Trust: The Foundation of Any Relationship

As a veteran therapist, I came to appreciate long ago how crucial trust is to establishing a healthy and positively impacting level of rapport in therapy.  The admonition to “never share your innermost secrets with anyone who can’t be trusted with them” has proven its wisdom time and time again.  But trust is not just a prerequisite for a sound therapeutic relationship. It’s an essential ingredient – perhaps the single most important ingredient – in any relationship, especially our more intimate relationships.

By far, the most common reason I’ve seen relationships fall apart is because trust has been violated in one way or another and to a significant degree. Trust violations are among the more reliable indicators of character dysfunction in your relationship partner. And the first time it happens you might be taken by surprise. But when it happens over and over again, you know you’re in for trouble. Oddly, sometimes you can become a bit desensitized to chronic trust betrayals, not affording them the importance they have. You might even dismiss minor trust breaches as simply inevitable or normal for any relationship. And you might even fault yourself for being overly sensitive or expecting too much. But there’s no bigger red flag for character disturbance and for the eventual fate of your relationship than a partner’s untrustworthiness.

Of course, honesty is a prerequisite for trust. And as I point out in Character Disturbance, impaired characters have a big problem with the truth. They not only tend to be dishonest with others but also many times dishonest with themselves. Sometimes, they even get to believing the falsehoods they propogate day after day. But other times, as in the case of the more manipulative, covert-aggressive types I describe in In Sheep’s Clothing, they just want to pull the wool over your eyes.  If you knew who they truly are and the real capacity they have for healthy loving, they might not be able to get what they want from you. So, they turn on the charm, say all the right things, do things that ostensibly bespeak positive regard for you to win you over, and you only learn how innately selfish and untrustworthy they really are (i.e. what they’re really like in character) after they’ve finished using you.

In the coming weeks I’ll be presenting some illustrative vignettes that demonstrate the crucial nature of trust and how to best protect yourself from the kinds of damage that accompanies various trust betrayals, whether it be the betrayal associated with marital infidelity or any other matter of trust ciritical to the survival of an intimate relationship. Now, we all do things both knowingly and inadvertantly that can damage trust. But individuals with a sufficient modicum of character integrity are willing to “own” their trust-damaging behaviors and work sincerely and ungrudgingly to repair the damage they’ve done to earn back some trust. So in some of the vignettes, I’ll try to illustrate how you can tell when someone has a sufficent level of character to trust them with your heart, even if they’ve been less than noble at times, and when, for the protection of your very soul, you simply have to sever ties to keep a person who is really one of those “people of the lie” from inflicting a fatal emotional wound.

I hope the series on trust and character will spur a robust discussion. And in addition to folks sharing their experiences in the comments, I’m open to those who have a firsthand experience they think is particularly illustrative of the damage that can accompany trust betrayals and which they want not only to share but also to get both my own and the commentators’ input on to submit their stories via the back channel, using the “Contact Dr. Simon” feature.

Some big news on several fronts will be coming in the next couple of weeks as will be some big changes in the appearance and functionality of the blog (which should vastly improve the blog’s performance on tablets, phones, and other mobile devices), so stay tuned!  And I’ll be doing a lot of talking about trust and relationships and the influence of our culture of agenda-driven misrepresentation and “spin” has had on the problem of honesty and trustworthiness on Character Matters over the next few weeks.



66 thoughts on “Trust: The Foundation of Any Relationship

  1. Dr. Simon, the way that Spathtard undermined trust was not only overt with his lies ( less common)but at another covert level by not really being there in more ways than I could name. I can look back now and fully recognize all of it but at the time I was too hooked to make the determination, let alone the break. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know how wrong and I could never pin it down enough to name it.
    Anyhow, there was no trust and I know I knew it which affected the way I showed up in the relationshi#. I still judge myself for all the things I did wrong while flailing in my attempts to cling to something that never existed to begin with. I keep telling myself that when someone loves you, they never have to prove it because you will KNOW it and when you do, trust will be a natural byproduct.

    1. Puddle, one of the many gifts I have received from you and others is that judging or questioning ourselves really doesn’t have a place in Lunacyville. That implies that we should have known better going in. It never occurred to me that someone could be so vicious, so cruelly manipulative to anyone AND to be an expert in covert operations. Surely an SP would be reasonably easy to spot, especially in a “love” relationship also given the amount of time spent together, right? WRONG, as we all have learned.

