The Character Crisis And What We’re All Doing About It

As most of you who are familiar with my three books, numerous online articles, and instructional seminars already know, I’ve been on a very specific mission for most of my professional life.  Once I came to the realize the nature and scope of the character crisis plaguing much of the industrialized free world, I committed myself to spreading the word about what’s really behind so many of the problems people experience today both within their individual relationships and the larger society. Most especially I wanted to spread the word about what we could do individually and collectively to stem the tide, empower ourselves, and stave off the erosion of freedom that inevitably accompanies cultural decline.  To do so, I needed to encourage folks to cast off some of the inaccurate and inherently disadvantaging notions they might have held about human nature and functioning (many of which were unfortunately promoted by “traditional” psychology paradigms) and come to a new, more empowering perspective.  Knowledge is power.  And through my books, other writings, and workshops, I wanted folks to have the knowledge that would maximally empower them in all their relationships.  

As this site exemplifies, my part in this effort has been primarily confined to books, articles, and instructional workshops and videos.  But you’ve had a big part in this enterprise as well.  For one thing, none of my work has ever been promoted with a lot of splash or fanfare.  Rather, it’s you who have carried the message, recommending my books to friends and acquaintances, posting favorable reviews about them, contributing invaluable personal experiences in the discussions on this blog, and inviting and encouraging others to access this resource and make their own contributions.   And I have an archive full of thousands of personal testimonials that affirm the value of the work we have done together – especially on this blog – to educate people about the nature of character disturbance, the socio-cultural and other factors responsible for it, what we can do to turn things around, and how folks who were once in any number of compromised positions in their life as a result of dealing with a character-impaired person can regain their personal dignity and claim a more vibrant, empowered life.  

For all of this, I simply couldn’t be more edified or grateful.  And although I’ve said it before, I certainly don’t mind saying it again:  “Thank you.”  Because of you, my first book In Sheep’s Clothing is a longstanding international bestseller, published in several foreign languages.  And because of your strong recommendations, my more in-depth and broader view book, Character Disturbance, is following very closely in In Sheep’s Clothing’s footsteps.  And the response of the faith community to The Judas Syndrome, my first book specifically written for the Christian audience, has been so good that discussion groups about its principles are starting to pop up at churches and Sunday school classrooms across the country.

We simply must win the struggle for better character development.  Freedom literally hangs in the balance.  The whole concept of a free society only works when people of good character predominate.  Leave people with a good moral compass alone to pursue their dreams and they’ll inevitably forge a prosperous life not only for themselves but also for others.  That’s how it works. But in the absence of integrity, ethics, and a sense of higher purpose, there are always pressures to curtail freedoms.  People of deficient character simply can’t be trusted to do as they please.  They inevitably use and abuse.  And when they’re predominant in a society, freedom always faces curtailment.  Ruthlessness and lawlessness are the predictable result of character impairment.  This was on my mind the whole time when the inspiration came for the patriotic song America, My Home! my wife and I wrote some 14 years ago.  And because I know the power of song to inspire, it’s been more than edifying to hear so many – some as young as 12 years old – carry its personal exhortation to cherish our best ideals and help keep freedom alive at various events and celebrations across the country.

Although I’ll be writing blog articles for some time, I don’t know if I have another book in me.  Perhaps a book or two could be fashioned (possibly with a co-author) from the voluminous material I’ve already posted on the internet, I’m just not sure.  But I do plan one last round of speaking engagements, starting mid-fall of this year and continuing through Spring, 2015.  At least 9 regions of the U.S. are under consideration as are 5 foreign venues.   No dates or locales have been firmed up yet, but when they are I’ll dedicate a page on the blog to a calendar of events, and hopefully we can set up a means of online registration.  We’ve hit a few roadblocks finding appropriate facilities and sponsoring entities.  I’m committed to making my sessions available to a wide “crossover” audience that includes lay persons as well as professionals and to making fees very affordable. But these days, finding truly cost-effective venues is a real challenge.  Still, we’re working at it and if worse comes to worst, I might have to substitute electronic forums for “live” appearances.

Thanks again to one and all for the role you play in my life’s work and passion.

25 thoughts on “The Character Crisis And What We’re All Doing About It

  1. Congratulations on the success of your books, Dr. Simon! I wish you the best of luck in your speaking engagements and thanks too for providing materials that have helped so many people in dealing with disordered characters (especially covert aggressive personality).

  2. Thank you.Dr Geroge Simon.Your book In the sheep is very very Helpful to me .Thank you for taking this Mission.I wish you all the best to your work ahead.

  3. I have a question for you Dr Simon.

    Can you be sometimes character disturbed and sometimes neurotic – varying from situation to situation?

