Emotional Imbalance or Character Pathology?
Learn to make the difference between kind souls and bad to evil people!
You know that feeling you get when you’re about to publish a post? The angel on one shoulder says that this post will make your readers connect the dots when it comes to their behavioral patterns or the ones observed in people with whom they’re interacting on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the devil on the other shoulder is enjoying teasing you and ridiculing your silly dream of making such a difference in people’s lives.
Emotionally imbalanced individuals
It is important to understand that emotionally imbalanced people are kind-hearted. Their imbalance is easily fixed whenever they become aware of it and commit to doing their homework — rewiring their subconscious program.
Their style of interacting with their environment is predominantly influenced by their fears, insecurities, and the defenses they mount to protect themselves from any emotional pain.
Their insecurities’ nature is healthy. They are coming from some pure willingness to be better human beings in all circumstances.
But, because they don’t know, in most cases, how to heal their emotional scars, and reconnect again with this original being — basically, because of denial & lack of knowledge, they frequently feel bad about themselves:
Typically, when something reflects negatively on their character; being very connected to their “conscience” — the Principles — even if it is not their center yet.
Being empathetic people is also the main criterion involved in how they feel about themselves when screwing things up. Thus, they can be too quick to self-loathing.
Most of the time, they are unable to process their feelings in a healthy way. Their self-talk comes from a place of shame, not guilt. I will not be able to explain the difference better or even close to how the brilliant Brené Brown did:
“The difference between shame and guilt is best understood as the difference between “I am bad” and “I did something bad.” Guilt = I did something bad. Shame = I am bad. For example, let’s say that you forgot that you made plans to meet a friend at noon for lunch. At 12:15 P.M., your friend calls from the restaurant to make sure you’re okay. If your self-talk is “I’m such an idiot. I’m a terrible friend and a total loser” — that’s ‘shame’. If, on the other hand, your self-talk is “I can’t believe I did that. What a crappy thing to do” — that’s guilt. Here’s what’s interesting — especially for those who automatically think, you should feel like a terrible friend! or A little shame will help you keep your act together next time. When we feel shame, we are most likely to protect ourselves by blaming something or someone, rationalizing our lapse, offering a disingenuous apology, or hiding out. Rather than apologizing, we blame our friend and rationalize forgetting: “I told you I was really busy. This wasn’t a good day for me.” Or we apologize half-heartedly and think to ourselves, Whatever. If she knew how busy I am, she’d be apologizing. Or we see who is calling and don’t answer the phone at all, and then when we finally can’t stop dodging our friend, we lie: “Didn’t you get my e-mail? I canceled in the morning. You should check your spam folder.” When we apologize for something we’ve done, make amends, or change a behavior that doesn’t align with our values, guilt — not shame — is most often the driving force. We feel guilty when we hold up something we’ve done or failed to do against our values and find they don’t match up. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but one that’s helpful. The psychological discomfort, something similar to cognitive dissonance, is what motivates meaningful change. Guilt is just as powerful as shame, but its influence is positive, while shame’s is destructive.”
In a trial to regulate their moods and self-esteem level, emotionally imbalanced individuals engage in quick fixes such as positive affirmations mapping, exercise, food, hanging out with friends with a preference for shallow talks instead of real and vulnerable ones — pretty much any kind of instant gratification — you name it!
In some cases, though, they can experience toxic and unwarranted levels of shame. Their psychological baggage could reach some extremely high levels. They could have been abused by troubled individuals for a long period of time — narcissistic parents or partners for instance.
Their defense mechanisms (i.e. denial) could become increasingly inadequate or begin to break down, letting the emotional pain underneath them rise to the surface.
Consequently, they could experience some chronic and persistent depression — sometimes even commit suicide when it becomes impossible for them to cope with the seemingly unbearable pain.
What about the ‘Character Disturbance’?
Character-disturbed individuals are aware of what they are doing. Like everything in psychology, mental disorders are a spectrum. In the darkest extreme, shamelessness and guiltlessness are the main attributes.
Those people don’t feel badly enough about themselves when they fail to measure up to reasonable expectations, and they don’t feel guilty enough when they do things hurtful or harmful to others. Their insecurities’ nature is unhealthy.
