice for a change.
        And I do understand it when you say he “blocked everything you try to do”. The husband I’m trying to divorce always tries to block my progress, in everything I try to accomplish. I work hard, he does not help, and makes it worse by trying to prevent me to progress. It’s a crappy way to live, being with someone like this. I do understand. You’ve got to get away from him.

      2. The marriage counselors you went to should have recognized the imbalance in desire to genuinely understand how the other is feeling and thinking. It was only a waste of time because the Narc was present. Couples counseling NEVER works with a PD, and can often make the situation WORSE.
        INDIVIDUAL sessions should have been the recommendation of therapist.
        Best bet:. Seek individual therapy with a professional that specializes with domestic violence victimization.

  5. I am still wondering and probably do not want to accept that even a nice daugther on the surface was able to manipulate me, her loving mother for sooo many years.
    Is this really possible?

    1. Claudia,

      Yes. It is very much possible.

      This is part of human nature. Some people are simply predators. The actual degree of predatory tendency varies from softer manipulation to more extreme measures like matricide. And, any smart chimp will know that why take more risk (lets say kill and risk social outcast & incarceration) when less risky strategy (lets say manipulation and risk minor setback once in a while) will get what that smart chimp wants.

      Start protecting your interests while respecting your daughters need. Only needs, not wants. Once you start doing that you will find the true depth of problem, and see if both of you can come out of downward spiral and improve your life. If your daughter just need bit of discipline or tough love, then she just may thank you later on.

  6. I stumbled upon Dr. Simon’s book, “In Sheep’s Clothing” several years ago, when I was at the end of my rope dealing (for 25 hellacious years) with a “trouble-making” sister-in-law, and Googled words like manipulative, because that’s what it felt like I and my family had been dealing with. When I read excerpts from this book, everything clicked, and my gut instincts (and everything I’d been saying) were confirmed, and I shared the excerpts with the rest of my family, so they could see in black and white, who we’d been dealing with, and that we weren’t “the bad guys” for keeping her at arms length…which was really hard to do when her son (our beloved nephew) got cancer, battled it for 6 excruciating years, and then died. Talk about a test of faith, love, and perseverance! THEN I reconnected with someone from high-school…and 3+ (hellish, insane) years later, realized she is a “wolf”…and the kicker is, she’s got a PhD in psychology, a license to practice, and knew how to talk the talk. After dealing with her (and all of her “collateral damage”), I was left…at the end of my rope again, dealing with undeserved blame and shame by someone who manipulated me into caring for her. It’s been 2 years since we last spoke and I’m still “getting over” the abuse. I even saw a psychotherapist, who (as it turns out) was the spitting image (talk, mannerisms and life-story) of my “friend”, and she even went so far as to call herself by that friends name. Needless to say I ended therapy with her. There are a lot of what I’d call “sick/twisted” “grown-ups” out there, and my “friend” even joked about being “sick and twisted”…and that she “only played one (a psychologist) on tv.” By the way, her “story” was that she’d been sexually abused by her father, which gave her a license to get away with murder.

  7. …what I learned from dealing with 2 “wolves”, is to trust your gut instinct, no matter what they say. You’re not the “bad guy” they say you are for keeping them at arms length. Hopefully this site can be a support-group for all of us “out there”, surviving a “wolve’s” manipulation. I survive because I know who I am, and I’m not the “monster” I’ve been made out to be by “wolves”. You will NEVER get a “wolf” to admit they are one: even if they have a PhD in psychology.

  8. This site and reading other people’s experiences is helpful. I have been feeling alone and scared. Divorced my ex husband early on when I finally accepted his CD. I thought by getting away from him while my daughter was still small (3 yrs), I could protect us both.

