How to Spot a Converted Heart

A Converted Heart

What’s a converted heart? It’s a heart awakened. That’s for sure. (See also: Spiritual Awakening and Character Growth.) But it’s more than that. It’s a heart re-dedicated, committed. And every action a person takes testifies to that reality.

How do you spot a converted heart? How do you know someone has changed inside? You can’t see inside someone. But you can certainly witness their behavior. And that’s where the evidence of real change always lies. A converted heart prompts different action. That principle lies at the heart of the cognitive-behavioral paradigm. How we really see things, the attitudes we have, the beliefs we hold – these things govern our behavior. Talk, as they say, is cheap. Actions, as they also say, speak much louder than words. And they reflect the current condition of the human heart.

Judging Change

Time and time again, people ask me how to know when someone has really changed. I always advise they look at behavior. But they rightfully question whether that’s enough. Some folks have learned all to well that you can act contrite, and not be contrite, for example. Occasional gestures are one thing. Patterns of behavior are quite another.  Especially, consistent patterns. Therefore, how you judge that someone has reliably changed has more to do with how they conduct themselves in a wide variety of situations.

I talk a lot about judging change in How Did We End Up Here?  Folks who’ve had a bad relationship experience need a way of knowing when there’s really hope. So, I explain what “metanoia” is and how to spot a converted heart. Personality, by definition, is a style of relating. Moreover, we define our character by the ethical and moral aspects of our personality. A person who’s been converted doesn’t relate the way they used to. Their whole manner of seeing and doing is different. It’s an observable change, and a reliable one at that.

The Change Process

There are telltale signs someone is really changing. For most of us, conversion is a process. And you can read more about that process in some articles on this blog:

And you can also learn about these matters in greater depth and with real examples in:

The Judas Syndrome, Character Disturbance, and How Did We End Up Here.

Some News

Negotiations continue for a new platform for Character Matters. Access the podcasts on YouTube. However, remember there can be no live calls taken at present.

I would sincerely appreciate all your well-wishes for the first of what will be an ongoing reconstruction effort in Puerto Rico. My wife and I will be joining an interfaith team with experience on the ground to shore up damaged housing in the hardest hit areas. It is truly a shame that after all this time many of our U.S. citizens are still so badly hurting. And I plan to post something about our experience next week.

 

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31 thoughts on “How to Spot a Converted Heart

    1. Dr Simon,

      Please know you and your loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers, as always. Tonight I included your family, all the missionaries and the people of Puerto Rico to our prayer list. We will be in constant prayer for all and await your safe return.

      From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, for touching my life. So many times this blog and a special few were all I had.

      Dr Simon, you give so much, so very much. Thank you, for your example of generosity and gratitude, for leading us. Thank you, for showing us what real character is. God does miracles and works in so many ways, healing broken hearts and blessing us in return.

      Perhaps, I am expressing what many are unable to say. Please know, so many of us past and present, respect your work and love you dearly, we await your safe return.

      Gods Peace and Blessings to All

  1. I want to thank everyone on this post for your thoughts and prayers. I’ve been struggling with severe PTSD because of long term abuse. Things have been turning around in my relationships and unfortunately when I get stressed about a slight in my life I’ve posted that divorce is imminent. I now see that PTSD is the reason I’m reacting even though things are clearly getting better.
    I guess after not being able to trust anyone in my life it’s hard to believe progress is being made! This post in particular is very timely and I definitely needed a “check list” of sorts. I’ve trusted too much in the past and was blindsided so I guess it stands to reason that I might react in the extreme. Thank you to everyone for your understanding and encouragement! Thank God for this post by Dr. Simon!
    Feeling blessed and staying on the path to healing!!!

    1. Lydia, Kat, Lucy,

      I apologize for cutting in between and wanted to respond briefly to Lydia’s post on PTSD. I think for one, the term of PTSD is thrown around rather loosely along with a lot of other medical terms.

