Disturbed Characters and Substance Abuse: A Complex Picture

The problems disturbed characters innately have and bring into their relationships are substantial enough even when substance abuse isn’t part of the overall picture. But when a person with significant disturbances of character also engages in substance use or misuse, life can quickly become a virtual nightmare. Character-impaired individuals tend to have relationships that are abusive in nature with any and all of the “objects” (i.e. people, things, circumstances, etc.) in their lives, including their substances of choice. And over the next few weeks, I’ll be addressing some of the problems that typically arise when disturbed characters also happen to be substance abusers.

Many might remember the infamous tabloid photo of a largely unrepentant Lindsey Lohan sitting in a courtroom next to her attorney and flashing fingernails that were painted with the letters “F” and “U” at a judge trying to talk some sense into her about complying with rehab requirements in order to avoid more serious legal sanction. It takes a certain kind of character to display the level of gall Lohan displayed, especially in the face of significant imminent legal consequence (in this particular case, incarceration time). And it’s that same kind of gall (which is an integral component of a certain kind of character disturbance) that leads a person who is already fully aware of both the illegality of and the dangerousness associated with certain drugs (especially illegal ones) to feel comfortable dabbling in them in the first place. It also takes a certain kind of character to persist both in active substance use and in various other use-related behaviors – behaviors not strictly the direct result of a true “addiction” – despite experiencing all sorts of adverse consequences (I speak to the characteristic response to adverse consequence as a defining feature of character disturbance in both Character Disturbance and In Sheep’s Clothing as well as the article: Neurosis vs. Character Disorder: Responses to Adverse Consequences) and with remarkable indifference to likely additional future negative consequences. And such characters, as problematic as they already are, are impossibly difficult to deal with when they’re also actively using.

I’ve mentioned before that individuals who are without some degree of character disturbance (Remember, character disturbance exists along a continuum with extreme neurotics and fully disordered characters lying at opposite ends) and inadvertently get hooked on powerfully addictive drugs are quite rare. Such folks might do things totally out of character while under the direct or lingering influence of the substance(s) but they’re also the first to feel grateful for being “restored to sanity” (as 12-step program adherents are wont to say) after proper treatment and achieving sobriety (They’re also much more prone to seek help without being coerced to do so once they realize how out of control their lives have become).  More often, substance abusers are folks who already had significant character issues and carried their deficient regard for the greater good and their feelings of grandiosity and entitlement into their forays with substances. And it’s perfectly predictable that such folks soon develop patterns of use that are high risk and that their substance use both exacerbates their existing problematic behaviors and creates disturbing new ones.

Disturbed characters who abuse substances typically don’t do very well in treatment, especially when the treatment is fashioned on the dominant traditional models.  I know of far too many cases where families have spent tens of thousands of dollars on sophisticated rehab programs only to feel doubly victimized, both by the financial setback they suffered and the disturbed character’s failure to benefit. There are many reasons why this so often happens, and we’ll be taking a look at some of main ones in this series.

It’s my hope that commentators will share very freely over the coming weeks, as I plan to incorporate issues and questions folks indicate they want addressed into the articles. Just about everyone has some personal experience with a disturbed character who made life even worse because of their problematic substance use. Some may have come to realize first hand how big a role the disturbed character’s dysfunctional attitudes, twisted ways of thinking, and use of tactics complicated matters.  Others may have stories to tell about how decimating it was to do everything possible to seek help only to experience frustration and disappointment.  I’ll do my best to address all the concerns and questions arising from the discussion.

My apologies for the difficulty accepting call-ins to Character Matters last week.  I’m told the technical glitches have been solved, so I hope you’ll consider joining in the conversation this coming Sunday at 7 pm EDT, 6 pm Central.

47 thoughts on “Disturbed Characters and Substance Abuse: A Complex Picture

  1. Thanks for an interesting post. My brother is an addict who has been in AA for the past 11 years. While my brother sober is infinitely better than my brother drinking, I’ve gradually come to the realization that all the negative personality traits didn’t come from the alcohol.

    While my brother loves AA and is quite dedicated to the program, he avoids one on one therapy. He has even used the support of other addicts and some of the language he’s learned in the program to avoid responsibility or manipulate others. (e.g. If he behaves abusively or threateningly and you tell him you don’t like it, he’ll say “Your feelings are not my fault”. Or he will try to get you to do what he wants by saying that he is “feeling like drinking again” and the fear that he actually will is so strong that you capitulate to whatever he wants.)

