How Did We End Up Here? — Surviving and Thriving in a Character-Disordered World [Affiliate link] This is a new book by Dr George Simon Jr, PhD. His colleague M. Kathryn Armistead Ph.D is a contributor.
It’s available in paperback. The link above takes you to where you can buy it on Amazon, but no doubt you can purchase it from other retailers too.
Here is the blurb [Internet Archive link]1 from Amazon:
Help! I’m in a relationship with a character-disordered person! Have you asked yourself these questions? Can he (she) really change? Is there a chance for us? Should I stay or do I go? What do I do about the lies, deceit, and manipulation? Popular and best-selling author, Dr. George K. Simon Jr. answers these and other questions. Most disturbed characters are not hopeless. But traditional intervention methods generally don’t work. These people must be confronted but in a way that is healthy for both of you. Learn what and what not to do. Packed with real-life situations and illustrations, each chapter has concrete takeaways and tools to help you take your next steps.
1[May 10, 2023: We added the link to the Amazon blurb for How Did We End Up Here?. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that page. Editors.]
[May 10, 2023: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to May 10, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to May 10, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to May 10, 2023 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (May 10, 2023), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
9 thoughts on “How Did We End Up Here? — a new book by George Simon Jr”
Ok I’ll say it…. 🙂 My sister and I were puzzled both by George Simon writing this book and by the endorsement here as the theme of the book runs counter to the theme of the blog, what we’ve learned in Scripture regarding abusers / evil, and what I thought George’s previous books are about. It offers false hope and would lead a victim to think there’s something she could do to make it work.
The book: “Most disturbed characters are not hopeless….Learn what to do and what not to do.” (i.e. The victim may be able to effect change.)
ACFJ: “To say that abusers cannot change removes responsibility for sin. They can change, but the vast majority choose not to.”
(The prognosis is worse for one claiming to be a brother. He’s worse than an unbeliever.)
I am thinking perhaps we are not the only ones surprised by the post as there are no other comments (yet).
Sister – I think you have some valid points. Certainly when it comes to people we define as abusers, we do not agree with those statements. Barbara is away right now but perhaps when she returns she will be able to comment on your questions. Thank you.
Thanks, Pastor Crippen.
Hi Sister, we have not read the book yet. My copy arrived today and I will be reading it soon. I will be able to comment more then. But at this point I can only offer a guess: My guess is that when Dr Simon is saying —
….he may be doing any or all of the following:
—Giving suggestions to parents about strategies they can take to try to shape the characters of their children who are showing signs of character disturbance.
—Giving information and advice to professionals (e.g. health professionals) who work with disturbed characters. These professionals have usually been taught to believe that what is typically called “personality disorder” in the mental health field is pretty much untreatable, uncorrectable. Simon believes that it is possible to treat it, to correct it — to some extent at least. He is keen to spread this message to professionals.
But I agree with you that on the face of it, his blurb could give the impression that to the extent that his book is addressing victims of domestic abuse, he is telling the victim of domestic abuse that she can fix her abuser.
Rarely do we recommend a book before we have read it. We have thought so highly of Dr Simon’s work up till now, that I took the chance this latest book of his would also be good. If I made an error of judgement, let it be on me. Perhaps I should not have immediately publicised this book. It’s probably a sign I need to slow down and be even more careful because of how many balls I’m juggling in the air at the same time. I shall read the book with interest and let you know my thoughts after I’ve read it.
I admit I was curious about the intent of this book. I have to say that I read Simon’s “In Sheep’s Clothing” and was bothered by it. He made mention several times in that book about neurotic women. It struck me the wrong way. I couldn’t get why he brought that up more than once. I read it to get clarity about manipulative and abusive men. I didn’t need a reminder some women are neurotic. Why not mention alcoholic or lazy women too? A neurotic woman may see abuse a certain way but it’s no less abuse. Was he suggesting neurotic women are more likely to see abuse or assume abuse or even be victims of abuse? I don’t know. If anything abuse makes a woman neurotic. But bringing it up suggests it’s important piece of information to know when dealing with abuse.
