How Did We End Up Here?

How did we end up here?  That’s the question so many folks who have been struggling in or recovering from a toxic relationship find themselves asking. How did a relationship that once seemed to hold such promise end up going so horribly wrong? How could they have misjudged someone so badly – been so blind?  If there were warning signs from the beginning, how did they miss them?  Is there something wrong with them? Are they destined to make the same mistakes again? And how do they pick up the pieces, heal their wounds, recover their strength and courage and move on?

Many folks also question how we ended up here as a society.  There’s so much dysfunction – so many troubled, abusive, unhealthy relationships – so little caring – so much lying and cheating – in short, so little character.  My latest book with Kathy Armistead, How Did We End Up Here?, now available on Amazon, addresses all the aforementioned questions.


When it was first published nearly 20 years ago, In Sheep’s Clothing was a groundbreaking book. That’s because it offered people who were feeling crazy in their relationship with a covert-aggressive manipulator a way to validate their feelings, understand what was really going on, and empower themselves.  Because of the fresh perspective it offered, it became a true international bestseller, published in over a dozen foreign languages (I’ll have more information in a few weeks about some new foreign language editions about to hit the press). Then came Character Disturbance, a comprehensive guide to understanding all of the various disturbed and disordered characters you’re likely to encounter in life, which has also become a bestseller.  And now, with the help of my gifted co-writer, herself a therapist, come some new, up-to-date handbooks (more new releases will be announced in the next few months), including our latest offering, How Did We End Up Here?, crafted as a practical guide to “Surviving and Thriving in a Character-Disordered World.”

We live in some very trying times. A culture of narcissism, self-indulgence, and entitlement has allowed all too many folks to enter adulthood so underdeveloped in character that they simply aren’t equipped to function in a sufficiently caring, responsible way in their relationships or other life endeavors. This sad reality has affected every single aspect of our lives. It’s what I talk about every week on Character Matters.  And it’s the message I carry in all my professional training workshops across the country.  But the situation is not hopeless.  Character can be nurtured and developed. I address this from a faith perspective in The Judas Syndrome.  And in my latest offering, How Did We End Up Here?, I explain how most character-impaired folks can be effectively dealt with and even helped, if you know the right things to do. In some upcoming works, I’ll be delving into the A-B-Cs of character development – the all important key to “innoculating” our young people against the negative influences of our times.  Stay tuned.

I’ll have more to say about all of this on Character Matters this Sunday at 7 pm Eastern (4 pm Pacific) Time, and it will be a live broadcast, so I can take your calls.

I hope you take the time to check out our new book on Amazon, and if you have a mind to, craft a review.

Also, to the wonderful commentators who contribute so much to the blog and its value:

We continue to work on site and security improvements, so bear with us through the big changes that will be coming as we fully intend to make this site the premier resource for those seeking understanding and empowerment in our character-disturbed age.

23 thoughts on “How Did We End Up Here?

  1. Cheers Dr Simon. I am shaw you have another best seller. You have a way of explaining things THAT NO BODY ELSE DOES. You have a gift Sir.

  2. Congratulations!!
    Surely this will be an excellent book! And, very relevant too, almost everyone around here is suffering from character disturbed wife/husband. Colleague or other minor friends do not do as much damage as life partners does. For obvious reasons these characters are at their most insidious best inside the house where they can focus their full energy against a person without any interruptions.
    I will be ordering book. It will be few weeks before I get my hand to it. Will be an eager wait. 🙂

    1. Dr. Simon,
      Congratulations on your new book. I know this book will be as educational as the others. I have to say though, I broke into tears when I saw the cover. It brought such a deep sadness that perhaps, within the contents, there would had contained something that may have helped me to have saved my marriage. Especially, since no one in the medical field seems to really understand the dynamics of the CD like you do.

      Out of the hundreds of books I read searching for answers your other books, In Sheep’s Clothing, Character Disturbance and The Judas Syndrome lifted the shades of what was truly going on. The books written in such a very basic and simplistic format that anyone can understand.

      I hope with all my heart the contents of your published works will help others who have searched high and low for an answer to help save their marriages, family relationships, friendships and yes, to take back our country.