      I think it wise to have an experienced medical professional evaluate you for PTSD, not that I discredit you, Lydia. I have found to many times even medical professionals use the diagnosis of PTSD to loosely. Many times we many be experiencing stressors that resolve when the individual is removed from their environment, ie., divorce.

      Lydia, you may find once your divorce is over and things are resolved you will get better and begin to heal. I am looking at your situation on a positive note. I don’t know all the facts to your situation and am commenting from what you have said and applying my personal experiences of people with PTSD, to include myself.

      I am praying for your healing, I also think it is a blessing you found this blog. We empaths do tend to trust to much, we trust that others will have the same good qualities we have. Yes, we are blindsided by the tricksters, the smiling false faces that tell nothing lies.

      For me, I am grateful I loved with such deep passion and compassion. I could never punish the CD more than they will ultimately bring about themselves. Just imagine a desolate wasteland, a landfill of misery and despair. Yes, in part that is the internal landscape of the CD. Believe me, you don’t want to venture into their sick twisted heads.

      Lydia, I know in so many ways the experiences I have had in life have made me a better person. I think the same applies for you too. Stick to the success stories and turn bad into good.

      Lydia, thank you, for your kind and encouraging post, you put a smile on my face. Stay strong and continue to build solid footings on the “Healing Path.”

      (((((Hugs)))))

    2. Lydia,

      Good for you for recognizing it! I hope you have a good friend who has your back and knows you well, that you can bounce things off of as a reality check (not the CD!). It takes time to build up your self trust. What helps me is to write down what’s bothering me in detail (make sure you put it in a secure place where the CD cannot find it) and then give it time before I respond. If it’s still bothering me a couple of days later (or however long it takes) when I’m more centered, then I choose what’s the best way to deal with it. It also helps in that I can look back over it over time and if that same or a similar issue keeps popping up, it serves as a reality check. The CD’s in my life were VERY good at minimizing, explaining away, guilting, trying to get me to doubt my reality, etc..

  2. Lydia,
    I also experienced the same – trusting too much and being blindsided. It really does take time to heal so give yourself all the credit in the world for starting that journey.

  3. Lydia,
    I too was blindsided and was told by the counselor that I suffered PTSD. I don’t agree with the diagnosis. I felt it was more anger and resentment, maybe even rage, as I should have been, upon finding out the things that he’d done (and continued to do). I had every right to be angry and all the feelings that go along with betrayal and abuse. And so do you. How can one not feel those feelings?
    And I get what you mean by trusting others. We have to learn to read the signs. And we have to believe that WORDS don’t mean a thing unless they are backed by ACTION, and when it comes to someone who is trying to change his/her behaviors, those actions have to be actions for over an extended period of time to feel confident that they are truly a change.
    My counselor told me that the X could “behave” but did not believe he’d change, from what she gleaned from the marriage counseling sessions. And she was right. He tweaked some behaviors, but his heart, soul and character were dark and ugly. I got out.
    I wish you the best. The person in your relationship needs to show you every day that there are changes. You deserve to be treated well, as do we all. Don’t settle for anything less.
    Restore Rebuild and Heal!

  4. It all comes down to ego and it is a very interesting topic which is underrated when it comes to abuse. From my perspective ego is nothing other than a protection taken on by our inner child when no one else was there to protect him/her. When we experience trauma, if we are not able to process it emotionally, our consciousness gets fractured or split. There is always a vulnerable part which experienced the hurt and pain of the loss. At the same time, another part is formed which is the protector of the hurt or victim part. The aim of this part is to protect the hurt part from getting hurt again and hence it is birth of the protection mechanism. So the work of the ego is to protect us. The problem is long after the extreme situation is gone, the subconscious mechanism is still there as it is entrenched deeply in our cells. This fear gets triggered whenever we experience something our brain misinterprets as this past trauma.

