“Disturbances of Character” Comments, Page 1

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10 Comments (2 Discussion Threads) on “Disturbances of Character”

  1. Thanks George,

    Looking forward to the series. I’m not sure what a character disturbance is.

    Is it related to depression. There seems to be a lot of it about – the amount of prescribed drugs for it is quite mind boggling.

    Thanks again.

  2. Hi George,

    thank you for a thought provoking introduction!

    Some of my thoughts are these:

    1 The examples you give of strange maladies from the past may be alive and well today in different cultures. It is a commonly noted fact (in literature on multi/trans cultural counselling) that people from some cultures typically experience what “we” might call ‘psychological’ distress more as physical distress, and in any doctors waiting room you will find any amount of people with conditions directly related to depression and anxiety but who do not make the connection.

    2 Freud’s was the dominant form of thinking and understanding of the day, and today’s dominant form may be something like character disturbance, but the reality described always escapes the categories

    3 I don’t know very much about character pathology. But from how these ideas get filtered down into popular culture and how I pick them up, I get a little concerned that the theory leads to the demonisation of people – a goodies and baddies scenario, and that doesn’t strike me as healthy either for the goodies or the baddies.
    While there are definitely patterns of behaviour, such as abuse, I don’t see how it is helpful just to label people so that others can avoid them! You do indeed need to avoid some people, but not because you have read up on how awful they are, but because you have gained self respect yourself.
    I have had plenty of people coming to me as a therapist who were manipulative and they each had their own individual reasons for being so. I don’t think many of them were born that way.

    I am sure the definitions can be very helpful too, in the right context, I suppose I am just a little wary of this becoming the dominant way of thinking about “other people”.

  3. This is very interesting. I have been thinking about how manipulative people work. There does seem to be a paradigm, or frame of mind, a set of beliefs, values and morals, or lack of them, that dictate peoples rationalizations about life and how they interact and justify interactions with others.

    I am a psychology student, but have always believed that it was flawed in many ways, and if used as a generalization on all people, can be counterproductive and even dangerous. It can even be used to help manipulative people, become even more manipulative…especially against those who have accepted the idea that we are all alike underneath it all.

    I tend to think, that what people choose to believe, and adopt as their values and morals tend to reflect in our society today, the prevailing attitude that instant gratification is the key to being happy. But it is counter-productive and can become an addiction in and of itself. Instead of living in the moment, we are living for the next moment, in the past, or in the future. Constantly exposing the self to things that distract the self from being in the here and now. This need for instant gratification, has lent itself to defining the values and morals that we adopt…and from these values and morals, come our justifications for our behavior.

    It seems in this paradigm of thought, integrity is a word…not an experience. It is destructive to the self- and to others. In a state of mind that seeks disocciation, one is not whole, and is not integrated…as a person. To live in the moment is to be whole, integrated and focused. To feel in the here and now in this moment, is where true creative energy comes in. This energy is like a life force. We can find it with in our selves. If we do not and cannot find it, from with in ourselves…we take it from others…manipulation, guilt, shame, abuse, war. Conflict stems from one taking power from another. We can share our power, but it should never be taken by deceit, coercion, betrayal, mind games…and the like. People who manipulate, essentially, are taking power away from you.

  4. Great points and very well stated, Amanda. One thought. I believe our instinct to survive and prosper is closely linked to our instinctual urge to acquire power – and especially in males – to dominate. This is not an inherent evil. Our primal instincts got us through eons of challenges to our existence. Now that we have evolved to the level we have, the real challenge is to reckon with our legacy and pave the way to an even higher plane of existence. The “evil” that still exists is the failure of some to “own” and voluntarily subjugate their baser instincts in service of the greater good.

    Every single radical group causing misery and grief in the world today does so in the name of dedication and subservience to a higher cause. Yet, the truth of the matter is that the will to dominate is their real motivation. Some are “in denial” of this, while most simply lie and cloak their true intentions because of their commitment to power.

    The new age will come when we abandon our worn-out metaphors and honestly reckon with ourselves, our heritage, and what we hope will be our future.

  5. Dr. Simon, thank you for writing such an important book. I can’t wait to read it. I’m mostly interested in the psychopathic personality, having just emerged from a “cult of one” after 25 years. Haven’t these personalities always existed? For instance jeckyl and hyde, jack the ripper etc…

    I agree that the lack of character/narcissism is epidemic today because of so many social factors but what caused it in the victorian era, in jack the ripper?

    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Skylar. The new book will have much to say about psychopathy. It will also address the longstanding misconceptions about the root causes of all character disturbance. I have a new series of posts that started yesterday that will give a “sneak peek” into the book before its wide release.

  6. I just wanted to thank you for writing In Sheep’s Clothing. Not only did it help me recognize and deal with manipulative people, it helped me to see how my own behavior was contributing to my problems. (Typically I was passive-aggressive, and I have to admit some of the passages were cringe-inducing and even a little painful – but it was necessary.) I’m slowly learning how to become more assertive. Every day is a challenge in training myself to think differently, and I have a long way to go, but I’m a much happier and more aware person.

    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Freddie. I have always depended on feedback like this to help guide my work. My very best to you on your noble quest to challenge yourself and become more assertive. And I’m very pleased that my book was able to assist you in the process. Keep an eye out for the release of my new book, “Disturbances of Character,” which will be available in about 7 weeks.

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