Personality and Character Disorders: Common Misconceptions

There’s more information available these days about personality and character disorders than there’s ever been. Still, many misconceptions exist.  That’s in part due to the failure of professionals to succinctly and uniformly define many of the key concepts involved.  It’s also due to the high degree of variance of opinion about the nature of personality disturbances and what can be done about them.  The series I’m inaugurating today is a companion to the primer series that began with the post: Personality and Character Disorders: A Primer. So I invite folks, especially newcomers to the site, to avail themselves of that series.  In the current series, I’ll be concentrating on dispelling some of the more common misconceptions about personality disturbances in general as well as  matters pertaining to intervention.  And I’ll also be expanding on topics broached in the earlier series. At times, I’ll be using some real examples to illustrate important points.

In the early editions of my book In Sheep’s Clothing, I was one of the first to introduce to the general public what has become known as the multidimensional model of personality. And I was also among the few to make a clear distinction between the concepts of personality and character. I had the great fortune during my early professional training to be mentored by a former student of the foremost personality authority. And I wanted to help dispel some of the erroneous notions that folks had about personality and personality disturbances, some of which persist even today. Here are just a few:

  • Personality is not the same thing as an innate trait such as impulsiveness, easy irritability, shyness, extraversion, etc. Nor is it the same thing as the sum of a person’s innate traits. Personality is the distinctive way or “style” of interaction a person adopts in both perceiving and relating to others and the world at large. It’s the individual’s preferred way of coping with circumstances and a lot of things other than innate predispositions contribute to a person’s preferred style of relating. Early environmental shaping influences play a role. And those influences dynamically interact with a person’s innate predispositions in unique ways over the course of their emotional development to shape personality.  For example, a child who by temperament tends to be shy and retreating will likely have a very different response to and develop a very different style of coping with a hostile, abusive environment than would a person who innately tends to be tenacious.  All of a person’s innate traits, as well as the unique environmental influences to which they are exposed during their early development contribute to the eventual “strategy” they develop for dealing with life.
  • Personality is not the same thing as character, even though the terms are all-too-frequently used synoymously.  In my books and other writings, I explain that character has more to do with the aspect of an individual’s personality that reflects their level of integrity and virtue and distinctively “marks” them as a conscientious (or not so conscientious) social being (for more on this topic see the relevant chapters in my books as well as the article: Misunderstood Psychology Terms – Part 2: Personality & Character).
  • While by definition, most personality styles are relatively enduring and remain constant over a wide variety of situations, as we learn and grow, most our personalities mature somewhat.  Few of us would consider ourselves the same person we were 20 or 30 years ago.  That’s not to say that our core innate tendencies completely change.  They rarely do.  But we often learn over time not only to moderate our basic inclinations but also to overcome some of our self-limiting traits. So while we might not completely “change our stripes” so to speak, we become different people as we learn and mature.  Now, the picture is very different when it comes to a personality or character disorders. It’s the extreme and deviant nature of a person’s style and the relative inflexibility (i.e. resistance to alteration) of that style despite the experience of adverse consequence that defines a personality or character disorder. But as I long ago asserted (and as I discuss at length in Character Disturbance), personality and character pathology exists along a spectrum of severity, and depending upon where someone lies along that continuum there are very different prospects for change (for more on all the aforementioned topics, see: Can We Change Our Personality?).

There’s a lot more to say about personality and character and I welcome questions from the readers during the current series. I’ll do my best to answer them in a timely fashion.  I’ll also be discussing this topic over the next few weeks on my Character Matters program Sundays at 7 pm Eastern Time (6 pm Central), although the upcoming program will feature an interview for the better part of the show.

95 thoughts on “Personality and Character Disorders: Common Misconceptions

  1. Hi Dr. Simon,
    I fear that I may run the risk here of provoking a reaction from you, if I were to express my own views fully, and if they were to clash with the conventional wisdom that you hold to be true. If I may explain:

    Over the last hundred years or so, since the time of Freud, mainstream psychology has definitely progressed, notwithstanding all the failed experimental ideas and procedures, of which there were so many.

    I stand corrected, but I cant help observing that what is presented by mainstream psychology even today, is so heavily laden with a phalanx of descriptions of disparate human behaviour, and the practice of trying to pin down and label every observed symptom.

    As for psychoanalysis…….. Should a patient be advised by a medical doctor that he has contracted a virus, will that act alone then remove the virus from the patient’s body, now that the patient “knows” he has a viral condition? Or should a therapeutic process be initiated, together with a program of prevention through inoculation for every citizen?

    It has been observed and recorded by researchers that people who suffer psychological conditions, also have physical correlates, such as high or low blood pressures, racing pulses, elevated or lower body temperatures amongst others. By simple logic, these physical symptoms should then also correct themselves as a result of a patient having been cured of his neuroses or other psychological disposition.

    My question is thus: To what extent can mainstream psychology today, talk of a cure in the truest sense of the word? I ask this question with an honest desire to know the answer from you if I may, since I am impressed with your vast knowledge, albeit seemingly limited to analyses, description and advice only. (An observation, not a
    judgment). Perhaps one day you can treat us to an overview of treatments available these days? Thank you.

  2. Hi Patrick,
    This article is about how we confuse the concept of personality with character. What are your thoughts on the basic misunderstanding?

    1. LisaO,

      A person becomes a mechanic in order to fix motor cars. a person becomes a dentist in order to fix dental problems. Ditto with doctors, panel beaters, cobblers, and many other trades and professions.

      Should I take my motor car to a mechanic and he starts to explain to me that there are different types of motor cars on the market, such as Toyotas, Mecedes Benzes and so on, do I walk away with a fixed car?

      The profession of psychology originated because people were suffering. People were hurting and they were looking to be fixed, by having someone remove the hurt. If someone is really hurting and you talk to them, telling them to be courageous, “positive”, mindful, to pray and so on, or even to explain to them the difference between personality and character, then you are simply throwing their pain back at them and saying to them: “I have now given you all this information and suggestions, now go and take care of it yourself” .

      When the penny finally drops and a person realises that he or she has been abused, intimated, suppressed or hurt in other ways by a spouse, there is hurt. Awful hurt. The pain is almost unbearable. What happens now is that our entire body-mind being, scrambles to get rid of the pain. This is where our intellect steps in and comes to the rescue, although not very successfully. (Btw, we have three brains i.e. the viscera or brainstem, then the limbic system or feeling brain, and then the latest brain to develop, the neo-cortex or intellectual brain)

      Our third brain, the neo-cortex, has a gating mechanism that puts out these gates to suppress upwards rising pain. In other words, our intellect does what it can to try and make us unaware of the awful hurt that is now wracking our whole being. And as a result, the circular thinking starts. we start asking ourselves questions in a non-stop merry-go-round: “Why did he/she do this?; What is/was his/her reason for doing it?; “If only I can know the answers”

      What we are trying to do – we believe that once we have all the answers, then somehow the pain will just magically go away. What we don’t know, is that the abuse from the spouse triggered a massive load of pain that has been sitting there all along, since many years ago, wanting out, but our third brain has mercifully gated and kept us unaware of it, allowing us to adjust to the world somehow, get an education, marry and have children. This is sadly true for most people on earth .

      A baby cries and gets angry, a parent becomes anxious and irritated, and says: “This baby wants to manipulate and control (abuse) me”. Why does she say that? An adult can play boss over a helpless baby, shutting it down and rationalising her actions, using intellectual reasoning i.e. the gating mechanism at work. The gating helps us to remain unaware and unconscious of our actions in the present.

      Many years later, that same mother has suffered abuse from her husband for a long time. As we get older our, defence mechanisms start to become weaker, less able to hold back years of suppressed emotions. If she was also shut down as a baby by her parents, there is a potential explosion of deeply bottled up feelings of anger and tears. Who helps her to “explode” in order for those emotions to be released? With weakened gating, the pain is starting to break through. At this point she cries for help, and then finds that out there is advice, lots of advice and more advice and explanations.
      She may also be put on medication that is employed to help the body’s own weakened defence.

      Many people have so much stored pain by the time they are toddlers or teenagers, that they start to act-out in different ways. Acting out is also a way that we use to try and escape the constant pain. If the acting out gets suppressed, then watch out, because a possible criminal or psychopath is in the making.

      Also, a severely narcissistic mother can suppress all her daughter’s act-outs, but allow her to eat as much as she wants. A pattern of overeating is set up, which the extremely overweight adult woman will not be able to “figure out”. As soon as she tries to “diet”, her pain is right there and hits her like a freight train. Can you see how futile it is to try and talk her out of her habit of gulping down food?

      This weblog can however, help people to start realising that things are/were not right – a sort of wake-up call -. That is great and furnishes victims with intellectual ammo, except that the unfelt hurts of the past is still there, lurking, knocking and wanting out. We are talking about a massive force, sometimes powerful enough to create humans like the leaders of North Korea, committing genocide on their own people, or groups like ISIS. Try talking to them, explaining the difference between character and personality.