    The hope was that he would get better when he stopped drinking. To a certain extent he has. He’s no longer dealing drugs and getting arrested, he’s holding down a job, etc. But the fundamental thinking – that he is entitled to treat people however he wants – has not changed. (To give you a sense of the character disturbance at work here, he once killed a woman with his car and left the scene of the accident. When we were children he broke my arm and as a teenager he held a gun to my head and a knife to my throat on different occasions. He once blew up the car of a rival drug dealer.)

    I’m not sure this failure to improve character-wise is necessarily a failing of AA however, I’ve read the Big Book and they talk a lot about character defects and taking responsibility, he just chooses not to see that part.

    1. Um……Bonnie?? I think your brother is related to my brother only your’s wins! YIKES!
      Of course…….I don’t know everything my brother has done either, what I do know is bad enough and he is no where near sober…….no matter what story he wishes to tell.

    2. You are spot on about the tenets of A.A., Bonnie. And how sincerely and deeply a person takes to heart and “works” the A.A. program varies. The character-building aspects of the program are actually quite profound when you contemplate them deeply and embrace them firmly. But whether a person works the steps and the program only to the point that they maintain sobriety or makes a more serious “decision” (in step 3) to stop living life on their own terms and submit themselves to a “higher power” and then arduously commit to dealing with all their “defects of character” (a part of step 6), is a matter requiring a true change of heart, something the more disturbed characters among us don’t come by easily.

      1. You know…..one thing I think might happen with someone who is newly sober, possibly for the first time in their adult life, I think there could be a pendulum swing effect. Maybe for a person who has wasted a considerable amount of their life on drinking and all that goes along with it, it could be the first time they have really had something to feel good about in themselves. So it might make them a little over confident and self righteous initially.

  2. OK…..speaking of Lindsey in court and the FU, thing……In Spathtardx’s mugshot (on mugshot’s.com) from his Domestic Violence arrest he is cleverly standing with his arms crossed and flipping the middle finger while he gets his mugshot taken. Ain’t you the big man boy Spathtard?? I’ll bet mommy was proud of you that night. Actually she probably was. Pathetic.

    1. Wow, what lack of shame.

      It’s so nasty that when we proper people have capacity for guilt, shame, anxiety, fear and hurt, it can turn against us big time, even be used to destroy us.

      In a perfect world people could be without shame and still be proper, make amends and avoid doing the same hurtful things, not get more brazen and do more vile, hurtful and irresponsible stuff.

  3. One thing I really do wonder about Dr. Simon is with people who have a substance abuse problem/ addiction and fail in treatment because of some buried issue from the past, childhood, etc….. I know two people in my life and probably myself who suffered some very traumatic event and the truth didn’t come out for years…….upwards of thirty years. The one friend who had PTSD from VN did not have a substance abuse problem really, not when I knew him anyhow. He had one after the war though. but the other person I know had a SERIOUS problem with drugs and alcohol and only after she went through a horrific event as an adult did she remember what had happened to her as a child, and was able to clean up her life. There is no doubt in my mind that her childhood trauma was behind her adult lifestyle “choices”.

    1. I might add, My VN friend never had a drug or an alcohol problem until he went to VN where is was redly available. In fact he was the choir boy type, so I met and knew him somewhere in-between. There are those who believe that the government actually had a hand in the supply chain that provided these illegal drugs to the soldiers in the field. SO, they came back not only scared from the horror of that debacle but saddled with all kinds of addictions. No one can tell me that was not hugely self medicating for most of them/ some of them, etc.

  4. My question Dr. Simon would be this. Can sexual addiction, pornography or excessive shopping be included as addictions of CD’s? It seems that the predatory aggressive, covert aggressive and Borderline personality that I know seem to have these issues. They don’t seem to show signs of substance abuse at all. I would think If a person could not put on the brakes then just pick something they fancy and there you go ADDICTION!

    1. I have several articles that address this. And yes, CDs regularly engage in behavior patterns that lead to all sorts of “addictions,” some of which are genuine addictions (wherein changes in the pleasure centers of the brain and other physiological changes lead to the phenomenon of tolerance and withdrawal) and some of which are simply habitual yet voluntary patterns of abuse. As the series progresses, you should find these issues addressed once again.