    She is very much like her father. I didn’t want to believe it. She had limits and consequences as a child, but strongly resented them. She had therapy to help her deal with her anger in her teenage years. She learned my weak spots and began using them. I allowed myself to be manipulated and abused and kept trying to get her to see and understand how much she was hurting me. I did set limits and give her consequences, and she rolled over my boundaries without reservation then attempted to convince me I was the bad guy for setting limits or for enforcing them. I mistakenly believed she didn’t get it and when she did, she would stop. My blindness to who she was started to fade when I was weakened by a series of may life altering events in a short period of time. She showed her true colors. She was cruel and she ruthless. I was down and she wanted me to stay there. She used doubt, gaslighting, denying reality, neglect, minimizing, evading, ignoring, lies, playing the victim, destroying my property, any and everything she could. I see now that she wants her way and will do whatever it takes to get it and does not care what the cost is to me (and her?).

    Once I began accepting (it has not been an easy awareness for me to accept, and I’m don’t believe that I fully have) who she is and that she is doing it consciously, and that she was bullying me and keeping me in doubt to dominate me, and that she refused to address ANY of my concerns, I cut communication with her. First I felt relieved, then terrified, then I felt despair.

    She responded by first pretending nothing was wrong, then making demands, then threatening me – all to get me to communicate (submit).

    She finally went to therapy ( 2 visits) and said she is working on her aggression and realizes she is like her father. She admitted that she is selfish. I began to have very limited contact with her. She has shifted to very subtle covert behaviors and continues to make excuses and to find a diagnosis to blame her behavior on (diagnosis keeps changing).

    She also attempted to coerce me, actually threatened not to have a relationship with me, unless I agreed to go to a therapist with her. I called her bluff and said no. I saw it as another set up (trick), a trap. She is very charming and persuasive (and an expert actress) and could easily also play the victim. She has been trying to convince me that I am crazy…I believe she is looking for a professional to confirm it.

    She lives in another state. She does appear to be trying to address her behavior. She is now respecting limits for the most part (still very manipulative). I do often feel that it is a war on my will/rights. She feels very entitled and in the right and fights hard.
    She has told me that the things that she has done were not personal. That she didn’t see me as a separate person, but as mom (a thing/object?). It could be true. I also believe some of it was done out of anger/hate. Once she told me that after the one time I was sick and really needed her (she was college age) and she just looked at me and left (for weeks), that she was thinking – “screw you”.

    I’m terrified of who she is and what she is capable of. I also feel guilty for considering going full no contact. I cannot tell if she is truly trying to change or playing a destructive game. It’s a scary reality to face that your adult child may want to destroy you/will destroy you if you let her.

    I have limited contact with her. I have changed the locks.
    Do you have other suggestions for protecting myself and for knowing when they are really trying to change rather than playing along to keep us trapped/duped?
    I am getting older and she is my only child and I’m concerned what will happen if I can’t protect myself.

    Thank you for your work it has helped me to face this reality. For years I have been searching for answers and support. Your work is empowering and it is so essential in this culture of dis-empowerment by lies and manipulations.

    1. Dear Liz,
      I know it’s been a long time since you wrote about your daughter. I’m sorry you have gone through this, and are continuing to go through this. I have heard of other parents in similar situations, with unpleasant results because they wanted to trust their child no matter what.
      To protect yourself… I hope you’ve removed your daughter from your will, and that you’ve assigned power of attorney to someone other than her, someone who will not let her bully them into submission. It will hurt to do this, but it is a safety measure for you.
      Blessings.

      1. Gwendolyn, your timing is amazingly perfectly timed! My daughter just got back in touch with me after almost 1.5 years of choosing not to contact me after I called her on some of her specific behaviors when we did meet up. At the time, she did her typical…I had no idea how much it was hurting you (with tears included). This has been one of the patterned responses – verbatim (denial). I was not moved and she saw it. No sale. I stayed firm and told her I would not accept it and wouldn’t allow her to do it to me again.

        My guard is definitely WAY up.

        She craves control and, domination, I think. She certainly lacks empathy for me most of the time.