      1. There are very real traumas relating to the environment OUTSIDE of the womb. We are who we are mostly by the choices we have made. I do believe that certain negative psychological effects can be attributed to emotional abuse in our childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. But those circumstances shouldn’t be used as a crutch. Is that not what you are TRULY trying to convey? Siblings that grew up in the same environment can have vastly different characteristics and values. One adult sibling can cope better than his younger brother with childhood emotional and PHYSICAL abuse (like being stabbed in the hand with a fork at 13 years of age by a raging alcoholic mother while being verbally abused) while the sibling who watched it (but wasn’t stabbed himself) was mostly just emotionally abused, and beaten with a flyswatter handle or a switch cannot cope correctly so they lash out in anger. I don’t why or how that is, but it is. I think it comes down to the fact that the “stable” brother “hides” his “trauma” better than the younger brother who is very sensitive and emotional. The “stable” brother also chose to surround himself with very good people who “taught” him how to “truly love” throughout late adolescence and into adulthood and continues to do so to this day. The “stable” brother also has a family of his own that he takes care of and of whom take care of him. Family life is busy life, family life is all encompassing, he has dedicated his life to his family with the promise to himself that he will NEVER treat his children the way he was treated growing up, and rightfully so. The younger brother on the other hand was a mess from early on and never “learned” how to cope on his own. He chose the WRONG people to surround himself with and became a pathological liar in order to “manage impressions” of himself to them in order to “fit in” and be liked for someone to whom he was not. His “friends” saw through this and bullied him a lot. Defense mechanisms were installed, and hostility ensued. But all the deception, lies, hostility, irresponsibility, self victimization, and aggression was/is a result of his OWN CHOICES! When we become adults, we can no longer blame our parents for our actions as adults. Yes, childhood abuse (of all kinds) takes a toll on our psyche as adults, but we have a CHOICE to seek help and become good people, OR, we have the CHOICE to wallow in our self induced misery and CHOOSE to be an insufferable pessimist.

        These are things I already know, things I have ALWAYS known. I’m not blaming all of my pain on my parents. I have just CHOSEN not to let go of it, that’s on me, and me alone. Just like it is on ALL of us, on all of us alone. I’m a fairly intelligent person and I know I am in control of how I CHOOSE to act/react towards others in my daily life. I get it, optimism is a CHOICE, pessimism is a CHOICE. I choose to retaliate to negative pressure WITH negative pressure. I CHOOSE to endorse positivity with insight and a willingness to learn from it’s teachings.

        Dr. Simon, I know that you are adopting a policy of strong moderation. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but ultimately this is your blog to do with what you please. All that I ask is that you do not tamper with this reply in any way. It needs to be out in the open to clear up a lot of confusion and ignorance. Their tends to be some misdirection and detrimental ulterior motives on this particular comment section. I have also posted under many usernames on this blog with anger, contempt, and profanity. All of those entries were deleted. I know you had to with all the profanity that I used, but there were some important points made in those comments that people needed to read and let sink in. I now fully understand what the old saying “You catch more flies with honey” truly means.

        I want to thank you for this blog. It is vital to my understanding of people in general, but more so to my understanding of the people that “surround” me, near and far. I think it is important not to censor anyone’s views, but I understand “why” you do it. You certainly don’t want this site to turn out like that vipers nest, Facebook, goodness gracious. To you all a good day sirs and ma’ams.

        1. FYI, I did not censor your “views” but I did in fact edit out some of what I thought was unnecessarily provocative content that didn’t add information of substance. You verbalize here that you’re fully aware of your tendency to be unnecessarily profane and provocative and you also assert that you know you have choices and are responsible for them. So make mindful choices in your comments and I won’t be in the position to have to do heavy editing, and perahps I also won’t be in the position to have to delete your entries or block your contributions under whatever name you might use.

          Thanks.

        2. DB said: “I know you had to [edit] with all the profanity that I used, but there were some important points made in those comments that people needed to read and let sink in.”

          Are you serious? Still making excuses for your verbal abuse on account of “important points” other people “needed”?! That takes the cake.

          1. Dr. Simon here. I unapproved (by editing out most of the content) the last comment not because it contained unnecessary vulgar content but because once again it was unnecessarily provocative in tone and was primarily a self-justification diatribe. Discussion can indeed be healthy, as you assert, especially when one’s comments are truly meant to support, empower, etc.

            I’m drawing the line here (as is my right and privilege to do). And while it’s often difficult to enforce limits and boundaries when someone is determined to undermine, I’m going to monitor carefully and do my best to enforce them. And I’m not going to spoon-feed either on how to post comments that won’t require my edits or sanction. Submit only heartfelt, supportive comments, or I’ll take whatever action necessary to edit or block. In the process, you might advance toward forging the kind of character you won’t have to justify so vociferously.

          2. “Yup. As serious as a manipulative, gaslighting covert-aggressive”

            Well, doggone it. This is the first time one of you admitted it to my face. I applaud you for your brutal honesty, indeed! Clapping hard! 😀

          3. Vera, I think their comes a time when the emperors become so bloated they can’t find any clothes that fit. They may in their minds believe their lies, but when they begin the strut they are as naked as the day they were born.

          4. “Yup. As serious as a manipulative, gaslighting covert-aggressive”

            “”Well, doggone it. This is the first time one of you admitted it to my face. I applaud you for your brutal honesty, indeed! Clapping hard!”

            You are very clever, you are. Or are you?

          5. “Vera, I think their comes a time when the emperors become so bloated they can’t find any clothes that fit. They may in their minds believe their lies, but when they begin the strut they are as naked as the day they were born.”

            I’m pretty sure that I figured out this page was hijacked and faked for the little intranet network you got me set up on here as soon as I saw “Dr. Simon’s” response to the “religious” person the other night. It’s weird. You are a very strange person. Dogs and peanut butter. Gross.

        3. Dastardly B, I am sorry that is how you feel about yourself.

          This is a wonderful site Dr. Simon has created and it began many years ago and has grown into the successful blog it is today. Unfortunately, we at times forget ourselves and then others come with their own agendas. This site is a wealth of knowledge for the victims of the CD. It also is a mirror for the CD individual. It seems when one of the CD happen to come to this site and see what they don’t want others to know, they creep in and try to profane and alter the core values of this site.

          The wonderful thing about Dr. Simons site is that its core values are built on Character, truth, respect, honesty, love and the list goes on. Many of the individuals here I included have been abused and used by the CD. In learning the truth that props up the CD, and so much more provides us with the ability to smell out a CD hiding in Sheeps Clothing.

          To cut this short I would hope you can find the truth you may be looking for and put the past behind you and go forward making this a better world. You seem intelligent and may add a lot of value to Dr. Simons site. Everyone is welcome and if you are truly interested in change I am sure you will get ample support. No one that truly is looking for help is turned away. If you have your own agenda and want try to indoctrinate it here your wasting everyones time. If you disagree with the core values of Dr. Simons blog I would highly suggest instead of spinning your wheels here, simply start your own blog.

          I wish you well and pray you find your way.

          1. It may be time, as the adage says, to “stop feeding the trolls.” They thrive on attention given. 🙂

            Trolls morph, of course. So let’s be discerning. But I think Dr Simon will warn us.

            What do y’all think?

          2. Vera and Tori,
            I believe you are right, but every encounter there are tells and I add them to memory, least I ever forget! I always pray there may be an awakening from being lost.

            I got this cute but pesky little rescue dog, part Pomeranian and Sheltie, such a beautiful fluffy dog (15months). What joy he brings, had to house break him, he doesn’t chew on things that don’t belong to him anymore, except he will snitch food. Don’t know any of his background I took him as a rescue (saved from euthanizing) and am looking for a home for him, I hope he doesn’t grow on me to the point I can’t give him up. Have to worry about taking care of his needs before I can go anywhere. Oh the problems of a little dog. But then what a piece of cake compared to the crazy making of a CDN.

            Vera, you’ll have to give me a course on Troll’s, are they those little impy hairless things of the 60’s? Or are they from one of those science fiction/horror movies? Have just such a happy, wonderful and blessed day all of you loving Kindred Spirits on Dr. Simons blog.

          3. “It may be time, as the adage says, to “stop feeding the trolls.” They thrive on attention given. 🙂

            Trolls morph, of course. So let’s be discerning. But I think Dr Simon will warn us.

            What do y’all think?”

            Dr. Simon, I would honestly like to know how this comment by vera is in any way, shape, or form “heartfelt” or “supportive”?

            I do believe you wrote this “Submit only heartfelt, supportive comments, or I’ll take whatever action necessary to edit or block.”

            This is not “fair and balanced” and “healthy discussion”. It’s quite the opposite. This blog IS turning into Facebook and I’m done with the one-sidedness and hypocrisy displayed by you and your commenters. I want to wish those who have helped a healthy life. To the detrimental ones, always remember karma, or the biblical “reap what you sow”. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my short time on Earth, it is that whatever you put out will come back tenfold.

            Tootles,

            Shaun Philip Anderson

          4. Shaun Philip Anderson,

            That is one reasonable comment from you, at least by past standard.
            “reap what you sow” part in itself is right, but spin given to it to point out mistakes in other is wrong.