  5. Dr Simon wrote: “And it’s that same kind of gall (which is an integral component of a certain kind of character disturbance) that leads a person who is already fully aware of both the illegality of and the dangerousness associated with certain drugs (especially illegal ones) to feel comfortable dabbling in them in the first place.”

    I must vehemently disagree. The profoundly disturbed characters that populate the positions of power in our society started the drug wars, and continue them despite considerable opposition, and despite the nasty consequences the drug wars have had for society. Thanks to them, drug money has provided a windfall to organized crime, has corrupted governments, police forces and the judiciaries the world over, and filled jails with people who have no other problem chalked against them except the fact that they prefer a bit of pot, for example, instead of a beer.

    The anti-social gall is entirely on the side of the drug warriors and those who support these horrible policies. Those of us who disagree are dissidents, and I would not be caught dead promoting the drug war viewpoint, even indirectly. Nuff said.

    1. Vera, with due respect, while there’s no doubt much truth to what you say, that in no way negates what I’m saying about SOME individuals who despite full knowledge and awareness possess aspects of character that lead them to take unnecessary risks and engage in behaviors that harm both them and the rest of society. I think we need to keep the two issues separate. You make a great political point here, but IMHO, it’s truly beside the point here. I guess we’ll just agree to disagree??

      1. Dr Simon, I think we can agree to agree. You do make a good point too. I just hope you can keep the politics out of it. It’s not whether a substance is illegal or not (which is subject to the whims of those in power) but what the individual in question does vis-a-vis substances of all sorts.

        The way you frame things sometimes, it sounds like any time a person breaks the law, they are misbehaving. Some laws are meant to be broken, because they are bad laws. In addition, drug related bad laws have been used, from way back, as a way to abuse the minorities whose drug of choice was being targeted. It started with the Chinese on the west coast in the 19th century. The Prohibition had those flavors too… a way for the teetotaler Protestants to get at the Catholic Irish and Italian immigrants…

        1. We’re almost in complete agreement, Vera, with the exception that by definition some disturbed characters have big issues with obeying the rules. And whether or not some things really should be illegal, while a legitimate political debate for sure, is beside the point that certain disturbed characters display a markedly nonchalant if not rebellious attitude when it comes to some very dangerous and also illegal drugs among other risky and also illegal activities, which is just one of many defining features of their personality.

          1. Dr Simon, you just helped me see another reason why prohibition laws are generally such a bad idea: they incentivize people with disturbed or anti-social character to gravitate to these substances! It’s like putting a “try me” sign on them! Wow.

  6. I am confused. Are all addicts or alcoholics disturbed characters? Or are some disturbed and some people not. Can their personality change from the abuse of drugs and alcohol? Some people are self medicating and others think they need it for courage. I have noticed changes in personalities when under the influence but totally different while sober, am I missing something here?. It is difficult for me to understand why they don’t stop doing this behavior, the hurt to themselves and others who love them is so painful. It is very sad and heartbreaking.

      1. I think the answers often is in the person to make the choice or decision to change and stop using drugs and/or alcohol. I also notice these people seem to have a great deal of fear, anxiety, and panic attacks. They seem to continue because they have found they feel better, these awful frightening feeling cease even for a short time. I don’t want to think that it is always character disturbed people, they make a bad choice either because they are trying to follow peers or they are depressed, angry or feeling emotions they don’t know how the manage; so they become victims from someone who tells them they can help them when that person is the manipulator, the one who sells our children out.

  7. Thanks for an interesting article, Dr. Simon. When I first started in AlAnon, I was confused by step number 6: “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” I didn’t really see how “defects of character” had anything to do , for instance, with someone drinking too much.
    Your article has helped me make the connection now.

    Reflecting on this step raises a question in my mind: Can people with good characters who get addicted develop these “character defects” as their addiction progresses? Is this part of the “illness?” Many thanks!

  8. My experience with my borderline/histrionic/narcissistic mother is different. While she was hooked on valium and alcohol she was depressed all the time and intermittently violent towards me, but when she got sober and went to AA she became “perfect” in her words to me. And the abuse amped up one thousand fold. This might have to do with my entering puberty as well, but there was never a doubt in my mind that while I hated her being drunk and passing out on me, she became even more psycho when she got sober.

