Empathy and Character Disturbance

A relative lack of care and concern for others lies at the heart of most character disturbance.  And in the case of the most severe character pathology, psychopathy, deficits in empathy rise to an all-too-troubling extreme. We still have a lot to learn about empathy, the natural capacities that have to be present for it to be cultivated, the process by which most of us acquire it, and the the socio-cultural factors that promote vs. impeed empathy development.  But without a doubt, forging a healthy conscience and a sound character depends largely on the extent to which we come by a sense of care and concern for the welfare of others. So perhaps there’s no more urgent question needing answering in our age of more rampant character disturbance than how we can better foster empathy development in our children.

Now, there’s a lot of information available these days about psychopathy (for more on the topic see the articles (Psychopathy and Sociopathy and  Malignant Narcissism: At the Core of Psychopathy).  And some studies have shown that the brains of psychopaths operate differently from normal brains – even evidencing some structural and neuronal networking differences.  Moreover, we’ve long known from studies of identical twins reared apart that there’s at least a genetic predisposition to psychopathy (the concordance rate is less than 100 percent, so a strictly genetic basis can’t be established),  But when all the rest of the evidence is taken into consideration, we can’t really say that people are simply born with or without the capacity for empathy (for more on this topic see the article: Is Psychopathy Genetic?. Rather, it’s more likely that while constitutional factors play a major role (in some cases a greater role than others) environmental factors most likely influence the extent to which all of us – even a person with diminished empathy capacity – develop the ability to care about others.

As I’ve stated many times before and illustrate in my books Character Disturbance and In Sheep’s Clothing, character disturbance exists along a continuum (see also: Character Disturbance Exists along a Continuum).  There are plenty of disturbed characters who fall short of being full-blown psychopaths (for more on this topic, see the article: Psychopathy and Character Disturbance:  Looking Beyond the Hype Toward the Greater Problem and the Series on the Character Disturbance Continuum). But at their core, all character-impaired individuals are to some degree empathy deficient, which is what impairs their conscience formation and allows them to do the hurtful things they do.

Back in June of last year I posted an article on the bizarre case of two preteen girls, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, who stabbed a school acquaintance 19 times with intent to kill her (see: A Case of Arrested Empathy Development?).  The girls perpetrated the attack purportedly to gain the favor of a mysterious internet legend called “Slenderman.” The girls are now a year older as they prepare to go to before a judge later this month who will determine whether they should be regarded as adults in the legal system or as juveniles. Treating them as adults would enable the state to maintain jurisdiction over them for a longer period of time and mandate continued professional intervention. But it also would pave the way for them to receive prison sentences for their crime.  While the girls appear to have matured to a degre, and some advocates argue that they can’t rightfully held to the same standards as individuals with whose brains are more fully developed, the judge presiding in the case is concerned that the girls still show some disturbing signs of a lack of empathy and appropriate care and concern for the nature of their acts, although by all accounts they have demonstrated an improvement over the attitudes they displayed when first arrested for their crime.  At that time the apparent shallowness of their emotion horrified those all around them.  Andvin the article referenced above I commented on what I found to be the most chilling aspect of the case (Note: the quote is edited for ease of reading):

The perpetrators of this heinous crime made statements that provide some insight into the remarkable lack of empathy involved in their crime. One reportedly remarked how interesting she found it to have no real feelings about stabbing her victim other than the excitement associated with actually engaging in the act. She also described carrying out the attack as surprisingly “easy.”

Unfortunately, there have been several other instances of youngsters engaging in heartless, even sadistic behavior, which begs the question of whether they had any degree of empathy or empathy capacity. In the current series of articles, we’ll be taking a look at what we know about empathy and its development. Fortunately, individuals who appear born devoid of the capacity to care are relatively rare. But there are far too many among us who either have a diminished empathy capacity or an uncanny ability to compartmentalize or shut off their emotions when they want to use or abuse others. And these individuals appear to be capable of commiting the most unthinkable acts with no compunction or remorse.  So we simply have to achieve a better understanding of the factors that might contribute to weak empathy development if we’re going to successfully address our growing character-related problems.  And for this series, I will sincerely appreciate input from the commentators about their experiences with the empathy-impaired.

This week’s Character Matters will again be live, so I invite you not only to tune in at 7 pm Eastern time but also to join the conversation.

Also, I know many of you have been patiently waiting for more information on a webinar planned for this fall.  The reason more information hasn’t yet been posted is that I’ve been working with a national seminar company to not only do a series of workshops over the next two years but also turn some of the recordings of those workshops into webinars (with me live-monitoring and available to answer questions from participants).  Details still haven’t been worked out but as soon as they are, I’ll be posting information.  And if it so happens that this arrangement either doesn’t work out or doesn’t appear to properly suit the need, I’ll have information about a free-standing webinar hosted through Go To Meeting.

82 thoughts on “Empathy and Character Disturbance

  1. Short of a battery of genetic or diagnostic tests for mental illness and any related character disturbance, what are do we do? On average, we attempt to teach our children manners and groom them with societal norms and/or spirituality to create sound character. Unfortunately, far too many people that are character disturbed go undetected. What can psychologists and psychiatrists do to successfully persuade society to engage?

  2. I agree, Lynn. What are we to do? Countless people have been affected by those who have character disorders. However, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get them to the proper services to get help. Since I ended my relationship with one 9 years ago, there has been a lot more information come available. But without a diagnosis, we are just talking to the wind. The survivors are left in a state of suspension. What if everyone who goes through a divorce were to have an examination by a psychiatrist? Would this eliminate some of the mystery and their power?

    1. Psychiatric evaluation could be a trap, though. I’ve read it called “mental illness trap”, where an abuser claims that a victim’s problem’s come from them being crazy or sick. Suspicions of abuse are wiped under the rug.

      Also read that a way to counter it would be to say something like “This injury is due to you mistreating me”.

      I’m not that up to date on psychiatry, so perhaps there are ways to tell an emotional abused person from people, who actually are unstable or having some mental illness. At least I hope so.

  3. Since I am out in the middle of nowhere right now it is not so easy to find a bookstore. I barely got started on Dr. Simon’s book CHARACTER DISTURBANCE. I love when books excite me and challenge my mind. Most books start out with reading that is a little rough and hard to get into but I am into the second chapter and so many questions in my private life have been answered. It is really quite intriguing.
    I seem to read so many alarming stories. I read recently about a very young boy that killed his father and friend and another story was about a young girl that was on the phone with her boyfriend for forty three minutes using all kinds of manipulation encouraging him to commit suicide. Neither of these predators showed any remorse. Lack of empathy is the biggest factor used in determining a covert aggressor or psychopath. In these cases, most of the time, the predator does a few years of therapy and then goes into some kind of home and commits the crime over and over again until they get caught. Dr. Simon explains that in the mind of a psychopath a good and worthy predator is the one who never gets caught.  In my opinion, the therapy these individuals are put through is not adequate. This wonderful book explains that the psychology that is often used is traditional psychology that does not usually allow for the fact that some persons will not chose the high road which is the way of conscience. Dr. Robert Hare is also mentioned because of the wonderful multi-demensional approach in the book WITHOUT CONSCIENCE. Multi-demensional therapy recognizes that some individuals are damaged in the formative years and can be forced to look inside themselves and deal with the dysfunction that they are suffering from. These people find a whole new aspect of life they were missing out on. I would say that these individuals are very strong because self.examination is not easy for anyone. I would think that the odds of anyone lining up to do this would be one in a million.  I have often wondered why my sister is a very definite psychopath while my brother and I are very different and extremely empathetic. My sister has no fear and engages in many kinds of risky behaviors, I am sure. From a very young age she had a different kind of demonic soulless look. Multi-demensional therapy  (which basically encompasses out-of-the-box kind of philosophies) brings out that some people do not have innate urges that that show them right from wrong. She is full of id but not super ego. My brother and I probably were given the super ego that she did not use. Hahaha….She is very spoiled and sadistic. I seem to think that she is one of the psychos that have never been caught.  I recommend this wonderful book and I am sorry that it has taken me so long to read it.