            Regarding pointing out someone else’s comment to make your point…
            Nothing is absolutely white or black. What you are sowing (comment & their tone) is 20% crop and 80% weed. Whereas it is just the reverse for everyone. And, asking people to display 100% ideal behavior is subjecting them to unreasonable God-like high standards. Worse, if this finger pointing to small infractions is done to justify own gross wrong behavior.

            Regarding your point about facebook etc…
            Agree, there are several scientific studies that explain facebook kind of phenomenon and how they may get one-sided and how members with differing views can be pushed away. And, how a moderator has powerful role in it.
            Keep in mind that your previous comment is not yet censored or edited! And, I don’t think it will be touched. 🙂

  3. LisaO,

    Please explain to me how it would help you if you knew why people do that? What I do know is that a “personality” can be easily faked by many people. Liars, thieves, charlatans, politicians, psychopaths (btw many psychopaths become politicians or presidents of companies)

    A character structure is created by the total sum of good and bad experiences you have had since you had just become a living organism, six weeks after conception.
    Once again, the most painful trauma of all is laid down in the womb, depending on the total condition of the mother, i.e. is she depressed, hyper, anxious, fearful. Does she overeat or starve herself, does she drink many cups of coffee or coke, ingest medicine or illegal drugs and alcohol, or did her husband/lover leave her stranded without an income, and so on.

    You “character structure” as an adult later on, would comprise imprints (fixed memories), muscular rigidities, vital signs, ideas and belief systems, ability or inability to love, express feelings and emotions, be spontaneous. Can he sing or is he tone deaf? Can he run and play, laugh and cry? Does she enjoy sex and can she have multiple orgasms? Is he impotent?

    Because of emotional and physical pain – a surgeon’s knife cutting deep into a body can create lasting imprints of pain – we develop act-outs. We can become over-the-top intellectuals, or someone who is considered “shy” and unable to talk freely. We can become alcoholics, smokers, drug addicts, bible punchers, pastors, preachers, evangelists, criminals – not too much difference there, in my opinion – over-eaters, stutterers, and the list goes on and on.

    We can also develop chronic conditions such as ADD, or become bi-polar, non-stop talkers, you fill in the rest. Serious pre-natal trauma can result in autism, downs syndrome, homosexuality, etc. or be a pre-cursor for the later onset of some of these conditions, amongst others.

    A person who is not split and therefore disconnected from her real self, will simply be the way she is. Her “personality” will reflect every bit of her character, whatever her demeanour as a result. However, a young child who had to split away from his real self because his feelings and emotions were shut down as a baby and toddler, could later on start faking a “personality” by observing the way other people behave. He will be forced to do so, because he is not in touch with his real self at all.

    Our first reaction to pain is always to cry. If that is not allowed, then eventually, in order to try and keep the pain from the constant hurt away from us, we develop a wall of anger covering the more gentle and vulnerable feelings that we would have liked to express, but couldn’t. The anger is to protect us. If the hurtful imprints become more and more, we start lashing out, and there you have the bully at school, who is a victim of having been bullied since birth, disconnected from the real self of that vulnerable baby. There you have a character structure that is quite common these days, with everyone talking about what to do about it, but no-one seems to have any answers. Being vulnerable means being able to cry easily. Who helps a bully by creating a supportive, safe and loving environment where he can eventually feels safe and cry his pain out?

    1. Patrick, if you read dr Simon’s stuff, you will see that his focus is on reframing, resetting one’s thinking. In order so that we each may be in better shape to deal. There is not a whole lot out there that is helpful in dealing with disturbed characters, in anybody’s writing. or in dealing with the pain itself. Reams have been written about what to do, but very little is helpful. That’s why shrinks give people mood drugs, or people self medicate.

      Dr Simon has developed ways to cope with CDs within the therapeutic relationship, and is planning online workshops to share some of that. How much of it can be taught, I don’t know. I think we are in the early days, when it comes to mental health. Kinda like medicine before antibiotics… That’s why we help one another get better. Maybe that’s the best part, anyways.

    2. LisaO,
      Very well articulated. But then it does go further, the CD has a choice to continue in their Peter Pan world of fantasies to hide in or take the painful first steps of growth. And a painful walk it will be. To address the fears and realize their really is nothing to fear anymore but the fear itself. To forgive the ignorance (for lack of a better term) the uncaring caregiver (parent) who probably was treated the same way. Let it go!

      If we don’t let it go it consumes one and they become the monster that created them. They become what they hated most. It seems though they come to have a love hate relationship with themselves. It is so sad and pathetic.

      To forgive, or not to forgive but to let go of the past put it somewhere where it can’t harm us, our future or loved ones anymore. We are the answer, we are are the needed change for this world, even if its one by one.

    1. Hi LisaO and to all.

      OFF TOPIC

      I pop in frequently and try to keep up with Dr. Simons current topic and what posters have to say, the knowledge and wisdom, the loving concern is inspiring and is what makes this site so valuable and safe.

      I have been very busy with trying to salvage what pieces of the wreckage was left by my X CD. The pain levels dictate how much I am able to accomplish and how far I can go forward. Thank you for asking. I too, try to share as much as I can about what I have learned with others.

      The CD I am dealing with is of the most Malignant kind. He has all the similar traits and follows the same path as “its a matter of time and when.” Its difficult being all alone in this, law enforcement is aware and want to be as far away as possible. Its a shame our mental health laws are what they are. I don’t think of myself, I think of all the innocent people that to these sick individuals destroy and kill whom they consider no less than human fodder. I can only sit and wait and try to make good decisions.

      An interesting site is of Joe Navarro a former FBI agent. He describes the profiles of these individuals in depth. I just ordered several of his books. In the the end it is “Let Go and Let God.” (One of the 12 Steps in
      AAA)

      Your are a great anchor on this site LisaO, I hope you stay for the long haul. I enjoy and find peace in many of your posts. I hope you are well too. I am thinking of taking a course in mild yoga with relaxation techniques. I frequently get trigger point injections which last for several days and sometimes weeks. Kindred spirits in so many things. Take very good care of yourself and God bless.

      1. Hi Btov,
        Thanks so much for the Navarro reference. Think I linked to his site a few years ago. Not sure. Will take a look. Trigger point injections. That’s interesting. I don’t think it would help me but really happy for you that you are seeing some relief, at least, part of the time?

        And yes, lots in common!! And thanks for the vote of confidence. I think you add so much, too. You are a very kind, giving individual. I am still impressed by all you have done for your sister!

        Speaking of sisters and character/personality…I received an email about a month ago from one of my older sisters that is so odd, yet typical. I can’t pinpoint what her problem is quite. Lately she is given to projecting a different persona than her previous ever shifting personas.

        The new one she is trying on fits like a suit that is buttoned up all wrong. She’s not quite comfortable in it and is shifting uncomfortably, even in emails. I honestly feel like saying, “Hey, you know that new suit you’re wearing. Well, you missed a button, PLUS, to me, it’s transparent. It’s like you’re wrapped in cellophane!

        Her personality? I don’t know who she is and I don’t think she knows either. She does have ‘character,’ in that she wouldn’t intentionally do anyone harm, unless they harmed or threatened her in some way. She understands right from wrong. And she has been of great help to at least one friend, in need, that I know of. So, she isn’t all bad.

        But her personality, because she lacks deep empathy, causes others to suffer. It’s like a blind spot.

        So, if you approach her to tell her you are upset at how you are being treated, she will go on the attack. She will say she has no desire to discuss it, you are in the wrong, she is a positive person and you are sick in the head to question her in any way EVER. LOL. This has only happened two or three times over the last few decades.

        Now, I finally understand I am not dealing with a whole person but an incomplete personality hiding behind this super structure of a facade. It’s sad but it is also really funny. Her emails crack me up. If she was living a tragic life I would feel differently, would have compassion..but she seems pretty happy, so that’s okay.

        Misery will likely come knocking for her when she reaches the limits of her ability to control reality. And old age has a way of doing that. That is when the facade will fall away and she will become more obviously crazy. Her very basic character will probably endure, but it will be obvious that it has been compromised by her personality.

      2. Patrick,
        I believe personality and character are as different as apples from oranges and one doesn’t really have anything to do with the other. On personalities, take 2 children, twin girls, raised in the same home and treated the same by both parents. One child is outgoing the other is more introverted. One child tends to like being the center of attention the other just content to sit and watch. One tends to be the life of the party the other the wall flower. One child likes very feminine attire and the other sister could care less if she wears the same dress everyday.

        Both children are brought up in a home that teaches honesty, to share, to care about others.

        Character, is a personal standard of (not personality) integrity, it is the challenge, and the ability to do the right thing when it is more advantageous and easier to do the wrong thing no matter how insignificant. To stay the course when everyone else has thrown in the towel and the task provides no tangible gains except you remained true to your promise. Being a friend through good and bad times. Helping without looking for a reward. Being faithful to ones marital vows, not stealing, having personal standards, caring for others, having values that cannot be bought.

        In life regardless how we have been treated (in the womb) and I know my personal experience was not at all good, however, it does not give me an excuse to use for bad behavior or a crux for a pity bag to mistreat others. I know for a fact my life experiences and that of so many of the posters here are so unimaginable and horrific let alone thinking of the womb experience – did not choose to ABUSE!

