“Understanding the Aggressive Personalities, Part 2” Comments, Page 1

Just click to return to the article “Understanding the Aggressive Personalities, Part 2”.

11 Comments (3 Discussion Threads) on “Understanding the Aggressive Personalities, Part 2”

  1. Hi George,

    Very informative article. Your point that these types have an inordinate predisposition for aggression at the heart of their character disturbances is well recieved. The sub-catorgories are helpful in pinpointing certain behaviors of typical personalty character disorders. Unrelenting fighters that sure fits their behaviors. Are you going to expand on these through out your articles? I hope so. Like an example of behaviors. I doubt they are about to concede, back down or submit for their long term best interests or anyone elses. Are there therapies that have actually resulted in this?


  2. Thanks for your comments, Diane.

    I do plan to expand on the core dynamics as well as to take a more in-depth look at each aggressive personality subtype.

    Now, as to your really good question:

    Although they are not naturally predisposed to give-in or give ground, even when it would be in their (and everyone else’s) best interest, these individuals can indeed learn to do so. That’s what good, confrontive cognitive-behavioral therapy can and should do. The reason that for so long we didn’t seem to help these folks was not so much been that the core dynamics are impossible to deal with. The problem was that for too long the core issues were never actually the focus of intervention. For example, some counselors wasted a whole lot of time and energy trying to get their clients to “see” the long term consequences of their behavior. I still encounter counselors who delude themselves into thinking that they will be that one counselor in a hundred who finally makes the light bulb go off in their client’s head. Insight-oriented approaches are doomed to fail, because these characters already have insight, yet the behavior pattern persists because of the degree to which it is ingrained. Other counselors tended to equate challenging core maladaptive conduct as unnecessarily judgmental and alienating with respect to building a therapeutic relationship. Whatever the reason, the core problem would often go unaddressed. There are so many novel and interesting ways one can deal creatively with the core issues, once the decision is made to make them the primary focus of therapeutic work. In my professional workshops, I like to cite an example of one man I worked with who was so power and control-oriented that it took two years of progressive approximation behavioral strategies just to get him to let one of his golf buddies be the driver of the golf cart. Slow, steady, work ………. creative at times,……… but always focused on the real problem. I wouldn’t have stuck with this kind of work for over 20 years if I hadn’t seen many positive results. I just had to give up all the old notions I had about how to help people change.

  3. It is just a coincidence that these “types” of people are running corporate America, the judicial system and politics? It is merely coincidence that this type of “win at any price” mentality is reinforced in these institutions? And is it also a coincidence that these types of people never seem to embrace “faith” as a tennant to good living? Of course these are not coincidences. Power is their religion. They have no humility, only pride. Tell me Dr. Simon, are these people growing in number, because it seems to me these power mongers are taking over the world. And it scares me….a LOT.

    1. Great question! No, it is not a “coincidence” that such people are in the positions you outline. It’s not that every politician or corporate head is character disordered, but rather that aggressive personalities seek power relentlessly and abuse it when they get it. So, they naturally gravitate toward fields of endeavor where they can wield it. There are also many sociocultural reasons that character disturbance of all types is becoming more prevalent. That will be the subject of future posts. In Sigmund Freud’s day, excessive neurosis was the problem. Today, neurosis is at functional levels and it’s the neurotics that are keeping the fabric of society together. Character disturbance is unfortunately expanding at epidemic proportions and equally unfortunate is the fact that most traditional psychology paradigms aren’t adequate to explain or deal with the problem.

  4. George,

    I do agree with your answer!

    A subject fond in my heart…uncorruptable statesmen. Any ideas?

    Or how to spot the ones there already so we all can support them more because they are already that!!!

    I know a another post or a book….

    It would be a great parental book the ingredients it takes to raise an uncorruptable statesmen…don’t you think?

    Would love to collaborate on that one!!!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    1. Collaboration is always most welcome. I could spend hours……In fact after 13 years of writing, I’m still not finished with a book on the sociocultural underpinnings of the character crisis and a prescription for the way out of it. There’s so much to say and inevitable controversy to spark. Being succinct yet thorough enough and garnering sufficient supporting data has been a real challenge.

  5. I am smilimg George as you are already working hard on this subject matter! Thanks for sharing that with me! You made my day! Diane

  6. Dr. Simon, Thanks for your terrific response. I very much suspected (as a lay person) that “us” neurotics are the lesser of today’s psychologically challenged, so I’m relieved to hear you say it. And I hope your book and/or future pieces on this topic of character disturbed does address how this happens at the institutional level (I believe even our American school systems are actually fostering this type of thinking/behavior). I do read a lot about psychology, and I very much appreciate your “take” on how this type of behavior should be viewed and treated. “Character” is not something that is typically addressed in the psychological arena, and yet it is the most important aspect of individual freedom, and of civilized society. I look forward to reading your book (on my rather lengthy reading list) and all future articles.

  7. Hi Dr George!

    I appreciate your writings and your work on this topic of aggresive characters.

    I come from the abusive family background. Then I was in a relationship with a guy, who was probably the type 5 of your list, for six years. He was using every manipulation technique described here on me, except for actual hitting, as he knew I would leave him immediately. He did all of this so unobtrusively, that I noticed what he was doing after couple of years. And it took me several more years to convince myself to leave.

    Since then, I am having more or less serious problems in communication with other people, I am having a serious self-esteem issues and I am having a hard time to actually believe in people. The strange part is that the real trouble started after I left him. But I try to go on and it works – I have a good job, the good man who respects me. I think I will heal eventually and you certainly helped me a bit.

    Anyway I was thinking about something else too. I come from Czech Republic (in Europe). My republic is quite different than yours and it also wasn’t democratic all the time, but apparently we have something in common. It is the statistics of the violent or sexual abuse (or both sadly) within families, including children. Do you think that it has something to do with the rise of the amounts of the people with disturbed personalities?

    My former boyfriend went through a serious violent abuse when he was a child. He was almost killed by his father, beaten on regular basis by his stepfather and so did his brother. Mother was nonexistent because she was always high on antianxiety drugs and antidepresives. He started his own violent agenda in his early teens.

    I suspect a connection in this specific case at least.

    1. Kristyna,

      You rightly suspect that character disturbance is indeed the phenomenon of our time, increasing in prevalence across many cultures. And BTW, my book “In Sheep’s Clothing” should be available in the Czech language very soon if not already! A Czech publisher secured the rights back in May.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
 characters available

In accordance with our Privacy Policy, your email address will not be published with your comment or shared in any other way. Please do not SPAM. Comments which solicit personal advice, are rude or inflammatory, are not about this specific post, or are otherwise not in keeping with our Terms of Use may be deleted at our discretion. If you would like to make a comment or ask a question about something other than the subject matter of this post, please do get in touch directly.

Overseen by an international advisory board of distinguished academic faculty and mental health professionals with decades of clinical and research experience in the US, UK and Europe, CounsellingResource.com provides peer-reviewed mental health information you can trust. Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified mental health professional. CounsellingResource.com is accredited by the Health on the Net Foundation.

Copyright © 2002-2023. All Rights Reserved.