  9. Hello! I know several alcoholics (some in recovery) who have tendencies towards character disturbed behavior. I know fewer (2 for sure) who are quite neurotic substance abusers (alcohol also). One of them, my mom (alcohol free for 25 years), is the most neurotic person ever. She feels guilty not only for things she has done, but for things she HASN’T done (but someone has convinced her she did- she is very susceptible to this). If she tells a white lie, she comes clean within a few weeks. Rare, common lies are extremely minor. So my experience tells me this is a complicated thing. But maybe it’s more CD folks who tend to have addiction problems than those who are more neurotic. I’d say it’s probably double, based on my personal life experience.

    But I think Dr. Simon is making a very important point and it sounds like we will hear more in the coming weeks… When CD folks abuse things- drugs, alcohol, etc, they LOVE that there is an excuse for their innately bad behavior. The recovery programs have made it so easy for them. “It’s my disease, my addiction that did these bad things- not me”. Never mind the steps and taking responsibility for your actions, the whole construct is one of “you have an illness, so stop feeling bad about it. It isn’t your FAULT you’re an addict”. This construct has been incredibly helpful for people like my mom- who is prone to such intense guilt and shame. But for CD’s, I think this construct provides them another means to avoid responsibility.
    Love these articles, can’t wait to hear more.

    1. CD’s don’t need excuses because they feel perfectly justified in what they do. If they are USING anything as an “excuse”, it’s only because they know it’s a way to further manipulate you. They don’t feel bad, they just want you to feel bad.

      1. to elaborate……… They don’t feel bad, they just want you to feel bad about feeling bad about their bad behavior!!

    2. I think character disturbed individuals can fall anywhere on the spectrum of being absorbed into an almost ritualistic cycle of shame (which they may or may not be aware of) and a person who feels no shame at all. For a layperson it can be hard to tell the difference because behaviors are so similar. Even if they claim to open up, these people are notorious liars and manipulators so everything they say has an uncertain truth value.

      1. What do you mean by “an almost ritualistic cycle of shame”? Wouldn’t shame actually inhibit and prevent them from doing vile things?

  10. Posted this on the other thread and now I re-post it, a bit of editing done. I do think it can generate even more discussion.

    It’s a long post, but is worth reading and thinking about.


    It’s amazing the variety of how wrong people can go. So many ways

    We have irresponsible covert aggressors aiming to get away with as little responsibility and as much power as possible, undermining people, who actually want to contribute.

    We have petty tyrants getting a kick of their use of power to intimidate. There’s a lot of emotional abuse in relationships, when emotionally immature people want to have a superior position in a relationship that’s just another opportunity to demonstrate their fighting skills(For reference, both for the petty tyrant and subtle emotional abuser, Stalking the Soul By Marie-France Hirigoyen).

    We have people trying to get away with little learning, because they feel so entitled to getting everything on the silver platter. Could that be the reason behind much of the incompetence in any area of work? I don’t know how much there’s incompetence, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a lot of it and this proved to be a link.

    The late Tim Field wrote about serial bullies. He noted that many bullies are often either incompetent or competent only in a very Limited area. Often soft skills, people skills and empathic skills are poor(I understand that not all bullies set out to bully, but with their immaturity, poorly handled aggression and poor empathy they end up bullying, too). One of the reasons driving bullying behaviors is to hide their incompetence. Instead of owning up to it and bothering to develop skills, they improve their deceptions. Again, in the process people, who wish to do good work and contribute or just live in peace and get by, are undermined and destroyed and their faith in giving more of themselves is damaged. That’s potential lost.

    Some people break the law, some prefer to pervert or exploit the law. There are serial killers, very frightening. Some like to tyrannize others by encouraging shame, which wouldn’t work on a genuinely bad person.

    There are scammers, who want to be rich, others’ ruined lives be damned. Many MLM pyramid schemes lure in people with promises of success and one egregious case appealing to people being impressionable had a spokesman take his baby son for all to see with him, Lion King style. Poor baby. Hope the luck is good and takes him to better people to raise him.

    There is even one self-proclaimed doctor(emphasizing “self-proclaimed” here), who claims to have the cure for answer and is secretly a sexual predator, who’s abused plenty of women. He even misled an actress promote him, until the actress apparently caught on thanks to an online article and disengaged. Two internet anti-scam vigilantes(Salty Droid and Omri Shabat), who’s sites I’ve read, have done great job of exposing these kinds of vile people.