    So in order to heal our inner child, we must pass through this feeling of overwhelm which we might call ego. But even though the intention of every survival program was good, it was for our protection as children. As adults we no longer need this but many still have it fully in place known as ego defense mechanisms. So if we love the inner child who the ego is protecting, the inner child will remove the ego protection and will be happy to move freely. In fact, the inner child wants that, but before removing this protection, he/she wants to test us that we will be there for them all the time. So if we love and embrace the inner child who is using ego as a protection, ego and defense mechanisms would be removed automatically.

    We do not have to fight with ego. Just keep loving your inner child, build a good relationship with him/her and then slowly the ego will be removed. But for that, we have to face our fears and feel the overwhelming feeling first before we are free. Passing through the barrier, the EGO (shadow self) is the main work.

    When the wall is breaking, we might feel intense feelings but that is the most important changing moment. This is the moment when our subconscious programming is changing. We have to be there present with our inner child. It is a time of great change. The ego, the protection is going, he/she needs someone strong, an adult to be there with him/her and he/she should know that he/she would be safe without his/her old protection. So just keep loving your inner child and the ego dissipates and becomes redundant. So there is no enemy, we do not have to fight anything within ourselves. It was all formed for a purpose, we must respect the purpose, thank the ego for protecting us and feel all the feelings in order to heal the wounded inner child within.

    As far as I am concerned I look back at the painful experiences I went through with disordered others and realised they were only a mirror reflecting back to me that was unhealed within myself. This breaks the spell so to speak and takes of the blinds off that keep us locked in victimhood. Experiences with disordered people give us a road map directly into our inner child to show us exactly what that inner child is going through and allows us to go deep within ourselves and love that inner child back into good heath. Once that is done we will never allow another being to treat us with disrespect ever again. It opens up infinite amounts of compassion but matured compassion that does not allow us to sacrifice pieces of ourselves for others. In other words those who refuse to do the inner work they need to do and who rely on the outside world and all in it to be a certain way in order for them to feel safe.

    For those who have the ability to understand emotional wisdom – when we enter into a loving nurturing relationship with our inner child we eventually come to understand that the way we have been treated by others was the way we had been treating our own inner child all along. The outside world is merely a reflection of our inner world. If we use our pain as a navigational tool it allows us to free our inner being and live a life in full authenticity and without fear of being who we are.

    When it comes to all battles Sun Tzu describes it best. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy you will succumb in every battle. Sun Tzu – The Art of War

    The enemy is within not without. Whilst that may sound like a contradiction to what was stated earlier we must bear in mind that the unhealed child’s protection is the shadow self. The shadow self within is the target of all disordered others therefore if we have no more shadow within then disordered others have no need to involve themselves with us at all as we have absolutely nothing to offer them and it is so – I’ve proven it to myself and that is all anybody need do to be free.

    1. I agree, very well written and helpful. If you want to know what your “weaknesses” are, hang around a CD person! I’ve learned so much about myself from where they choose to attack or try to get the upper hand. Once I shore up those areas, inevitably, I run into another one who shows me more areas. In that way they are very much teachers. Painful teachers, but teachers.

  5. BTOV

    You posted this to ask the question

    I have a very simple answer

    I have tried to follow your back round, if I may ask, how does the niece fit into all this? As I am reading your response “when You abandon them.” At first I felt like I did abandon ship, then I felt like I was abandoned, today I feel their was no abandonment on either side. I couldn’t abandon someone that was never there, nor could they abandon me as I really never existed. If this makes sense?

    Please let me if know if I am reading this wrong and point out what I may not be understanding. Thanks

    Abandon
    means

    To give up completely (a practice or a course of action).
    In other words” YOU THROW IN THE TOWEL”

    1. Joey,

      Thank you for responding. I was asking how the niece is related, if she is from the mothers or the father side? I apologize if I wasn’t clear.

      I said: “At first I felt like I did abandon ship, then I felt like I was abandoned, today I feel their was no abandonment on either side. I couldn’t abandon someone that was never there, nor could they abandon me as I really never existed. If this makes sense?”

      In my lifetime many people have used Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG) to manipulate me. When I felt I couldn’t take anymore and withdrew, the abandonment card was used. The actual word “abandonment” was used by the the CD. The CD are well versed in using this tactic and many of them deep down inside do fear abandonment of their source prey. Another whole post.