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone——– Original message ——–

  4. It’s been a lifetime that I’ve asked myself if some people could be born without the ability to emotionally bond with others. With no compassion, no empathy, no ability to feel others. With total indifference to their environment and the society in which they live.

    The neuro-science research and brain imaging studies of recent years has been showing that it’s possible to be born without a conscience. At this point is it a fact or a theory? Science and research can be misleading at times. The talk is always in a qualified way rather than black and white or absolute.

    I have a painful time wrapping my brain around it all and accepting it as the truth. Although I have seen it with my heart and it’s noticeable at a very young age.

    As a co-worker, friend or neighbor they seem different. As a parent they seem stubborn, spoiled, disabled. As a spouse and family member they seem rigid, disordered.

    Which is it….different, disabled, disordered? Is it that some can’t and some won’t?

    Whatever, it’s certainly devastating and destructive for family and love ones and has a direct effect on the welfare of others and society. We’re dancing with fire and we’ll get burned.

    Oh yes, please, somebody who understands tell us what we are to do? It certainly isn’t coffee table talk.

    1. Yes Suzi, I do agree that some people can be born soulless. They are called demons. In my opinion, demons do walk the earth. Angel’s also walk the earth as well. The bible speaks in 2 Timothy that in the end times there will be an overabundance of people who are “lovers of themselves.” I have met several of these people and unfortunately my family is full of them. I have witnessed an individual from the very beginning of her life on this earth become more sadistic and lose her ability to hide her predator stare. She was always very demanding and never took responsibility for anything. Even when she was spanked she didn’t cry but gave everyone a very hateful look. She was the bad seed indeed. The devil does know exactly where to put his angels. She walked the aisle at church was saved and baptized but it was all very insincere. She had the very soulless look on her face the whole time. She now brags how she was able to manipulate another woman into committing suicide. This was definitely a notch on the bed post for her. She loves to play sports in high school but the satisfaction she was able to attain did not come from pushing herself to the limit but from hurting others and berating them. She is the prime example of the wondrous psychopath who is adored by other psychopaths because she has never been caught. I am one of her favorite victims. She has a constant smear campaign going on against me. I have come to realize that most of her lies are just projection. She want to make sure that has a very dark opinion of me. Some of her greatest lies about me include that I am a hooker, a porn addict, and an alcoholic. In reality, she struggles with these things. It is not much of a struggle since she believes everyone EXCEPT her is wrong.
      I started reading Dr. Simon’s book CHARACTER DISTURBANCE recently. I suggest it to anyone looking for a very thought provoking read. He explains, in great detail, how traditional psychology does not allow for the fact that some people do not want to choose the way of conscience. It is not feasible to the practice that some individuals do not have the innate super ego. More modern multi-demensional psychology embraces the fact that some people don’t have a conscience and can not empathize. An MRI has actually shown that the brain of a psychopath is formed differently.
      Yes, psychology has shown that some people do not have the ability to choose the high road. I guess this can be viewed as theory to some that is just a possible explanation. The fact the bible is also a source that validates this is enough for me. I have experienced many many miracles in my life that can not be explained by man. Probably the biggest is that I am still here after dealing with the tremendous amount of covert aggressors in my life. The devil does not keep earthly prisoners. I am not one to shove my beliefs down your throat but I will present them in a desirable fashion.

  5. Thank you Dr. Simon for this post. It’s so important for us to educate ourselves as parents, especially when we have a DC in our family (spouse, grandparents, etc) , and make the best effort we can to develop a healthy character in our children.
    We need an understanding and the tools to counter any genetic predisposition in the early years of socialization when it counts and save a lifetime of heartache for our kids and all the people who could be effected by them.

  6. Courtesy of contributors

    *Without conscience; Robert D. Hare
    *Abnormal Behavior and Personality; Theodore Millon and Renee Millon
    *Psychology of Self and the treatment of Narcissism; Richard D. Chessick
    *Assessing Psychological Trauma and PTSD
    *Soul Murder; Leonard Shengold
    *Emotional abuse; Marti Tamm Loring
    *Verbally abusive relationship; Pat Evans
    *People of the lie and The road less travelled(?); M. Scott Peck
    *Primal Scream; Arthur Janov
    *Trauma and Recovery: The aftermath of violence – From domestic abuse and political terror; Judith Herman, M.D.
    *Victory over verbal abuse; Pat Evans
    *Healing the Child Within; Charles Whitfield

    ——-

    Btw, asking again, because I care to know, I really do: Anyone read Unlocking the Emotional brain by Bruce Ecker? Got my hypes up here, but cautious, too.

    1. I have also heard that THE BAD SEED is a fantastic book. I have not read it. I did not have the money with me when I saw it. Dr. Simon’s book CHARACTER DISTURBANCE is fantastic also.

      1. Well, of course, we’re on Dr Simon’s site, after all. Sure I may be wrong, but I think most of us here do know, read and endorse that book and it’s obviously wonderful that limited old psychology’s given some way for something that makes more sense.

        I’m also interested in some books referenced in Judas Syndrome, though I haven’t read them yet, so I personally haven’t added them to the list because of that. Naked Now By Richard Rohr being one.

    2. Hi Timothy, There are many books listed in the archives in fact I had asked it DR. Simon could just have a topic listing of books. Ill try to look some more up for you that I have.

  7. It seems to me that a lack of impulse control might be an important factor in an empathy impaired personality.

    In order to feel empathy, especially for someone who’s interests are in conflict with ours, we have to suppress our own impulses (needs/wants) and take the view of another.

    Neurosis (anxiety, panic, inhibition) on one side of the spectrum and psychopathy (no impulse control, disinhibition) on the other. Does this make sense?

    1. It does make a lot of sense and in Dr. Simon’s book CHARACTER DISTURBANCE he does an excellent job explaining neurosis. He explains neurosis as being a overwhelming struggle between the id and super ego. (I took psychology in college and it never quite grabbed my attention.) We need some kind of neurosis to give us good character. Without some kind of neurosis we have no self control. A covert aggressor does not have neuroses and lives for the moment because of the lack of self control.
      A narcissist does not want to have any worthwhile conversations with anyone. In their eyes we are all weak and the only way to deal with us is to destroy us. I have seen firsthand the most narcissists can not acknowledge that the fact that someone else might have good ideas or more profound thoughts than they do. 

    2. It’s starting to really make sense. I really have to get my hands on Dr. Simon’s books. Understanding these impaired characters may be the only way to make a level playing field in dealing with them. Clearly their minds don’t work by our rules.