        To my personal knowledge so many of these disgusting perpetrators know full well how they treat others and the pain they cause them, they just dont care because they are the ones dishing it out, not the spouses and children eating it. Believe me I have and still do feel sorry for these miscreants at times and hope and pray they can find the key to unlock their locked vaults of selfishness.

        Dr. Simon does offer real solutions for change, it is not easy to look inward. I have a family of these individuals. Many of them know something is very wrong, others so outlandishly vain they believe only the lies that covers their hides. I know one thing ask any of these individuals if they would like how they treat others, if they would find it acceptable to treat them in this manner. Just guess what their poor toddle time minds would choose.

        For a further example of character, look to the standards and truth that Dr. Simon promotes on this site and his radio program. Dr. Simon encourages truth and honesty with and in ourselves and the CD. To have character is a choice, personality we are born with. Can we change or alter our personality? I believe we can to some degree.

        1. Very correctly said BTOV “In life regardless how we have been treated (in the womb) and I know my personal experience was not at all good, however, it does not give me an excuse to use for bad behavior or a crux for a pity bag to mistreat others.”

          There are very few conditions when a person can be excused. Otherwise, a person is responsible for himself and others, no matter what. Displaying responsible and socially acceptable behavior, truth honesty with self and others, are the way to earn self-respect. In this world full of 6 billion people, not everyone will get ideal environment. In fact, dreaming of ideal environment is utopian and unrealistic thinking. Simply what matters is, what one gets as gift from God (inheritance, temperament), what one gets as gift from people (caring, teaching), and what that person does with his gifts over his life.

        2. ……” On personalities, take 2 children, twin girls, raised in the same home and treated the same by both parents. One child is outgoing the other is more introverted. One child tends to like being the center of attention the other just content to sit and watch. One tends to be the life of the party the other the wall flower. One child likes very feminine attire and the other sister could care less if she wears the same dress everyday.

          BTOV,

          Just to show once again how crucial it is to remain up to date with all the latest science on the human condition, here is an excerpt from an article that was posted on the internet just a few days ago. Btw, science of the human condition has progressed exponentially over the last thirty years or so, as with digital technology.

          …..The study of twins provides fertile ground for demonstrating the far- reaching impact of womb-life on who we turn out to be and what we suffer from years later. In one study, researchers investigated the perplexing case of identical twin girls born with vastly different physical conditions. One girl was normal while the other had severe birth defects, born with two vaginas, two colons and a spinal cord that split in two towards the bottom of her back. “So how could twins who shared the same genes be so different?” asked the author of a report on the epigenetic research, “The Third Factor: Beyond Nature and Nurture,” in New Scientist(13).

          We have long known of epigenetic marks – chemical labels added to DNA that alters the activity of genes without altering the sequence. In particular, if a stretch of DNA has lots of added methyl groups, the activity of nearby genes is suppressed. So the team took a closer look at the Axin gene in blood cells from the twins. Sure enough, the girl with the split spine had unusually high levels of methylation. So while other causes cannot yet be ruled out, the researchers think the most likely explanation is that in one twin something pushed methylation levels high enough to shut the gene down. Mystery solved? Far from it. What pushed methylation levels above a critical threshold in one twin but not in the other? ”That’s the million-dollar question,” says team member Nick Martin, of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia.

          In another study at New York’s Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a private, not-for-profit research center specializing in molecular biology and genetics, researchers also found great differences in the methylation patterns even between identical twins (Gordon et al., 2012). Investigators looked at umbilical cord tissue, cord blood and the placentas of new-born twins and found differences that play an important role in individual development. And here is their important conclusion: “This must be due to events that happened (in the womb) to one twin and not the other,” said senior author Dr. Jeffrey Craig of Australia’s Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, in a press announcement from the research laboratory.(14) So although twins share a womb, what happens to each of them can be quite different. The study, published online in Genome Research, has “for the first time shown that the environment experienced in the womb defines the new-born epigenetic profile.”(15) And, no surprise, the authors believe that womb-life events may have a more profound effect than previously thought. They claim that this discovery is a powerful tool for managing future health and modifying risk.

          The lead author believes we can modify risk through dietary intervention and other environmental approaches. He does not say what is crucial: how about we intervene during womb-life and make it salubrious and salutary? How about we make womb-life a great place to be? We can do it through education and we can also do it by reliving those adverse womb events and reversing their deleterious effects.

  4. To LisaO and Vera,

    I will wait for a while to see what sort of comments warrant being posted on this page.

    Will those who comment discuss the difference between character and personality or otherwise WHY people confuse the two?

    1. “the bully at school, who is a victim of having been bullied since birth”

      Patrick, Dr Simon has written very clearly about why this is generally not the case. If you are here to make the case about the poor puppy dog bullies who just need to be hugged, you are in the wrong place. And I for one don’t appreciate you barging in here, trying to turn bullies into victims. I know that is a popular view in some circles, but it certainly isn’t here. The VICTIMS are the people who are BULLIED.

      1. Vera,

        I do not know if you are interested in upgrading your archaic view of children. Perhaps you still cling to the old adage: “Beat the shit out of them, and then their pain will leave them”

        Punishment has never done anything for anyone. Lots of love and an environment in which they can express their severe anger and many tears, will cure a bully.

        Perhaps you will allow yourself to watch this movie about a school where children are respected and loved and are free to do and behave any way they want to. there are no bullies except now and again a kid who arrives there from a public school who has been damaged. However, they soon cure themselves because of the total freedom they experience at this school. Read the book Summerhill, or Google it.

        Here is the link to the movie:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxngqMavda0

        1. Hi Patrick,

          I have to call you on your hostility here. In no way did Vera even imply that she endorses “beating the sh**” out of anybody, let alone a child.

          You are right out of line here — and while Vera disagrees with your stance on bullying, you have no right or reason to insult her in this way.

          You did the same with me, repeatedly asserting I advocated child abuse. Repeatedly. Why do you employ this tactic when people disagree with you?

          You do understand that you are on a forum for survivors of manipulation. Unless you are trying to illustrate a glowing example of manipulative and domineering behaviour, I suggest you bow out or change the way you relate to posters here.

          People can agree to disagree in a civil way. Your manner is encouraging other posters to retaliate, in their own defence. Please cease and desist.

          1. LisaO,
            If one wants to insult someone, there are many ways to do it directly without using one single swear word. Read again what I said:

            “Perhaps……. you still cling to the archaic view ….? The issue at this point is not the swear word, but the question, which is left hanging for Vera to answer. You do not have to answer for Vera. If she felt that I insulted her, she is welcome to tell me. That is what blogging is all about.

            There was no insult or swearing at Vera.

            I would love it if there was a platform of healthy debate on this blog, where bloggers can answer one another directly about an issue, posing questions related to the issue, and not forcing the issue of profanity. Let’s agree and disagree, because that engenders growth. We are grown-ups, not little kids. The massive and overwhelming control that religion has had on us for centuries, even threatened us with words such as blasphemy and profanity. And so we cower and defer and remain silent in the face of an “almighty” god. Let’s break out and start challenging the status quo and let’s lobby for healthy foetuses, healthy babies, healthy toddlers, teenagers and adults………. And the right to use any words we like, not to insult anyone, but to show that we refuse to be indoctrinated with bullshit any longer.

          2. Thank you, LisaO. This is classic baiting. Yes, Patrick, cease and desist. Your overaggressive stance is not appreciated here, even if you stop short of calling people names. We are onto your tactics.

          3. LisaO said: “Unless you are trying to illustrate a glowing example of manipulative and domineering behaviour, I suggest you bow out or change the way you relate to posters here.”

            Top notch comment, m’dear. Watch Patrick for more of the same. Unless, of course, he chooses to heed feedback and turns around. 🙂

  5. Patrick,

    Do you feel you are being held to a stricter standard than other posters here? You have made some very astute observations and are obviously extremely intelligent. But you seem to be most interested in a’cure’ for underlying early childhood and even prenatal trauma

    I suppose your thinking is posters should work on their repressed pain from long ago and that will somehow help them get through their current problem or aftermath of targeting by a psychopath CD or other manipulative individuals.

    The posters here, for the most part, are seeking answers about the nature of manipulators and manipulations, not a ‘cure’ for their neuroses. That may be related, but only tangentially. At least, I think I am speaking for most here.

    Let me explain. I had a traumatic pre adolescence and adolescence but it was all out in the open. There weren’t any manipulations going on when I was a kid.

    I was manipulated by somebody, in my early fifties, by someone who gained entry into my life, through a slow grooming process, built largely around the great talk therapy I was receiving for Complex PTSD. What I needed was INFORMATION, after the discard, more than anything.

    As an adult, information does help, when it comes to the aftermath of abuse. The biggest part of the problem is trying to decipher the manipulations, the manipulators themselves and more than anything, what their intent is.

    As an older adult it undermined my world view, tore up my mental maps. Of course it hurt emotionally. But, more than that, my sense of how the world operates on an interpersonal level, was shattered.