        Thank you for your sound advice. Unfortunately, my family is full of CD individuals, and I’m a magnet (hopefully recovered magnet) of CD folks, so I don’t have anyone I trust and feel comfortable asking to take on that responsibility. I’ve cleared out the toxic folks and have been working on self care, so I attract better quality people in my life. The will/trust issue has been on my mind though. I’m a recent cancer survivor (she doesn’t know) and it certainly is an important issue. She doesn’t seem to care as much about money as she does control. A POA would be too much control.

        Thanks again. I really needed to re-read what I wrote too…I do not want to forget how far she has gone/will go.

        1. Hi Liz,
          Glad to hear you are so strong! WOW. Love the ‘no sale.’
          I’ve been a CD magnet most of my life too, including having CD siblings. Going no contact is tough, but has been the best way for me, even though it has not stopped their smear campaigns – & it’s been many years of no contact! (I guess they find me really interesting).LOL!
          I like to view CDs as curious aliens.
          I’ve found Dr. Simon’s info on them so helpful because it confirms what I’ve felt (they want to injure), & frees me from feeling guilty for not ‘buying their bull.’

          1. Hi Gwendolyn,

            Thanks. I am strong, but I’m also aware of how adept she is at working on my weaknesses (mother guilt) and she’s come back when I am somewhat low on energy. It takes so much energy trying to read between the lines and sort through the mind games – protect myself. I do worry that I’ll get hooked in if I allow her back in – even on a small scale.
            Like you, going no contact with my siblings was tough but the best thing for me. They still tear me down too! The aliens seem to have the same M.O.’s!
            The psychological space is key for me.
            I’m glad that you are free from them and you are incredibly strong (and resilient)!
            Yes, I’ve felt that too, and instinctively knew on some level that it was done to harm, yet they of course denied. I’m still practicing detachment.

            I really appreciate your encouragement and support. Your timing was perfect. I’m on my own over here and I sometimes feel guilty and discouraged. I don’t have others in my life that get it, so it can be very isolating.

        2. Hi Liz,
          I don’t have anyone who gets it either. I just finished a 3 month job where someone got jealous of something the coordinator asked me to do, and the smear campaign started. I felt the all too familiar feeling like I was walking on eggshells and of course, didn’t find out why until just before the job ended. The smear campaigner was the coordinator’s friend, and finding out about the campaign put all the devaluations into perspective. But I can label the behaviours & understand them now. They’re not about me; they’re about the bullies. It still hurts though.

          It’s hard not to get drawn in, but you have a spidey sense that will ring true every time. Trust yourself. And if you do get sucked in…another lesson will be learned.
          I appreciate your support too. It’s also nice to know that I’m not the only one who finds this isolating. But I am learning to really trust my instincts. Exhausting! These silly aliens! 🙂

          1. Reading your comments has made me feel so sad as I have just realised (suspected for years) that my youngest child is CD. She is the only one left at home with me (CD dad left years ago thankfully but the scars remain) which has made everything much worse as I am the only target. However I cannot walk away from her. I love her so much and I know she loves me (she leaves me little notes around the place, tells me every day she loves me, holds my hand sometimes still although she’s 18 now! )
            There are so many good things about her although I’ve always known she was different to my other three children, and is sadly similar to her pathologically lying, cheating, bullying father. My friends have commented on her lack of empathy and the way she manipulates me but I have been trying to make myself believe it’s just ‘difficult teenage years’. She is so good with her friends, and loves young children, but is a monster to me and totally disrespects me and argues against everything, it’s exhausting and stressful. I don’t want to tell her she has a problem, what’s the point, but I’d love to enable her to change her behaviour as it makes me feel so sad she could go through her life like this, hurting people and creating chaos everywhere she goes, and manipulating me constantly into ‘lending’ her money, taking her out for meals even when I’m struggling financially… not sure where to turn! Any good books on dealing with children without having to walk away? Any particular therapy that might help? thanks!