    2. Hello to all,
      I contacted Dr. Simon in regards to the new site. Dr. Simon wrote back and his response is as follows.
      Thanks for the feedback on this. I’ve been reading the other comments and emails, too.
      I’ll be putting up more information soon, but feel free to pass along the fact that this most recent “theme” (the wordpress term for the current “look” and layout) is an interim step which has made the blog more mobile device compatible. Some of the features that you want will soon be functional again. And in a few months, there will be a whole new site that will have many new features. So please be patient while things are still “under construction.” And let folks know that I both want and will have the webmaster respond to feedback about what folks would like to see, provided it’s technically possible during this interim phase. Signed gs

  2. This article has totally hit the nail on the head in describing my marital relationship. I totally trusted my xnh until the day he told me that he had had affairs with other women. I don’t think I trusted him at all from that day forward. We had been married 20 years and had three children all still living at home. I went to counseling. He went to counseling. We went to counseling. I am an above board kind of person that lays everything on the table. He wasn’t. I stayed in the marriage with an uneasy feeling and about 3 years later it raised it’s ugly head again. We were off and on for about 5 years. We finally met with a minister who gave us each a personality test and then had us fill out the test as we thought the other would. The minister told my then husband that he needed to get to know his wife. We all know that this was due to the fact that he didn’t even see me as a person. At out last evening he had us write down our promises to each other. His said that he would not see or talk to the other woman again.

    I remember one time during a discussion with him previous to our split 25 years later, I told him, “I don’t trust you!” But I just kept trying to keep the marriage together. I scanned in his words in his own hand writing and sent them to him in an e-mail. He said, “I guess I’m not good at keeping promises.” I had no clue about character disorders at all. Our minister met with us and told me later that he definitely had a disorder.

    I loved the person that he had shown me while we dated for four years. It was so hard to wrap my brain around the fact that someone could be that evil and still look and act like a normal person, especially around other people. I surely see through it all now and our adult children and his family are seeing it also.

    1. “I loved the person that he had shown me while we dated for four years”
      You loved a good performance from an actor.
      Just in case you still think “what it could have been” in some corner of your heart.

      1. Oh, yes, I realize now that the whole thing was fake. He’s still putting on the show for those who haven’t figured it out yet. This includes his new wife who was the one whom he has know for 35 years. She wants to meet me so we can have family times together……….not going to happen. I really don’t want to see or talk to either one of them “ever”.

    2. Noel, yes, yes and more yes. So hard to wrap my brain around the fact that someone could be that evil and still look and act like a normal person, especially around other people.

      1. LuLu, I may well be a
        I D Chanel addict at this point but I have cut back!
        At sny rate, the one thing I’ve seen over and over is how like able these types are at first and in some situations, fo a long time. It’s what they do and at the very least it buys them enough time to hook you emotionally. For a neurotic, that is like cutting off Samsons hair or giving Supperman a kriotonite milkshake. It screws EVERYthing in your psyche and the deeper the place they hook you the more of a hold they have on you. The analogy of fishing is just so apropro. You think that fish knew he was swallowing a hook when he gobbled down that big juicy worm? And if you don’t happen to be hungry, they do know how to stir ones appetite.

          1. It’s a Discovery Chanel, Investigation Discovery I think. It’s 24/7 shows about real life Spath’s. All sizes, shapes, sexes and descriptions. It’s unreal……..but it’s really real. Highly recommended. They are reenactments but also interviews with the actual victims, family’s, friends, etc and the detectives that investigated the cases. Psychological profilers too. I think Dr. Simon has done commentary on at least one show, maybe a 48 HR’s show?

  3. Very true. Honesty is the foundation for Trust.
    A character disturbed (the CA type) simply does not like being truthful.

    Even in absence of marital infidelity, non-stop trust breach is like a cancer that keeps on growing, reducing any chance of meaningful relationship. Those small things are eventually caught by partner. When confronted with a lie, a person with decent character with minor issues will face the truth , and we see relationship back on the path to recovery, and both individuals on the path to stronger character. Sometime our failure to confront early on makes thing more difficult to confront later. A person with serious character flaw will not face truth to protect their ego or hidden agendas, and will bury that small lie with even bigger lies. This results in progressively worsening hopeless cycle. Sad situation to be in, watching the cancer grow everyday for many years. Sometime, really naive people do not even realize this process for long time, only to get shock of their life after years or decades in a doomed relationship.

    There are people with strong characters who can identify character disturbed and thwart their attempt. Downside is that vampire quickly moves on to easier target. Eventually, we find a situation where we get pairing between a vampire and a naive prey that believes in unconditional giving to everyone, but ends up getting sucked dry with a single vampire. Unfortunate, but that is life, one can only hope that these situations are exceptions rather than rule.

    1. Early confrontation of “small” lies is also quite important irrespective of the magnitude of the character disturbance.

      I did not miss out on raising issues early in the cycle, but where I failed was to handle the evasive techniques like, using bigger lie to cover up small ones, turning around the table by pointing out my flaws (not flaws, but more like how I am less responsible that I should be) & inducing guilt. Had I managed to pin-point the evasive techniques earlier, everything should have escalated to overt threats quickly, saving me years of misery.

