There is a fairly substantial group of highly disturbed characters at the center of most abusive relationships and who pose the greatest threat to social order. These are the pathological fighters who resist all attempts to socialize them.
The psychopath or predatory aggressive personality knows that he is different from most others (because he knows others posess this entity called conscience and that they have emotional connections to others that keep them from doing certain things) and he thinks he is a superior being to common man because he is not encumbered by these traits. Seeing himself as a superior creature and viewing conscience-laden and emotionally vulnerable others as inferior beings, he regards such underlings as rightful prey.
Recently, a woman in Sweden wrote to inform me that she has had In Sheep’s Clothing featured on her site for several years because she believes it “to be of immense help to everyone who has ever had to deal with manipulative individuals.”
Disordered characters don’t feel shame like neurotics do. Although pop psychology has given shame a bad name, the ability to feel it is a mark of good character. I wrote recently about how neurotic individuals and disturbed characters differ greatly on the issue of guilt. Guilt and shame are related. Guilt is the bad feeling we get … Continue reading Neurotic or Character Disorder? Criterion 4 – Shame
Neurotics are very different from individuals with a character disorder on the dimension of anxiety. Anxiety is that primal emotion (i.e. fear response) that we get when we feel threatened in some way. When our fear is attached to a specific, identifiable circumstance, such as being in a room filled with a lot of … Continue reading Neurotic or Character Disorder? – Criterion One: Anxiety
Unlike passive-aggression, covert-aggression is very active, albeit carefully veiled or subtle aggression, and it’s generally the culprit in manipulative behavior.