      I am talking about how you feel, how I feel, I care about you. Right now I haven’t any energy for the CD.

      Yes, throw in the towel, jump the sinking ship and never regret your decision, never look back and think “what if”? The what if in life will keep one stuck.

      Well you certainly got past your weekend alone, how do you feel today? Me thinks a promotion will come your way….

      1. BTOV

        I think you still have some emotional attachment to those CD people in your life.

        I DO’NT have ANY attachment to mine.

        I abandoned my life, I abandoned my thinking, I abandoned everthing; that I was.
        I DO NOT HATE THEM, I DO NOT LOVE THEM, I DO NOT CARE ABOUT THEM.

        BUT !!!!!!!!!

        I DO NOT FEEL ANY AND I MEAN ANY GUILT OR SHAME. I DID NOT BRAKE THEM. I CANNOT FIX THEM.

        I abandoned them and my old life : COMPLETELY

        1. Joey,

          I haven’t seen most of the CD in my for several years. One pops up now and then and within minutes is looking for confrontation. I give them nothing and they stomp off pouting.

          Truthfully, I don’t wish any of them ill will. I don’t like them, I don’t want them around me, I really don’t care what they are doing. When I mentioned the Guilt and Shame, I felt those emotions long ago, they cease to exist. Nor do I hate, nor do I love them, I do not care about them.

        1. Joey,

          A pay raise is great, that means your employer trusts you, respects you and your work, appreciates you and knows they can depend on you. I am happy for you.

          1. BTOV

            I was asking how the niece is related, if she is from the mothers or the father side? I apologize if I wasn’t clear.

            She is my brothers daughter. She is NASTY.
            She a calculating and conniving. I have seen her grow up, BUT there was always something not right with her.
            The nephew, the brothers son. He is not quite right, BUT COULD BE HELPED IF HE IS WANTING to go down the better road. BUT HE Won’t

            The mother ,the brother, the niece,the nephew conspired in having me arrested. I should thank them. Because it was completely
            uncalled for. BUT

            I did not know how much being control meant to them.

            ME Being independent was such a threat.

            BUT I GOT WHAT I WANTED ANY WAY.

            They took alot from me. They WON’T GET ANY MORE

  6. Thank you for this post (and all of your posts). I really needed to read it, and likely re-read it, as well as the linked suggested posts. I don’t want to be tricked again, played for a fool, and I’m not ready to give up on her yet.

    I had such a hard time accepting the reality that my child was intentionally hurting me. I do believe that it was learned behavior and attitude, she has been alerted to it, so time will tell if she truly wants to change. I’ve also changed the way I relate to her (and others), so I believe that has made a huge difference, it has at least for me. She noticed it and said it was amazing and inspiring. She also tested it, quite a bit! There were positive signs that maybe it wasn’t just manipulation, she was more respectful, thoughtful and open to conversation. BUT, she has shown me in the past that I can’t trust her with my vulnerabilities or when I am down, defenseless, and I was afraid she was just looking for weaknesses to exploit. It will take a long time and lots of experiences before I even begin to think about whether I should trust her, that is if she chooses to try to rebuild the relationship/restore trust.

    She needs very strong boundaries and limits and I dropped the ball when I did not provide them right away, every single time when she chose the behavior instead of trying to explain to her how hurtful it was (again). I falsely believed that if she understood how hurtful it was, she’d stop. She needed logic, then cause and effect. I didn’t understand that she didn’t care how much it hurt me. I think she just thought of it as a zero sum game. It was her or me and she was going to take care of number one, at all costs and I usually paid! But so did she, really. Last time we spoke I was very clear that she had hurt me deeply and that I was going to protect myself from her abuse (I described the hurtful/destructive) behaviors.