    2. You described my situation perfectly. I was only 14 when we started dating. So this relationship was 49 years of my life.

        1. He was 17 at the time. We both were the youngest in our respective classes. I started dating him one month before he graduated high school.

  4. Dr. Simon, thank you for this article. I am new to your books and blog.

    Abuse by the character disturbed has affected me one way or another all of my life. I have consistently allowed too many people the benefit of the doubt. My religion taught me to turn the other cheek, psychology—to be tolerant of all (excluding sociopaths/psychopaths) because we are basically the same and simply want to be loved, and my parents—defer to your mate if you want a fairy tale marriage. No one’s perfect, they’d say.

    There was little balance in any of my education to know when and with whom to grant tolerance, save official criminals. And, yes, they also taught that even the criminal could be reformed, so readily forgive and forget. Countering others is to make potentially false assumptions and judge them. A no, no.

    I am deciding here and now to reform my life for the better. I will learn when to tolerate the character disturbed and when not to. I will create solid boundaries and enforce them. I will get better at detecting wicked people sooner.

    I hope your books and blog will help me and come in handy!

  5. Lynn, welcome! Your post conveys what appears to be some hard won resolve!
    Too add to your points and emphasize points Dr.Simon has made in prior posts:
    We’re taught to override our gut instincts. Some people radiate menace, but at such a low frequency, we dismiss it or misread it. The individual is probably ‘troubled.’ When women, in particular, detect ‘troubled’ rather than ‘trouble’ we put ourselves in a vulnerable position. If we are nurturers and empathetic we form a bond that has maternal overtones.

    Betraying trust, even in small ways, in the initial stages of a relationship, is a red flag. Observing the individual’s lack of integrity with others can tip us off during the initial ‘charm’ phase. We have to pay special attention to how these types treat others.

    Of course the stealth psychopath is a whole other kettle of fish. Very very hard to detect it before tremendous damage is done.

    You are on the right track!

    1. Thank you, Lisa.

      Add my name to the countless score of people who’ve been through hell with ‘expensive folks’ or disturbed characters.

      We now have to rebuild our lives, shoring up our castles with better defenses, so to speak.

      You’ve made some very good points and I appreciate them.

      In retrospect, I wish I knew better. Maybe I would have taken more responsibility to learn on my own and not allowed others to decide which learning, as a woman, was important for me.

      If I had known to take responsibility, maybe I would have taken a hint and applied this passage of Scripture to everyday life instead of only viewing it as a command to the Apostles—Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

      I hope not to offend anyone. With regard to religion I say, “To each, his own.” For me, maybe Jesus realized that certainly not everyone is bad but was really on to something concerning the character disturbed way back then…

      1. Hi Lynn,
        I think in quoting from the Bible and what Jesus said is OK. I think in reference to the passage you quoted it is very similar or we would have to ask Dr. Simon if that is where he got his title for “In Sheep’s Clothing”
        When you bring up this passage I remember a person, someone I had to have help me and at the first encounter seemed “normal.” As a few weeks passed this person seemed to become more relaxed. As I watched and listened things he told me began to pop up as very uncomfortable and not making sense. (RED FLAGS) I had at the time had to be around this person, the person made a remark that “he hoped my personality did not change to be one of those overbearing women.” OK, I am driving and glance over at him, and IM not kidding, he looked like a mad, like you would imagine the mad cow disease, or someone that had rabies looking at me and he reminded me of a Wolf in sheep’s (human) clothing waiting and ready to chew me up and spit me out if I took his bait. And yes, Lynn that passage of what Jesus said went through my mind. Just as I remember in the Bible Jesus said “you will know them by their fruit.”
        In my experience in dealing with all the CD’s in my life my faith has been my saving grace. There are however numerous other great people in history that I like to use as a guide in setting the direction of the new life I now have to forge out for myself.
        When Dr. Simon refers to “people of the lie” in the above article a great book by the late author Scott Peck wrote “People of the Lie” which I would recommend reading. Dr. Peck also wrote; A Road Less Traveled. These books are full of insight. Another great read is Dr. Victor Frankl; A Mans Search for Meaning. These two men and Jesus Christ in particular are lights for me in my walk and not to forget Gandhi. I refer back to many of the things they said and did in their lives that I use as a reference in my walk just as others have their reference. My faith is my rock that has kept me standing in this unbelievable walk and for others in their walk whatever keeps them standing and brings them through this I am happy for them.
        There is so much positive sharing and insight given freely on this blog by others that is so beneficial and validating in our personal journeys with the CD. I hope you stay and share yours too.
        You take very good care and blessings.
        PS. This sight seems very foreign compared to the last sight, any thoughts by the other regular posters?

