Fran’s heart ached so much for her narcissistic, bullying, abusive son.  Even worse for her than his hostility and anger towards her was that he couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of himself even though he was 41.

He was bright enough and talented enough to succeed but he was an incompetent loser.  He lost jobs, apartments and girlfriends.  Fran was afraid if she didn’t bail him out he’d get depressed and turn to drugs or suicide.  He begged for her help but when she’d advised him or gave him the money he wanted, he’d turn nasty.  Then he’d blame her for all his problems and yell at her to stop controlling him.

Fran felt guilty and tortured herself.
She thought since he was an arrogant, entitled narcissist, it must be her fault.  Since he hated her, she must have done many things wrong.  His therapist agreed with him.  The only way she could think of atoning for whatever sins he thought she’d committed was to keep giving him everything he wanted and to accept his verbal and emotional bullying and abuse.

Her narcissistic parents had abandoned her when she was young and she’d vowed never to abandon her child.  She felt compelled to rescue him, to save him from himself and the hostile world.

We can’t rescue someone who doesn’t want to be rescued.  Only he could save himself.
Yes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.  You can’t save a person’s soul when his pit is bottomless.  Fran couldn’t save him from himself, from the laziest, greediest, most entitled parts of himself.  

Giving him what he wanted would only enable him to stay a selfish bully.
Fran’s son didn’t really want to learn to be independent.  He always complained but he wouldn’t make the steps he knew he needed to take.  He wanted Fran to make all the effort so he could get what he wanted easily, and then reject and lash out at her.  That game was more important to him than succeeding independently.  He’d much rather fail and have excuses to justify his failure and his reasons for blaming her.  

First, they have to be transformed on the inside.
First, they have to become people who are determined to pull themselves up no matter how hard that is.   Then, they have to take difficult steps to help themselves out of the pit they dug for themselves.  Only after Fran’s son made concerted effort over time against adversity could offered help be helpful.  And it would be better coming from someone else.  Fran had to take herself out of the rescuer/meddler role.

What to do while we’re praying for their transformation.
This is the hardest role because it goes against our promises to ourselves and our natural inclination to reach out and put a healing balm on our baby’s pain.  We must remember they’re no longer babies.  And pain, suffering and natural consequences can be the greatest stimulators to their developing the strength, courage and determination they need to survive.

Fran decided to break the game – without his “understanding” or permission.

  1. She told her son she was finally weaning him.  She’d stop paying for his phone, car insurance and rent.  She’d stop covering his debts when he’d overspent.  To help him, she’d stop meddling in his life; she’d stop rescuing him. She was no longer a hovering mommy to a little child.  
  2. She’d continue being a cheerleader encouraging him to solve the problems and difficulties he made for himself.  Maybe, when he bottomed out he’d get the help he needed on his own.  Maybe not.  But she’d let him fail and bear the consequences.
  3. She said she wouldn’t listen to his problems and suffering.  They were boring and trivial.  She’d be glad to talk with him about was exciting in their lives; books, movies, music, art, etc.
  4. She said her home was no longer his home; his childhood room no longer his room.  He was an adult now and had to be a guest in her home.  And he knew the rules for behavior of a guest who’d be welcomed back.  Then she gave him all his childhood stuff and converted his old room into a studio for herself.
  5. She said if he showed himself incapable of making great use of his gifts and talents, she’d find other people who would make something great with her love and money, and appreciate her in return.

Of course, her son blew up and tested her resolve.
He ranted and raved at her.  When he couldn’t bully her into submission, he begged and pleaded and threated to die on the streets.  When that didn’t work he tried worming his way back to her money bit by bit.

And of course, she sometimes gave in but she then went right back to her chosen course.  One moment of weakness did not set a precedent.  And of course, it took months of manipulation attempts before her son finally started becoming independent.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Elle’s grown children treated her just like their father, her ex-husband, had.  They demanded whatever they wanted, put her down at every opportunity, yelled and blamed her when she didn’t give them everything immediately and then threatened to withhold her grandchildren.  They were narcissistic, abusive bullies.

Elle was always kind and gentle with them.  She tried to defend herself with examples, reason and logic.  Her parents had taught her that gentle words always turned away wrath.  She always apologized and begged for forgiveness, even though she knew she hadn’t done anything wrong.  But that never seemed to help.

She thought, if she was kind enough, they would treat her the way she wanted.
Clearly, she wasn’t gentle, kind and understanding enough.  She was to blame; she was guilty; she must be a bad mother.

Bullies, narcissists aren’t turned back by gentle words
If kind words are effective with someone, that person isn’t really a bully or narcissist.  Relentless bullies and narcissists aren’t stopped by gentle words.  Actually, that’s my test to see if someone is really a bully or narcissist.