    I had never been taken advantage of by a stealth sadist. It was right out of my frame of reference. If someone had relayed exactly what happened to me, to me, prior to it actually happening, I would have had a tough time believing them, simply because it didn’t comfort to my ideas about how interpersonal relationships work.

    I think this might be something YOU’RE not getting and it might be because your own interpersonal history is different, right back to babyhood. Your emotional realm was undermined and many key elements were missing from the time you were very young.

    Many people targeted by cd’s had somewhat normal early childhoods. So we know or have a sense, both cognitively and emotionally, what ‘healthy’ looks like. We carry the maps within us. If we have issues with repression, they aren’t as pronounced as yours would surely be. For many of us, the floundering in the wilderness feeling, came post targeting.

    For me, I had traumatic stress going back to 11 years of age and was well aware of it, what and how everything fell apart, from the time it happened. It was wrenching, shocking at the time and I was emotionally damaged by it. But I understood it, from a cognitive perspective. The psychopathic sadism was entirely different. It was shocking, emotionally pretty harrowing but more than anything I didn’t understand ‘what just happened?’ That was the most disconcerting thing at all.

    Does this make sense? I think I am speaking for many of those here, who appreciate your input but who don’t quite understand the zeal behind your angle, while you appear to be, similarly, tilting at windmills.

    1. LisaO: “Many people targeted by cd’s had somewhat normal early childhoods. So we know or have a sense, both cognitively and emotionally, what ‘healthy’ looks like. We carry the maps within us. If we have issues with repression, they aren’t as pronounced as yours would surely be. For many of us, the floundering in the wilderness feeling, came post targeting.”

      As an addendum to what you wrote, in dysfunctional families, i.e. adult children of alcoholics and others, we grow up to tolerate too much inappropriate behavior, because that is what our normal is.

      And we need information as you described as to CA and CD behavior and to realize it is not acceptable and we are not crazy/going insane because this is what many of us feel when involved with these people.

      Whatever we choose to work on post-CA/CD involvement – or even if we do choose to do so- is up to each one of us.

      (As an aside, I contacted Dr. Simon earlier today)

      1. Timothy, no argument . Patrick’s take is very interesting and he is obviously pretty brilliant. I just don’t quite understand the zeal and can’t accept that manipulators are acting out of pain and deserve sympathy. What they deserve is incarceration, if not literally then metaphorically. We can isolate the worst of them by limiting contact, going no contact and or sheltering ourselves by being indifferent.

        As Dr. Simon describes in articles about character disorders existing on a continuum, if the CD individual is also neurotic or primarily neurotic, that’s probably a good thing, as you can work with neuroses and that might temper the character defects. But if a person enjoys another’s pain, for example–they’ve crossed a divide.

        If, like Linda’s husband, they have been frequenting prostitutes, they are not making a ‘mistake’ they are violating someone’s soul. They are ‘sinning,’ committing an evil, just as Linda describes.

        Slipping on a banana peel is a mistake. Lining up banana peels, end to end, week after week, because you enjoy falling, is something different, particularly if you risk injuring someone else by falling on them!

        1. LisaO

          What I’m having such great difficulty with my CD husband (whom I’ve been separated for almost a year) is the contact I have with him through e-mails regarding bills, since we are court ordered to split them. EVERY email from him has an insult. At times I have co-workers read the pertinent parts of the email that I need to address. It’s like he enjoys making hurtful demeaning remarks. I try hard to compose myself and ignore his remarks, but it feels personal and find myself, after numerous insults, replying in rage. And it seems so childish and immature. But constant badgering takes a toll and now and then I release.
          I hope to at some point be able to totally disengage myself from these offensive, abusive remarks from him. I’m somewhat disengaged, but have a long way to go.
          Any coping suggestions? I have a good network of friends, a wonderful boyfriend and have had loads of counseling. My counselor “released” me and said to call her as needed.
          Linda

          1. Hi Linda,

            You seem to be coping really well, probably better than most, under the circumstances. You can’t go ‘no contact,’ because of the specifics of your situation. A huge bummer, for sure.

            Can you possibly have somebody else read the emails? Is your ex forwarding the actual statements via email, with his comments included?

            I can only tell you what I would do, under similar conditions, but can’t really suggest you do the same, as I am not you and don’t know what the repercussions might be.

            I would send a very concise email telling him that I am happy to pay my half, but that any bills that arrive with an insulting email, he can pay himself. “this is not open for discussion. Thank you.”

            Just sayin’. An appeal to reason or compassion won’t work, as you now know. The only thing that works is a show of force.

            But I don’t know this dude, what he is capable of, etc…so you are the best judge, and like I stated before YOU seem to be handling your situation better than I would!

            Beyond that, you will likely, in the future, come to regard him as so pathetic, he won’t have the power to upset you anymore. Nothing he says to you will have any impact, at all. It is still throwing you emotional curve balls because it is pretty fresh.

            Just remember time heals all wounds. Time also wounds all heals.

          2. LisaO

            Those are good coping tips. Problem is that some of these bills have to be discussed and some matters that arise need discussion. I can’t not pay my half because I’m court ordered to pay it. (I’m a court reporter working at the courthouse) And to top it off, he is a disbarred attorney. He files numerous motions against me asking for sanctions, etc. He looks for infractions. He is a f****** nightmare.
            I’ve got four emails in my box awaiting right now, but I’ve decided to only ready them once possibly twice a week. Why get upset every day?
            When I see an email come through it’s like a black cloud towers over me. I hate the man.
            And I have to say, the tone of the conversations from Patrick reminds me so much of the sick evil CD soon-to-be-ex of mine. It kind of sickens me.

          3. You could have the bills go through your lawyer. This could be your leverage with drawing a line. If he ignores your request for being polite and to the point, have the lawyer write him a letter to send all bills to them. Is that doable?

      2. Hi GG, so glad we will be communicating! I feel lucky, in a way, that my first decade was relatively happy. Although my father was far from emotionally healthy, it didn’t impact me hugely until post – 10 years old.

        And my mother was a very good mother to young children. And they only drank socially. So I had a very well developed idea of what healthy was, because, until then, my father was primarily just ‘not there’ but beat me rarely and my mother was wonderful. My parents loved each other and were ‘in love’ for a number of years. It was quite apparent. So–lucky me for all of that early stuff!

        I have often wondered how people manage who had alcoholic violence to deal with. I think I would have gone right off the deep end, permanently, having to deal with that…or sexual abuse.

  6. While undergoing a course of marriage counseling, due to finding out about his “girlfriend” – later known to be prostitutes — I said to my husband (soon to be ex) the following: You didn’t make a “mistake”. You lived a lifestyle that you choose of being with this girl over and over and over again. That’s not a mistake. And why would you now say “I’m sorry and I’ll change.”? Why change? Getting caught is no reason to change. You say you made a mistake. I said, “Was it really a mistake or do you just have bad character? He says, “Well you can look at my past history and know I don’t have bad character.” Repeatedly lying and betraying shows bad CHARACTER. It’s a lack of conscience and morals.
    Linda

  7. LisaO,

    I, for one, have found great things in what Patrick says. As it were, it hasn’t been clear to me, before you said: “The posters here, for the most part, are seeking answers about the nature of manipulators and manipulations, not a ‘cure’ for their neuroses. That may be related, but only tangentially.” Sure it’s good to recognize when there are muscle tensions because of suppressed emotions to release and, it has to be, important to manage to sort out what the hell the big picture is.

    1. My post popped up rather early in this conversation and apologize for not following suit. I don’t mean to sound histrionic or make fun but I was in utter stitches. The last thing I want to revisit in my life of pain and misery with all the CD’s in my life is any unresolved pain from being in the womb, being kicked out of that nice warm place, at least it was warm oh so warm and then to think of all the sub pain. No thanks, I’ve been told I’m crazy, but not that crazzzzzzy!

      I know this is all so serious but I really needed a good belly laugh! Thanks

      1. Hi LisaO,

        There are several good blogs out there with some interesting reads
        House of Mirrors
        Malignant Narcissists are Bat Shit Crazy

        Talks about how the CDN gets nuttier with age, sure hit home with so many of the CD ones I have had to deal with.

        The simplicity of it all is, they do it to themselves, we just sit and watch. No vindictiveness, no getting even, yes, the shaking of our heads for such a wasted life. The sheer poetic justice of it all.

  8. Hi folks,

    I will try and answer everyone here,,,,,,,

    Having had an early start as a teenager, in which I started reading, visiting doctors, being analysed, medicated, and getting involved in and trying a whole host of “therapies” , gurus, councillors, philosophies, discussions and questions, I started realising that all of us are hurting, whether we admit it or not. Most of us are in such denial. Remember, denial is not just the name of a river in Egypt.

    I see it everyday of my life. It is all around us. You see it in a supermarket, you read about it in the newspapers. It is truly a universal phenomena. It is pandemic. A worldwide neuroses. A devastating one. Crippling, creating more suffering, like a
    massive tornado or typhoon that hasn’t stopped blasting us for hundreds, most likely thousands of years.