    2. Lynn,

      Yes, to each their own, and it seems to me that people can discuss spirituality here, though it needs to be done in certain bounds(like not getting starkly in heavy-handed religious debating).

      Sure it would be wonderful if discussion was able to go like this: “I’m [this kind of] a Christian. I believe in [this and this].” “Hello. I’m [this kind of] a Hindu. I believe in [this and this].” No one tries to sway anyone or get anyone to agree on specifics, but some things may become pronounced, like “This passage seems to point out to [insert psychological wisdom]”, “This ritual seems to have this psychological effect” and so on. No one would feel like taking psychological wisdom would be reducing anything to dust and no one would try such.

      So, Lynn, I’d say feel free to post your thoughts on spirituality.

      P.S.The message history’s gone, meant to say that in my message to Lisa, but forgot to. So I’m posting under the latest article.

    3. Hi LisaO,
      Sure hit the nail on the head about being nurturers and empathetic, the maternal bonds of wanting to fix the hurting little child we see. Hope your having a good day and you know what I mean. We share another familiar walk of kindred spirits. I’m at a 3 today which is good.

  6. LisaO,

    You say it awesomely there. “We’re taught to override our gut instincts. Some people radiate menace, but at such a low frequency, we dismiss it or misread it. The individual is probably ‘troubled.’” And well said in regards to “detect ‘troubled’ rather than ‘trouble’”!

    That can happen to women AND men. I’ve heard it claimed that men are taught to be tough(another form of ignoring that intuition?) and thus can easily fall prey to some overtly controlling behavior. Boys can’t cry, after all. We can take it. Or when was the last time you heard of a man’s intuition?

    By the by, sorry for not getting back to you earlier about that book you asked about(Rude Awakening). Tried checking it on Amazon, but my Internet’s been slow last times and somehow it lags on Amazon. Returned it to a friend a few weeks back. Can’t recall the author. It has a white cover, though, with a line drawing forming an image of an old man with a moustache. It also had some kind of a subtitle like Pitfalls on a spiritual path. If that’s of any help, great!

  7. You would think that you could trust your own mother. The women who carried you for 9 months. It would appear not in my family. Trust is a weakness my mother used to her advantage. Even when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The only person to visit her in hospital was me. She has done nothing but try an destroy me ever since. My brother and his crew came no were near her for 2 weeks after she came out of hospital.
    The sun shines out of his ?????. Me the one who showed her that I cared. She did nothing but express Contempt for.

    1. Joey, how terribly sad :(
      A friend of mine got screwed over badly by his mother too and yes, it sure can happen. I does not compute for me but then a lot of things don’t.

    2. Your sweet to take care of your sick mom, when she probably really needed someone. Be proud of your character ( but no way to a doormat to abuse).

      I would set boundaries. Tell her point blank what your terms of engagement are.

      I’m here because my daughter is a master manipulator. She’s 17, I bought this book when she was 13. Her dad. ..if course same. ..

      It’s been incredibly unbelievable what my daughter has done …and done to me. .to get her way, get attention, get out of being accountible.

      I’ve made my kids (27 year old son too)…my life. Because I love family.

      Last weekend, when I told her NO to a request, she went to the police station and brought them here. ..with a bunch of lies (she was so smug).
      The police started harassing me. ..
      And it’s not the first time!

      Will they ever change?

      Im just gutted, I cannot tolerate her scary behavior, and I am deeply sad that I have to cut her out of my life.

      Bless you all!

      When I read, “take no excuses”…

      Well, I am following that advice from here on out.

  8. After living with a CD it’s like you emerge into a surreal planet. Everything you believed and trusted in is dismantled. It has been said before that they take your soul and it’s true. You go into a relationship and trust that this person you love will have your best interests at heart, that you will be safe in their presence, that the love you give will be appreciated and reciprocated. You believe they will encourage you in your interests as you do theirs that it is a two way street of respect, honesty and love. You believe they will be responsible and work toward forging a life together that takes you into the future. Then slowly bit by bit, all very subtle and sometimes not they rip it down. They make you doubt yourself so that you no longer trust your own self and judgements. So you’re stuck in their web and do your best to make things right because you think surely there must be some good in them and they will seem so caring and loving at times that you think…yeah there is something worthwhile here and so you trust that if you just love them enough something will change. Instead they use that love to destroy you in the worst way. They rip away all you believed about yourself. That whole idea that there is goodness in everyone is shattered and all your left with is the reality that it was all an illusion. A stagnant vapour that you moved through trying to clear a way only to see the ruins. You’re left a shell of your former self because the trust you had in others and yourself has been destroyed and getting that back is a slow process. All material things dissolve when the realisation that the real value we ever have is our capacity to trust in another human being is the most precious thing we can ever have…that betrayal is soul destroying and it shatters me emotionally whenever I think on the damage that CD created for his own selfish enjoyment.