This applies to all relationships: toxic parents, controlling siblings, righteous friends, selfish, entitled adult children and domineering co-workers.  They all use the same approaches and varied the tactics slightly depending on the situation.

Elle remembered her parents had always told her to understand and forgive bullies.  She’d tried but the bullies never stopped.  She’d used the same approach to her parents’ demands and anger but they never stopped manipulating her or taking advantage of her.  She could see now they wanted her to be kind and gentle while they allowed themselves to be selfish, demanding and angry.  Even now, they were toxic in her life.

Be a scientist; believe your experience, not their explanations.
Your experience with them is the real evidence, the data.  Elle realized that her parents, her ex-husband and her children’s behavior had always been consistent: bullying and narcissistic.  Their reasons, excuses and justifications had varied but always had the same theme: they were entitled; she should give in and submit to their will; she should be sweet and obedient, and maybe someday she would win their kindness in return.  But she never could.

Commit to your standards, not theirs.
Their standards for her behavior always gave them the advantage.  She always had to defend herself and eventually become submissive and docile.  They always got their way.

But now Elle committed to follow her own standards of how she would allow people to treat her, no matter the name of the relationship.  She decided that the kindness, most respectful thing she could do for their Souls would be to tell them to stop being demanding, arrogant and bullying, to stop throwing temper-tantrums and hissy fits.  She would honor them with the truth.  The way they were acting is bad for them and for the whole town.  They would have to be gentle and kind in order to get into her space.  

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Dottie was furious.  Her husband’s parents and his sister criticized and demeaned her to him and also in public.  They were relentlessly bullying and abusive.  They were clear; he should divorce her and do what they wanted.

She hadn’t done anything particularly wrong.
Then Dottie realized that it wasn’t that she’d done anything wrong.  Those bullies and narcissists were simply moving down the line from one brother’s wife to the next, and she was the third.  After her, they’d find someone else on whom to focus their anger and hatred.  They moved from one scapegoat to the next.

Even more, she’d seen that type of behavior in every relationship situation.
She’d seen toxic and demanding parents organize the family to guilt-trip and try to force one particular child to do what they wanted; she’d seen toxic adult children gang up and blame everything on one parent or one sibling; she’d seen disgruntled spouses alienate children from the other spouse; She’d seen therapists side with the bullies because they were the most difficult people in the room, and turn on the reasonable person who might give in and make all the changes; she’d seen co-workers mock and demean someone who tried to be kind and understanding.

She’d seen haters move from target to target, always having someone to scapegoat.
That was typical behavior for many bullies and narcissists; always blame and attack someone else.  She saw they felt good and powerful and righteous attacking the scapegoat of the moment.  They wanted the scapegoats to feel fear and to submit, to be obedient; that gave them power and control.

It was mean-girl/mean-boy junior high school all over again.

She’d be condemned no matter what she did.

Nothing she could ever do would be good enough for her husband’s family.  They wanted her to think she’d done something wrong and if only she acted perfectly and pleased them, she’d have no trouble.  They want her to keep trying to please them forever.  But they’d never let her succeed, so she’d always be trying harder and they’d always be manipulating and cutting her down.

Dottie and her husband decided to break the game.  The two hard parts were:

  1. Getting past their guilt at maintaining their standards and disagreeing with people they were told they should love, honor and respect.  And make happy.
  2. Getting past the need to argue and justify themselves or to prove their innocence to people who’d already decided they were guilty.

They decided they simply wouldn’t care what jerks and haters thought.  They wouldn’t give jerks and haters any power over them.  They decided not to be around those predators – not to answer calls or texts, and, instead, to have family holidays with his brothers and their wives but not with people who wanted to stab them.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Claire’s narcissistic, adult children bullied and abused her with their negativity, demands, distain and blame.  And she let them get away with it.  She always reached out and apologized.  She always minimized everything they did and magnified her imperfections in any incident.

They were not the least bit afraid of her.  They knew there’d be no consequences that mattered for them.

It’s the same in many situations.
I’ve seen the same pattern when siblings gang up and back-stab or bad-mouth the one who is nicest, when toxic and demanding parents’ guilt-trip and try to force children to do what they want, when a co-worker mocks and demeans someone who tries to be kind and understanding, and when selfish customers expect staff to be their servants or slaves.

Tolerating bullying, abuse and narcissism only encourages predators to do more.  Following the Golden Rule only encourages true bullies and narcissists to do more.

Instill a healthy fear in bullies and narcissists.
Fear is a normal and healthy part of growing up.  We need to fear sabre-tooth tigers and rattlesnakes.  We need to fear the consequences of stealing and killing.  We need to fear the consequences of using and abusing people.  Fear is often a step in our learning to be polite and civil because that behavior is “Right.”  