    I have immense empathy for humans, especially for babies and children, who are so totally vulnerable and entirely dependant on those they were born to. Only someone who is in massive denial will not agree with me. What do we do about it? Do most of us simply go on with our lives, totally ignorant and blind, eschewing the very latest scientific research that is out there, which can help us get rid of this catastrophic virus
    that has hundreds of symptoms, the biggest of which is to keep us all blind to its existence.

    Somewhere on an extremely long gradient we find ourselves, unaware of how much and to what extent we also inherited this virus. We judge others. Oh yes, we can so easily see how crazy others are. Our spouses, neighbours, friends, other family members, bosses and co-workers. Simple fact? We are all crazy, i.e. “crazed” with pain. How many people on earth actually believe that there are gods and spirits and ghosts and all sorts of other entities “out there somewhere’, unseen and unheard, who have enormous powers to help and to heal and change and improve our lots, but who seem to be so awfully sparing with their favours, unless you perform a ceremony where you beg them to be kind, considerate and helpful. Is that not craziness? Why are these gods then not seen by their actions as being severely narcissistic? Why don’t they just heal us all and get over it?

    Btw, ever noticed that amputees have never been healed through prayer? Cant be faked, hey? Also, why don’t evangelists visit hospitals and “faith heal” all the sick there, at no charge? Aren’t we all suckers for the biggest lie ever invented on earth?
    Is it because we are extremely healthy, or because we are all sick and searching.

    How many billions of dollars are spent on medications in the USA alone? You will be shocked to know. Why are there so many people out there proferring thousands of ideas and things that promise relief?

    Prevention……. Where does it start? Should it not start with a foetus in the womb?
    Or with a painless birth, without violence? (Read “Birth without violence” by Frederick Leboyeur)

    Let’s connect the dots……. A baby cries and the anxious mother prevents it from crying all its pain out, just by holding it in her arms and letting it cry. By the time the baby is two or three years old, its little body cannot hold back all the bottled up painful feelings any more. So, it does what we stupidly call “throwing a tantrum”.
    That is also prevented. The baby wants to cry and scream. It needs to cry and scream. Its needs are not met. It cant have what it wants.

    Fast forward 30 years. He is a husband, a 3 year old in an adult body. He still needs to scream and cry. He still wants what he did not get. He is no longer a helpless baby. He is big and strong. Now he can demand by force, insults and threats. It is not going to help him get better by one bit, because he is not connecting as a 3 year old to the hurt when it happened. He will die that way, leaving destruction in his wake. Now we have more victims. Victims of victims of victims going back generations, who all have this emotional virus. Should we try and prevent this?

    If a mother- or grandmother-to-be knew all of this, then the cycle could be stopped. At the beginning. If there was a therapy that could cure all of this, then again the cycle could be stopped. If we were all aware of this, parents and teachers, perhaps the virus will burn itself out?

    It is great that victims can come onto this website and get understanding, empathy and even sympathy. That is just fine, and may it continue forever. Alongside it, I wish to simply inform everyone that there is much to learn about becoming a healthy human being, and more importantly, to prevent spreading the virus of ignorance and denial. I am not in any struggle to be allowed to post on this blog, and if Dr. Simon or the moderators or whoever finds my input to be counter-productive in any way, I will happily quit. However, I do enjoy sharing the vast amount of knowledge that I have garnered over the years. if I may say so myself. It is up to others to decide if I should continue.

    Much of my knowledge and insights about the human condition popped into my head because I was able to connect with the original hurt, and not from the wisdoms of sages. Perhaps I will be allowed to list a number of authors and books who have all along been saying much the same things as I do. Once again, because of the universal blindness and denial of the human race, they have been, as the saying goes, farting against thunder.

    1. Hi Patrick,

      Can you please phrase your argument in 30 words?

      Then please happily quit, as I find your inputs to be counter-productive.

      In fact, I am now of strong opinion, that you are a preacher with prophecies of doom, and looking to recruit your cult member. Well buddy, you are looking for your cult member in wrong place.

      Have some mercy on us. We are not wise enough to understand what you are saying.

      Again, coming back to the point…
      Can you please phrase your argument in 30 words?
      To help you with a draft, my understanding of your argument is as follows, “Life is pain. Pain started in womb. Smaller the womb, and/or larger the knife, larger the pain. Let the baby cry. Cry periodically after growing up.”

    2. Patrick,

      A big part of my healing came from acknowledging that I could receive help through personal prayer, not necessarily ‘worship’. You think the dominant religions are all bad? Try living in a society without any religious adhesive where everyone’s pain is acknowledged and dealt with and see what you get.

      Regardless of healing early pain, individuals are still going to go on and encounter major difficulty, despair and sickness. Without any spiritual something or other to lean on, many will crack. A world created by Richard Dawkins isn’t one I’d want to live in.

      In his dying days, my father, a life long atheist, leaned on me for emotional support. Rather than ignoring my pleas that he approach the spiritual from a scientific angle, (that takes the oddness of quantum physics into account and the experience of those who have had near death experience), he became very eager to lie there and listen. He just soaked it up.

      Again, you are out of line here. You are not dialoguing or showing any real interest in individual posters. You are preaching, arguing and expressing covert hostility, by dictating how people should think and feel and conduct their lives, in a sense.

      How are YOU any different than a fire and brimstone preacher? And how is your atheism, based around scientific reductionism, going to help anybody? Nihilism and atheism are religions of a different sort and they are damaging as hell. And I mean that, literally.

      I grew up with atheist hedonistic parents. Would I do it again? Not a chance.

  9. Patrick

    Framing an insult as a question is manipulative. Please don’t do this. People scroll through your comments quickly, because they are so long. The phrase, “beat the sh**” associated with a fellow poster, in any way, creates an impression. This is a perfect example of ‘disreputable framing.’

    This is not a debating society. Nobody here is trying to score points. If you feel offended by somebody, I suggest you address it with the person directly, rather than undercut them and make insinuations about their character.

    I value your point of view and your input, aside from all of this. I have stated several times and in several different ways, that I think you are brilliant. Again, I am requesting as politely as I can that you start dialoguing, rather than preaching. Understand that when other posters disagree with you, they are not personally insulting YOU.

    There are many ways of treating emotional disturbance and Janov proved to be the best way to go, FOR YOU. Trust other posters when they tell you what is currently working FOR THEM.

  10. LisaO,

    There have been and still are so many bloggers who have empathised and sympathised with victims of abuse on this blog. Of course I feel for those who have been abused. I was a victim myself. That is in fact the very reason why I am trying to get some messages across that will truly help those who are suffering, and as I have said several times now, it is wonderful that a blog like this exists, kudos to Dr. Simon. I am certainly not minimising their suffering in any way just because I am not addressing each and every case with words of consolation. You and others are doing a good job. I simply wish to educate. …….About wholesale ignorance and denial.

    Note: The remainder of the original comment has been redacted by Dr. Simon.

    1. Patrick, I would ask you to temper any zeal about “educating” the viewers on matters you’ve judged to be examples of wholesale ignorance and denial. The forum is for mindful support and sharing. I posted on this topic and the guidelines I hope all will observe moments ago, so I hope all take note. And as far as the need for educating goes, I consider that one of my primary responsibilities and the readers can decide if I’m doing a less than adequate job. Let’s all help ensure the discussion forum is just that – an honest, humble, respectful discussion – and doesn’t slip into a promulgation of one’s own dogma.

      1. Dr. Simon,

        Just briefly, I have taken note thank you. I will respond within the next two days or so. We have a water crisis now and a possible heat wave on its way.

        Regards,

        Patrick

        1. Patrick, maybe you should show your respect first by actually studying Dr Simon’s works. What you say, much of it flies in the face of what he teaches, esp. the stuff about denial, and the difference between the way neurotic individuals respond to their world, and the way aggressive individuals respond. This is not a forum for trying aggressive ploys on other people. And that is the second way you can show respect. By respecting and empathizing *first* with those who come here to heal their pain, which resulted from years or half a lifetime with overaggressive individuals. If you want to grandstand for your theories, surely there are plenty of other spaces online.

  11. Patrick,

    You are not minimizing their suffering, you are trying to annihilate the very emotional and mental structures that makes their very adult pain bearable for them. How is that helpful?

    My father was a strange man who defied classification. He embraced atheism as it jived with his experience. His lack of interest in anything beyond the obvious, was further entrenched by his social, academic and cultural milieu. I don’t see it as a direct result of neuroses, as you have described.

    And I didn’t embrace a spiritual realm to be my parent’s opposite. I embraced it using reason. People who ascribe to the belief that there is nothing beyond what is observable and with great conviction, seem to have faith in themselves as deities that could know for sure. It is self cancelling bit of logic. You would have to have to be a God, of sorts, in order to nullify the concept. Double negative, equals a positive.

    This won’t necessarily resonate with you but it did and does for me.

    I have seen the very worst of fundamentalist religious belief, first hand and perhaps you have, too.

    But I think it is unwise to lump everybody under the rubric of the extreme form of any of the major religions. You end up throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Religion might correctly be called the opiate of the masses but that is not a solid argument for the outright dismissal of all structures of belief; many rooted in personal experience. And it certainly doesn’t logically follow that seeing as belief in a higher power has a calming effect, it proves it is all wrong.

