Wholesome Relationships Require Character

Wholesome Relationships

Wholesome relationships are hard to come by these days. That’s because such relationships depend on character. And in our times, both decency and maturity of character are in short supply.

You have to be mature in your own character to even have a chance at a wholesome relationship. That is, you have to know who you really are, what you’re really worth, and where that worth comes from. (See, also: Finding Yourself and Your Self-Worth Too.) You also have to have taken deeply to heart and committed yourself to the timeless principles that define solid character. (See: the “10 commandments of character” in Character Disturbance and Essentials for the Journey.) But as any toxic relationship survivor can testify, having decent character yourself is insufficient. Character disturbed individuals are notorious for spotting decent character and taking advantage of it.

Wholesome relationships often elude relatively decent folks because there are so many character-impaired but benign-appearing individuals out there. Moreover, many folks are good impression managers. They know how to look good, without necessarily being good. Looking good is relatively easy. You just need to possess the skills for charm, amiability, etc.. Being good is quite another matter. To be a decent and faithful partner requires turning yourself over to a set of operating principles much higher than baser self-interest. And doing that is inherently difficult, even more so in character-impaired times.

The Proverbial First Step

The first step toward a wholesome relationship involves knowing and claiming your own worth. But that’s really difficult when our earliest experiences give us an unbalanced sense of self. When we neither know nor love ourselves well, we’re too easily swayed when someone eles shows us attention or interest. And that’s when we often fail to sufficiently vet the other person’s character. And because some folks are so good at hiding their true nature, we can overlook or insufficiently regard the warning signs of character distubance when they appear.

A New Series

I’ll be taking some time off for a couple of weeks. But upon return I’ll be starting a new series on relationships. The series will dovetail with some live broadcasts of Character Matters, so participants can share their stories.



8 thoughts on “Wholesome Relationships Require Character

  1. Hi, I have commented on this blog off and on for a few years now. And have been struggling with the idea that my narc mother will ever show me unconditional love. And for lack of a better way to put it, act like a human being. I am finally realizing she doesn’t experience human emotion like the rest of us.

    And she hates truth. When you give her a taste of that, she gets very angry and bitterly whines and complains about how horrible she’s getting treated. Everyone else is the problem (yawn). If that is the case, tell me why two of your kids don’t talk to you at all and the third barely does!

    I lived in disability for years so it was easy for her to use money to manipulate me and now (in recovery from weed and liquor), I have a job that pays well and don’t need her money. For the most part (I am also a homeowner of a place that needs a few things done). But in realizing that I am worth so much more than any dollar amount she can throw at me, I have been exercising my financial independence which was a huge first step.

    And in realizing that I deserve better, I have also severed contact. She will never change. I am working as a psych nurse and there is no treatment I am aware of that will ever help her. Short of an act of Providence. And I will pray for that. But it makes me sad, because I do love her. But that does not mean that I need to put up with her behavior.

    Above all else, guard your heart for everything flows from it. -Proverbs 4:23.

    The Bible says honor thy father and thy mother (she loves to throw this one in my face), and yes, it is one of the commandments that the Lord gives us. He also does not want us to put up with abuse as it says in Proverbs. Healthy boundaries. And Scripture gives us parenting advice too.

    “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” –Ephesians 6:4

    It is not raising your child in the ways of the Lord to beat them bloody on a daily basis as she did with my older sister. Or to gaslight me for nearly half a century. Now the latter is on me for putting up with it.

    I am restarting the healing process with no contact. And am facing having major surgery but I rest easy knowing she won’t be there to victimize me as I recover.

    And I am starting a book on my experience and my journey. Some of it will be talking about the abuse and despicable things she has done and how it’s affected me but I plan to focus on the recovery from living with narcissistic abuse.

    1. Hi JC,

      Good for you! It’s such a painful, but necessary realization isn’t it? It’s pretty much impossible to heal when you still have contact with them.