It is not coming from their will to do better — given that they’re almost disconnected from their conscience. The root cause is rather the constant phase-shift between their delusional grandiosity & entitlement, and their reality and how the world is treating them.
Their guiltlessness explains how they can do the same hurtful thing over and over again, but they can be really embarrassed when uncovered or exposed. It is all about protecting the illusional image they create for themselves.
Saying they are ashamed of their behavior, at some point, is only a manipulative strategy. They make use of such a lie because they know their victim — an emotionally imbalanced person — is likely to find it plausible.
With troubled manipulators, what we commonly perceive as unconscious defenses (e.g., denial) are more often deliberate tactics of impression-management and responsibility-avoidance.
Let’s explore together a real-life sample, shall we?
The depressed guy looking for some support
The guy is someone I barely know from high school. He contacted me to say “Thank you for the positive content you’re posting on Facebook during the lockdown! It helped so much! I’m not feeling good lately…”
We talked for hours, and I openly shared my heart & mind as well as my articles — which he promised to start reading immediately — thinking he was really willing to help himself.
A while later, he came back to ask me about details that are already explained in my work. Every time, I was orienting him to where he can find his answers. But he obviously preferred taking advantage as all narcissists do.
Unfortunately for him, he lied and said he was in the middle of his readings, while the answer to his question exists in the very first essay he was supposed to have read.
I pointed it out openly. He apologized. His excuse every time was that he was not being himself, and couldn’t really read. He promised (again) he would come back and talk to me only when he would be done.
The last time we talked, he said “Hey, what’s up?”, to which I didn’t even pay attention. A few minutes later, he added “You were supposed to be present for people who were in need of advice, no? Am I wrong? Anyway, that was supposed to be the new you that you bragged about!”.
He is using here three strategies: victimization, covert aggressiveness — the subtle, hard to detect, but yet deliberate, calculating, and underhanded tactic that manipulators use to intimidate, control, deceive and abuse others.
The last tactic is called projection (when mentioning bragging)— an abuse tactic common to all narcissists. It means accusing you of their own shortcomings, and emotional chaos since they are so unable of managing their internal world.
An ignorant person would feel bad for him even if he aggressed them, and called them an imposter. His goal here is to gain power over me. Seeking the dominant or superior position in any relationship is such a standard pattern in all aggressive personalities.
When I saw his messages a while later, here was my answer: “Excuse-me! Alright, that was the most aggressive message I’ve received in a while. I’ll definitely not answer this. It’s not even worth it. I can witness how foolish I was from the very beginning to spend hours talking to you, while I don’t even know you, I’m not your therapist, and I don’t owe you a thing. That was simply a generous choice you clearly can’t even understand. Best of luck anyway.”
So, now that his first strategies aren’t working as expected, and since he still wants to take advantage, he moves to a new technique, “Come on! You took it the wrong way. I just screwed up expressing myself. Sorry for real. I honestly didn’t mean to harm.”
The first part of the message is a tactic we call gaslighting: making the person doubt their reality. An unconscious and good person would start questioning their reaction, and whether it was not exaggerated — especially when the apology comes so quickly.
That’s exactly the aim of the stratagem. He might have apologized. Still, his apology was shallow, and he betrayed himself by saying the words “honestly” and “for real”.
Why is that working perfectly with people who are not yet knowledgeable about the manipulation tactics? Because this is how they are functioning whenever they feel they might have unintentionally offended others.
Their standards in relationships are extremely different; being very connected to their conscience. Why aren’t they seeing as a red flag the words he is using to emphasize the sincere attribute of his apology?
Because they are perceiving it as proof of care. Their internal dialogue looks like this: “Awww, he really wants me to forgive him! That’s sweet…”. Truth is a sincere apology is felt in our hearts. It doesn’t require the fluffy words to prove it.
My answer to this was, “You’ve just crossed my healthy boundaries, and this is irreversible. I accept your apologies though”; to which he riposted “Too bad for me; I don’t think I was harmful!”.
This is a new strategy we call invalidation— judging our emotions to get us to react. Our reaction is a narcissistic supply.