          2. Kate,

            Couldn’t reply under your post, but this is what I would tell my younger self when my daughter was 18. The point of telling her how she is, how her behavior is disrespectful is to help both of you. She needs her mom to be truthful with her, strong and hold her accountable. She needs her mom to tell her and SHOW her what’s okay and what’s not.

            She is doing this on purpose, because it works on you. If she can exhaust you and wear you down, she gets her way. She may escalate to physical abuse if you do not set limits on her. And she will seek out other people who have weak boundaries and run over them too. You cannot change her, but you can possibly influence her behavior based on how you respond to her(consistently).

            Figure out what your limits are and hold firm. You are teaching her how to treat you and others. You deserve respect and consideration.

            So if you don’t want to lend her money, say no and mean it. She won’t like it. She’ll try and get you to change your mind. Keep repeating no. After the third time, leave the room, hang up the phone, make dinner, whatever. If she follows you and continues to badger, tell her to stop it now. If she does, go on as normal. If she doesn’t, ask her to leave the room. If you get to the point where she’s physically threatening you or cornering you, it’s time to ask her to leave your home. (maybe have someone there with you when you do it and when she moves out). She’s an adult and she is responsible for her behavior, just like you are. The police are not going to look the other way, give in, buy her manipulations when she crosses the line with someone else.

            If you feel guilty about something and are allowing her to manipulate you because of that, you can change your response (and do the work on that guilt). Fear, obligation and guilt are the big ones.

            If she continues with her overall disrespectful behavior, you may want to consider asking her to find other living arrangements. It seems tough, but that’s often what they need. My daughter actually told me she needs hard consequences.

            My daughter wanted to do nothing to contribute to the household but had money coming in and was a young adult. I told her she could live there but needed to keep the common areas clean and contribute to the household bills (a small amount, it was appropriate for her income/ability to pay.) It was to help her learn to pull her own weight and to be responsible. She was enraged and thought that I was being unfair and outrageous. She threatened to move out. I let her know that was certainly her choice.

            She did and a couple of years later told me that the amount I was asking her to pay was way more than fair. She lacked perspective. I did my best to try and help her get it, but sometimes they just need to experience the consequences.

            It can be very painful to allow them to suffer the natural consequences of their behavior, but as a parent, it’s often exactly what is needed and we are not helping them by shielding them from those natural consequences.

            Tiptoeing around her, walking on eggshells, trying to appease her, that’s what she wants and it doesn’t help her or you. It’s a temporary reprieve. Think of her as a 3 year old who is throwing a tantrum. If you give in to the tantrum, you’ve taught her that works on you, so, you get more tantrums!

            I now respond to her based on how she behaves. Once she shows me she doesn’t respect my property, she doesn’t have access to it. My person, she doesn’t have access to me.

            In my experience, finding a counselor that understands family dynamics/abusive dynamics would be helpful for both of you. If someone doesn’t get it, they may try and minimize her behavior.
            It usually gets worse, she won’t outgrow it.

            Books on verbal abuse/emotional abuse and gaslighting are also helpful, like this site, they help you identify the behaviors.

            Remember, the only behavior you can control/change is your own and you would be amazed how quickly it works when you are firm and committed to the change. She’ll know when you are taking it seriously.

            I wish you well. It’s such a painful reality to face, but if we don’t, we enable it to continue.

          3. Liz, Kate,

            Kate, well said with love, concern and empathy. There is nothing more painful than dealing with our children whom are part of us and we gave birth to.

            The most difficult but loving action we can give to our children or for that fact ones we dearly love is to hold them accountable and if need be love them enough to set them free in order to and hopefully, see the error of their ways and be productive people.

            I will say letting go is extremely painful, the end results may be rewarding beyond our imagination. Liz, love yourself enough to say “NO” the results may be painful but at the same time you will take back part of yourself to become whole.

            I hope you keep posting and let us know how you are doing, at the same time, Kate, your words of wisdom are refreshing and well taken.