Many people understand that early on and consistently treat people decently.  But many other people need to have a healthy fear of messing with you or taking advantage of you before they act civil and polite.

Bullies and narcissists understand only power.  So it’s healthy for us if they’re afraid of being nasty or taking advantage of us.  It’s also a healthy step for them if they’re habitually takers and users.

Should I turn the other cheek?
Be a scientist; do an experiment.  Give them a chance.  If they still bully, blame and abuse, make them afraid of you.

Am I being just as bad?  Two wrongs don’t make a right.
No, Claire was not being just as bad when she made them afraid.  She was simply standing up for good standards of behavior.  Her adult children were trying to beat her into submission, loot her treasure, drink her blood.  There’s a difference and she knew that in her heart.

Claire took charge by charging back at them.
She started by ignoring what they were angry about and saying, “Don’t you dare yell at me.  I’m your mother and you’d better have more respect.”   And she hung up on them.  They assumed she’d call back but she waited them out.  Then she demanded an apology before continuing on to any other subject.  And she said they had to prove their apology was sincere by maintaining decent behavior over time.

When they tried to make their anger important and demand things from her, she said, “You’re the problem.  Remember your manners.  If you want anything from me, you’ll treat me nice, you’ll ask nice and you’ll be grateful.”

Claire never argued with them and never defended herself.  Instead she simply demanded good behavior.  Not sending them birthday or Christmas presents made the point but, I think it was telling them she was cutting them out of her will that really affected them.  They’d thought they could do what they wanted and still be rewarded.  Now they became afraid and started behaving themselves.

Was their change sincere?
Claire decided probably not, but it didn’t matter.  She knew that continuing the old way would guarantee the same old behavior.  The new way, she could enjoy being treated nicely.  If she had to bring them back into line once in a while, she could live with that.  Her choice.

Claire’s task was easier than many people’s because her children didn’t have grandchildren to threaten to withhold.  And her ex wasn’t alienating the children.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Billy’s narcissistic, toxic parents were always angry at him.  He was never perfect; he’d never done everything they’d wanted and one time he’d even walked out on them when they were in the middle of a tirade.  Billy had to admit he wasn’t perfect.  Maybe his parents were justified in being angry?  Maybe he had to give them everything they wanted at a moment’s notice all the time?

Beth’s abusive, greedy, demanding, adult children were angry at her.  She hadn’t created perfect environments for them when they were growing up; she hadn’t done what they’d wanted and one time she’d yelled at her son and she’d also taken her daughter’s phone away for two weeks.  Beth had to admit she hadn’t been perfect.  Maybe her children were justified in being angry?  Maybe she had to give them everything they wanted at a moment’s notice all the time?

Why did their accusers’ hate them?
Billy’s parents and Beth’s children said they hated them and they had to give them a lot to overcome that hate.  Both Beth and Billy knew they hadn’t do anything particularly bad.  And when they’d resisted, they’d been provoked beyond measure.  They kept asking themselves, “What have I done that was so hateful?”

In these cases, Billy’s parents and Beth’s children had chosen to hate.  Nothing particularly bad had been done to them but hating had made them feel righteous and powerful, and had gotten other people to give in to them.  Beth and Billy realized that haters always find reasons to hate.  But they hate because they’re haters, not because of their excuses and justifications.  No amount of satisfying today’s demand would satisfy those haters for long.

Haters want us to take their emotions seriously.
Haters hate most when other people don’t care about their hates.  Instead, they want us to spend our lives trying to make up for what they hate.  They want us to ask ourselves always, “What did I do wrong?”  And they want us to keep trying harder, forever, to please them.

We haven’t been perfect according to them.  So what?
Billy or Beth’s narcissistic, bullying judges and their learned-inner judges decided that if they ever did anything wrong, they were guilty of everything and had to pay the price of everything their accusers wanted, all the time.  Those judges demanded perfection or guilt and shame.

The big step for Beth and Billy was to stop examining themselves with the eyes of hostile judges and stop finding themselves guilty of infractions.  They simply accepted that they weren’t perfect, and their mistakes did not entitle their bullying abusers to take advantage of them.

Billy and Beth accused their accusers.
At first Beth and Billy said, “I wasn’t perfect but I don’t have to be; you weren’t perfect either.”  Then they said, “I’ve put down the guilt.  I’m bored with your attempts to make me feel guilty enough to give you money or to accept your beating.”  Then they said, “If you hate me, take that up with your therapist.  I’m done dealing with your hatred.  You can learn; you can do better.  Grow up and become the wonderful adults you could have been.”