“Aha, you don’t think you were harmful… Well, I changed my mind about accepting your apologies then. By the way, I decide whether it was harmful or not. They’re my feelings, not yours”.
When I stood for myself — like any healthy person has the right to do — he lied again and found an excuse (he wasn’t thinking it would be hurtful at the moment of saying it).
Moreover, he tried one more time the victimization technique (not being himself). He played the virtuous person card, as well, in the sense that we all make mistakes, but not everybody apologizes for them.
My last words were: “Fair enough. I need to rush. Take care”. Here, he feels ignored. His ego is so hurt that his aggressiveness transforms from covert to overt, and he shows his true colors.
“We had me as an aggressive dude! You’re smart enough to realize I wasn’t! Offensive maybe, but aggressive no! I was never aggressive and will never be! I crossed the line as you said! Not gonna say sorry again! No, you’re not my therapist and nobody’s therapist btw! Never gonna be! The aggressive person is the one who gets mad at a guy in need! Guuuuurl think about it twice before bragging again!”
Here, he uses for the second time projection. He knows so well many would be tempted to defend themselves in such circumstances; which would only nurture his grandiosity illusion. Unluckily for him, he didn’t get his narcissistic supply. I simply stopped enabling him.
Moral of the story: learn about the techniques, so that you don’t let them intimidate and manipulate you.
Can character-disturbed individuals recover?
Character-disturbed people are rarely in the kind of inner distress that might prompt them to seek guidance or counseling on their own. They don’t see anything wrong with themselves in the first place.
They are too grandiose for admitting it to themselves before others. They would even say some funny nonsense comments like “I know better than this stupid therapist”.
People who are interacting with them on a daily basis may complain and experience frustration over their manners, but they like who they are (or at least believe that illusion) and how they operate. Their close circle might try to force the issue, but generally with little success.
Chances they recover almost tend to zero, unfortunately. The only configuration might be when losing all their narcissistic supply sources and find themselves completely alone.
They would seek help because they are unable to survive without their supply. If I care so much about stopping enabling them, it is specifically to trigger such a situation far more frequently, and maybe — just maybe — experts could miraculously help them even a little.
What about emotionally imbalanced people transformation?
The emotionally imbalanced individuals are able of coming back to the original ‘Principles’ Center, and unbecome the filter making them struggle in the first place whenever they become self-aware to see the trap.
When it comes to the inner-peace, while both the emotionally imbalanced (biased Center(s)) and the Principle-centered people are feeling it thanks to their intrinsic goodness, we need to be aware of this detail:
It is unstable for the former group and constant for the latter one.
The two of them might share self-doubts in relation to their talents, skills, and what they can do to better serve the world. But, principle-centered people are very secure in terms of their being.
They are getting their limitless security from their Center since the principles are, by definition, unchangeable and timeless. They know exactly who they are as a person, and are servant leaders able of inspiring everybody around them just by being who they are.
Your Center is the foundation of your love manifestation. If your Center is your children, the love that manifests from it will mostly benefit your children. If your Center is the ‘Principles’, the manifestation of your love will benefit the Universe.
The distorted Centers
The worst centers of all the distorted ones are “Money & Belongings”, “Power & Control”, and “Pleasure”. Those are the most superficial and uncaring centers. Morals have no place in the equation.
Before we move back to the original Center, kind-hearted folks are in general a mixture of some distorted centers with some predominance for one particular center.
Let’s take an example: “Family”, “Self” and “Enemies” with a predominance for “Family”. In such a case, my security is mostly coming from the family's reputation. Whenever there is some family problem, I’d be practicing some self-care — salt bath, ice-cream, yoga, traveling, you name it!
When I’d be done with all the tricks, I’d start complaining about my enemies, how much they’re jealous of me, and making my life difficult. The vicious circle continues forever. I’d probably become depressed if my family issue is persistent.
For narcissists & other toxic personalities, they’re a mixture of the three centers described above. The fake self is feeling secure whenever they have money, belongings, power, and pleasure! You need to pay attention to a crucial detail here, though:
Depending on the type of Narcissistic Personality Disorders (experts are agreeing on the number seven), some may come as virtuous and caring individuals having their families as the center of their world. This is simply a cover.
