There’s great power in truth. It can indeed set us free – even from our most unhealthy tendencies. But first we have to be of a mind to reckon with it. And then, we have to be willing to accept it.
Sometimes reality challenges the grandiose self-image narcissists have. And when a narcissitic wound is deep and the reality behind it too self-evident to deny, the consequences to those made to take the blame for failure can be profound.
It can be particularly difficult to tell just where someone lies on the character disturbance spectrum. All too often in troubled relationships the extent of a person’s character disturbance only becomes evident long after much damage has already been done.
Even folks who recognize that aggression can be born of anger as well as fear find it hard to imagine why someone would either become angry or be inclined to aggress if they weren’t afraid of something or didn’t feel victimized in some way. But assuming that aggressors always come from an insecure or fearful place has been the undoing of many in abusive relationships.
For a long time it was assumed that everyone struggled with social fears and tenuous self-esteem. It was therefore natural to further assume, that any perceived criticism would only invite a person to unconsciously mount “defenses” against what they regarded as attacks on their already impaired self-image. And while such scenarios can and do still occur, they’re nowhere near as common as they once were.
Knowledge is power. But to be fully empowered you have to understand what’s really going on with someone and how to appropriately interpret and label their behavior. That’s why it’s so important to understand certain psychological terms and concepts correctly.
True “acting out” is the expression through actions of an emotional conflict a person can’t consciously own. Unfortunately, these days, even professionals erroneously use the term to describe all sorts of misbehavior. But most of the time, “acting-up” is NOT acting-out.
Far too many folks these days are significantly arrested in their character development, and lack sufficient empathy, social awareness, moral compass, regard for life, respect for property, and self-discipline (i.e. lack sufficient maturity of conscience) to function responsibly in society and to profit from past mistakes.
Legitimate, genuine, potentially lasting change – always manifests itself in the here-and-now moment.
Traditional frameworks can be not only ineffective but also frighteningly enabling sometimes when it comes to understanding and dealing with character dysfunction.