      I can’t thank you enough for all you have done for society in your eye opening and ground breaking work, for what I have gained personally from you and all the posters on your blog. I will try in return to give back what I have gained.

      May God bless you and your family and America My Home


    2. Just speculating, I think this book will be a sad book to read, especially the section on repairing the damage, for people who have already broken up. 🙁

  3. Congrats for your new book! My financial situation’s a bit tight now, dammit, but it ought to be looking up right soon.

  4. Dr. Simon,

    I think you are doing great work and so many people benefit from your work. I look forward to getting the new book.

    Sent from Outlook Mobile

  5. Please make a kindle edition. I am overseas and I cannot ship it here because it would cost way too much. I have all of your other books, can’t wait to get this one!

  6. Dr Simon,
    I have encountered two mental health professionals over the last 6 years that I believe were character disturbed. Both were women(as am I) there was not any innapropriate touching or sexual refrences. None the less these women were very damaging. One would sit and whisper “I love you” to me while I was speaking…..or sometimes pretend to fall asleep. Both of them would twist my words, both of them refused to hear me. They had all the answers. I was not allowed questions and had to trust blindly.
    Have you encountered other psychologists in your profession that are character disturbed and that bring damage to their clients through it?
    What would you suggest for these situations?
    I know without doubt that neither of these women were healthy enough within themselves to be doing therapy with others.
    The sad thing is that most individuals seeking treatment are not educated (we did not go to school to become psychologists or learn the ethics of the profession) consumers.
    Thank you.

    1. Oh, my, E, you open a real can of worms here. Indeed I have known many professionals of all persuasions and disciplines with character-related problems who bring those problems into their work, much to the disadvantage of those they’re supposed to be helping. Perhaps I’ll do an article on the topic sometime, if I can figure out a tactful, informative, constructive way to do it. In the meantime, it would be great if others who’ve had similar experiences would share them.

      1. Thank you Dr. Simon. I will look forward to that article. I am sure you will find a way to make the article tactful, informative, and constructive.
        It can be really confusing when you encounter someone Character or personality disturbed in the mental health field. Especially when you are seeking help due to the situations in your life that are created when you are already dealing with someone with character disturbance.

    2. E,

      I think you have brought out a very important fact and I have read several books that show how certain professions that deal with power and control are huge playgrounds for psychos. I have a cousin who is a school psychologist and I feel sorry for the kids in her school. People who pray on children are the lowest of all. She delights in screwing things around. I have also met bunches of policemen. I have heard of judges also.

      Sent from Outlook Mobile

  7. Hello Dr Simon. Thank you so much for being available and for all you do and provide. it wasn’t until last year when I found your website and learned about personality problems and the damage they do to us children and how narcissistic partners hurt us , until I really found the road to healing, I will be healed and how I am healing. I think your information has literally saved my life. I was suicidal when I found it last summer. Thank you.
    I have been trying to figure out what was wrong with me and be healed and be a better parent and person since I was a kid, since I was 17 years old. I’m going to have to get your books. this is the end of my second marriage, well, I left two and a half years ago but I’m just now picking my eyeballs up off the ground and looking around. The damage is grievous and the harm irreparable. I really truly almost did not make it through it this time, considering my folks joined him in the attack.
    when I was 18 yrs old, I was handed a book called The Road Less Traveled, I tried to read it but it was so intensely painful I could not make it past the first chapter until I was 23 yrs old. but I sure did try! every year I attempted a read, lol! I read it about every 10 years now as well as the people of the LIE and the screwtape letters. It has helped me on my journey to self actualization.
    I really got hurt this time and I think I got sicker than ever. I know that I was a good person and I think I am a good person. However, I am shaken to the Core. I’m not talking about breaking the law, petty crime, of stealing, or parking in a handicap spot without a sticker… I already know I don’t do stuff like that. I’m talking about the inside stuff. I know I have a personality problem, not a disorder but a problem. I know where it comes from, I know why I have it, I know where it came from. I remember specific things that happened and how and why it formed. I have done some really hardcore work on this stuff. the co-dependency created in me by a narcissistic mother was so severe, I was the scapegoat by the way, it was so severe that i gave up everything but my life and came very close to giving that up too, to “save my family”, TWICE! but I was insane! I was utterly insane to stay so log this second time. I have been struggling for months to figure out how a good person like me could get to a point where I was so insane that I was not gone. I should have been long gone! I should have been gone two years before I was! what in the hell is wrong with me? how could I have stayed? how could I have allowed such horrific things to happen and not leave? what the hell is wrong with me? maybe I’m not good l. maybe I’m a bad person. this is now my struggle, most of the time. I’m really coming out of it now I’m coming out the other side and I’m leaning towards knowing that I am good but I am not absolutely convinced. I know that I was good … can the bad person eventually turn a good person bad also? Can I be good again? was I really bad? I know I was really good and then I allowed bad things to happen and stayed when I should have left… I don’t know how bad I am. I’m pretty sure I’m beyond human egg so it’s a good thing I believe in miracles! Yaaaa!!! And hard work and with a lot of hard work and some miracles great things will happen, I believe.