      1. I highly suggest it and I love to keep a composition book full of notes that I have written. I think this helps me understand and appreciate the writing so much more. Dr. Simon also references Dr. Robert Hare’s book WITHOUT CONSCIENCE. I have also read that one and loved every minute of it. I always know when I really love a book because I take soooo many notes. Dr. Simon also has a book called IN SHEEP’S CLOTHES. I have not read that book yet but I have it in the closet.It is about all off the manipulation tricks that DC’S use. They are definitely the artists of manipulation. One of my biggest narcs loves to talk out loud to the dogs about things that she wants me to believe. Hahahaha… I have heard this trick for many years but the only difference is now I have a better grip on things. For sure, they do not use techniques from the logical mind. Knowledge is the key to success when it comes to these monsters.

  8. The moment I knew that I was dealing with an empathy impared DC was around this time last year. I had been dating him for only a few months but I already felt close enough to him to open up about my deep, personal feelings.

    I started talking about an issue I had with my dad (a HUGE DC by the way) and I got emotional. He saw that I was upset and was crying but never tried to console me…he didn’t even seem to process the fact that I was upset.

    I dismissed this but soon I started to notice that whenever I got upset about anything, he’d change the subject, check his phone, or just make himself busy with any small task. Out of the entire year that I was with him, he never reached out to hug me when I got upset about anything.

    It was bizzare because I’ve never seen anyone who can seem to be so caring and uncaring at the same time.

    He was also very impulsive, vengeful and couldn’t live without instant sexual gratification, no matter how or with who.

    1. Hi Amanda, I was just thinking about you today. I was wondering how you are doing. This is Carrie. I asked Dr. Simon to change my name.
      These kinds of predators can not handle any empathy. My ex psycho used to make me cry on purpose and then get enjoyment from it. He told me that he had a soft spot for women that cried. I did not know that was how he got his “fix.” He suckered me right from the beginning. The fine art of grooming.
      I’m sorry to hear about your father. Both of my parents are DC. My mother is just very malignant and usually manages to break everyone down. It is unfortunate for us that we are raised with DC and that is our comfort zone so the circle continues.
      Have you gotten a chance to read Dr. Simon’s book CHARACTER DISTURBANCE yet. It is so interesting and it has answered so many questions for me. I also loved reading WITHOUT CONSCIENCE by Robert Hare. Those offer so many wonderful insights.
      When you mentioned that your DC had to get sexual gratification somehow it made me think about how my ex predator chose risky behaviors all the time also. It was always all about control. A lot of time sexual acts are not a form of loving for them since they have no emotions but control. Pedophiles get their fix from the control the have over their young victims. It is all a very sad game and I am glad it is our past and if we continue to be educated on this subject it will not be our future.
      I hope are doing good for yourself and the narc is leaving you alone. Once he gets another “fix” he should leave you alone. My ex-psycho has a girlfriend who is one of the sweetest people I know. She is very tender hearted and cries very easily. She came from a very abusive marriage in another country. She is so broken already so I pray for her every day.

      1. I forgot to add in my last comment, yes, I do believe that DC’s get off on making people cry, just like your ex, because it gives them control of other’s emotions.

        I learned to never let my DC ex see me upset or show any emotion towards anything that has to do with him. Their interactions with their targets are calculated so never give them the reaction they were hoping for. Eventually they will get tired of messing with you and figure out they can no longer get their “fix” from you. This will lead them to leave you alone and possibly move on to the next target.

  9. Susie Q and ALL

    I am so sorry for the pain that you have gone through. All of us good people may not be standing side by side in the physical sense, but we are united in fighting this battle.

    I don’t understand if the latest research is leaning towards the possibility that some, many or maybe all of these characters are born this way? Could it be leading us in the direction that opens pandora’s box to a whopping excuse for them to hide behind, and a legal one at that? Oh, the “poor little things” just can’t help the harm they do to others because of their damaged/disabled/different/faulty brains.

    The correct word is disordered and the cause is their own free will. A heart turned to stone is always a personal choice. Thus, as I understand it, the research is alarming by offering a scientific reason/excuse for bad behavior.

    Yes, 2 Tim. 3:1-5 warns us.

    And also warns: “from such people turn away”.

    1. Oh my goodness, I have never even considered that could be used in their defense in the legal system!! That would be very scary. I think NARC ISLAND would be a great punishment. They could all feed off each other and abuse would be rampant.  The bible does tell that the best way to deal with the dysfunction is just to avoid them and this would be great.
      I have suffered tremendously at the hands of narcs but I am a very strong individual because of it. A little too hard headed sometimes!! Hahaha…. The DC’S thought they were breaking me down but they were teaching me how to deal with the excessive mayhem.
      In his book, Dr. Simon points out that some of the dysfunction of these individuals is caused by experiencing some kind of trauma in the formative years and if the DC will do heavy self-examination lead by a paychologist then they will be able to overcome the dark tendencies. How many narc’s or even your ordinary person are willing to do this?! The answer would probably be one in a million. Self-examination is not easy and I was forced to do it at a young age because of brain damage that resulted from a car accident. I believe that some people have a brain that is formed differently and therefore resulting in a lesser capacity for empathy. I also believe that some individuals have both. These are very sadistic people and I have known a few. It is almost like they have a double dose of ornery!  Dr. Simon explains in his book that psychopaths believe that the best psychopath is the one who never gets caught. They elements of evil are truly ticking time bombs!!!
      We are all united in this battle and often I can get comfort from the words of my fellow survivors. Big cyber hug for everyone! It is unfortunate though that once a predator finds people who have been a victim of this abuse they can often step in and do further damage. A blog like this one can become a feeding ground for the DC if we are unaware. Keep your head up and remain wise to their tactics.

    2. I kind of imagine it like some people have an inate predisposition to say “poor impulse control” or other undesirable character traits. If they don’t put in the offort to balance these traits and master their predispositions they will have problems.

      Kind of like having heart disease or obesity in the family. It’s not their “fault” they are predisposed but there are lots of things they can do to counter the tendency and maintain health.

      Why good habits from early age are so critical. This is only my belief I’m no expert!

      1. I agree. I have read research that shows that even a person that is born with the brain of a psycho can be conditioned to function in a proper way. The break down of the family unit is also a big part of it. I am a single mother of three kids and value the opinions of my kids and also teach them respect and manners. They are great kids! Being a single parent is not an excuse for not teaching responsibility and values. It is just more difficult!!
        This would probably this biggest reason that the narcissistic circle continues through the generations. Love and empathy can not be shown and taught to your children if you can not do it yourself.

        1. It is so important to treat kids with respect and value them as individuals. And model good behavior ourselves.

          I’m a first time mom of 6 month old beautiful baby girl and have recently discovered my mother in law is a severely DC if not full blown psychopath.

          She groomed me during my pregnancy to make me believe she’s a good person and now she’s obsessed with the baby and tramples all over me to get control of her. Most recently a smear campaign that I’m cruel because I’m starting to limit access.

          What’s most disturbing is that she’s always trying to separate me from the baby to have control over her and I believe use her for narcissistic supply. She is only concerned with gratifying herself and doesn’t care what stress she causes me and the baby. It’s like watching a caged animal let loose to go after a piece of meat every time she walks in the door. It’s hard to describe but so disturbing.

          Adults should not use children to gratify their needs weather they be sexual, physical, financial, or emotional. It’s dehumanizing!

          Needless to say we are limiting contact. I can handle the situation though it’s stressful. I’mcconcerned for my daughter though and her being predisposed to these traits. My husband also shows some disturbance but it’s a bad streak rather than full blown personality disorder. I want to be ready to spot any red-flag behavior in my daughter if it is to arise and do my best to teach her good emotional habits. Some kids can be a handful!!! I feel it’s going to be important to know what’s normal brattiness etc and when it crosses the line to something more serious. And how to correct it. But I’m praying not to have to deal with this. So far she’s the sweetest baby!