    When she left she gave no indication she was pulling away and I do not know if it’s a punishment/power play/dismissal or her way of taking space to heal/learn better, more effective boundaries herself or because she has chosen not to communicate with me and I have chosen not to either. She has shown a VERY cruel/vindictive side, so I can’t rule out that I am no longer useful now that I’m on to her. She is very much like her dad in many ways and it scares me.

    When I told her dad that I wanted a divorce his response was “who’s going to do my taxes?” It spoke volumes about his emotional capacity and ability to relate to me as a human being. I was useful to him, I’m sure he thought of me as a skilled possession.

    She’s a grown up now, I trust she’s doing what’s best for her. I pray she’s safe, healing and well loved. I do pray that her heart can and will be converted. I love her from a safe distance for now.

    Thankfully it has become so much easier to spot shady folks early and effectively set limits on their behavior right away (thanks to your work), and keep the interaction as brief as possible. It’s amazing how well it works! An earlier post title about the fact that abuse victims mistake interest for regard is so true! Often, they are just looking for the best way to get what they want/need and usually at your expense, even some family members.

  7. BTOV

    Should read, like this

    The mother ,the brother, the niece,the nephew conspired in having me arrested. I should thank them. Because it WOKE ME UP and was completely
    uncalled for

    I pressed post comment to soon, sorry

    1. That’s awful, Joey. That’s one of the scariest things about dealing with them from my perspective, you just don’t know what they are capable of. The lengths they go to to get control and then maintain it are terrifying. I used to get (and sometimes still do) paralyzed by fear, terror really.

      So glad you got away. It’s such a terrible reality to face/accept.

      1. Healing

        I suffered with acute Anxiety and agoraphobia. Which since I have been no contact, has now all but gone. I can use motorways and travel were I choose, now.

      2. Healing on,

        If someone causes you to be paralyzed by fear and terror they are extremely CD. I would be very cautious and recheck yourself. I was dealing with a CD who put on the airs of change for over 2 years. I caution you to be hyper vigilant and alert as the CDNSP can be a master con artist. Trust your gut instincts always.

        I am glad you are still posting and reading. I would keep all the knowledge you are gleaning to yourself and not share anything with the CD. Time is your friend, having a support network will be your lifeline.

        Hugs

        1. BTOV,

          I know you are right about staying vigilant and trusting my gut. I’m still working through the cognitive dissonance I think, and guilt. I want to believe she can and will change, not just for our relationship to have a chance, for her, so she can be healed and happy.

          It was exhausting dealing with her and more so once I realized what she was doing. Being on guard is mentally and physically exhausting. I don’t think like that, so I am often (less often now) figuring it out much later what was really going on.

          The last bit about not sharing the knowledge with her is so hard, but I know it’s true. As her mom I want to help her learn and grow, but it’s too dangerous. The strange thing is she seems to already know this stuff! I am coming to the belief that they are born this way to a certain extent and I’m sure she learned a lot from watching her father and I, what works in what situation to get her way.

          Time is helping and so is the support, thank you.

          Hugs back to you!

          1. Healing,

            I am sure she learned a lot early on what benefited her. What manipulation techniques were fruitful. The CD Know Very Well What They are Doing. The CD knows its wrong and doesn’t care. At one time I was caught up in all gobbledygook of psychiatry searching deep into the psyche.

            Most all CD behaviors fall into being sin, self serving greed, selfishness, envy, laziness, entitlements, what have you. The field of psychiatry and the treatment of symptomology thereof is a billion dollar business, its profitable to keep the dialogue of deep rooted subjective reasons open for CD behaviors instead of addressing the true cause. Its a win win for making a forever flow of money into a corrupt system which pampers the disordered with ego excuses.

