“Sheen, Madoff and Celebrity Psychology: Character Does Matter” Comments, Page 1

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10 Comments (4 Discussion Threads) on “Sheen, Madoff and Celebrity Psychology: Character Does Matter”

  1. With all due respect, how much of the “character issue” belongs to the counseling community? How many times have counselors been willing to call their clients to account for their actions and their own need to claim responsibility for their behavior and the subsequent consequences. Seem to me the only real freedom these clients will enjoy will only occur when they are willing to admit their wrongs and genuinely understand the damage it inflicts upon those they are in relationship with. If these clients are honest, there is no way they would ever willingly endure the emotional, physical, financial pain/loss they have caused others. Whether they have been victims or not; whether their perceptions are accurate, what is the harm in advising these clients to simply stop the wrong behavior they are perpetrating? Is there a twelve steps for sociopaths? Real Hannibal Lecters not withstanding.

    1. Thanks so much for you right-on-target comment, Frank. I’m careful to make this point in all the professional training workshops and seminars I do. There are many reasons therapists “enable” these behaviors, ranging from their stubborn over-reliance on outdated metaphors to their unwillingness to reckon with the repercussions of necessary confrontation.

      One of the major premises of cognitive-behavior therapy is that the way we think strongly influences the ways we feel and act. This is not just true for the client, but for the therapist as well. One of the reasons some therapists simply can’t help remove the speck from their client’s eye is because of the distorting beam the carry in their own.

      Thanks so much for the comment!

  2. Dr. Simon well put and so true. As long as these disturbed characters mentioned have the ready cash, they’ll continue to be enabled. Money talks.
    The rich have many friends.

    1. Thanks for your kind words and other comment, Mary. We “enable” these behaviors in so many other ways other than just showering the character-deficient with money, prestige, and power. And we do it in many sectors of society. And, as always, we have to live with the consequences. Make you wonder if we’ll ever learn, doesn’t it?

  3. Right on!

    As a rural Canadian I sometimes feel like an outsider looking in and observing the slow decline of the American “empire” (with Canada in tow, as usual). I’m glad that you, and others, are taking a stand to halt the progress of what I see to be an American “rotting at the core” phenomenon not unlike what took down the Roman empire. I agree with your high ranking of “disturbed character” among the most powerful contributing factors to this rot. Yet it was “‘real’ character” that built your nation in the first place.

    I had an uncle who drilled into us kids: “You watch your character. God will take care of your reputation.” The corollary is: “Let your character go to hell and your reputation will put you there too.”

    Keep up the good work! I enjoy your essays.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Victor. Free societies are entirely dependent on people of sound character for their very survival. In the face of character erosion, we always face the impingement of freedom through excessive legislation and regulation and ultimately, cultural decline. I’m glad you enjoy the essays. I’ve made it my personal mission to sound the alarm and spread the word. And I’m always overjoyed to know that the word has not fallen on deaf ears.

      Thanks again for your spot-on observations and comments.

    2. Tks Dr. Simon.
      I truly enjoyed reading several of your articles on Character Disorder. I believe many therapist in our community disregard the effect a a sociopath behavior on the life of people living next to them. I live with a husband that is that and respond to all that u define Character disorder…he never ended a cycle of therapy finding excuses or saying therapist were not enough experienced for him ( he is 59 and it is hard to find people older then him)….
      I first came to learn about the difference from the book of Dr. Scott Peck : The Road Less Travelled and then started a research…

      I believe we have also different level of character disorder the same as we have difference nuances of alcoholism or other addiction. And yes, I want to addres at the above comment by Frank and to which you replied :
      ” One of the major premises of cognitive-behavior therapy is that the way we think strongly influences the ways we feel and act. This is not just true for the client, but for the therapist as well. One of the reasons some therapists simply can’t help remove the speck from their client’s eye is because of the distorting beam the carry in their own.” I totally agree with you…It is when therapist have stopped working on themselves, or never worked enough or simply are projecting on the client something that belong on themselves and never integrated… ( in this last case the ‘judge’ the client but do not have any remedy for him/ her )
      Take into account that I am a therapist myself ( Counsellor) and my husband too and he promotes himself as a marriage counselors when he is not able to face the issues of his marriage and he committed few times in front of witnesses to start doing work on himself and then ‘changed his mind’ and broke the promise…

      I would love to quote you in one of the article m preparing and to be part of an e-book in the future… can i have your permission? Your work is relevant and can create much awareness in this world where irresponsibility is at hand at every corner…

      Tks for listening. Elisabetta Franzoso

  4. Elizabeth’s comments reflect not only her sensitivity and understanding but also her ability to eloquently summarize some important points.

    Elizabeth, you definitely have my permission to quote me. I trust you’ll eloquently convey your message.

  5. Dear Dr. George Simon,

    I stayed up last night reading “In Sheep’s Clothing” and am currently reading on “Character Disturbance:The Phenomenon of Our Age”. I cannot tell you how much I respect your work! Being 26, I am married to, what I perceive as, a very manipulative husband. I always knew something was wrong, but like the examples you gave, I was manipulated using every single tactic in your book, so I never “saw” the behavior for what it truly was. Even though I decided to distance myself from my husband before reading your book, I have found it extremely helpful in gaining a fresh perspective. I am stationed overseas, therefore I can’t literally walk out. Especially since we have a child, I am forced to wait on paperwork to process.

    Having been married for a number of years, I always felt that “sticking it out” was my duty as a wife, and that one day “he would get it”. Now, I realize that it’s not my responsibility to “show” him, I can only tell him what my needs are and leave it at that.

    My question is: How can I prevent our son from being influenced by my husband’s manipulation, so that he does not perpetuate the cycle?

    My husband’s father is the same way-The day he found out I was going back to the states, he gave phone numbers of my husband’s ex-girlfriends to him. He also stated I was crazy, and that my husband should take our son, all financial assets, etc. Clearly he had concern for his grandson, or my husband when he decided to attack my character. The funny thing is, there was no yelling, badmouthing, bashing, etc. after I told my husband of my intentions to leave (only the use of his guilt tactics). Unfortunately, now there seems to be quite a lot of animosity towards me from the majority of his family. As if there were some web of information that I am not currently aware of because before that, my father-in-law “adored” me. In his words, he “hates” me.

    I am not sure their is any consideration for the fact that regardless of his opinions we are forever connected because of my son-his grandchild. It is difficult, being in the first stages of realization, to wrap my head around his lack of looking towards the future and how negative statements could potentially harm relationships.

    I wonder if there is any additional advice you could offer me? (other than to seek psychological help-which is part of my plan. :))

    Please do keep writing, I enjoy the fresh perspective!

    No longer buying stock in aspirin,


    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Chrissy. Over the years, such validation of my work has been a source for both inspiration and perseverance, so I greatly appreciate it.

      As to your main question, I can only respond with an important general principle: Give your attention and your energy only to what you have power over, and let the rest go. It’s the only way to stave off unhealthy frustration, anger, and eventually depression. In the end, all of us have control over only one end of any relationship, including the relationships we have with our children. We have power to lead, to demonstrate (model), to encourage, etc., but the rest is not up to us. So, stand up for principle, lead by example, respect and insist upon proper limits and boundaries, and make peace with having to let the rest go. I know it sounds simple – and it is – but I also know it’s not easy!

      All the best, and thanks again for your kind comments.

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