            Thank you

  9. Dr Simon, I found out about you from Dr Nothrup’s energy vampire online course, which helped me to discover the many narcissists I have been dealing with. However, one is my 16 year old son. I know it in my gut. I feel lost as to what to do, as I also fight off his father who is likely more toward psychopath. But a child…it is so hard to understand. All these years of not seeing only to awaken and find I’m sleeping in the wolf’s den. Could my son have simply learned this behavior? Or am I kidding myself?
    Any direction would be greatly appreciated.
    Best S

  10. Dear Dr. Simon,
    I saw your video interview with Meredith Miller. In it, you talk about training counselors your way with Benign Confrontation methods. Without going into all the lovely details of the last several years, I am separated from my Christian CD husband who freely admits does not like who he is and does not know what to do. He is totally open to anyone you have trained. We have been to 6 or 7 people for help so far, the current one a LMFT – not helping as the approach is much like you described many counselors in the video (traditional M&F therapy) and I keep being asked to come to the sessions as an “equal” in the problem, with both of us being assigned homework (some of which was good because I was able to write up some very firm, finality-based boundaries). Overall, though, my husband and I both recognize that this is not the right approach. Would you mind recommending someone in my city, who has been directly trained by you, to work with such an individual as my husband via Benign Confrontation? I can let you know my location via email. Thank you.

    1. the same happened to me and my husband., he uses a poker face in front of therapists and they believe him. I quitted the last lady that was trying to portraying me as abusive. but was the other way around. They blame on you! all is your fault and there is no agreement about any emotional issue or commitment to change whatsoever. I am currently with my divorce and his divorce in court and living together in separate rooms and no longer husband and wife.

  11. After decades of working with a wide variety of specialists in the mental health field, (psychoanalysts, social workers, psychotherapists, and psychologists) I have come to understand that very few therapists understand “evil.” Furthermore, as Judith Hermann has so eloquently pointed out in her works, there is a universal desire to “see, hear, and speak” no evil. We are admonished to forgive our trespassers, and have compassion for their suffering. Those of us who have been traumatized by these traumatizing narcissists (see Daniel Shaw’s work on overcoming the shame imposed by the same in Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation) spend the rest of our lives healing from the wounds, shattered by the disowned shame they project onto us.
    For anyone who struggles with the sense of isolation that we invariably experience because of the traumatizing influence of these personalities, I would highly recommend the work of Patrizia Romito, A Deafening Silence: Hidden Violence Against Women and Children. Her feminist perspective sheds light on the means by which the institutions of our society conspire to silence women and children. The most significant silencing institution of all is the family, where fathers use the threat of violence, intimidation, and abandonment to keep women and children in a state of fear and dependency. The physical abuse of a woman’s children is one of the most powerful means by which fathers maintain control, silencing both the women and children from exposing the abuse. Mothers learn very quickly that men will use their children as weapons against the mother if she tries to stand up to his abuse.
    Dr. Simon’s work is exemplary in his understanding of psychopathic personalities. For those of you who are interested in deepening your understanding, Robert Hare, has also contributed immensely to the field. Understanding destructive personality traits and learning to identify the tactics of manipulation is important; however, healing from the trauma caused by these destructive personalities is a lifetime work. Compassion and forgiveness are not the answer and only provide the fuel for the most disturbed personalities to continue their destruction.

    1. Molly, thank you so much for this. I looked up Daniel Shaw (per your suggestion) and just since this morning reading some of his work has helped me tremendously because I am ‘one who struggles with the sense of isolation that we invariably experience because of the traumatizing influence of these personalities’. I’m already feeling less alone. Thank you.