      Have you read any of Alice Miller’s work? I found The Drama Of The Gifted Child incredibly helpful in aiding me to get in touch with and sort through the painful memories and to move through them to release them. To get me out of the trap and to let go of what I needed to for doing so. Still work to do of course.

      Wish you healthy support and speedy recovery from your surgery when you have it.

      Best wishes on the book! Hope you let us know when it’s finished so we can check it out!


    2. I think a book like that from your viewpoint would be helpful to others – I know of one grown woman right now raised by a narcissist mother and she is still looking for love from her. You would know best how to speak to others in the same situation. Best wishes to you!

    3. A life learned lesson

      ” Love all, Trust Few and ALWAYS PADDLE YOUR OWN CANOE”

      Me and you, same life lessons. All the best and the GREATEST RESPECT TO YOU.


      1. Hi JC,

        I commend you on the progress you have made with your life. You have come so far and acquired so much on your own without anyone and that is a major victory to be proud of. Now you have a house of your own, how wonderful, you are the master of your own house and above all your own destiny in life.

        Sadly, I have had to make the same decision with my toxic mother, it’s been almost two years now that I went no contact. At times I feel I must look in on her, but then, I can feel the rejection and conflict and get that sick feeling in my stomach and know it is best to let things be. “Let go and let God.”

        I am so happy for you and all you have accomplished, I know you went through some tough times and you did all on your own. You have every right to be proud of your accomplishment’s and now you are in the position to help others.

        All the best to you and success on writing your book.

      2. Hi Joey,

        I sure agree with your quote. How are you doing? It’s been quite some time that I have posted.

        Hugs to you too.

        1. BTOV

          I hope you are ok. I did think of you, alot during the lockdown period. I was wishing you well.

          I am doing great. I just got ANOTHER NEW JOB. I am running Robots. on a night shift. 4 days aweek. It pays $40,000 a year.
          The owner is going to pay me $3000 a year extra for travel expences. I got head hunted for this job.
          I did meet a lovely young lady. I Nearly went out with her. BUT BIG MORAL PROBLEM. She was Just 24yrs old. I am in my late 50’s now.
          I look alot younger than I am. That’s never going to happen. She thought I was in my 40’s.
          I lost over 100lbs in weight during the lockdown period. I have put back on though 25lbs. Due to working shift on another job. Eating at bed time every day. Due to the shift pattern.

          I Found this.

          Bryanna T. Perkins

          Music is the ocean
          That pulls me to the shore.
          Music is the rhythm
          That moves me to the core.
          Music is the therapy
          I need when I feel blue.
          Music lifts my spirits
          To make sure I pull through.
          The times when I’m most cheerful,
          It’s clear music was there.
          Music is the needed friend
          When no one seems to care.

  2. Keep practicing going slowly and taking time when getting to know folks rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt. It’s amazing how many tricks they use!

    Noticed recently how many use the trick of offering to do something for you/ help you as a way to pull you in as a mark. A neighbor on another block offered to help me prune my tree after we got hit with a storm. I was planning on hiring it out as it required using a chain saw and a ladder. Dangerous combo! My gut was giving me the message to be guarded with him and I wasn’t sure why. He set off my warning bells. Was also concerned about the liability if he hurt himself while helping. So, to protect myself, I explained my concern about him getting hurt and asked him to sign a waiver, a release of liability form. He said he wouldn’t sue me and had insurance for that type of thing. I said, I understand, but it would put my mind at ease. But when he went to sign it, he signed where the date was and dated where the signed part was. Mind you he’s not unaware, it was sneaky and was conscious. I looked at it and pointed it out to him and asked him to fix it. He did but this time didn’t write out the full date. It told me what I needed to know. Why my gut was telling me not to trust him. Not sure what his agenda is/was, but so thankful I paid attention. Still see him on my walks and am cordial, but that’s as far as it will go. Being alone and vulnerable, it makes accepting help precarious at times.

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