As part of an ongoing series on the nature of character disturbance, I’ve been posting several articles on the erroneous patterns of thinking common to individuals whose characters are seriously flawed. Some of the dysfunctional thinking patterns already explored include egomaniacal thinking, unreasonable thinking, and quick and easy thinking. See:
- “The Egomaniacal Thinking of the Disturbed Character”
- “Unreasonable Thinking”
- “Quick and Easy Thinking”
Some dysfunctional thinking patterns tend to cluster together, such as “irrelevant, external, and hard-luck” thinking. Disordered characters also tend to think in another two ways that are often linked together: “Undaunted” and “Defiant” thinking.
- Undaunted Thinking
- 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. Even though most of the problems they experience are the natural and logical consequences of their dysfunctional attitudes and behavior, they rarely allow themselves to think of their predicaments that way. Rather, they take pride in their determination to keep doing things as they prefer to do them no matter what happens as a result. If a relationship falls apart, they simply blame the other person and move on. If they run afoul of the law, they fault the “corrupt system” and become more resolute in their determination to beat it. They don’t allow themselves to think that maybe there’s something about the way they’re going about viewing and handling the trials of life that needs correction. Instead, they dig in their heels and harden their stance despite all objective evidence that their stance is ill-taken. Their habitual undaunted thinking leads to attitudes of belligerence and stubbornness.
- Defiant Thinking
- Disordered characters tenaciously cling to a core belief that they shouldn’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. They understand that rules exist and that most people chose to obey them, yet they are determined to make their own rules. They also know very well what others expect from them. Yet, they hate caving-in to the will of others or to the demands of society in general. They can bring themselves do something others want them to do when they agree with what is being asked of them or they anticipate personal gain, but they will not subordinate their wills to any “higher power” per se. Some researchers have observed that the most severely disordered characters have such a disgust for feeling obliged that they habitually refuse to accept social obligations. Their habitually defiant thinking breeds deep-seated attitudes of rebelliousness, disdain for authority, and antagonism toward duty. Such thinking makes it almost impossible to develop a sense of responsibility in the areas of civic, marital, and occupational relationships.