  12. What I’ve been wondering lately…is why do we confront CD people with their hurtful behaviours? Why do we try to make them see things from our perspective? Why is the confession onus on the hurt person? Why is the onus never on the CD to confess their wrongs? Why do we wait to see if there is a behaviour change, that maybe this time they’re telling the truth?
    Would it not be easier to just demand/ask them to describe their behaviours that are hurtful? Maybe give them a clue, like saying, “I’m hurt because of something you did. What do you think that was?” And if they leave out obvious ones or refuse to do that…you know they have not changed. If they list a hurtful behaviour, but continue to do it…you know it’s intentional. If they say they’ve done nothing & blame shift…then you know they’re either severely mentally deficient (very low IQ), or lying because people of reasonable intelligence know when they’ve been hurtful, deceitful, and manipulative.
    I’ve had CD people proudly admit to manipulating & lying to others – but only when they’re bragging about themselves, not when they’re being held accountable.
    If very young children know how to lie & that it’s wrong…then adults also know this. In my experience, making myself vulnerable by stating what has hurt me to a CD person simply gives them more info about me. And that seems foolish.

    1. Gwendolyn,

      An excellent post and you do hit the head on the nail in many areas and agree with your logic. I applaud you logic and I would say in another time and space this thinking would be the norm.

      I am going to you last sentence and will respond to it. “In my experience, making myself vulnerable by stating what has hurt me to a CD person simply gives them more info about me. And that seems foolish.”

      I agree with giving the CD to much information that in the end can only hurt you and in this you must use immense discernment in this regard and many times so many are unaware of the psychosis and mind games taking place.

      I think in in this regards to calling the CD out out on their behavior that offend us, hurt us and so forth is also a plus in that it will give you forward knowledge of what and who you are dealing with or it can be an opportunity to open a door. I say this as many time the CD are not intuned to the hurts and pains of others. At the same time if the CD is not to far gone letting them know how we feel from what they said or do can open a door……

      I say this with hope and the love of God in prayer that these empty souls can find their way back. I know it has been done and know of blessings where one has changed. I will say, it has been few who have decided to change.

      For you, please ask yourself, what do you have to lose if you can ask a few questions and requests in graciousness. You will know by their answers and by their fruit.

      I would also like to add, I have found when I am in truth, truth is a shield and you will never make you vulnerable. I will have to say we are dealing in a world nowadays where truth is a lie and a lie is a truth, so I understand you in this dilemma. Till the day I die, I will never pervert my truth in any way to be that of the world system.

      I will also say I have made many errors in my life and am grateful for those who cared enough about me to call me out, it opened my mind for thought and most of all not many in this world care enough about others to care enough and put themselves out to call another out.

      Hugs and graciously thank you for your post as it contains many other issues of address and things in myself I must address.

      Thank you

      1. What a kind and thoughtful response BTOV. Thank you.
        What caught my eye in your post, is the statement that many ‘CDs are not in tune to the hurts and pains of others.’ I agree that they lack empathy, so do not imagine or experience the pain another may feel…yet… CDs say they enjoy the emotion they create in others because it confirms their control over another, gives them an energy (confidence?) boost, and informs them on how another thinks. They always tell me that they are happy doing the things they do. I respect that, despite how horrifying it might be for me.

        I agree with you that there is no place for anger or returned insults in behavioural discussions or explaining hurt feelings with another – respect for another’s way of being in the world is important.
        I’m glad to hear you’ve been fortunate enough to see a CD change. The challenge to retrain thought and emotional patterns is immense. I’ve never met a CD who wanted to change, but it’s nice to know there are some who want to stop inflicting pain.
        Thank you again for your kind & informative response to my rant

        1. Gwendolyn,

          Thank you for the kind compliments. I just commented to your post and not in full detail. In general speaking many people are CD and need to correct their positions of feeling they have a right to hurt others. Most CDNarcissists enjoy inflicting pain, difficulties and chaos on others.

          I answered your post in a general way regarding the CD, not a CDNSP which I group in a whole different catagory . I do know of two CDN who did change and at times I still see their Hyde side pop up. They know it and will admit to it as they are truly trying to walk the walk of change.

          I just talked with a person who did change and it is a forever fought battle to do so. This person has thanked me when I do call them out. I will mention their moment of change was “Their Come To Jesus Moment.” refered to by Dr. Simon refers to. This person admittedly will tell me it was Jesus who changed their hearts, if not, it would had been death.