          1. Valencia, Congratulations on that little baby girl. Babies are very precious and the more well-adjusted they are the better they thrive. The best thing that I can tell you about babies is to never underestimate their intelligence. My daughter was my first and she was always an adult in a child’s body. They are so amazing.
            I have a malignant mommy narc (psychopath) that fits the description of your MIL very well. My mother was always trying to come between my kids and I. I wish I would have known at the time when my kids were younger what was going on. Mommy narc always wanted to make me look inferior in the eyes of my children. My daughter was not so easily swayed but my middle son loves video games and she definitely used that in her favor. She bought him X box and many games to try and buy his favor. My youngest son does not really have a lot to do with grandma. He can see her for what she is and he hates to deal with her childish outbursts. Now my daughter has passed away and neither of my boys can stand grandma. Setting personal boundaries with your MIL about the baby is very important. If you give the dark side an inch they take a mile so be sure to stay on top of things. Good luck!!

          2. I’m so sorry for your loss Susie. It’s tragic to lose a child. My heart goes out to you.

            I’m so glad to recognised my covert aggressive mil for who she is at this stage early on. Dr. Simon’s profiles are spot on. This is an incredible resource and has not only provided validation but an understanding of how not to fall for manipulation and see things for what they are and put a stop to it. Very glad I stumbled upon this site!

          3. There are many caring people here. I can talk to so many people and never even feel that same warmth as I do as just merely reading a post from people on here. It is so fantastic to be able to add different tidbits about the dark individuals I have encountered. I am glad you are enjoying it here. We all benefit from the giant conversation. There is always power and strength in numbers. When my daughter got involved with the DC’S, they used that divide and conquer philosophy. They managed to get her a vehicle and then put strings on their gift and tell her that she could not visit me. That is what your psycho MIL is doing to you. That is why you need to set strong boundaries. I always felt like I needed to make sure my daughter knew her grandmother but now I realize my mother Is really the devil. Your MIL WILL use every opportunity to use your daughter against you. It is important that you remember that psychopaths frequently engage in risky behavior and when your daughter is with her the baby is possibly in danger. My mommy narc used to pride herself in not using a baby car seat and giving the young child honey. Oh my! Mommy narc is just a huge spoiled brat that says, “Nobody is going to tell me what to do!”

  10. Hi Carrie, I’m great, thanks for asking. I’ve always known there was something wrong with my dad so I use the “grey rock” technique (act boring around him, keep all interactions with him non emotional) and other than that, we’re No Contact.

    The DC I dated is somewhat unavoidable due to the fact I’ve known him my whole life but got to know him on a personal level this year. I bumped into him recently and used the grey rock technique. To my surprise, he seemed dull and uninterested in me!

    My DC was always a pervert and always had a thing for me, even when I was underage and he was in a committed relationship. Nothing surprises me with him, not even the collection of porn I found on his computer and in his phone. His family is aware of his behavior but most of them brush it under the rug, especially his obnoxious narcissistic mother.

    Honestly, I feel like I’m at a great point in my life. I recently started a new job that I love, I have people around me who care about me, and my ex DC knows none of this. I’m mostly happy that the anxiety is gone and that I can sleep easily at night. I haven’t read any of Dr. Simon’s books yet, but il be sure to put it on my Amazon wish list. I hope all is well with you Carrie!

    A bit off topic but does anyone know if it’s possible for DC’s to become depressed? Someone who knows my DC ex was at his house recently and noticed anti depressants on his nightstand. Not that a care about his well being or anything but if DC’s are lacking in empathy, are they still capable of feeling sadness?

    1. Amanda,

      Here we see how it counts to share our observations and not just rely on generalities or fumble for connections. I’ve thought much of my life that a******s, manipulators and aggressive folk(especially those that have been a pain in my ***) have harder time getting depressed because they’re pretty much pushing boundaries and that depression would come from not managing to keep those boundaries. But if you say there’s been that with your DC ex, there’s probably something to it. Drug abuse?

    2. I am glad to hear about the many successful situations that are happening in your life. Keep looking forward!! In reply to your question about narcs and depression, I don’t think what they feel is actually the kind of depression that the rest of us feel. The dark ones may have down moments but can quickly recover. I can only give some insight into this because the covert aggressor’s mother was always so thankful to have me around. She was always giving me wonderful compliments and never hesitated to tell people how much she loved me. Once she told me that her son was not in good spirits at all until he met me. Later I realized that he was down for a while because he could not find a “fix.” He perked right up when he got my kids and I to feed off of. He was able to perk right up when he had three souls to feed from. That is definitely a chapter in my life that will not be repeated.
      I just ignore malignant mommy narc because I know that she ends up using everyone against me. If I tell her who my friends are then she stalks them until the quit hanging around me because it is too much of a problem for them to deal with. She is a very sad person who would benefit greatly if she would get a life. I have been trying very hard to teach my youngest son that silence is really the golden key when dealing with granny narc and he is very intelligent and catches on quickly. My daddy narc is actually a very funny guy a lot of times since he does not get any attention from granny narc. He is broken but still shows no empathy. As long as we can keep things mostly on a light hearted note then I will stick around. Once he starts asking me questions about my life then I will find some way to avoid him. He loves to tell me what is wrong with my sons and how I need to get a grip on them. I have very good kids and I get lots of compliments on their fantastic behavior so I am not going to micromanage every portion of their lives. I can remember when I was growing up my dad would manufacture things to discipline me about. He was so unpredictable and loved to yell at me until I cried. I am not a control freak like that and I only get involved to discipline my kids if they need it. I let them make mistakes and encourage them to learn from the unfortunate issues. This parenting style seems very lazy to them. I just let my kids deal with the issues that they create. It is really different from the way I was raised and that is the whole idea behind it. I spent a huge amount of time with my kids and again, this was something that I never had.
      Again, I am glad to hear you are doing good. Don’t forget to check back in once in a while.

      1. That’s interesting Carrie because when I first started dating my DC, everyone around him kept saying how much happier he was, he even told me how I helped raise his self esteem (weird). Maybe you’re right, they hit low points in their lives when they can’t get a “fix”.

        I confronted him about a month ago (we stopped being intimate a month prior to that) and ever since then he’s been somewhat withdrawn. Not trying to toot my own horn here but since I am his intended target, maybe he’s feeling low because he can’t get to me anymore? I know for a fact that he was cheating and is still in contact with her…maybe she’s not exactly the “fix” he was looking for?

        I’m sure you’re a fantastic mom so just keep doing what you feel is right. Your children are YOUR children and no one else knows them like you do. You know what’s best.

        Timothy, I’d like to think its drug abuse but he has been depressesed in the past. It could be a ploy for sympathy but honestly I don’t know if his depression is even real. I’d like to think it is because depression is nothing to joke about.

        Maybe Dr. Simon can give us some input on our question as to whether or not DC’s become depressed the way us normal people do.

        1. I can probably bet that the girl he cheated with was a good time girl but when it comes to dealing with her on a regular basis things are not as he planned. Maybe she sets strict personal boundaries that he does not like. Who knows? It’s all good just because he’s out of your life, right!♡

  11. Amanda asked a question I’m interested in hearing the answer to, can DCs experience depression when they lack empathy?