    I’ve also read about a case of neglicent homicides in Sedona. Heard of the man called James Arthur Ray? People followed him for promise of rare, secret information. Three of the participants Ray was supposed to mentor died and Ray was nowhere to be found at the time. He’s at it again. No amends made, nothing really.

    There’s Sam Vaknin, who I don’t know exactly what he’s after. Does he want to make money? Confuse vulnerable people suffering from mistrust and push them even further? Get cult following? Lead people to “see” how hopeless it is to fight narcissists, who come and get you? Who knows? What some people do well is keep people guessing. If there is no clear answer, it may be good to keep in mind. They probably want to keep you guessing. Whether it adds to a bigger goal or not, doesn’t, matter. A goal or just because, doesn’t matter. We couldn’t even guess.

    There are frauds that are easy to fall for, because they present themselves as self-help. There are groups like est and its spinoffs Insight and Landmark Forum masquerading as personal growth and self-help movements, filling people’s head with rubbish for a cult’s gain.

    Cults recruit vulnerable people as well as careless people, people with holes to fill well with a good tasty belief system, idealistic people and people after a communion with that special group(refering to Robert Moore’s Facing the Dragon here; one ways in which grandiose energies of the great Self can play with us is by being projected into a group we belong to). There’s not just one type of person that can find their way to a cult. There are psychopathic power seekers, other aggressor personalities and fanatic visionaires as cults leaders. Brainwashed cultists can aggressively recruit more members. Some cults even train their members to lie as well as harass and aggress against anyone, who “threatens” a cult. One group in particular(you probably guess which) specifically instructs its followers to never defend, always attack an “attacker”.

    Even less malevolent cults like Transcendental Meditation can be contemptuous toward those members, who “crash and burn”, so to speak. TM in particular has so-called spiritual Darwinism in spades. For further reference, David Wants to Fly by David Seveking(can be found on Youtube) and suggestibility.org by Joseph Kellet, a former TM teacher.

    There are extremist groups and right-wing parties with fanatic ideologies. Dr Simon has done an article about such radical ideologies. For example, the current threat of ISIS. As far as I understand, groups like this recruit people, who want to have a feeling of belonging and mission. People, who could serve better under the power of their own faith, their own self-realization, are brainwashed into following an ideal and forsake themselves for it. As I recall the Neo-Jungian analyst Robert L. Moore saying in one online article, fine men are offered a demonic, cultic vision.

    This year I went to a sociology entrance exam. The entrance exam book had one short passage on the lure of fundamentalism. It offers simplicity to the confusing world. I linked to an article about 9 right-wing groups in Europe.

    Some Neo-Nazis even recruit help from other scenes to do their dirty work. There’s a group almost like what would probably come to mind from “Devil worshipper”: the Order of the Nine Angles. It has caused concern within the Satanist scene, the scene of the unpopular minority. A fascist group, O9A espouses a superman ideology, how things should we harder for us just to weed out the unworthy and leave the strong stronger through challenges in service of “sinister dialectic”. There is rhetoric about personal development and the greater destiny and it’s ghastly(and if you find it so, it’s supposed to be your problem with a reactive mind; creepy and disturbing). The movement seems to be for doing the dirty work for Neo-Nazis, upsetting the foundations of a society of “mundanes”. Some fundamentalists can get fuel from a neo-Nazi Satanist movement, according to Diane Vera. Room for influence? “Proof” for their beliefs?

    Not to mention, how many power freaks could there be in different sects and movements?

    Sometimes, it seems, more moderate, rational and reasonable members are driven out, bullied out, smoked out or faded out as the more vocal, extreme members or sly, conniving, seductive people gain more and more space to influence.

    There are areas with high levels of crime, aggression and predatory aggression. There’s wanton misbehavior, there are people being reckless, when they should know better.

    The last examples here aren’t anywhere near as extreme as others I’ve given here, but people can be so lacking in controls or so uncivilized or otherwise not appreciative of becoming a contributor, if they give any thought to it all. Some people seem to have no problem living as they do, no matter how trashy. Sometimes that becomes all a person knows, like rock stars, who use drugs to escape boredom, drudgery and existential emptiness.

    Here in Finland there’s been quite a common trend amongst some youth to drink lots of energy drinks. That makes them restless. It also screws up learning big time. They tend to act up a lot, too. Can you imagine what kinds of people that can lead them to become? Don’t feel much hope for them to contribute.

