The book "Character Disturbance: A Phenomenon of Our Age" by George K. Simon Ph.D. is one I would recommend to a lot of people. Especially, those people interested in persuasion, influence and how the mind works.
The book Character Disturbance is a psychologists description of how the most manipulative people in the world think and operate. Believe me, it is not a pleasant experience for those who live with them.
Those people who are “character disturbed” will use guilt, blame, lies, coercion and fear with very little hesitation to get what they want. It’s important to understand that us normal neurotics can seldom correct their behavior.
Why? Because it works.
The author clarifies that Disturbed Characters cannot be dealt with using traditional counseling methods because traditional methods focus on how to cope with negative emotions like guilt, shame, anxiety and fear and these emotions are typically not felt by Disturbed Characters!
For the Disturbed Character “doing the right thing” simply means giving them what they want regardless of the sacrifice it causes you.
Does this sound like anyone you know?
Dr. Simon draws a clear distinction between us normal “neurotics”, who are susceptible to negative emotions and the Disturbed Character, who is not. This dynamic will make the average neurotic seem like a tasty meal for the Disturbed Character. Once they’ve sucked the life from the neurotic, taken their money, affection and emotional stability they move on to the find someone else to devour.
How do you deal with these people? Avoiding them is the best advice but that is harder than one might think. Their Character Disturbance will only reveal itself once you are seduced and entwined within their icy grip.
There are ways to deal with these people . One of my favorite examples in the book is how the psychologist deals with the relationship between a manipulative son (the Disturbed Character) and mother (a severe neurotic). It has to read to be appreciated.
The book provided me a with lots of opportunity to self-reflect so that I might measure just where I might be on the neurotic/Disturbed spectrum. It also reveal some great ways to deal with some situations that I occasionally experience with people.