    I would also like to hear from anyone who has confronted the DCs in their lives. I did and it wasn’t pretty. It was after the confrontation while doing research online I discovered it is the worse thing a person can do because the relentless attacks via texts etc. begin. My DC brother has gone quiet now but I keep wondering if he will return.

    1. Hi Sydney, I have confronted a psycho and it wasn’t pretty. He tried to push me in the corner and beat on me. I managed to get under his arm and ran upstairs and he was right behind me. My daughter had her friend over at the house and he got to witness the whole thing. My kids and the friend were completely terrified and I was running and trying to get away from the maniac. He was close enough behind me that I could not get a door in the house shut behind me so I had to run outside and get in the car and lock the doors. Later when things had calmed down my daughter told him, “You don’t get to treat my mom like that!” Of course the psycho had some lame excuse how it was my fault and we were the ones showing him complete disrespect. No, they never have any empathy for anything.
      Yes, NO CONTACT is best but I am a little too hard headed sometimes especially when someone is trying to break me. On the other hand, my stubborn streak and hard head kept me from being broken.

      1. Susie/All,

        All of the crazy making and stress that has to register in our bodies and nervous systems from interaction with the character disturbed!

        It almost makes you wish people came with full disclosure. A description of their personality and character traits before becoming involved, on record somewhere, available to the public. Maybe ethics classes should be made available at younger ages to help reduce the number of CD folk?

        As it stands, there are books available and a few advocates to help bring awareness. It’s still a shame how many go undetected by parents, school counselors, etc., until they commit a legal crime.

        1. Lynn, you have just opened a giant can about DC awareness that we all face. There are a lot of red flags that I have come to recognize. I have been a victim or the predators since day one and I am no spring chicken. I have years and years of knowledge stored up inside about narcs. I use many different strategies to detect members of the dark side. A really big one is just setting a personal boundary (DC’S hate that) and become very uneasy. Body language and facial expressions, such as smirks or the infamous predator stare tell you a whole lot also. Knowledge is key to dealing with these monsters. I also believe there is not nearly enough out there and my dream is to write a book about all my experiences. When Dr. Simon writes a book it is very easy for the lay person to understand. Too many times the information that is out there is full of psychobabble and issues that are not properly explained. It really makes things hard.

          1. I do hope you write a book – the more information, geared towards the general public – the better. Although there is comfort in numbers and being able to share our experiences, it’s heartbreaking to know how many of us have been chewed and then spit out by these narcs.

          2. Unfortunately it is a very sad situation!! As always I find comfort in your words and appreciate your kindness. I find so much comfort along with extra healing and strength knowing that others can benefit from my trials.

        2. I forgot to mention that etics classes probably would not help. Even at a young age the DC does not see any problem with their behavior and would make a mockery of things.

      2. All of the crazy making and stress that has to register in our bodies and nervous systems from interaction with the character disturbed!

        It almost makes you wish people came with full disclosure. A description of their personality and character traits before becoming involved, on record somewhere, available to the public. Maybe ethics classes should be made available at younger ages to help reduce the number of CD folk?

        As it stands, there are books available and a few advocates to help bring awareness. It’s still a shame how many go undetected by parents, school counselors, etc., until they commit a legal crime.

      3. To Susie Q,
        I am hard headed as well with very strict boundaries and I’m prepared to go no contact for life. My CD bro despises how strong I am BUT my CD bro has a son who is asking to see us while he’s in town. I’m careful not to speak badly of his father because it’s playing into my CD bros manipulation. DC brother speaks nicely of us so if we speak badly of him we look like the bad people. It would result in a divide and conquer scenario.

        Our nephew knows all there is to know about his father but is desperate to have him in his life and he is beyond happiness to have reconnected with his CD father after a 3.5 year law imposed no contact order. And I quote the nephew from his last visit “I will believe anything he says, I’m just so happy to be with him again.”

        How do we have contact with our nephew without having contact with my CD bro? If we do how do we remain neutral in conversation when inevitably the topic of his CD father comes up about why we don’t keep in touch? His father’s relationship with family has eroded quickly and deeply since our nephew was here 5 months ago and his CD father will say anything so as not to take responsibility for his behavior. My CD bro will most definitely rely on the rest of the family not to say anything either. Advice anyone?

        1. I would just suggest that you guys enjoy the time with your nephew and don’t worry about his DC father. The nephew is almost 4 years older now and will be more aware of what is going on. The nephew should be able to see the reality of the situation and if he doesn’t then it is OK. How long is the boy staying? After I returned to my parents after being separated from them I noticed a lot.

          1. The “boy” is twenty. If there is a visit with us he will talk incessantly about his father and the fun things they are doing together during his stay. His father is a useless lying turd who is a parasite to the nth degree. I have a reactive personality that i try to keep in check. My nephew knows his father and I do not have a good relationship what he doesn’t know is I’ve confronted his father and let him know we have cut him out of our lives. All of this will be an act on our part I just don’t know how to act?

          2. Just act happy and hug his son. Narcs hate it when they can’t control everything. They hate to see you smile. Be your normal selves. If you are flaky or show any kind of weaknesses the DC will feed off to it. Don’t act like you want the son to pick sides. He should not have to. He didn’t choose to have the dysfunctional daddy he just wants a family like we all do.

          3. I so agree that he wants a family, he is so proud of his mother’s new partner and their two and a half year relationship. My nephew has even gone on to to explain how his mother’s partner will do anything for him and his mother. My nephews father on the other hand has been nothing in his life for over three years and has told the most vile and vicious lies about his mother through emails. My nephew credits his mother for being his best friend through everything since his father was removed from the house. My nephew is the one that called the police to have him removed by the way. How can he imagine a relationship with his father after seeing the viciousness first hand and directed at his “best-friend”?  We will NOT allow my CD brother to be in our presence and at least that will be easily understood after CDs last performance that was witness by my nephew. We would never expect anyone to take sides it’s not in our nature and truth be told I’d rather we didn’t see the nephew either because frankly we get tired of the drama.  I will however try and change the conversation direction as best I can IF he visits with us for an hour or so. 

          4. Drama is the narc’s best friend. The drama creates a perfect setting for lies. The narc loses all power if they can’t create a smear campaign. I think you are right when you just turn the conversation away from drama. Things works out like they are supposed to. Who knows, maybe the son will have matured enough to see through his father. Let’s all hope because the dark side needs to be extinguished.

    2. Sydney, I confronted my ex over a period of time for about a month. It started slow with me calling him out on his behavior and putting him in his place. It escalated all in one day with him retaliating ten times worse. It blew up when I retaliated back in a way he didn’t expect and that’s when the smear campaign took full effect. At this point, he’s withdrawn and tried to “apologize” for his behavior. I don’t know if this is a sign that the games are over or its just a trick. Whatever it is, I don’t want to find out.

      1. Amanda,
        I confronted myDC brother by letter and he responded with the most vile texts and never once addressed the point. There is no support system for him and he uses depression as an excuse to not visit his mother.
        I have an unusually forgiving older brother who has attempted to contact our DC on numerous occasions and he has either not answered at all or with a “no thanks” to all invitations.
        My DCs 20 year old son is coming in for a visit and he knows nothing about this estrangement and he is expecting to see everyone when he comes. The son must be accustomed to his father’s emotional abuse and “image management” and thinks he’s normal? Now what does DC brother have as his plan when his son asks to see the rest of the family is my question. Is it possible he would invite himself back and hide behind his son knowing the family won’t make a scene and then disappear again when his son leaves?