    A pal of mine told me once a few things from his earlier youth(we’re both in our early twenties). He’d lived in a town in southern Finland for a few months. Around many corners there were skinheads hanging around. While they weren’t predatory or anything like that, it’s still pretty scary to walk in such an area. He’d even once seen one skinhead crush a beer can in his fist and yell that his wife is a whore.

    Another example is him seeing two men ferociously fighting in the midnight, in the middle of a road, and swearing to kill each other.

    There are so many ways people can go wrong. Could all these problems cumulate?


    Fred responded in the comment sections of “Psychiatric “Disorders” and Accountability and brought up many interesting things. These comments are actually where interesting things are to be expected.

    I’ve seen some posters here post very well-thought-out comments and it’s inspiring to see such.

    It makes sense for you to think in terms of how predatory folks can victimize us. I don’t wish to demean any experiencee. I’d suffer, too, if I got feasted on by a predator.

    The usual context is that evil that comes in shape of predators and other aggressors. They sure add to the misery. I’m not a scholar, I’m extremely curious, is all. Because there are plenty of ways human beings can go wrong, why not ponder the general nature of humanity? Like lyrics of Sodom’s Genocide say: “No revolution set us free to break the line, Answers lost before somebody asking why, Just one bullet left for perpetual sleep, Locked up in the cage kicked away the key” and “We fight the holy fire while feeding Satan’s flames.”

    Hopefully discussion still manages to be organized enough despite a huge amount of examples(which I don’t delude myself is anywhere near everything that exists).

    1. J, it is disheartening to know that there are people in this world like the types you describe. I feel like I’m waking up from some childhood dream and realizing that I’m now in a nightmare. It’s horrible and as a single white female, I feel very vulnerable. VERY vulnerable. I have talked and talked and talked about my experience with Spathtard and now I find myself, from what it seems, a victim again. This time, no romantic ties, no real flattery, none of the signs i would be on the look out for because this time it was a business deal with a contractor. I got swept up in HIS vision of what I really wanted to do and now it looks like I may be screwed over for some serious $$. At best, if i’m able to recover my some of my money, it will be spent on cleaning up the mess they left behind. I believed him…..i trusted him…..I was told by him that I was in good hands. I’m not a builder, contractor, etc……BUT, it was becoming more and more apparent that something was not lining up and that I was NOY in good hands. So, i stopped the project and placed it with an attorney which of course will be MORE $$. I’m staring Winter in the eyes and really don’t know how in the world I’m going to get this mess wrapped up before snow starts falling. It’s all in limbo so I can’t really get anyone else in here until it’s resolved and the contractor’s equipment is taken off my property. Putting a price on what i might loose in THIS mess is a complicated thing but it’s significantly more than what i may or may not recover from the contractor. AND of course, I don’t even know if he has the balance of my money! I’m just SPENT!

    2. Disturbing indeed.

      I recall you’d have mentioned some male friends in passing before. You recalled them while discussing Spathtard. You pondered if you really should allow them to do a public verbal dressing down of Spathtard. Any chance they could be of some help? If no other way, at least offering you shelter in the way of snow?

      Having acquainted myself with Steve Pavlina’s articles on the purpose of life and Mastery by Robert Greene, alongside other sources(I should be lighter on pouring all these sources here) and having meditated a bit on life’s different sides, I believe we each have our own purpose. With own purpose, each of us adds something. We live for a purpose. Most don’t know it. Some know, but don’t know the exact purpose. So, Puddle, indeed, you have a purpose, too. You may not know it(or, for all I know, you as well could have figured it out; I can’t tell from here), but you have it. It’s another reason for survival.

      1. J, thank you for the uplifting reply. I am in survival mode right now, no doubt. I’m in total wait and see what happens mode as well. I won’t know how this whole thing will play out for quite a while and unfortunately, the perpetrator is always holding the cards.It’s horrible. It’s at times like this that I really wish I had a man in my life, not that it is a sure thing that a man can’t get manipulated and all that goes along with it but i believe there is some validity to the phrase, “safety in numbers”. Its so hard to be stabbing away at life and more often than not missing the mark. I can’t seem to make a good decision to save my life. This one trumps any bad decision I’ve ever made though, by a mile and it keeps getting uglier and uglier.
        I think I’ve been in survival mode for most of my life!

