A while back, I received the following letter from Jane in Oregon:
I read your book In Sheep’s Clothing for the first time and really liked it. I am also happy to say that I have found your website and other blogs that feature your work and have read many of your articles.
I recognize myself as a kind of “neurotic” person like you describe and the man I’m dating as a disturbed character. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I started knowing him better that I realized something wasn’t quite right. But, as I hadn’t been in a similar situation before and with him being a very smart person, it was hard for me to see things clearly.
Now after reading your book and postings I have finally understood what the source of trouble was – his irresponsible, narcissistic, hedonistic self – all expressions of his underdeveloped character. I was just wondering what the treatment is if any? I’ve read here that such people (I think they are categorized as Cluster B) don’t usually change. Is there any hope for these types of people?
Letters like this one and comments over the years from folks at workshops prompted me to write my latest book, Character Disturbance, which is set for wide release by Parkhurst Brothers at the end of July. In this book, I address what it takes to make changes in persons with underdeveloped character. Contrary to popular belief, the situation with disturbed characters is not hopeless. What is hopeless as well as pointless is trying to relate to or intervene with such folks through traditional techniques and methods. Traditional methods focus on feelings, unresolved emotional conflicts, and most especially, things hidden from consciousness. Traditional methods also also try to give a person insight they don’t have into problems as the principal way of solving them. But disturbed characters are already aware of the bad things they do. They’re aware but don’t care. They like the way they do things, even if others don’t. And their feelings are not at the root of problems. Instead, their distorted way of thinking about things and their irresponsible habitual behaviors are the culprits. So, dealing with disturbed characters effectively requires a completely different strategy from traditional methods. In Character Disturbance, I present some vignettes that clearly illustrate the different approach that needs to be taken.
NOTE: WEB LINKS TO THE ONLINE SELLERS FOR BOTH IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING AND CHARACTER DISTURBANCE MIGHT BE A BIT PROBLEMATIC DURING THE “CHANGEOVER” TO THE MOST RECENT EDITION AND PUBLISHER. ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE LATEST EDITION FROM THE CURRENT PUBLISHER, PARKHURST BROTHERS.