          I am grateful for the experience God laid in my lap to know these individuals as they have opened windows otherwise, closed. I hope I will be able to use this gift to me as a blessing and help to others.

          Yes, it is true, many CD don’t understand, visualize, feel, etc., the pain they cause others. Wherein lesser degrees of CD could be halted and I say could be as we are so limited in correction in our society today to say anything, if the CD immediately was held under and suffered the same consequences of pain they are so willingly and able to dish out I think change could happen rather quickly.

          Accountability, as in an eye for an eye. I ask this question, if one wants to steal another’s purse, therefore, your purse will be taken, if you cut off another’s arm therefore your arm will be cut off. My question, in how many of these instances would these things stop?

          We have a corrupt system that promotes crime with a slew of so called legal professional (criminals) that lie, cheat, and use every know means to protect criminals, liars, theirs, killers and so on. Its a legal business from the Top down of beauacracy.

          In this sick, corrupt system, above all, it is We who have still have an iota of decency not to give in and forfeit our moral integrity. Only you and you alone know what you can endure and handle.

          For me, the best thing for me is to have found Dr. Simons site and reading the amount of information from all the posters. Knowledge is power and I can guarantee you, if you keep reading and I encourage you to keep posting you will learn more way beyond any other site or for that matter the info from a highly paid therapist.

          If I have helped in anyway, I attribute this to all who have gone before me and from those who continually share their experiences.

          1. Hi BTOV,

            I agree that our legal systems are more about business than protection or correction. It’s interesting that you mention swift action for correction as being necessary – in Canada that is supposed to be one of the rules – if something takes too long to go through the system, the accused goes free. So the system knows that a swift response (and a punishment that fits the crime), is required for the message to get across, but the courts definition of swiftness is also different than most people’s.
            Personally, I prefer Restorative Justice based on the Native Indian judicial system because accountability is not limited to an eye for an eye. I believe there are a lot of ways to address hurtful behaviour, including discussing it with the CD and then going limited or no contact.
            Thank you for the discussion.

          2. Gwendolyn,

            You have brought up significant points that many don’t understand or even consider. You bring up an important, significant point that all lawyers know and willinging pass on to the criminal element, who already know the ground rules or will school their criminal client on.

            This one rule is the longer you can prolong an injustice in court in not taking responsibility for your action of predation the easier your sentence if any will be. Yup, like you said, time will set you free. My words, its all a game and it is perpetrated from the highest level as it makes money, the only loser is the Victim.

            I do agree, there is a lot to learn from the Native American People. But then, because of the altruism the money system of greed has silenced it.

            Thank you, you have added to what I already think in my head and at this time in our world have to word very carefully. Truly, you are a joy.

            Gods Blessings to you.