    1. Maureen,
      Have you ever read the bible. There is forgiveness from our creator, lay all your grief and sins at the foot of God. He will take it from you if you are willing to give it to him “Jesus.” This is what I did and my whole life changed. We are forgiven and then to sin no more, we are reborn in the spirit of the Holy Ghost.

      I would suggest you get all of Dr. Simons books. The will help you understand and the Judas Syndrome will lead you on a path of healing. However, you must be willing to forgive them and most of all yourself. Live your life in the here and now. The past is the past we cannot change it. We do have the ability to change our live now.

      You have all your years in front of you and they are yours. I have done and it has been healing for me. It is not easy to let go. I pray you find peace and happiness and know that you are a child of God and he loves you.

      Blessings dear one.

    2. Your words are painfully similar to my story. Horribly similar…. I have lost so much of myself. If it weren’t for my grown children and faith in God I would have ended my life.
      I am very damaged and ashamed at my inability to heal.

  8. Dr Simon, Congratulations on your new book. I will be buying it soon. Your Sheep book has helped me greatly in identifying manipulation and saved me in a dangerous situation. I would like to gift it to my friends. Will it be available in Chinese? Thanks, Joanna

  9. Faith based? That’s very interesting. Some people believe that depression is sinful and proof of lack of faith. This is killing me honestly. I love the Lord but feel very inadequate because of my depression and anxiety. I’ve never been good enough and now to be told my faith is not strong enough is not helping me recover.
    I wish there was a place for all the broken toys… A misfit island.

    1. Vicki,
      Don’t say that, I have been there too, it is a difficult place to remove oneself from. Whatever, give to Jesus and be good to yourself, forgive yourself. It is hard but each day try to do something positive for you, just one small accomplishment.

      I know that so many faith based churches do say that and it is unfair. Depression in this world is common and there are so many things that set us back. You are welcomed to post here and if we can help we will. Just try to hang in there and look for the good. Many times we just need a little human compassion and a helping hand. You take very good care and yes God does answer prayers.

  10. Emerging from a 33 year marriage to after 2 years divorce to now I know a covert passive aggressive narc. No way I can go into the awakenings etc.
    Suffice to say that I gleaned new info with your idea that a manipulator is not interested in what “normal”, people are what is normal anyway, but we get it.mLove, connection belonging, kindness etc. yes, idea that we or I assumed that the way he behaved must have been due to his fears insecurities, difficult issues in his life, really obscured the truth. Wow!!!He was a cruel, mean petty aggressive no empathy …
    Anyway, truth was/is he was a brilliant Harvard graduate funny,God, I did not see it! He is even a chess master, poker player and had studied acting. I am laughing at self now, but really is not funny. I agree with therapists who are under same assumptions. Honestly, I have never thought of that idea. I assumed we all desired worked towards interconnectednes, helping la la la
    I am buying your new book, this healing is horrific! I hope there is a better happier loving rewarding genuine life ahead for me. I have been immobilized. I think it’s when you go no contact or are out of it you begin to see. Lucky I have a good therapist. I feel like helenkeller with Annie Sullivan… More work needs to be done from survivors in long term relationships with these kind of people

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