Being a faithful, committed participant in a life partnership has never been an easy task. It takes integrity of character to resist the many temptations one faces on a daily basis, to honor one’s vows and to genuinely love.

The judge’s decision in the Ethan Couch case left many wondering whether being “spoiled rotten” will become the new defense for delinquent juveniles hoping to evade accountability for their actions.

The antics of two public figures have illustrated the cardinal features of character dysfunction with such clarity that I think it fair to dub the actor Alec Baldwin and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford the new poster children for character disturbance.

When you strive too hard to “understand” a person’s behavior, you can often inadvertently excuse it.

Society can set all the limits and boundaries it chooses. But the willingness to respect those boundaries and limits instead of trying to get around them is an a matter of each individual heart.

The most important thing for anyone to accept is that the disturbed character’s behaviors are his (or her) problems to address through appropriate guidance and dedicated self-correction.

Neurotics have a big sense of right and wrong, set high standards for themselves, and sometimes proverbially carry the world on their shoulders. In contrast, disturbed and disordered characters have a remarkably impaired, immature, or underdeveloped conscience. In some extreme cases, conscience can be absent altogether and even the capacity to form a conscience nonexistent.

Neither party in an abusive relationship ever finds the motivation to change the status quo unless the principles of responsible behavior take precedence over “understanding.”