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Dr George Simon, PhD

“Disturbances of Character: The Most Pressing Issue of Our Age?” Comments, Page 2

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21 Responses (9 Discussion Threads) to “Disturbances of Character: The Most Pressing Issue of Our Age?”

  1. avatar image

    Dr. Simon,

    Thank you for your response. I have already been watching for the release of your upcoming book on Character Disturbance with great anticipation.

    I am still wondering if you have any thoughts on protecting my children from their very, very CA gradmother. She works her “magic” on them as well. They just don’t know it. She is a beloved member of the entire community and the “best darn grandma that ever lived!” Everything she does with them is BIG and fabulous. But it’s to “show them a better life” as she’s said to people. She also lies to them readily about things that don’t require even being mentioned, let alone being lied about. She manipulates them, pits them against eachother, breeds jealousy, plays favorites and basically says and shows them that she is better than everyone else etc., etc. My 10 year old is already showing many of her personality traits that I will refrain from listing. I wonder how much is nurture (exposure) and how much is nature.
    So as I mentioned before, I can set limits for myself and how she treats me, but if we allow contact wtih her, we really can’t control how she acts around the kids and what she says to them. I don’t think a direct, “I don’t want you to lie to or manipulate my kids” will cut it. Denial and white hot fury!! And she continues on as usual.
    Do you think there is anything we can do besides avoid her like the plague in regards to our kids?

    • 11.1

      Hi, Diane. I hope you’ll appreciate that I really cannot give you direct advice in this forum. And perhaps you won’t fully appreciate the guidelines I’m about to reinforce, but here goes:

      Investing any emotional, mental, or physical time and energy trying to make something happen that you don’t have direct power over is not only futile but also the “formula” for psychological torture and eventually, depression.

      Remember, the “war” with dominance-seeking personalities is always a war for “position,” power, and self-glorification. And it takes more than one person to have a war. You have to pick your “battles” carefully. For the really toxic interactions, you have to set firm limits and boundaries. But for the garden variety events in which your kids are not likely to be scarred for life, it’s probably in the best interest of all to let things be.

      You simply cannot control every potential shaping influence your children are likely to face in life. Nor will you ever win in a war of personal vindication and “exposure” (read: defeat) of the CA people in your life.

      You must decide when you have to go to the mat and when you simply must surrender to a higher power. For some, knowing that the CA people in life are somehow still “getting away with it” is an intolerable circumstance that invites much destructive anger and bitterness. But in the end, all we have the power to do is to exercise good judgment about the battles we wage, make sure that when we fight it’s always about crucial principles as opposed to personal vindication or victory itself, and do our best to model for our children what principled self-assertion is really all about. : )

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