      2. J, My male friends you are refering to, “the boys”, are not readily available. And I have to consider the possible and unforeseen “dangers” in confronting any of these types. This is a little talked about side issue, especially for a woman…………it’s like being between a rock and a hard place J. It’s horrible……there is a serious concern about retaliation.
        I don’t know this for a fact but I think Spathtardx got his wife fired from her job for calling the cops on him (refer to his hand gesture and the mugshot photo).
        SO, I’m VERY hesitant to call “the boys” in on this because I don’t want to risk anyone else getting tangled up in this mess.
        I have a home still….SO gald I stopped the project before they ripped into the existing structure!! But a LOT of other key components on my property have been severely impacted. Like my woodshed is G O N E. So I have nowhere to put my firewood this winter. I hope I can get something together but the seasonal clock is ticking louder and louder as in a month and a half from now there is a very good chance I better have this situation in order.

      3. Wow, some people just do anything. Getting someone fired for calling the cops? Low as low, if I may say.

        Such self-esteem that it tries to shine as a sun, but when anything comes to teach a lesson, no, no lesson learned, actually that lesson can go shove itself somewhere. Make no mistake, I don’t intelletualize feelings even when I put my thoughts down in a more “intellectual” manner. What I think is that hypersensitivity to criticism(which Dr Simon once said is present in narcissists) must’ve been confused for low self-esteem.

        I don’t know if this helps, but perhaps researching Salty Droid and Omri Shabat could help?

        1. J, I don’t KNOW it for a fact but it was so odd the way he made a point of telling me that she got fired from her job and “everybody really liked her too”. Him telling me that had the same vibe as the time the sent me the link for the Youtube video, “Now Your Just Somebody That I Used To Know”…………just out of the norm, out of character for him……something about both of those incidents and others feels intentional to me. Ticking loudly on the radar. Just like this contractor guy……..they basically put a flat roof on this temporary addition I was suposed to use this winter while they were working on the old kitchen. A FLAT ROOF in heavy snow country?? Well the same week they were putting that roof on he made a comment about not being able to be there one afternoon or morning because he had to go look at a roof somewhere, and said it was a shallow pitch roof and it was leaking. I made the comment about that not being very smart to do in this area and he replied…..”Right?”
          So then it all clicks in my brain that the roof they just put on this temporary thing on my house is basically FLAT and they ran it right below the windowsills of the second floor windows….. I mean the roof deck is touching the bottom side of the window sills?? So, what happens when it snows?. I don’t know…..it’s all such a mess. I honestly think it was a set up….like they never intended to build what they were suposed to build in the first place…..just do enough things to get me to break the contract and keep my money.

    3. These people seem to be about all the same. Their purpose in life is to do as all other similar slimes do.

      It seems to me that we, who actually want to contribute and live up to potential, have different purposes that take time to unravel. Get what I’m saying?

      1. I’m not sure I’m getting what you are saying J. 🙂 sorry?
        My brain is pretty spun out though. I can’t even sleep well right now.

      2. Okay, I’m used to wrting twenty thoughts down at the same time, so they’re grouped together(slightly exaggerating).

        All these people, who do evil, seem so much the same down in the basics: do at the expense of others, do as you please. Cause harm, throw care out of your vocabulary, be a walking Satan complex. The philosophy is pretty much the same there.

        Some of us like to do more self-searching and self-development. We look inward, we know we don’t want to live life wantonly harming others, we don’t want to live life being all base, vile and depraved, we don’t want to be so low others would rightfully cast us out if they caught on, we don’t think it’s okay to knowingly harm someone else just to get what we want(and probably don’t even need).

        When it comes to what we do with our lives that contributes, there are tons of personal variations as to what the constructive purpose is. Perhaps the purpose is to help others avoid the brainwashing influences. One is about clarifying how the physical phenomena works, one is about studying how groups form, interact, work and keep intact or don’t, someone else is about studying the collectives consciousness and archetypes. All different possibilities. The list could go on and on.

        I think that a constructive purpose is unique for everyone. Anyone can destroy, however.

        1. Oh, I see better what you are saying. Yes, to me,,,,,it takes much more skill on various different levels, to make a go of having a successful and fulfilling life while “keeping it between the lines”, in other words, getting your needs and desires met while respecting the needs and desires of others. ANYONE can resort to lower level skills, the skills of a psychopath and covert aggressive, it is EASY to do it all wrong and harder to do it all the “right” way (threading a needle with a camel)?