Having the reputation of being a wonderful parent is simply giving them power. They manipulate, mirror virtues, exploit everybody and anybody even the closest people.
Interestingly, kind-hearted people can also have one of the superficial centers as their predominant one; hence, need to use positive affirmations whenever they feel really ashamed of themselves.
Basically, good people use them when their conscience is triggering shame they need to numb. Narcissists and other manipulators use them whenever they’re not getting their narcissistic supply. The difference is simply huge.
There is a price to be paid
I will not lie to you. The transformation is painful because of the unhealthy ego fierce resistance. This ego has already taken your power of choice for a long time and is constantly lying to you about your capacity to change and stay with that pain.
Let me tell you a story about pain. This happened in South Vietnam in the 20th Century after the Vietnamese kicked the French out of their country, dividing it into a North Communist Vietnam and a South Capitalist one.
It was a protestation against Ngo Dinh Diem put in charge by the Western powers until proper elections, which he miraculously won with a mind-blowing 98.2% of the vote:
That day, a small turquoise car festooned with banners demanding religious freedom led a procession of a few hundred monks and nuns. The monks chanted. People stopped and watched the procession and then returned to their business. It was a busy street on a busy day. And by this point, Buddhist protests were nothing new. The procession reached the intersection in front of the Cambodian embassy and stopped, blocking all cross traffic. The group of monks fanned out into a semi-circle around the turquoise car, silently staring and waiting. Three monks got out of the car. One placed a cushion on the street, at the center of the intersection. The second monk, an older man named Thich Quang Duc, walked to the cushion, sat down in the lotus position, closed his eyes, and began to meditate. The third monk from the car opened the trunk and took out a five-gallon canister of gasoline, carried it over to where Quang Duc was sitting, and dumped the gasoline over his head, covering the old man in fuel. People covered their mouths. Some covered their faces as their eyes began to water at the fumes. An eerie silence fell over the busy city intersection. Passersby stopped walking. Police forgot what they were doing. There was a thickness in the air. Something important was about to happen. Everyone waited. With gasoline-soaked robes and an expressionless face, Quang Duc recited a short prayer, reached out, slowly picked up a match, and without breaking his lotus position or opening his eyes, struck it on the asphalt and set himself on fire. Instantly, a wall of flames rose around him. His body became engulfed. His robe disintegrated. His skin turned black. A repulsive odor filled the air, a mixture of burnt flesh and fuel and smoke. Wails and screams erupted throughout the crowd. Many fell to their knees or lost their balance entirely. Most were just stunned, shocked, and immobilized by what was occurring. Yet, as he burned, Quang Duc remained perfectly still. David Halberstam, a correspondent for the New York Times, later described the scene: I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think. . . As he burned, he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him.~Mark Manson | Everything is f*cked.
What am I trying to say here? You can deal with any level of pain no matter how seemingly unbearable it could be felt. The key? Your drive. Why you are transforming at all?
If it is exclusively for yourself, chances are high you will give up quickly. When there is a passion in your heart to serve the world in the most effective possible way starting by moving back to the great being you originally were, it makes all the difference. Your why is the key, and it has to be principled.
The world is ruled by character-disturbed individuals — among whom narcissists and psychopaths are the most dangerous manipulators — in its majority. They are setting the tone.
The most brilliant of them have taken care of using the limiting beliefs about the world — already vehiculated in the social subconscious program — in such a subtle way that they can even be globally recognized as heroes, saviors, and helpers.
They are making you suffer in silence and constantly doubt yourself, beat yourself up, and lose your sanity. Your kids and the generations unborn would most probably be abused as well. Those insane individuals are everywhere and can be anyone. Still, wondering about your ‘why’?
Setting yourself free through rewiring your program would, combined with knowledge about the different abuse & manipulation techniques, and make you contribute in stopping enabling the narcissists, reversing the selfish, immoral, and superficial system we are living in.
This kind of drive will give you the bravery and strength you need to cope with the pain every time you feel like giving up. I am talking from a place of experience.
Listen, you are a seed of greatness only waiting for you to clean the conditioning dust. You are more powerful than you can even imagine. I hope you will choose wisely!