    As an intelligent and inquisitive individual you might appreciate that The University of Southhampton in England, sponsored a comprehensive study into near death experience, a few years back. The conclusions, recently released, supported that what the ‘dead’ experienced wasn’t caused by oxygen deprivation or anything of the sort. There was something objectively real going on and all debunkers dismissals did not hold up to scrutiny.

    So…I guess what I am saying is, go ahead and believe what you want, but be very careful about undermining others, or harshly criticizing their beliefs. Like you, others have had their own compelling “eureka!!” moments, epiphanies, expansive moods and thoughts, etc.

    I hope you mean well in your comments. But sometimes by your tone and apparent dogmatism, I don’t know.

    Note: this comment was “mildly” edited by Dr. Simon. It’s nontheless by all appearances a most thoughtful comment.

  12. I feel compelled to enter the discussion here with one main point that I hope all contributors will seriously contemplate:

    This blog has always been valued not just for the informational content posted by me but also by the generally thoughtful discussion. That’s what good blogs are made of. And the discussion works best when folks are mindful in their comments and primarily seek to support those who visit here. I appreciate that we all have experienced things in life that have taught us many lessons and given us valuable insights and sharing those things in the right spirit is invaluable. But I would ask all to be cautious about the tendency to overgeneralize one’s experience and insights and to avoid participating in a manner that comes across as more instructional (or even dogmatic) as opposed to truly concerned and especially to avoid “preaching” a “gospel of health” that’s based primarily on one’s own beliefs. The general rule for comments should be this: If it’s coming from the heart and it’s genuinely meant to support or promote understanding, then by all means post it. If it’s primarily about advancing an agenda or getting others to see things your own “enlightened” way, then please give things a serious second thought before you post. I’m going to be more attentive to this and will likely to be doing some heavy editing from time to time, which should be a cue to a commentator that I think his or her comment has crossed the line from a mindful sharing or support offering to a sermon or lecture from a self-styled expert to the (presumed) ignorant masses.

    Thanks!

  13. Thank you Dr. Simon for your well advised insight.

    I will have to say that in my journey of leaving my CDN my faith was my ultimate rock. Then I had phenomenal doctors which I feel were a blessing too. I found many sites that enlightened me to what I was dealing with. But having found your site (my crutch) and all the posts from so many understanding and yes victims of the CD validated my experiences. Most all posters shared their horrendous stories and others offered care, concern, compassion and words of wisdom and so much more. A place to come when we feel we have nowhere else to go and there is always a kind caring person that responds.

    I am dealing with a sick, twisted, malicious, malignant narcissist of the worst kind and the last thing is for me to have to feel sorry for his lost pain in the womb. That may be true but I believe only in rare instances. I am glad you are putting a stop to the lunacy of who’s on fourth. I have found comfort and voluminous amounts of knowledge from your site that I have found no where else. We all have our differences and a good debate and banter is healthy and this is a well balanced and healthy site. I believe we are making progress in the dilemma of the CD by sharing our experiences with you for your research. In all that I have studied and read and am still researching your site and work is by far the best there is. CHARACTER is the key!

    Again, thank you and may God bless and keep you well to continue to serve us all.

    1. Hugs, BTOV.

      We are all affected by the pain of living on this difficult planet. But only some of us choose to try to dominate and abuse others.

      And amen to your words in Dr Simon’s direction.

  14. LisaO,

    A few things separately:

    *I commented briefly, because you’d commented on the main gist itself and I didn’t want to just repeat your thoughts.

    *”Framing an insult as a question is manipulative. Please don’t do this. People scroll through your comments quickly, because they are so long. The phrase, “beat the sh**” associated with a fellow poster, in any way, creates an impression. This is a perfect example of ‘disreputable framing.’”

    Very good observation!

    *A while back you wrote a post about fundamentalism. Here you wrote about another way of reductionistic relating to the world. I sure wouldn’t wanna be told that I’m evil and going to hell just because I don’t believe in in X. Any more I don’t wanna have anyone say that any out-of-ordinary experience I or anyone would have would need to be medicated away.

    *Unless you meant to answer to me and accidentally answered to GG’s comment, then this is about a fifth time I’ve been mistaken for someone else. I’ve seen some instances where someone responds to someone else’s comments thinking it’s my comment. Why could that be?

  15. Hi Timothy,

    I am pretty sure I haven’t mistaken you for GG. If I did, I apologize. What post are you referring to? I don’t know why people are mistaking you for other posters. I doubt it’s an example of collective hypnotic trance…but you never know! Kidding…here is a simple explanation:

    At any one time, it seems to me, there’s usually no more than one man posting, on the blog. When another man starts to post, at the same time and people are scrolling quickly through comments, you somehow get morphed with the other male posters, or your comments do?

    And yes as far as religion goes, my personal feeling is live and let live. I care most about whether a person’s beliefs are working for them AND others, within their own community AND outside of it. Some of the nastiest people hide behind the flag, their religion, their ideological fundamentalism, yet are the first to point out ‘the devil,’ somewhere ‘out there.’

    Science materialism has helped us accomplish amazing things, but it has also erected a wall between our own hearts and minds. Some of the more cerebrally inclined hide behind the brain side of the wall, (often unawares. They aren’t aware they are split in two) and insult those who call into question any idea that springs forth from what they perceive as a pure and apolitical field of endeavour, scrubbed free of ‘belief.’

    These individuals are the first to point out radicalism in all forms of belief, not understanding that they share some features in common, with those they criticize.

    And for sure, nobody’s sanity should be called into question for having unusual spiritual types of experience! That’s kind of ignorant and definitely pretty rude!

  16. Am I right to think that ‘character’ in Dr Simon’s approach is similar to how it was used for instance in the 19th century.

    Then people were referred to as being of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ character. This meant that a person’s character could be defined as ‘good’ – as in virtuous – but that there might be problems with their personality – as in neurotic – which meant that they couldn’t face life’s challenges all that well.

    If one is neurotic but of good character, virtue alone is not enough, as one has to deal with the neurotic aspects of one’s personality in order to make substantial change.

    Is that a reasonable way of seeing it?

    1. Laura, it’s close. But it’s too simplistic to say “good or bad” and I don’t think Dr Simon does that. He has stressed that nowadays, overaggressive people are far more of a problem than overneurotic people, and that people who have a problem with brakes are becoming endemic.

      I would say it this way: people who are more of the aggressive disposition but have a handle on their aggression can be just as much of an asset as the neurotic individuals who have a handle on their fears, etc. Society needs both. When people get more out of whack, both extremes hurt society: those with not enough conscience turn into predators, and those with too much conscience turn into enablers.

      1. Thanks Vera for the explanation. Another question – what’s the difference between a character disorder and a personality disorder? I appreciate the difference between character and personality, but Dr Simon also refers to ‘character or personality disorders’ so I’m wondering how one understands the difference.

        1. Vera, Apologies for the hassle. I finally got into other parts of this website – my internet connection has been a bit haywire – and I got answers to the questions I asked so, so no need for you to answer 🙂

      2. Repeat from somewhere in the blog, but worth repeating:
        – In today’s world, there are far more over-aggressive people than overly-neurotic people. And, this difference is by a large margin.
        – An over-neurotic person will create problems, but mostly for self
        – An over-aggressive person will create problem, far more for others than for self.

        True. Society will do well if all types are present. But only if types are in moderation, extreme cases are problem.

    2. Looking at the character part. Yes, it is reasonable to say that 19th century focus on integrity, honesty will be similar to “character” as described by Dr. Simon. But, there were several social rigidities that prevailed in 19th century that will not fit the “character” as used on this blog. There were other things like excessive focus on social image, excessive pride, & settling dispute via duel will come to my mind.

      Better is to stick to simpler interpretation that character are those aspect of personality that are conducive to well adjusted social function of an individual.

      1. Andy, warm thanks for your response. I was thinking of the 19th century, because being of ‘good’ character back then was part of the social discourse. It was how people talked about each other and the word had a moral dimension. It isn’t used in the same way now, but I do think that Dr Simon is trying to resurrect that kind of meaning, which I find extremely interesting and personally helpfu. Your simpler interpretation is helpful too as it gives me a sense of how character and personality are related.

  17. LisaO,

    It’s hard to get into terms with being deceived, betrayed, totally screwed over. Apparently men seem to have an additional layer of embarrassment and shame going with it. Hell, I’ve seen a woman get rowdy with their “significant”(?) other a few times(a different women both times) in public, no less.

    But perhaps men aren’t inclined or willing to get it so out in the open. Suffering through it in silence, in all peace, may be prefered. That’s just my view, though, and may be strongly biased.

    1. @Timothy,

      There are all types in the world. Some people get worse as they get more or more power in an interpersonal relationship. A women getting rowdy in public or private wouldn’t have surprised me. Now, I won’t be surprised if in some corner of the world, after years of abuse, there is an 6 footer husband who is terrified of beating from his 5 footer wife. Mind is massively powerful organ, it is simply amazing what people can start believing over time.