        1. Hi Sydney, I would say more than likely the DC will go ahead with his son to visit the rest of the family. DC’S are wonderful at fake facades and this would be a fantastic time to shine. He might decide to play the victim also. After all he is just the innocent victim of everyone else’s ignorance, right? Hahaha…. I would bet he will just go with the flow until there is some kind of confrontation.

    3. Of course they get depressed, when they are not get their fill of supply and the especially the type of supply they feel entitled too. When life is not going their way, if they don’t get the new toy they want, they have been rejected and put in their place by someone that isn’t intimidated by them. Remember they have a deep dark void inside. Imagine the anger and rage they live with, the envy and their neediness. So many things, many times that is one of the things that takes their so sensitive and pathetic selves to the doctor. They expect a quick fix and then find out they aren’t going to do that kind of work and besides its everyone else not them. Blessing

  12. My father is a narcissist and has been an alcoholic for as long as I can remember. Now he is 81 years old and all of his friends are dead. He lives in his own house where he spends most of his time watching old movies, smoking cigarettes and drinking. I am his caregiver. The primary reason I help him is I feel it is the right thing to do. I am a Christian and see this as serving my enemy and honoring my parent, though I am also conflicted about the 2 Timothy 3:5 instructing not to have anything to do with such people.

    I’m sure most of you realize how difficult he can be. I hit a wall around 1998, wishing he was dead. I had nothing to do with him for 11 years and it was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I found out in therapy that he had Narcissistic Personality Disorder and then everything made sense to me. Up until then I had thought the problem was his alcoholism. I have grown a lot since then.

    Besides putting up with his crap, what bothers me is when I hear myself sounding like him and saying things he says that have been programmed into me since I was born. I hope I don’t come across like a victim, but an innocent child cannot help but be damaged by the false thinking, criticism, berating, unrealistic expectations, etc. that the narcissist puts upon his victims. I wonder if a person affected by a close family member can ever truly recover from the abuse inflicted from someone with NPD. I read somewhere that the abuse basically “emotionally cripples” the child and I believe it.

    I am 52 and still never been married. Now I am in caregiver mode for both of my parents and my life is basically on hold. My mother is a very sweet, generous, patient woman – just the kind of person that narcissists prey upon. I live with her now.

    Though I am definitely much healthier mentally and emotionally now, thanks to educating myself and 11 years of separation from my father, I still struggle to know if I am giving too much of myself. My brother and his wife are no help at all. I think they are both narcissists, too. I have given up asking either of them for help with caregiving. They don’t care. I asked my brother the other day, “If I died, what would happen to Mom?” He said, “I don’t know.”

    I would appreciate any insights and comments. Thanks.

    1. Regarding alcoholism, I have one in my life, I used to think he was a narc but I think it was the addiction. He has stopped drinking and is much better. But it is possible for the condition to be both alcoholic and have a true personality disorder at the same time. Alcoholism can mimic a personality disorder is what I mean.

      Regarding your family dinamics you may find a lot of insight reading about “the scapegoat child” and “golden child”, dynamics often found in families with narc parents. The scapegoat usually is the empathetic one and the golden child becomes more narcissistic.

      Good luck!

    2. ‘I am 52 and still never been married. Now I am in caregiver mode for both of my parents and my life is basically on hold.’

      It’s the word still that got to me there Amber….and here is insight from another woman about that particular aspect that you imagine is ‘missing’ from your life – marriage….

      “If a man is unmarried, he is called a bachelor. If a woman is unmarried, she is called a spinster or an old maid. What is it about an unmarried woman that poses such a threat to the patriarchal order? Mainly, it is that women are no one’s property when we’re unmarried. We’re under no one’s control, and neither are our children. There is no telling what we might do or say.”
      ― Marianne Williamson, A Woman’s Worth

      Caregiver for both your parents…doesn’t sound like much ‘on hold’ about you or your life to me, just another wonderful woman….and so glad you’re here hopefully learning about how not to become prey to any predator yourself!!!

    3. Let’s just go through your comment first:
      “The primary reason I help him is I feel it’s the right thing to do.”
      Of course ya do! You’ve been trained to lay down and be a doormat from the time you were a small child. This feels very familiar for good reason and we all like “familiar.”
      “…help him..” <We confuse "helping" with enabling, much to the advantage of the CD.
      "I am a Christian and see this as serving my enemy…"
      "We have seen the enemy and the enemy is US!" (para) Actually, you're serving yourself and your own thinking, which you later characterize as "…false thinking…unreal expectations," the natural result of growing up with a CD parent. We're all our worst enemies at some time or another and your observations regarding the outcomes of this type of "parenting" apply right here. This isn't about a religious orientation-that's your fig leaf.
      "…and honoring my parent." Where are you called upon to honor the dishonorable? You're not. How often in your religious orientation are you admonished to expel evil people (evil=malevolent) from your midst?! Repeatedly. "From such turn away." <Did ya read that part? How 'bout the part that says, "Parents do not vex your children." Where's the DNA exemption? There isn't one. Somebody did you a number with the religious "admonitions" that aren't.
      "I had nothing to do with him for 11 yrs. and it was one of the best things I've ever done for myself." Absotively! Wild clapping and cheering from the old widow broad (me) in the back of the comments here. Ya done GOOD!! And now you've had a Refresher Course in why you NC'd the first time: You most certainly CAN reinstate NC when ever you wish. If you're hanging on thinking he's gonna have some kind of "epiphany" on his way to the grave, give it up. That's the stuff of fiction, of Hollywood, "Happily ever after," etc. And if by some incredible miracle he does have an "Character Makeover" hey, great! But you don't need to be there, OK? Your presence is not necessary for a "miracle" to take place. (As highly unlikely as that is.) I've been present for a lot of terminal illnesses and deaths and with absolute certainty I can tell you this: *People die the way they lived.* If they were nasty, divisive, scheming etc. through out their life, that's exactly what you're gonna get till their last breath.
      "I hear myself sounding like him…" Fleas and more fleas. We don't escape CD parents without picking up some of their stuff.
      "I hope I don't come across as a victim.." You don't. You are a typical AC and methinks someone (gee, I wonder who?!) is leaning on your Pity Button relentlessly. We have this tendency to confuse love with pity. Healthy adults don't want pity but CDs lurve it! Why? When you pity someone, you're defenses are wide open for exploitation. And they do that well, don't they?
      As I mentioned earlier you nailed the "false thinking, criticism, *UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS..*" <Ahem. That. Please pay attention to yourself. You know the deal here. What you do with that knowledge I would hope would inform your thinking and behavior/choices going forward.
      "…wonder if a close family member can ever truly recover from the (NPD) abuse…abuse 'emotionally cripples' the child…" You packed a lot in these few sentences. Let me tell you how to ensure you won't recover: Continual re-exposure to the trauma which makes the past present. If a burn patient insisted on running back into burning buildings, would you expect them to recover? The burn patient's underlying belief/thinking is likely something along the lines of, "I'm a bad person. I deserve to be repeatedly hurt/I don't deserve to recover." You have some underlying beliefs that aren't working for you. Time to examine those more closely: Back to therapy ya go.
      "…my life is basically on hold." Wow. That's IMO a crime and a sin against your own humanity. By making this decision to be a "caregiver" you are freely forfeiting your own life in service to what again?! You've turned your gift of Life into a Life Sentence. Who wouldn't feel beat up, beat down, resentful and just plain stuck secondary to this self-defeating choice?
      "I still struggle to know if I am giving too much of myself." You already know the answer to that question. You can stop now. Really. If you need "permission," here it is.
      You mention your age, marital status, (regret?) so I think there's a much bigger question here: What am I gonna do with the time I have left in this world? Perhaps being a "caregiver" allows you to avoid thinking and acting on this challenge. It's not gonna go away no matter how you shuck and jive in an effort to avoid confronting one of the most fundamental questions humans encounter as they age. In an effort to find Meaning in your life you've retreated to a role that's counter to Life itself, but comfortably uncomfortable for you.
      I'm truly not sending you an "Ouch." It's too bad you think so little of yourself and your life you will continue to emulate your (practically deified) "mother" who, BTW functioned as a Chief Enabler of your "father." "Sweet, generous, patient" isn't necessarily a healthy role model at all: As you observed, these qualities are a CD's wet dream.
      You understand intellectually what the phenomena is you're dealing with regarding your NPD "father." There appears to be a disconnect between your knowledge and your behavior in response to that knowledge. I'd be a fool not to go with your behavior in terms of your statement, "I am definitely much healthier mentally and emotionally now thanks to educating myself." I don't see you demonstrating that "knowledge" in your daily life. What I'm hearing in the music behind your words is FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) as well as hopelessness and helplessness.
      Get thee back in therapy. You need a tune-up, OK?
      TW