    1. Tori,

      Agreed, the disturbed have stripped us bare. Reality for me seems surreal, too. I feel as if I was reborn with a new pair of eyes.

      Time to be more “truthful” with myself. No more lying to myself when my instincts warn me of the ‘disturbed’.

    2. My life exactly!
      I’m finally posting after reading this blog for over a year. I have all of Dr. Simon’s books and am reading Character Disturbance now. I looking for some answers as to why they behave this way? Do they even know their behavior is abnormal?

      1. Hi Tori, and Lynn and welcome Jo,
        Tori, My heart goes out to you, I know you must have been feeling a lot of pain to write from so deep inside. I feel the same way. You expressed it so well. Thank you, my heart goes out to you, you dear kindred spirit. I pray the pain lessons and you find more joy and happiness and yes I know its a long painful road back. I think we both have some strong beliefs that will bring us through.
        Its different the reasoning and why according to the pathology connected to CD’s inner experience. Truly, and mine is text book at some levels is not a ware and at other levels is very aware of what he is doing, in fact much of it is on a primitive predatory level that kicks in. It is a altruistic fact that this is who he is and as he ages like a any disease without any intervention to slow it down or treat the disease progression it has advanced and developed to a higher degree of primitive survival mode level. This making it a more dangerous pathology and ultimate destruction for anyone in his path. The sickness requires and this is why I believe it is evil because the perpetrated aggression and anger is used against innocent people for the disposal of their hatred with malice intended.
        Tori, I understand we gave our hearts and souls and its hard to let go when we with all truth and integrity take an oath that says in sickness till death do we part. We trusted and our love was given for a lifetime. Then to come to find out we were just a pawn in their sick need of a human object to fulfill their sick needs. I was just reading Patricia Evans book about Can The Abusive Man Change. In it she talks about how we are created in their mind as The Dream Women. Basically, he becomes us and uses us as a receptacle to fulfill all his needs because he feels he defines our reality. Then the friction occurs when we can’t think and act as he wants because he doesn’t see us as a separate person but as an extension of himself. Yes, I know mind boggling.

        We trusted, we loved and gave and gave. Please don’t beat yourself up anymore, we have endured and given way to much. I know it is so hard to accept and understand. I guess you could compare it to how he can’t understand us. I know to have trusted with your whole heart and soul, the pretend the lies the ultimate booby prize and the joke is on us. Not so, we were honest, and truthful and in that alone is an exceptional quality. Tori, you and so many people here, so loving and caring. What a walk we are on, I hope that we can over time trust again and at least walk the walk with the strong ones here with love and support and yes, trust.
        Take very good care Tori and blessings, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Be kind to yourself as I know you would say this to me. Again thank you for putting into words the thoughts I was having.

        1. Hi Lynn, Jo Welcome and I wish you all the best with your new journeys to the new you …and BTOV thanks for your loving warmth of words they make me smile. I feel for you as you navigate your path with your destructive CD. I read that they burn out as they get older but what you describe is scary… I suppose there are differing degrees of disturbance and not all quieten down. My ex too is textbook in many ways but I find he is a variant of many of the terms Dr Simon uses…like he’s a conglomerate of all that is disturbed! Actually I can identify what you write from Patricia Evan’s book, that feels so right too. Any move out on my own was treated with a disdain or even envy that was covered so well with that guise of caring.
          We are on a major journey but I don’t really beat myself up anymore BTOV but thankyou for caring…I just have moments when everything still wells up. For all the knowledge there are still moments of confusion that must be ironed out. You are in my thoughts and heart too as are all here …no one understands the turmoil like you gals! :) I feel so thankful to have this refuge. Take care of you too a big hug your way!!! Love to you all!! :)

      2. Hi Jo and welcome. I followed Dr.’s sight for many many years and read all his books before deciding to post. I am glad you did and I hope you stay and share your story. We learn so much from sharing and then so many of the questions that have haunted us are answered. Please feel free to ask anything. You will find so many willing and understanding people who do know because they have been in your shoes and walked the walk. I look forward to your posts.

      3. Hi Jo,

        Welcome! I knew someone was watching me. :-)

        Answer to your question is in books. My understanding about your questions will be (applicable only to character disturbed non-neurotic person).

