When Your Good Nature is a Liability
Manipulative characters are adept at playing on your good nature. In fact most of the tactics they use, and that I outline in In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Disturbance can’t work well unless the person on the receiving end of them is conscientious. While having a good nature is laudible indeed, sadly, sometimes, it can be a liability. That’s especially true in a character-impaired world where some folks are eager to use your best qualities against you.
Self-Love through Limit and Boundary-Setting
Conscientious, good-natured people tend to want to see the best in others. They easily afford others the benefit of the doubt. They don’t want to believe the worst. And they doubt their own gut hunches when something tells them they’re being played. Manipulative characters know this. And playing on your good nature makes exerting power and control over you much easier than it might otherwise be.
As trite as it might seem, in any situation, love – genuine love – is always the right response. But that includes proper self-love, too. And to love yourself well in a character-impaired world you have to be prepared and equipped to set the right boundaries and limits. Too many folks, especially abuse victims, try too hard to understand. Worse, they try to get their abusive partners to undersand, too – to “see” the error of their ways.” This is a pointless and self-defeating exercise. And well-meaning therapists who don’t really understand character disturbance make the same mistake, too.
The Remedy and Healing is in the Action You Take
The secret to personal empowerment is investing your time, energy and focus where you truly have power: your choices and actions. That’s not to say that there won’t be consequences. There are always consequences. And when you’re dealing with disturbed and disordered characters, those consequences can be truly daunting. Still, your power resides in taking action, which is why you have to prepare for consequences. (See, particularly, the tools of empowerment section, In Sheep’s Clothing.)