  13. My father is a narcissist and has been an alcoholic for as long as I can remember. Now he is 81 years old and all of his friends are dead. He lives in his own house where he spends most of his time watching old movies, smoking cigarettes and drinking. I am his caregiver. The primary reason I help him is I feel it is the right thing to do. I am a Christian and see this as serving my enemy and honoring my parent, though I am also conflicted about the 2 Timothy 3:5 instructing not to have anything to do with such people.

    I’m sure most of you realize how difficult he can be. I hit a wall around 1998, wishing he was dead. I had nothing to do with him for 11 years and it was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I found out in therapy that he had Narcissistic Personality Disorder and then everything made sense to me. Up until then I had thought the problem was his alcoholism. I have grown a lot since then.

    Besides putting up with his crap, what bothers me is when I hear myself sounding like him and saying things he says that have been programmed into me since I was born. I hope I don’t come across like a victim, but an innocent child cannot help but be damaged by the false thinking, criticism, berating, unrealistic expectations, etc. that the narcissist puts upon his victims. I wonder if a person affected by a close family member can ever truly recover from the abuse inflicted from someone with NPD. I read somewhere that the abuse basically “emotionally cripples” the child and I believe it.

    I am 52 and still never been married. Now I am in caregiver mode for both of my parents and my life is basically on hold. My mother is a very sweet, generous, patient woman – just the kind of person that narcissists prey upon. I live with her now.

    Though I am definitely much healthier mentally and emotionally now, thanks to educating myself and 11 years of separation from my father, I still struggle to know if I am giving too much of myself. My brother and his wife are no help at all. I think they are both narcissists, too. I have given up asking either of them for help with Mom. They don’t care. I asked my brother the other day, “If I died, what would happen to Mom?” He said, “I don’t know.”

    I would appreciate any insights and comments. Thanks.

    1. Amber, I can understand how important it is for you to take care of your ailing parents. In a sense that is what I am also doing. Both of my parents are narcs. My mother is a very malignant narcs that suffers from other mental health issues also. She is NPD, BPD, and OCD. I am not a psychologist but I can see so many strong qualities that belong to each catergory. My dad has never lost his attitude even though he’s been broken. He loves to try to belittle others and never shows empathy and when someone makes a mistake it is usually not an accident but because of stupidity. My eleven year old son that is here with me has a really hard time dealing with him. I love my dad and I have spent the last twenty years in a different state where I have done a lot of healing also. I love my mom also but it is a different kind of love. She does not want love but complete adoration. It’s hard to love someone who does not want to be loved and I am not going to give her my adoration because I did that as a child and suffered greatly. I guess I feel very sorry for her because she is very unhappy and doesn’t know how to love. I have shown my dad that I am not going to be bullied anymore and I will not start for his bad behavior. I have broken down some of his narc walls and not by manipulation and lies like mommy narc does but by standing up for myself. I am a big girl now and pretty pig headed sometimes and I am not the shy little girl who spent her years broken and crying.
      You are doing the right thing. I think that 2 Timothy does not imply that we are to disrespect out parents. I think that narcissism does have an unspeakable emotional toll on childred. It sets us up for more abuse. I have spent the majority of my life being abuse. I was married to the biggest covert agressive psychopath that you could ever imagine. He did so many awful things to the kids and I. Previously he had been in the Navy and taught survival school where he learned so many of the POW tactics that he used on us. By the way, I do not tell anyone from my family about this awful ordeal because it would be turned into somehow being my fault and I really don’t want to hear that. I have tried to explain to my dad how my mom is pure evil but he won’t accept it. I think that if he was to acknowledge the abuse it would somehow be turned into his fault because he is pure ego. He can not have that. Oh well!! I am here to help and not judge.
      Don’t worry about sounding like a victim because you are. Mental abuse in a child does stick around forever. I think as with anything else if you acknowledge it then it is easier to change. It really is important that you can see that you say things like you always heard when you were a young innocent child. These kinds of things are ingrained in our personality. Abusers love to use child and my ex psycho even gave the dog a huge case of PTSD.
      I know my sister and sister-in-law are very malignant narcissists also. Neither of them would step down off their pedistal to help my parents. It is very funny because they would turn on each other in a heartbeat except for the one evil plan that is requiring a joint effort. They are all working hard to destroy me.
      I hope this offers you insight. I will be more than happy to answer questions or offer insight.

      1. Susie Q,Thanks for your reply. I feel bad for you dealing with two Narc parents. I am fortunate that it is just my father. My mother has dementia and so I am burdened in a whole different way when it comes to her.  ****************************************************************************************************************************************Challie Chachèrechalliechachere@yahoo.com * mobile: (504) 564-2098 “Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.” –Stephen Covey–****************************************************************************************************************************************

        1. Dementia is a whole other burden. You got lots of prayers coming your way when dealing with that. It is no easy chore and I know you have your hands full. Bless you!

    2. Amber, for what it worth your father sounds just like mine. I am a Christian and we are taught to take care of our parents. My father would become verbally abusive with me and I would explain to him exactly what he was doing. As a christian I would tell him what God thought of his conduct and how he may be judged when he finally passed. “I sure wouldn’t want to be in your shoes Daddy.” The other thing I would say is “Oh I see Mr. Hyde is here how about I give you a call later or you call me when Dr. Jekyll returns. ” The other alternative is let a stranger come in and do the job, there comes a time in life where we need to take our power back. If anyone refuses to treat us with dignity and respect….. Out the door! Life is to short to allow ourselves to be treated poorly.

  14. Understanding Human Motivation: What Makes People Tick By Donald Laming.

    With respect to empathy What about Stanley Milgram’s experiement giving people electical shocks when told to do so. It would appear that most people will give what appears to be a potential leathal shock when instructed to do so.