    My husband definitely behaves towards me in a covert aggressive style. I’ve tumbled him now, thanks to your books and this site.

    But he experiences this behaviour from ministry colleagues (he’s a pastor) and some of his congregation. I know it happens, I’ve experienced them behaving like that and I’ve changed churches because of it – imagine a pastor’s wife going to a different church to escape covert aggressives (including her husband)! But that’s what I’ve done. I feel so free in this other church, I am blessed as I worship there!

    So, back to my question, how can my husband have successfully intimidated me for 30 years, only to find he now gets as good as he gives? Is he only CA at home and not in pastoral situations? (from one or two comments I’ve had, he isn’t, he’s just more charming and careful about it elsewhere.) Is he neurotic as well and therefore vulnerable to CA’s? Are these folks just ‘better at it’ than him? What do you think is going on?

    (I’ve just realised, his distress as he relates these encounters to me is probably not the same as my distress from such encounters. He’s probably simply annoyed that they can win with him. I will watch out for that and not get too involved in sympathy in future.)

    But that doesn’t explain why he gets manipulated or intimidated at church and doesn’t fight back, when he’s so good at it at home.

    Rose

    1. Rose, there’s a big difference between acts of covert aggression and personality styles marked by frequent CA behavior. Similarly, there’s a big difference between isolated incidents of “neurotic” type behavior and the various neurotic personality “styles.” Also, as I mention in several articles and my books, there’s a continuum of personality styles with pure neurosis being on one end and pure character impairment being on the other. Most folk fall somewhere along the continuum, leaning mostly one way or the other, and with few at either extreme or smack dab in the middle. So, it’s quite possible for someone to be mostly character disturbed but show some neurotic behavior and vice-versa. The framework I present in my book “Character Disturbance” addresses this, and after a re-read, if you still have questions or need some elaboration/clarification, feel free to pose the questions to me here or on the back channel.

  4. Me, I’ve been a huge comfort junkie most of my life. Then again, I’ve also been lazy as hell and not as interested in studying, learning and investing in my future as I should be. I’m going to have some trying work days ahead before preparing for entrance exams next spring. While I’m not a Christian, I do feel I’m going to go through some testy times.

    Re-reading Judas Syndrome. Thank you for creating it, Dr Simon.

    1. I consider a big compliment that you’ve not only read the book but are re-reading it. I meant the book not as a “preachy” hawking of the Christian faith, but rather as a way to provoke contemplation about the power of faith – especially faith in the values and principles Christians are supposed to hold dear – to transform, enrich, and elevate a person’s life. I hope you find the book speaks to you in that way.

    2. Thank you, J. for your kind words, endorsement, and for doing the work necessary to gain such insights! I hope your awareness and empowerment increases even more upon your re-read of the book. It pretty much created itself, I simply felt compelled to share it.

  5. Thank you Dr Simon. I work with a few younger adults and hear a few of them say out loud they’re working on being more manipulative.

    I agree character development is an urgent and very important issue, and yes, freedom indeed is at stake.

  6. I recommended your book In Sheep’s Clothing to our support group, and also to a doctor I’ve known for a decade and know him to be one of us.. I’ll continue to spread the word best I know.

    Today I overheard a 20-something say to her friend, about a mutual friend “he’s a good person…it’s just…he just has no morals.” Oy!!

    1. Thank you, Claire. Personal endorsements of my work are the main reasons for its longstanding success. And I’ll add your friend’s quote to my archive of similar statements. You can’t make this stuff up!

  7. I recently became aware of you books and have read them all. I ended a 45 year marriage almost 7 years ago to an overt agressive. Oddly enough, my minister informed me about personality disorders. I have been reading ever since. It has changed my life. I feel alone with this knowledge. My friends and family are not very receptive of it. My only comfort is my relationship to God. It is the only place I know to go for truth. I admire your work and wish you the best with your endeavors.

  8. I wonder if it is common to feel a tremendous amount of anger in addition to gratitude, at discovering this CA concept and Dr. Simon’s work.

    It’s as if finally, a way to “crack the code” to these odd situations with key people in my life.

    I searched and searched in my life, and I’d even started to “catalog” manipulation tactics and give them a taxonomy on my own and in my support group, before finally clicking on your book title. I called one tactic the “foregone conclusion tactic” and say “she foregone conclusioned me.”

    I’d read many a self-help books, and seen In Sheep’s Clothing among those books on the same shelf. Finally only this year did I give it a try.

    I am not proud of how angry I’m feeling at the moment. I am still cleaning up the logistical mess created by the CA in my life, which is probably one reason why the anger lingers. The logistics are getting in the way of me getting on with my life.