          1. and, just being around Spathtard………..there was something so “heavy” about him, and dull. It’s weird because it flew in the face of his outward charm and humor. But overall he felt like dead weight. Not sure how to explain it and it’s in retrospect that I can sort that out.

  11. Hi Dr. Simon,

    I haven’t posted here in a few weeks. I must take issue with the idea that substance abuse is rarely seen in neurotic (as opposed to CD) folks. I have known many a neurotic, depressed individual, who display few to none of the behaviors associated with CD to “self medicate” with alcohol or drugs. True, their substance abuse can lead them to start displaying some CD behaviors in their effort to maintain their addiction (they can get obnoxious while drunk, or steal to get their next “fix” for example), but when sober, are filled with guilt, shame and remorse.

    I do think for the most part, that non-CD (neurotic) addicts and alcoholics are most likely to benefit from rehabs and 12-step programs and really change their lives for the better, because they really do want to change. Unfortunately I also agree with several others that some CD individuals enter these programs and use them as a way to act self righteous and lord their “sobriety” over others.

    My mother is a perfect example. She’s a Narc who displays almost every trait of that disorder, who was actually more “fun” when she was drinking (if you can say she was ever “fun”). When she decided to join AA, suddenly she acted like some religious evangelists do, lording her sobriety over others and deliberately becoming self righteous and preaching to others why her AA lifestyle was so much more virtuous than everyone else’s. Worse than that, she used their slogans and tenets to avoid taking responsibility for the hurt she caused others by her CD behavior, twisting them around to suit her own whims. For example, if you called her out for a hurtful action or comment, she’d respond with “your feelings are your own responsibility, not mine” or “stop taking my inventory.” If she wanted to belittle you, she’d say “you’re on a dry drunk” (actually she was the one on the dry drunk) or “that’s your addiction talking.” (she thought everyone who wasn’t a teetotaler or occasionally indulged in a little pot was an alcoholic or drug addict). One of the tenets of the AA program is “making amends” but she only went as far as to apologize for her drinking, never the actual things she did even when sober.

    While 12 step programs have been proven to be effective for many neurotics (and I know several who really did make an effort to change), I think there are those people who can’t ever really benefit and keep relapsing, or those who “benefit” by using the programs as a kind of religion to make themselves feel superior to others. I have seen far too many self righteous and totally obnoxious “recovered alcoholics” who were actually easier to take when they were drinking than after they became sober. There’s nothing worse than a dry drunk.

    I also agree with (Vera, I think it was?) that the “drug wars” is more pathological and filled with more CDs than drug taking itself. Many perfectly nice, non-CD people like to smoke a little weed and prefer it to alcohol, but these fine people risk prison time and losing everything due to the ineffective and destructive “drug wars” that continue to be waged on them. I’m not saying I think all drugs should be legalized, but I think certain recreational drugs should be an option for adults–alcohol is legal and is far more destructive than pot. Enormous amounts of money are wasted keeping people who indulge in mild recreational drugs (like pot) in prison, destroying their lives and hurting their families. The drug trade is filled with crime BECAUSE of the drug wars. And keeping them illegal makes these drugs MORE attractive for the CD person, who get their jollies from breaking the law. If certain drugs were legalized, it would cut down on drug related crime, save taxpayer dollars, create jobs (marijuana farming for example), and make them less attractive to the character disordered. Why is tobacco, which is a known killer, okay, while marijuana is not?

    Just my two cents.

    1. Your two cents is much appreciated. But you take issue to something that is not exactly what I said. I didn’t say that substance abuse is rarely seen in neurotics. Rather, I said that folks who are without some degree of character disturbance and who inadvertently get hooked on powerfully addictive drugs are rare. And I stand by that. Everyone lies somewhere on the neurotic-CD spectrum, and few lie at the extreme ends. Pure neurotics who get hooked are out there all right and everyone has an example, but they are definitely not the majority. I give an example in part 2 of the series of a fairly decent character who slid into a problematic use pattern. I’ll have more examples in subsequent articles.

      I particularly like what you have to say about the fit between character type and the 12-step programs and I’ll be having more to say on this in the articles to come.

      1. Thanks, Dr. Simon. I appreciate your clarification– I probably did misunderstand some of what you said in your article. I’m looking forward to your future articles on this!

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