Character Disorders t00447

Dr. Ankenman calls the work substitute defect a character disorder because it mistakes work for love. The work substitute lacks emotional love for his family and others because he thinks going to work to provide for the family is enough. His wife feels very unloved.  The diffuse love defect describes the person who can act loving to any stranger for a short time, but is unable to build deeply in one relationship. Many males struggle with both habits. The idea of substituting activity for love is tutored into children. Instead children should learn to give sacrificial, emotional love.


One Comment

  1. Greg

    So much of this describes me. I can definitely identify with the “need” at a younger age to supress feelings and tough it out. And to replace real emotional life with doing and accomplishing. It is such an escape and such a trap. Even to this day there is a fear to be emotionally vulnerable — if I am then I lose the ability to function. I have softened a bit thanks to the grace of God and a loving wife and friends — but it is a very deep pit.

    I do wonder how typical the Work-Substitute is these days. It certainly seemed the dominant disorder for guys when I was growing up. But that doesn’t seem to be the case today

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