    1. Claire Dear……………There is absolutely NOTHING wrong or abnormal about feeling anger when you have been done wrong by one of these losers!!! The thing I keep coming to in myself however is that I really don’t feel anger………I SOUND angry but I am hurt, hurt deeper than I ever have been in my life. My intentions were pure……I wanted nothing from him but love and respect and was made to feel like an unreasonable demanding B when I spoke up for what I wanted from him. THEN, he would promise to do better, OMG! It was a total mind bending heart breaking mess! And I stayed and stayed because I really believed him when he said he loved me……I thought that underneath it all that we really loved each other and that we both wanted to be together. Why? Because that is the line of crap he fed me and I swallowed. “We’re good together Puddle”, “we have our problems but we keep coming back together because we love each other Puddle”. I’d say……..”You really mean that Spathtard? You really love me”? “Yes I do! I love you very very much”.
      How unbelievable cruel. He KNEW I was in love with him and he knew I was in deep and he knew that he was not. Just a game.

      1. Anger is such a misunderstood emotion! So many folks fault the emotion instead of some of the behaviors that can be prompted by it. Anger has great adaptive value when processed correctly. I probably need to fashion a post just on anger. Perhaps folks can remind me after the next series of articles is through.

        1. That was my CA’s smear campaign, that everyone she abused had “anger” issues.

          A confidant said taking away someone’s anger is like declawing a cat.

          1. Clair, mine gets on the pity pot and says that he never did anything right. That i was never happy. Firstly, HUGE exaggerations and misrepresentations. The truth is, he took anything that even resembled criticism, a request for adult respectful treatment, on and on and on and used it as an opportunity to start a fight, become indignant………short version, all part of his twisted game. pitiful.

          1. hi claire

            I’ve only recently tumbled to what’s been going on between me and my husband. We’ve been married 30 years and after reading “in sheep’s clothing” I realise he is covert aggressive.

            I, like you, became incredibly angry for a while. it was justified anger and i needed to admit it and use it to start a plan of campaign of how I would grow, protect myself and learn by this experience. I nearly missed the opportunity to use the anger for good, i nearly let it take me over so I became a pity party or depressed. nearly. but these posts and comments kept me stable.

            Also, I read “the gospel of anger” by Alistair V Campbell. The title sounds really wierd but I wanted a different but ‘real’ take on anger and God and the Christian faith. This helped me process what was happening as the author is definitely real about anger, what can cause anger and what our options are. Like Dr Simon, he pulls no punches in challenging the reader but is also empathic and sound in his understanding of real life and how to cope.

            Claire, whatever way you find support, I hope you are able to face these dreadful revelations with courage and determination to grow through it. I hope these posts and any other support you find will give you the strength to keep going. I hope you stay able to love – yourself and others – even though it will be with a healthy dose of skepticism at times! Wise as serpants and innocent as doves. Both at the same time.

            I am still very much learning and going through cycles of anger and despair and determination and disbelief and back to anger etc. I hope you hang in there and don’t let these experiences spoil you. You can grow bigger than that. I intend to.

            Rose

  9. “But in the absence of integrity, ethics, and a sense of higher purpose, there are always pressures to curtail freedoms.”

    Amen!

  10. The XNH had an affair that he told me about 20 yrs. into our marriage. 25 years later he revealed that he was still in touch with her. When he told me that, a shock went through my body. I believe that suddenly I realized that all the times I suspected something, and all the times I gave him the benefit of the doubt, he was really manipulating me. I looked at him like he wasn’t even human. All of a sudden I realized that I didn’t even know this person that I was involved with for a total of 49 years.

    I’ve been angry, but mostly the emotion I feel is sadness that this happened to him and consequently to me. It will be 7 years this fall that we parted. I grieved like I have never grieved before because not only was he gone, but he was walking this earth and carrying on his life with someone else. My children and grandchildren maintain a distant relationship with him. He is totally involved with her family and children now. I am sure his new wife has experienced times of doubt about him, but she will have to endure it as I did and find out about it as I did.

    I think about a science fiction movie that I once saw where a man’s skin was torn off his arm and a mechanical apparatus was revealed. He wasn’t human. That is how I feel about the xnh.

  11. Noel, The gut punch reality is something no one can understand unless they have experienced it and the mental torture of knowing the whole time your intentions and love was true, in spite of the doubts, is horrible.
    Im sorry for your experience and pain and glad you are away from him at long last.
    You are not alone on a web site like this and I can NOT imagine what people did before this kind of information was available. It’s a thought that has crossed my mine so many times…………..what my looser x’s first wife(and second wife) must have gone through so many years back. Horrible.

  12. What’s in it for them…what would persuade them to develop character. I think we have to answer that question.
    This group of young people seems very opinion-averse. However they’re incredibly responsive, say, when Ashton Kutcher made a statement in favor of character at the Teen Choice Awards.

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