        They behave this way because they can and it works for them. As long as it work, they will continue to behave in socially unacceptable ways. And, a behavior that is against the norm is perfectly fine with them because they simply do not care about others when it comes to self-gratification. And, others include everyone and everything, be it partner, neighbor, children, duck, rabbits, dog, chair, car.
        A vast majority of the character disturbed know that their behavior is not right. They have been told several times. But, they just do it, because they can, and over a period of time it has become part of the way they deal with the world.
        It is same as a class bully snatching something from others. Bully has been told that it is not right. And, he knows it and fully aware of right and wrong behavior, but he will still indulge in his “pleasures”.

    3. I feel the same . My soul has been destroyed. I know it. I had a CD mother , now passed away ( and she managed to turn my siblings against me too with lies,after my precious dad died, so she died happy I suppose) and still with a CD husband.
      Although he is nowhere near as nasty ( not as openly) as my mother was. But only towards me. And there were never witnesses around I realised at some point, so she would say all sorts and cry etc. I would then freeze, stunned at the manipulation. But kept forgiving, perservering, feeling for her, being kind,helpful etc etc.Suffering silently.
      She would be nice for quite some time, I now realise regaining my trust and then..BOOM ! I think I just would not believe it was possible to be that nasty so maybe I got it all wrong, and I had to carry on as strange as that sounds?But you nailed that : ” surely there must be some good in them, and they will seem so caring and loving at times….”

      Only still with my spouse (since a terrible betrayal of trust and everything in the past I had ” played down” came rushing back) because I am dependent being chronically ill. So I take the ” crumbs” as I have no other choice.

  9. Hi to all,
    I posted a note I received from Dr. Simon in regards to the new blog at the beginning of this topic.

  10. Hello to all the wonderful people here!

    I’ve been reading the articles and comments but haven’t been commenting – house repairs, and my computer was hacked (and the paranoid – realistic ?? – part of me wonders if my character disturbed brother had anything to do with it …. Not that he has the know-how, but he knows who to call. Hmmm …)

    Anyway, every time I read the comments I swear I’ve stumbled across another cosmic twin I never knew I had! Our stories are all so sadly similar; even our upbringings, which perhaps goes some way in explaining why our trusting natures have been so abused.

    Lynn said: “Abuse by the character disturbed has affected me one way or another all of my life. I have consistently allowed too many people the benefit of the doubt. My religion taught me to turn the other cheek, psychology—to be tolerant of all (excluding sociopaths/psychopaths) because we are basically the same and simply want to be loved, and my parents—defer to your mate if you want a fairy tale marriage. No one’s perfect, they’d say.
    There was little balance in any of my education to know when and with whom to grant tolerance, save official criminals. And, yes, they also taught that even the criminal could be reformed, so readily forgive and forget. Countering others is to make potentially false assumptions and judge them. A no, no.”

    Wow! That’s me talking!! Except – it isn’t, it’s Lynn ! :)

    Lynn, I’m sure you’ll find insight and support and clarity about your situation here on the site. It’s been an absolute life-saver for me.

      1. Puddle, I always enjoy and learn from your comments. Hope everything is going well, or as well as can be expected!


    1. GG,

      I always wondered if there were people out there just like me. Thanks to replies from you and others, I have my answer. I truly have a lot of work and reprogramming to do.

      I was “consistently”programmed by well intentioned people to believe sacrifice the highest virtue, therefore always to place others before yourself. I was taught to extend this kindness to virtually everyone. I was also taught to trust that people shared similar principles/values.

      I shake my head when I think about the paradox of being given a clearly defined chart of good vs. bad, or right vs. wrong, and being told to use it only to be labeled “paranoid” or “judgemental” when I do. The final result—ethical boundaries meant to protect me, erode. Time for me to go back to the drawing board!

      1. Oh my goodness Lynn, exactly! I can’t believe how similarly we were brought up:

        “I was “consistently”programmed by well intentioned people to believe sacrifice the highest virtue, therefore always to place others before yourself. I was taught to extend this kindness to virtually everyone. I was also taught to trust that people shared similar principles/values.

        I shake my head when I think about the paradox of being given a clearly defined chart of good vs. bad, or right vs. wrong, and being told to use it only to be labeled “paranoid” or “judgemental” when I do. The final result—ethical boundaries meant to protect me, erode. Time for me to go back to the drawing board!”

        And how we were taken advantage of!! With me, by my brother (who now seems to be showing his true colors of total indifference to anyone – me – not willing to be his captive, verbally abused audience). We were taught to be patient, to “believe all things, hope all things” – and paid a high price.

        Here in this forum we have a place where we can start to heal and learn how to protect ourselves.

  11. Thank you Andy D. and to everyone else. I grew up a lot like Lynn. I think that’s why I’m in this predicament. My whole family has had similar relations with CD people. I feel so naive to a world I never knew existed. I thought everyone had morals and values like me.