  13. I am married to a master manipulator for going on 9 years….overt narcissist now turned covert. Most women love him and say he’s the most honest person they know. He even has men trusting him and enjoying his company. It very maddening. Marital counseling went as many of you have mentioned here with enough partial truth to seem engaged, showing confidence and familiarity of psych terms that he knew his issues of fear of intimacy and compartmentalization…however I don’t believe the former, and know the latter to be an indication of a huge problem,. He honestly doesn’t seem to have the ability to connect the dots. His charm always shows up in counseling and all issues get blamed on me as I try to be honest knowing that the only way to reveal and resolve any issue is to get to the root of the problem. We always left with homework, and with him getting along just fine at the next session having not done his portion. He accuses me of using what I know to be used at a later time against him, and says that is why he doesn’t share or want to have any conversation with me. He was drinking for most of our marriage and having many physical affairs and emotional ones online. I caught him several times preying on the vulnerabilities of young girls, sexting them and manipulating them. I called the police late one night as I caught him drunk and sexting several women at the same time, one being underage. He lied saying he was sending work email and as I held his phone, another reply popped up. I confronted him with the underaged text, and held on to his phone. He finally left after collecting a change of clothes and handgun, then went elsewhere and wiped his phone before the police could get here. He has sense stopped drinking after I contacted his chief officer in the military knowing he would soon be deployed in a top secret cyber mission with the NSA. They ordered him to get help or face discharge. He went to AA a few times just before deploying, and attended “anger management “ and alcohol counseling for 6 weeks with a female therapist whom I suspect he charmed as he was always full of himself after his sessions. But He managed to fulfill his duties for ordered help. He is now deployed living by himself saying he’s changed his ways, yet he is still manipulating, and blame shifting, and refusing to have any conversation to help work thru any past betrayals. He expects his ability to flip a switch to be all that is needed to move on. He admits that he needs constant affirmations, and has even learned how to show empathy and concern, but it always comes at a time when I have suffered a loss or sickness or trial in the family, so I’m pretty sure he is mirroring my emotions. It’s very unsettling to hear him say something that is so much conflicting with what I have come to know and that conflicts with the lack of sincerity shown. This is only a portion of the things I could tell. Is this man a psychopath, with his deviant predatory past behavior? He came home for 10 days in April and on our computer I found an email from him where he had requested bank account information from someone, and after having received it, he promptly replied to this person telling him that he should be careful sending such information in email as he could quickly empty his bank account. If he isn’t doing illegal things yet, he is hovering and playing in a questionable gray area. I’ve told both the police and his chief of the things that he does, but they can’t catch him. He knows how to stay hidden. The chief now thinks he is reformed. When I question him, of course he comes out swinging, turns everything around on me, then storms off acting the victim by slamming doors and hatefully yelling that I was very good at playing the victim and that I should tell my counselor that she taught me well. This all crazy making. And yes some days I wonder if I am the crazy one. I’ve caught myself trying to trick him into telling me things, but he’s much better than I am. Other days I’m strong enough to leave, unfortunately you can’t file for divorce while they are deployed. That keeps me here rationalizing and doubting myself, thinking maybe he has changed. If I married him, for better or worse, and I have much hope that one day that God will be able to change his heart, how can I leave? Can I possibly remain sane if I stay? Or am I the one who is disturbed? There is something still about him that is unsettling. I cannot put my finger on it and have been with him for 11 years. He is so sneaky, and you are all right…counseling does no good. It seems to only equip him with more tools to manipulate and increase his cleverness and ability to charm.

  14. Coming to the realization that I am married to a covert aggressive manipulator is very stressful and difficult. Advice all leads to one solution- define myself and eventually leave him after 25 years. It’s really not that simple. The master manipulator my husband is, he pales in comparison to our 15-year-old son. And that hurts. There is no quitting, moving, getting out. Distancing myself from someone so precious to me, my own child, hurts, is unrealistic and just not practical.
    The difference between my husband and my son, in addition to my son being even better at manipulative maneuvers, is that I will love my son forever, and unconditionally.
    How do we deal with this when it is our own child? I fear for him when he is an adult. What sort of relationship will he have? Will he hurt his partner like his father hurts me? Will he hurt his children? It’s terrifying to think his life could be filled with empty, selfish tactics. I want happiness for him – all the stuff we wish for our kids. Yet, if he keeps on this path, it will be ruin.
    The opinion is that we cannot change these people, but what can we do to guide a young person to realize that it does not benefit him? My mind says I’m too late. I had the chance when I was picking out the man who would become his father.
    I read that there are things I can do- refuse to engage, etc. But there is no leaving. Not ever.

  15. How heartbreaking for you.
    As far as your son’s life being ruined because of his behaviours….no it won’t be ruined – he gets joy, confidence, satisfaction from hurting others; he sees it as a sign of his superiority that he can manipulate others into feeling and reacting certain ways. You might want to offer your assistance in clarifying his actions to anyone he becomes involved with because he will hurt others intentionally. No one will be able to fix him. He is who he is. Loving him is for you, not him, and love is never wrong, even if you have to do it from a distance.
    Namaste

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