Who wouldn’t be neurotic when you don’t know if today when husband comes in the door if you’re going to be yelled at or ignored or invited out to dinner.
I recently heard a marriage counselor on the radio. He was talking about how his marital conflict was resolved when he understood his wife’s family of origin. Ok. Then a man called in and took the bait. He was all over how it never occurred to him how his wife’s family of origin could be why she acts the way she does in causing all the conflict. Based on how and what he said (and his tone) I was sure he was an abuser. I waited for the counselor to pick up on it and he totally missed it. I imagined that some poor woman that night got treated to a lecture on her family of origin.
Normal things get used by abuser to their own ends. If my husband read something about neurotic women or family of origin I wouldn’t hear the end of it. Abusers take everything out of context.
I understand your flinching at the word “neurotic” — it’s been used as such a put down, and moreso for women than men. But George Simon does not use it that way. I suggest you read more of his work to find out what he means by “neurotic”. I don’t have his books to hand right now, so I can’t quote a passage where he defines what he means by neurotic. Perhaps another reader can chime in here and help me out. Or perhaps he may define “neurotic” in this YouTube video link.
It is true that the term neurotic or neurosis has a negative connotation. But as Barbara noted that is not how George Simon uses the term.
Think of neurosis as a dimension of one’s personality, not as a behavior (such as laziness, alcoholism — I realize that some define alcoholism as a disease, which we won’t go into as it’s not relative to this discussion), with extreme neurosis on one end of a continuum and character-disorder on the other end. Simon explains that —
Simon further explains that —
In fact, it is only in “rare cases where neurosis is excessive” and causes problems for the individual.
In chapter one of his book, In Sheep’s Clothing [Affiliate link], Simon describes typical, moderate neurotics as having well-developed consciences, the capacity for guilt and / or shame, hypersensitive to adverse consequences and social rejection, and employing defense mechanisms to help reduce their anxiety and protect themselves from unbearable emotional pain. All of these traits in moderation are positive. On the other hand, disordered characters typically have significantly underdeveloped consciences (perhaps no conscience at all), diminished capacities for experiencing genuine shame or guilt, and inflated self-esteem and erroneous thinking patterns / attitudes. And for many disordered characters their defense mechanism is power tactics used to manipulate others and resist making concessions to societal demands (see page 36 – 39 of the second edition for a complete list of personality traits for both a neurotic and disordered characters). Even in this partial description of traits one can see how a neurotic person is vastly different from a disordered character in their way of thinking, how they perceive themselves, and how they react to situations and people around them. So, when Simon refers to a victim as being neurotic that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, except for extreme cases of neurosis, being neurotic means that you have a healthy conscience, you have a sense of right and wrong, and you consider others needs.
Now consider an abusive husband who falls towards the disordered character end of the continuum. He thinks only of himself and doesn’t consider the rightness or wrongness of his actions. He sees people as possessions and doesn’t consider how his actions will affect others. How will a neurotic wife (with a healthy conscience, who considers other needs, and has a sense of right / wrong) react to a disordered character — especially when the abusive person is very subtle with his manipulative tactics and hides behind the facade of Christianity? The conscience of a neurotic who has been told it was her fault will go into overdrive wondering if in fact it was. She may agonize over her every action to find what she did wrong. And because she cares for others she will put forth much effort to help her abusive husband. What better way for an abusive husband to shift the focus off of his destructive behavior than to exploit these positive personality traits of his wife.
This is how I understand George Simon’s use of the term neurotic. Simon addresses this in chapter one of his book if you want a complete and more accurate explanation than I have been able to give. If I have caused more confusion and / or am faulty in my understanding, I hope that Barbara, when she returns, will help clarify this issue for both of us.
Thank you for the explanation. I’m glad for the clarity. I did read the book but I think that term neurotic hit me so hard a the time (I was just coming out of the fog) I couldn’t get past it to appreciate the book. Thank you for taking the time to help me understand. I will look at his book again and his other work.