What most people really mean when they (therapists and lay persons alike) say that there’s no real hope for personality and character-impaired individuals is that they’ve tried traditional approaches only to have experienced the truly frustrating results.
If you’re dealing with someone in your life who fits the description I offer of the disturbed character, despite the fact that you might feel tempted to believe otherwise, they’re probably quite aware of the behavior that’s driving you nuts.
The central tenet of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is that how we think about things has a strong bearing on the decisions we make and the actions we take.
The antics of Charlie Sheen, Bernie Madoff, and Mel Gibson demonstrate why character really does matter. As I state in the title of one of my books, character disturbance is the phenomenon of our age.
Disturbed characters don’t like to think in terms of cause and effect relationships with respect to the decisions they make about how to manage their lives.
Disturbed characters don’t allow adversity to lead them to question the ways they tend to look at things or the ways they tend to conduct themselves.
Always looking for opportunities to profit personally without consideration of the impact on everyone else can be a very big problem.
Always wanting something for nothing, disturbed characters expect to pay the least for the things in life that are worth the most.
Three problematic thinking patterns tend to co-occur and keep the disturbed character from developing a sense of personal responsibility and accountability.
Disturbed characters tend to crave stimulation and excitement and have an inordinate distaste for anything they might regard as “boring,” tedious, or mundane.