The most severely disordered characters among us are not the “hot-headed” types who sometimes let their passions get the better of them and do things they might sometimes later regret but rather the “cold-hearted” sorts who chronically and ruthelessly try to get the better of others.
There’s a continuum of severity to character impairments, ranging from mild character immaturity to severe character dysfunction. Not all the difficult people in your life will meet the criteria established for a true character “disorder.” But that doesn’t mean that some of these folks aren’t significantly disturbed characters capable of making your life miserable. The degree of character impairment a person has, however, does have a lot to do with how likely it is they might change (with the right type of intervention).
There’s more information than ever out there about personality and character disorders. Still, many misconceptions still exist because professionals have largely failed to succinctly and uniformly define key concepts and because there’s such a high degree of variance of opinion about the nature of personality disturbances and what can be done about them.
Sometimes it’s the most decent things about us – things that it would behoove us never to change – that make us vulnerable to the most character-impaired.
Survivors of toxic relationships know how difficult it can be to restore one’s emotional sanity, pick up the pieces, and move on. They need answers that empower and help protect them against future harm.
We know that empathy capacity varies in human beings. But we also know that the mere capacity for empathy does not make a socially conscientious human being. Empathy must be nurtured. That’s often a very challenging task for individuals who lie somewhere on the character disturbance spectrum. And there’s mounting evidence that it’s most likely an impossible task for those at the extreme end of the spectrum.
Having proper care and concern for others is essential to a sound character.
Perhaps there’s no more urgent question needing answering in our age of more rampant character disturbance than how we can better foster empathy development in our children.
Disturbed and disordered characters use blame as a tactic to manipulate those whom they know to be conscientious enough to accept all or part of the responsibility for something that’s really not their fault at all.
Because neurotic individuals tend to have fairly well-developed and sometimes even “overactive” consciences, they’re often all-too-ready to accept the blame for things when a disturbed character uses the manipulation tactic of blaming.