      Looked up Amber Hilberling. I remembered it the case because supposedly enraged wife charged and pushed her athletic husband so hard that it broke with glass window and husband fell from the high rise building.

  18. LisaO,

    You have recently written such engaging comments on what you also just commented. I think if we buy wholesale into some very reductionist views, that would be very scary, sounds pretty familiar even. *cough*Big Brother *cough*

    Good wording btw. Collective…. hypnotic…. trance.

    You sound pretty well-read. Myself I’d like to avoid getting stuck in grooves, especially after some hardships I wish I never had. Perhaps you can recommend something to read?

    Btw, Vera’s comment, gold! “people who are more of the aggressive disposition but have a handle on their aggression can be just as much of an asset as the neurotic individuals who have a handle on their fears, etc. Society needs both. When people get more out of whack, both extremes hurt society: those with not enough conscience turn into predators, and those with too much conscience turn into enablers.”

    Fear is too easy to make into a weapon. Another worrying thing.

    1. Hi Timothy,

      A good read: The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker. I am a Christian and my mantra when I feel fear is: “Fear is of the Devil” and that gives me strength. Others may have there way of dealing with these feelings. I think in all this we begin to find our weak areas and build strength, and as a result we attain a deeper character. Gavin de Becker also has a website, and as I looked him up he has a Utube I am going to watch.

      In all, I believe when we understand and accept the neurotic parts of ourselves as a gift we can rise above the dysfunctional part of our giving (enabling) selves practice tough love and in cases where it is warranted be compassionate. So we are blessed with these gifts.. These blessings that we learn and especially in understanding and reading all the material Dr. Simon has provided we are able to continually grow as stable, mature adults and build our CHARACTER.

      Our character is demonstrated in how so many individuals continually pull another up by their boot straps so to speak and help them on their journey. It truly is wonderful to see how so many give and help others to understand and grow. In this respect Dr. Simons site is a success when you read about how so many have reached out for help and the loving and helpful responses given in kind.

      So many come and go, but I believe that when they have gone they have received the helping hand need to help them go forward. Most of all the simplicity of Dr. Simons writings that makes utter sense of it all.

      I have acquired so much knowledge and power from the posters on this blog. I come back and read the archives which sustain and validate my position.

      Timothy, I have a huge library of reading material, what are you specifically interested in, I possibly could help you. Knowledge is power and strength, and from my life experiences of and dealings with all the CD’s I will never forget nor will I acquiesce to their manipulations, but I will store it in my memory. So I continue to read and try to understand the mechanisms of their minds. I refuse to fall prey to another CD individual if I can help it. This site is a wealth of knowledge. Going through the archives you will find many references of excellent books to read and sites to visit. I hope this has been helpful.

    2. Hi Timothy,

      I try not to provide too much info that would give away who I am, on the forums. If I were to answer your question about books I hold in high esteem, one of my older sisters could do a quick google of titles, if she was so inclined and find me here. I’m so sorry I can’t answer this question.

      I might also appear to advancing an agenda!

      Take care, Timothy.

  19. LisaO

    Today, after receiving a couple more condescending emails from my X CD, per your suggestions, I sent the following response: “Emails are not your avenue to reach me to verbally abuse, berate, use sarcasm and show your hostility towards me. If there is a bill that needs to be paid send it without comments.” Hopefully this will stop his abuse, but I highly doubt it.
    Linda

    1. Linda, only consequences will convince him you mean it. What are you prepared to do differently when he sends another email berating you?

    2. Linda,
      I think that is fair enough email. You probably need to repeat exact same sentence 20-30 times before it take any effect.

      One question will be, why waste your energy when you are disengaging completely in near future.

      Maybe it will help if you imagine him to be a five year old who is angry because his toy has been taken away. It is your choice, whether you want to be like another five year old and play his game, or be 20 year old and ask him to get lost (or equivalent), or be 35 year old and point out things more objectively, or be 50 year old and do things that are important to you & let him cry over his lost toy.

      PS: You know your situation better than any of us. Your call on how to deal with him.

      1. Andy, why would he *ever* pay attention to mere words? That’s a prescription for frustration for Linda. If you don’t back your words by consequences, you can simply be ignored… or even more likely, he will go out of his way to go counter to the words, just to “get” her.

        1. @vera,

          Yes. Consequences are important and should be real.
          One consequence is a proof that shows a person did not change his behavior even after getting same message several times over. That prepares the foundation for some possible future action.

          But, what will work best is having a strong bullshit filter in place, where an incoming email is scanned only for following keyword, “what bill”, “how much”, “by when”, etc. 🙂

          1. “One consequence is a proof that shows a person did not change his behavior even after getting same message several times over.”

            How is that a consequence, vis a vis Linda’s ex? He is not being affected at all.

            “That prepares the foundation for some possible future action.”

            My message is, don’t wait. Apply a consequence now. Example: Dr Simon did not just talk, re Patrick in his various incarnations. He also began to edit the posts.

          2. @vera,

            My idea was that written email that clearly shows uni-directional abusive flow without any angry retort should be worth something.

            Once sufficient abusive emails are collected, then it may be possible to use that to not only redirect all the bill demands to a lawyer and get the lawyer fee too.
            It was suggested earlier to hire the lawyer to handle communication with the ex-husband. Surely it is good idea. Even better if lawyer is paid by ex.

  20. Hi Linda,

    Good for you! I bet that felt good! It may not work, for obvious reasons. I could make other suggestions but it might all just be too taxing, particularly if you want him to just go away.

    If you are dealing with a combative narcissist who is into impression management, you might tell him that he should send the emails to a third party who has been asked to read them through, copy and paste the pertinent info into another email and that email will be sent to you. A lawyer could do this, or a paralegal, I think? Not sure. Even a good friend?

    It’s easy to suggest you not get triggered but that’s easier said than done. It takes time. The more smooth intelligent and ‘successful’, in terms of social status the harder they are to stomach.

    I get indigestion just thinking about the stress having to deal with someone like this on a daily basis would be. Then, after giving him the heave-ho, you have to deal with him still. Oh, someone get me a tums. Quick!

    1. To all,

      I have been gone for awhile and may have to pop out again for a time. Just want to tell you the great job of discussion by all in lieu of some really Dilly Dally posts. My constitution in what I am still dealing with doesn’t have the stomach for it. The pitter patter of a twisted CD sends chills up my spine but at the same time have stored the knowledge gleaned of another type of head game and pity party. Just great responses!

  21. Vera,

    I’m posting this as the latest, ‘cos I find it easier to follow thus personally.

    Something you said bothered me.

    “Dr Simon did not just talk, re Patrick in his various incarnations. He also began to edit the posts.”

    “re Patrick in his various incarnations”

    Saying that Patrick’s come here under different assumed names? One other handle has attacked Dr Simon publicly here and then there was that other time when one guy came here to rant about being gangstalked and used the Matrix -metaphor. At least that’s what came to my mind. The connection seems tenuous though. I’m not sure I’m understanding you, Vera.

    1. Didn’t mean to say that’s what you were saying, Vera. Just realized my statements were a bit too easy to misunderstand.

      I’m saying I made a connection that seems flimsy to me still. Your off-hand remark about Patrick in his various incarnations seemed weird. What did you mean by that?

      1. I think Patrick himself said that he has posted under several pseudo names.
        But, I won’t bother proving that. Patrick’s posts are usually off-topic and too preachy for my taste. And they are simply so long that I tend to ignore them.

      2. Timothy, I did assume that there was a chance that Patrick and Dastardly were the same person. I may have been wrong. Dr Simon’s webmaster will know for sure. In my estimation, we have at least two CDs visiting the forum currently, and there is always the possibility that there are other CDs or their sock puppets among new commenters. It pays to be discerning.

        BTOV: The moniker “troll” is used in online forums to denote a person much like a CD. They come in to mess with the participants. They frequently switch identities, even going as far as arguing with their own sock puppets. Online communities commonly advise one another to not “feed” them by responding; they crave attention and will persist as long as they get it. 🙂

        1. Well Vera,
          If what someone says either rings too true for you, or upsets you in some other way, or if you simply do not agree with what they post on a blog that is supposed to be a place where people can freely express their ideas and opinions, then you can always try to discredit them by suggesting that he or she is lying, insincere and a troll. Is that not the same as being abusive?

          I wonder if you live in the USA, “land of the free” ? Does that still apply?

    2. Re: “Patrick’s “various incarnations” …….

      It should be no problem for either Dr. Simon, or the modulators or anyone associated with running this blog to detect whether I post under “various incarnations”.

      My guess is that almost everyone who posts here live n the USA. I live in South Africa, and clearly my email address would reflect that.

      1. Andy D,
        My very first posting was under the name Fanie. I only used it once. It was necessary for me to change it, not because of any sly and insincere shenanigans, and since then I have only posted under the name Patrick.

        By any means, disagree with me, or tell me that I am way off course or whatever, but please do not accuse me of any lying or insincerity. that is the honest truth.

  22. LisaO,
    This is what you posted earlier:

    “If you feel offended by somebody, I suggest you address it with the person directly, rather than undercut them and make insinuations about their character”

    Are you going to call Vera on this too ?

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