    1. Joey zanne, I know my X CDN wouldn’t do anything anyone asked of him, very stubborn, please, thank you, and I’m sorry were not part of his vocabulary . So when these CD act up and do their sneaky covert tactics and or outright abuse, and if I hearing you right? Are you talking about putting a for instance a doggie, people shock collar on them and every time they do one of their dirty deeds they would get zapped. Excellent idea, they would cry to high heaven how tortured they were being treated and ask for the death penalty, but before your death they would get to torture you for awhile, you know pay back pal. I bet their attitude problem would clear up fast

      Its a whole different story how they treat you is one way and the way they want to be treated is a different way. In know shape or form would they accept that kind of treatment.

        1. This is kinda scary! My ex-psycho worked at a survival school in the Navy. He prepared the boys for a prisoner of war camp. I wonder if this was something that gave him ideas. He was excellent at what he did. He turned my house into a circus. He ended up with dishonorable discharge. He didn’t tell me but he was always trying to convince us he was the model soldier and when he had the quadruple bypass he would not go to the VA hospital. I would love to find out what the psycho did and why the military thinks they need to unleash these monsters on society.

        2. Joey you said: “There was a process of desensitization.”

          The process of desensitization is the same process [training] used in dysfunctional families, communities, business, government, etc. Across the board it’s all the same dysfunction, a control issue.

          Humans are pack animals and we learn from cradle to grave by the stimulus in our environments [packs]. Unless we learn “how” to think then we’ll fall into the trap of being taught and told “what” to think.

          Big difference between “how” and “what”. Training people “what” to think does considerable harm especially if the person is disordered.

          1. Suzi, My malignant mommy narc uses the “pack” mentality as a form of manipulation. I notice that if she wants you to do something then she will say “they say” or “I saw on TV.” When I first went back home she tried this kind of philosophy on me a lot.. She didn’t like me to feed her dogs so she made up some stupid stuff because she thought that was why they liked me. The big cow dog has some kind of sliver in his foot and he licks it a lot sometimes. She told me that “they say that when a dog licks his foot it is a sign of a stomach ache.”She told me to quit feeding the dogs. Anyways, the dogs like me for me and it has nothing to do with food. I love the dogs and I don’t need to use manipulation!!

          2. The father narc uses that “pack” mentality form of manipulation, too. He talks to my brother about something and then tells me, “Joe (name changed) and I agree that…” when he wants me to agree with something he thinks. ****************************************************************************************************************************************Challie Chachèrechalliechachere@yahoo.com * mobile: (504) 564-2098 “Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.” –Stephen Covey–****************************************************************************************************************************************

          3. I have Dr. Simon’s book IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING. (About manipulative individuals) I can’t wait to read it and see more tactics. Mommy narc knows a lot. My SIL knows bunches too.

  15. Amber,

    There’s no easy answers for the care taker and more so when there is no family support. It seems that sometime after WWII the strength of the family unit has suffered badly. We are at the point in history where people are so divided and the family unit is no exception. In time of need there’s simply not a whole lot of support to depend on. As far as I can tell it’s not going to change anytime soon.

    As I’ve aged I seriously wonder if there has ever been anything in life that I’ve known for sure. No, there’s not really all that much, except that He cares. The only comment I have is what I’ve leaned on and that is…try your best and leave the rest to God….He really does care!

    The character disordered have a way of programming us neurotics into believing that we must work hard and keep trying. We don’t realize what is happening to us. Eventually we get up every morning and put on the big red cape with the S on front. It slowly becomes our way of life. It’s hard work whether it be the care of a child or an adult with special needs. It’s 24 x7 with no weekends or holidays.

    So here’s the twist….Sometimes trying our best means not trying so hard.

  16. I got a moment here and wanna express some spontaneous wishes and gratitude!

    I’ve posted a few times a list of additional reading material. Would others, too, update it the similar way, to make it show better? Under comment boxes there are suggestions. Please make sure to end it with for example, like I have.

    Also, thanks to Dr Simon! Partially thanks to comments by a few other commenters(Andy D, LisaO), I got inspired to dig up some old life philosophy books written by many, many men with their own developed views. Some I’ve even mentioned. I’ve also seen very old comments mentioning yet others. But since philosophy can feel kinda detached and distanced from reality(if I had to guess, I think many would agree with me), Dr Simon’s work is one of the grounding influences. Very good to read side-by-side with Judas Syndrome, one example being.

  17. Oh my goodness! When my son and I first got to my parent’s house over a year ago he looked at me and said, “I am not sure how you made it mom!” Timmy (my son) is only eleven years old. He is very perspective and vocal. Things were so confusing to him in the beginning but I always encourage him to talk through things. In the beginning I had a job where I worked the second shift. I did not really realize what Timmy was going through when I was gone. He told me that he often stayed in his room playing video games to avoid any confrontation. I told him that this was the best thing to do since NO CONTACT with a covert aggressor is best. I quit my job at the end of May. (I could not stand playing games with the covert aggressors there.) At first I could not believe that I had done such a stupid thing. We are in a very small town and jobs are not easy to come by. Oh well, we are doing just fine. My son is making straight A’s this year in school and I attribute it to the fact that he is not dealing with the tremendous dysfunction. Since I had grown up in the circus I had forgotten that it is totally different when you are just suddenly dropped into it. I was dropping him off at the bus in the morning and then he would be a victim of emotional abuse after he got home from school. Oh well, it was a good learning experience.
    I just can not ever think my friend enough for bringing the name NARCISSIST to my vocabulary. My eyes were opened since I was able to put a name on the emotional abuse I suffered from. I have read many books on the subject. Since I am the skapegoat child I loved reading WILL I EVER BE GOOD ENOUGH. I also enjoyed reading WITHOUT CONSCIENCE by Robert Hare. Currently I am reading Dr. Simon’s book CHARACTER DISTURBANCE. Each time I read one of these books I get child up my spine and down my legs because it all hits so close to home. I have the uncomfortable, sad feeling but also a wonderful healing sensation at the same time. I think CHARACTER DISTURBANCE is bringing a lot of feelings to the surface again. I love the feeling I get when a situation that I dealt with is brought into perspective. I am at the part about the aggressors and it is very scary. I really do not think that I have ever been able to look at all the different aspects of disturbances like this.  I would like to say that all victims of this kind of abuse are much more blessed than we realize. We are stronger than we could ever realize. I can not stress enough how special everyone is.

    1. Susie, I also recommend Judas Syndrome. I’ve read it a few times and am going to read many times more yet. I’m not a Christian myself and I still recommend it.

      I personally read it alongside some texts by other viewpoints as a grounding influence. Maybe you prefer it simpler, as far as I get the impression, but I suggested this in case someone else may like to try the same method as I.

      1. I love Dr. Simon’s books. He is direct and to the point. I have not gotten THE JUDAS SYNDROME yet but I will read it. I love to take notes as I read the books and come back to them later.

      2. Judas Syndrome is like other books, in the way you say, “direct and to the point”. It doesn’t suffer from the unintentionally-distanced-from-reality -syndrome that I feel texts of many philosophers and spiritual teachers have(or how do you say it? Or is it just me? Or do some texts take more time to absord? Prefer straighter-to-the-point ones, though)

        1. Needn’t be even flowery, I guess. One sage I know of aims at what he thinks people could change within and he’s rather plain in language, though repetitive. Apparently it’s supposed to sink in with several readings. Could work for some people, I suppose.

          I think philosophers do intend and attempt to convey themselves as clearly and plainly as possible, but don’t always succeed. It’s gotta be one helluva job thinking how to translate whatever discovery into plain language and results.

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