Research evidence has been mounting for some time that the concept of “personality” is not as well-defined as we have long tended to think. And the evidences also suggests that the patterns of behavior that define our personality are not nearly as stable or as immutable as many still believe.
When it comes to gaining the skills to empower oneself – and especially when it comes to overcoming character deficiencies – perhaps nothing is as important as confronting, correcting, and ultimately replacing dysfunctional behavior patterns.
Most clinicians know how powerful a treatment approach Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is and when when asked, will tell you they’re both knowledgeable about and employ it’s principles. But in practice, what many therapists really do is primarily Cognitive Therapy (CT) or their own unique blend of CT and other traditional insight-oriented techniques.
Some individuals possess innate traits and have learning experiences that together more easily prepare them to lead a responsible life. But other individuals possess traits that make the socialization process inherently more challenging than usual. And, if on top of that such folks just happen to come from environments replete with various types of abuse, neglect, or inadequate guidance, they can enter adulthood with little motivation to bear the burden of responsible living.
It’s an unfortunate reality that when character disturbances either fail to be recognized or are improperly labeled as something else, the problems associated with those disturbances can be “enabled” to continue or even worsen.
Claims that mental illness of some type is really at the root of someone’s willful misbehavior have become so commonplace that many folks have not only lost their outrage that so many make such claims but also have granted these claims a fair degree of plausibility and even legitimacy. This begs the question of whether the concepts of personal responsibility and accountability even exist anymore. Is everyone in fact a victim in one way or another? Is all our behavior merely a product of our biochemistry, our upbringing, our environment, etc.? Are the concepts of right and wrong, crime and punishment simply outdated? Is everyone a victim, including the perpetrators of despicable acts?
Whether you’re seeking help for yourself as the victim or survivor of an abusive relationship, or trying to get some assistance in dealing with a character-impaired individual, getting the right kind of help can be a real challenge.
In today’s world, making the right assessment of a person’s character before getting involved in a serious relationship is more important than ever.
Forgiveness in the absence of repentance is not only unwise but also dangerous.
Sentiment never stripped anyone of their character defects. It takes a lot of concerted effort to overcome our shortcomings. The truly contrite individual works to make amends, to do better, and above all, to be better.