  12. I pop in every now and then, but can’t recall everything.

    Someone mentioned Patricia Evans and I’ve seen that name somewhere(must be on Amazon, too). May get Internet -connection in the better shape again.

    What books has she written? Do they help in understanding some folk? At least it seems they’re worth a read?

    1. Hi Timothy, My first read was Evans, she has written several books and I found most of them very informative. They are good, a different slant in ways and a very perceptive lady. After reading her books I thought it was bad but it got worse as I continued to read more. I have so many books but Dr. Simons books really cover so many of the CD and in layman’s terms, he keeps it short, simple and to the point. I would say though the more you read the better. There are many good ones out there, People of the Lie by Scott Peck. A must read!

      1. I will also recommend People of the Lie by Scott Peck. Some of the parent-child cases present there are hair-raising. If you haven’t yet felt the hair standing on end in the presence of psychopath, you can experience it reading those cases.
        Book says, no one is perfect and we commit sin every-time we are off the perfect behavior. Ordinary sinners are those that end of the day, acknowledge their imperfection, admit their sins, and seek forgiveness. Whereas bad guys are those who lie and refuse to admit their imperfection (ding dong narcissist). An evil is defined as born out of unacknowledged sin.
        Few things are dated, like, narcissism is purely defense mechanism. Here I agree with what Dr. Simon says, that most often narcissism is simply over-inflated self-esteem. I am no expert, but I know that textbook and authoritative text have been categorically wrong in past, so defense-mechanism based psychology can be equally outdated.
        I also did not like last few chapter covering devil as a real non-human presence and use of exorcism. Still, People of the Lie is very good book. And, I still plan to read Malachi Martin!

        1. Andy, my Internet connection hasn’t quite shaped up yet. Would you tell more about Malachi Martin, too, please?

    2. Thank you, BTOV and Andy!

      Knowing even one CD -individual is too much, if you agree.

      Andy, would you tell more? “I also did not like last few chapter covering devil as a real non-human presence and use of exorcism.” I think the Devil’s supposed to be a metaphor if that’s what you’re saying.

      Putting People of the Lie behind the ear. :) Thanks, you two.

      Personally I think it would be great if we started listing recommended reading material here, each of us. That’s my suggestion.

      1. Andy D and Timothy, I have read many of Malachi Martins work and like him very much however, his writing’s may not be what you are looking for. I would suggest googling him first and then decide if you are interested in his work. But that is my personal take. I also like Dr. Pecks work, A Road less Traveled is a Great read for personal growth. I am not able to at this time but will try to post other books that I thought were good as I am sure other posters can suggest their thoughts too on what they have read. If you start reading the archives and the personal stories you will glean a lot of knowledge, throughout the archives many posters have suggested good reads. So please take the time to read through Dr. Simons archives on this site.
        And yes, Andy it seems that we keep finding out new information all the time and what was once considered fact has now been dispelled, I think it is wise to keep an open mind. Hope this helps.

      2. Timothy,

        “Last few chapter”… Devil was not used as metaphor. But, in its literal sense. Book says that possession is real, so is exorcism.

        And, BOTV, I still plan to read Malachi Martin’s book Hostage to the Devils that supposedly covers some real exorcism. To put it more accurately, it is more like adding interesting book to “wishlist”, I don’t read as much as I add to “wishlist”. :-)

      3. “Devil was not used as metaphor. But, in its literal sense. Book says that possession is real, so is exorcism.” Odd.

        I remember one reference to Malachi Martin to before. It was in some comment that also refered to meditation and emptying the mind(?).

        Yes, I’ve read fairly many of Dr George Simon’s articles as well as some comment sections. May have to do some digging. Just think it would be easier if more of us would list reading they recommend(in addition to Dr Simon’s books, of course) in a comment section of a recent article.

        1. Staying on topic of problem people, then my personal list (descending order of my liking) will be

          1. In Sheep’s Clothing (read more than 5 times so far. Even after getting my understanding to whole new level, it is tough to deal with CDs. I want to reach a level, when a tactic is used, I label it as “Minimization. Chapter X, page Y, line Z”. After reading this book the only non-Simon book that I read is People of the Lie as there was no need to distract myself from the right path)
          2. Who is Pulling Your Strings by Braiker (read it before Sheeps book, quite good but just a bit off the mark in explaining why. Or, maybe I just missed the explanation provided in the book)
          3. Character Disturbance (useful to get a picture of whole gamut of problematic people)
          4. People of the Lie by Scott Peck (picked it from references in the end of Sheeps book, I liked it very much barring last few chapters)
          4. Judas Syndrome (self-help from introspective perspective. making self better)
          5. The Mask of Sanity by Cleckley (more academically oriented, slightly outdated and as with any book biased by author’s beliefs, e.g., he tried very hard to explain away promiscuous behavior of a women, whereas I think he just could not believe that females can be impulsive & lacking in conscience)
          6. Without Conscience by Hare (good one, good to know about psychopath, fortunately I am not dealing with one)
          7. Sociopath Next Door by Stout (ok. good to know something but not relevant to me. Also, doesn’t stand in front of explanation provided in In Sheep’s Clothing)

          That just reminds me, I liked “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” movie, a scary scenario of a marriage gone wrong. There is written play too, but that doesn’t quite give the same impact.