            Dr. Simon repeatedly counsels us; the CD know what they are doing. Most of the time it is not all this deep rooted subconscious unknown. The CD system has created a builtin arsenal of protections and excuses for the CD and the unsuspecting. Truly, most of all we need to know is in brilliant simplicity in Dr. Simons work. Its that simple…..

            https://www.drgeorgesimon.com/they-know-what-theyre-doing/

  8. Healing, BTOV, Joey,

    Once you learn the traits of the CD you’re dealing with, you come to an understanding of what to expect. The CD using others as their victim does not mean that their victim has unaddressed childhood issues that one needs to deal one. We need to deal with the one who is causing the harm, the CD. For me, dealing with him meant leaving him and going No Contact. My inner child is fine. My adult self needed some work from being toyed with for years, and I’ve done that, but the little girl in me has always been fine.
    Good trusting people are prey to the CD. They use our goodness against us. That’s on them.
    We need to learn how to spot a CD, and spot him/her fast, and learn to turn away from them, don’t give them our time and lifeblood.
    And we don’t need to spend enormous amounts of time understanding why they do what they do. We need to learn their traits, accept that they what they’ve shown us they are, accept it. Don’t make excuses for them. IT’s on them. They enjoy hurting. They are selfish. They don’t care about the harm they cause.
    We need to get our head out of what’s in their head. We need to get our heads on how to live the life now that the CD is gone, or exposed. We need to focus on good, not bad. We need to treat our minds and bodies with self respect and do what is best of us, without regard to the CD. We need to let them go.

    1. Lucy,

      Thanks, I have a library of books and I way over analysed. AndyD, I think owns only a few books and said what helped was to read in Sheep’s Clothing several times, I sure wish I had done this. Kudos’s to simplicity, it allows one to see the unadulterated truth instead of going down so many confusing rabbit holes. In fact we can end up more confused than when we first started to question.

      As for my inner child, she has been here all the time. She laughs, smiles and does all those unique things that are part of me. My inner child will be with me in old age and always be a part of who I am. Its good when we can incorporate all of our self and just be real, be free and just be. We can end up wasting our lives looking for a fictitious someone within us, just because another opines we are not whole.

      As for the CD and in part the development arrestment we witness in their emotional immaturity, all of that would change if the CD choose to grow up to be an adult, stop being selfish, treat others as they want to be treated, to get rid of the egotistical ego of the “I am One” belief, throwing aside their masks of false pride and become sincerely humble.

      I believe this speaks to Dr. Simons Topic: How to Spot a Converted Heart. Talk is cheap, its Walking the Walk which entails kindness, compassion, giving of oneself, loving others, respecting others with dignity and respect All the Time. It is going the extra mile to lift another up, to give of oneself, to reach and help those who have far less than us without wanting any in return except to see the others fulfillment. These are just a few examples of what to look for in on being contrite and a true change of heart.

      One can see contriteness in the love one has for another, you will see inner joy, peace and humility in ones life who is walking the walk. Just look where Dr. Simon and his family are right now, they are reaching out and giving and in giving they will receive, just as we will receive and the CD can if they turn their lives over. I do believe it is a spiritual process in submitting to God and ones fellowman.

      It is not about yesterday, yesterday is gone, its about today and perhaps tomorrow. We can take joyful, beautiful memories from the past or take ugly ghosts, again, its all a choice. Its today, we can either live in peace and harmony and build bridges or live in the past destroying ourselves and others, never satisfied, always wanting, always searching for the something that can never be. Its all a choice……..

      As for me and my house, I will serve the Lord, who others choose to serve is their choice.

      God Bless All

      1. BTOV,
        When I went out looking for help… books, blogs, counselor. I was lucky to stumble upon In Sheep’s Clothing. This book was simple and made perfect sense. I read, reread it many times because it was paradigm shift for me, so had to revisit the basics several times.
        I do listen to other theories, like how a early childhood wound may cause some life long problem. But the moment someone starts paddling theories like all bullies are actually chicken at heart. That time I check-out.

        1. AndyD,

          A medical professional gave it to me. They had gone to one of Dr. seminars. I caught on to what the book said, however, I kept delving into many theories. On can get caught if the loop of what ifs. Not that I don’t respect many of the pioneers who address real issues. What I didn’t realize is I had picked up all the answers I needed in Dr. Simons work. Oh well,
          live and learn.

          Nice to hear from you, I appreciate your thought out practical sense, thank you. How are things going with you?

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