Gender bias can often color our judgment when it comes to correctly perceiving someone’s character.
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.
In my new book, Character Disturbance, I go to great lengths to highlight the many and significant differences between most folks and people of disturbed character.
Dealing with disturbed characters effectively requires a completely different strategy from traditional methods.
Mature, adult life is all about being guided in your actions by values and sound judgment as opposed to letting your urges and impulses run the show.
Your book helped me understand why I am such an “approval junkie,” how I got manipulated, why I always hated confrontation, and why I had so little confidence and self-respect.
Disordered characters don’t feel shame like neurotics do. Although pop psychology has given shame a bad name, the ability to feel it is a mark of good character. I wrote recently about how neurotic individuals and disturbed characters differ greatly on the issue of guilt. Guilt and shame are related. Guilt is the bad feeling we get … Continue reading Neurotic or Character Disorder? Criterion 4 – Shame
People often get manipulated because they misjudge the character of their manipulator. We have a tendency to want to see everyone else as basically pretty much like us. We want to think that they think the same way, care about the same things, and feel the same way we do. But individuals with disturbed characters … Continue reading Neurotic vs. Character Disorder? Criterion Three – Guilt
Neurotics have well-developed and overactive consciences (i.e. superegos), whereas disordered characters have consciences that are under-developed and impaired. Neurotics have a huge sense of right and wrong and always want to do the right thing. They often set standards for themselves that are so high they’re virtually impossible to meet, causing themselves a significant amount of … Continue reading Neurotic vs. Character Disorder? Criterion Two – Conscience
Neurotics are very different from individuals with a character disorder on the dimension of anxiety. Anxiety is that primal emotion (i.e. fear response) that we get when we feel threatened in some way. When our fear is attached to a specific, identifiable circumstance, such as being in a room filled with a lot of … Continue reading Neurotic or Character Disorder? – Criterion One: Anxiety