          Following are in my wishlist (random order), mostly picked about around from the read book, blogs, etc. I am likely to read half or less. I may filter out some before buying:
          1. Inside the Criminal Mind by Stanton Samenow
          2. Boundaries: When to Say Yes,… by Cloud, and Townsend
          3. The Gift of Fear by Becker
          4. Compulsion by Levin (a novel based on true life)
          5. Personality Disorder in Modern Life by Theodore Millon
          6. In the Best Interest of the Child: How to Protect Your Child from the Pain of Your Divorce by Stanton Samenow
          7. Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin
          8. Going Mad to Stay Sane by Andrew White
          9. The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm
          10. The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
          11. Snakes in the Suit by Babik

          I also plan to read some religious text someday. It will be light on Christianity, Islam, and more focused on Buddhism and Hinduism. Heard good things about Geeta text in Hinduism.

          1. Hi Andy, I just got (literally 2 hours ago) The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker from the library. A first quick glance: he is telling us to Trust Our Gut. We often put aside that nagging fear/doubt/suspicion about someone – and then the not so subtle problems begin. Our instinct for survival has been honed throughout thousands of years – we need to follow those instincts.

        2. Thank you, Andy, that’s a great list of books! Please feel free to tell about any book you think could be great reading whenever one comes to mind.

          Just got to checking out Going Mad to Stay Sane. Looks good, except the price is damn high.

          Also, putting here some “wishlist” of my own so others can find out, too:

          *Focusing By Eugene Gendlin
          *Unlocking the Emotional Brain: Eliminating Symptoms at Their Roots Using Memory Reconsolidation By Bruce Ecker and Robin Ticic(just found them as I got on Amazon; go figure! :D)

          Also, Andy, you mentioned you’re going to read a spiritual text. There’s a wide variety out there. Two good ones I’ve been reading lately I think you’d like, too, are Be as you are By Ramana Maharshi and I Am That By Nisagadatta Maharaj(the book title based on a Hindu affirmation of all things being one). Also mentioned about a book Rude Awakening, which seemed to interest LisaO, too. It’s By P. T. Mistlberger. Then I’ve heard about books about teachings of a Sikh guru Kirpal Singh, which I haven’t read myself, though.

          1. Rude Awakening looks good.
            I will be bit more careful with “Going Mad to Stay Sane”. This one could just be producing excuses for inexcusable behavior. That is based on a quick look, I haven’t checked inside pages, reviews etc.

  13. Great lists! I would add Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? Lundy is awesome, and learned his lessons in the trenches, trying to help abusive men turn around. (Only a small percentage will do the work, he says, just like Dr Simon.)

    Sam Horn’s Take the Bully by the Horns opened my eyes. She is a lady very skilled in assertive communications, actually teaching it, when bang, one day she runs into one of them during a difficult family time. And suddenly none of her skills were any good in helping her deal. She is funny and good at describing her perplexity and eventually the sleuthing that helped her, the scales fell from her eyes. She coined one of my favorite quips: rationalize = rational lies!

    I wish I had known about the Rule of Three. Very very key. Every kid that’s starting to grow up and not “one of them” ought to be equipped with this one.

    1. Since we are making lists here in this thread, I want to recommend a bit obscure book that was key in my own recovery and ability to deal with CDs. How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks, by Ben Leichtling. He came up with the staircase way of dealing and has many many other practical pointers. Not to be missed. And his examples are very very useful.

  14. Trust is a weakness. You have to be careful who you trust. Who you give your trust to.
    You have to be so guarded all the time. You have to protect yourself. By not trusting,
    my entire family ever again. Trust cost me 2/3rds of my life. My uncle he through in the towl when he was 17 yrs old. Me, I am 47 yrs old. Trust and forgiveness cost me 46 yrs of my life. Trust is a weakness.

    1. I will disagree. Trust is not weakness. It is wonderful to be with a reliable honest person, and sharing your life with them. Trusting the wrong person, or trusting anyone too quickly is a weakness.

  15. Hi Andy,
    Thanks for posting some reads, you listed some I haven’t read. Andy, I try to follow everyone’s posts and read the archives. Where in the archives can I read more about your experience with the CD? I have several in my family, and others I have to deal with “Big Breath.” Thanks again.

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