They stopped trying to satisfy their haters.
They hung up or walked away from the haters.  They even laughed at the haters’ feelings.  They started demanding good behavior now.  “If you want anything from me, you’ll have to be nice and polite and grateful over time before I give you.”  Beth and Billy liked the consequences of taking control of the distance between them and their haters more than being jerked around by their bullies.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Alice asked her husband, “Don’t you want me to feel like I’m loved?”  Her husband finally told her the truth in so many words, “I’d rather have you feeling like you’re in prison.”

Bullies and narcissists had wanted to control her in almost every relationship.
Alice felt like she’d been punched.  That really was what her husband wanted; complete control of her life.  With a shock, she allowed herself to feel that same blow from her toxic parents, her critical, abusive sisters, her selfish, arrogant, entitled adult daughter, the friend who always used her whenever she needed, and her sarcastic, back-stabbing boss.

They all wanted her in the prison of their choosing.  They might have different desires – power, money, guilt, someone to kick – but, ultimately, they all wanted submission and obedience.  Some wanted her to protest so they could beat her down; some wanted her to pretend she loved them.  They wanted her in prison, like a Stepford Wife who loved her master.

She knew her husband lied when he said he didn’t really mean it.
This time Alice’s realization remain in her.  He might say anything, they all might smile once in a while, but their behavior never changed.  They still did everything they could to keep her in prison.  Their behavior told the truth.

The degree of difficulty in freeing herself.
Since Alice had let so many people in her life be her prison guard, she had a difficult task ahead.  She had to free herself from prison despite their attempts to keep her locked up.  Also, she had to free herself despite the fear she’d become a bad person.  She was also afraid she’d lose all those people and then she’d have no one.

The crucial step is freeing ourselves from our self-imposed prisons, despite the fears and second-guessing.  Of course, the prison guards would keep trying to lock her up; it had worked for them for decades.  But the most important step was her own resolve – her courage, strength and determination.  She remember the stories of caged birds who are set free and return to their cages where it’s secure.  She remembered the stories of long-term prisons who can’t function when let free.

Alice commanded herself to get free; one step at a time.
Every time the distant future looked too scary, every time she thought of too many “what ifs,” she grabbed herself and made herself look at only the next step.  When she focused on the next step, that seemed do-able and she could move herself.

Hers was a journey made step by step, but she did find and create a new family and community; a family of her heart, mind and spirit; no prisons, no cages, no guards.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

When other threats and manipulations fail, many bullies and narcissists blackmail their sources of money using threats of suicide.

One situation.
Vicki’s 50 year-old brother, bright and articulate, had worked only sporadically in his life.  He’d sponged off their parents and after they died, he demanded that Vicki give him the whole of their small inheritance, not the half they’d left him.  He said he needed it all in order to fund his next project and scheme (a trip around the world with his new girlfriend taking pictures).

When Vicki said, “no,” he barraged her with emails and texts about how needy and deserving he was.  When she still said, “no,” he barraged their extended family with Facebook posts and emails about how jealous and mean she’d always been, and how she was violating what this parents had actually wanted.

When Vicki still said, “no,” he barraged her and the family with threats of suicide, blaming Vicki.  He said it would be her fault for ruining his life and she’d be remember as cold, heartless and unloving, having driven a wonderful brother to suicide.

Some questions to ask ourselves.
This is a very difficult area because we have to make careful distinctions in each situation and because a life might be on the line.

  1. Has the person been depressed, anxious and suicidal all their lives?
  2. Have there been previous, serious attempts?
  3. Do they have a specific, detailed plan?
  4. Has some specific and devastating situation arisen?
  5. Do they threaten suicide only when they don’t get what they want?
  6. What does the doctor say?
  7. Do we believe they’re serious?

Vicki was clear.
Her brother had been a narcissist all his life.  He was selfish and felt entitled to be supported in doing whatever he felt like.  He’d blackmailed his parents using this threat all his life to get whatever he wanted.  He’d only contacted them or her when he needed money.  He never seemed serious enough to carry out his threat.  That is; he never has specifics or detailed plans; just threats.

But her parents had given in; in part because they couldn’t live with their guilt if he carried out the threat.  And also, in part, because they hoped that each gift would bring their son to a sense of responsibility and duty to take care of himself.  He was certainly capable of doing so if he was willing to struggle in order to succeed.

Vicki wrote, “no,” to her brother and sent copies to the whole extended family.  She had her own responsibilities and she was kicking her brother out of the nest.  She’d live with the consequences of her decision.

She told him if he ever threatened suicide again, she’d call his local police and ask them to do a psychiatric evaluation.  She also told him that if he did kill himself, she’d cry but she’d blacken his memory as a weak, coward and selfish loser.

The decision is much harder if the person threatening is an adult child or a parent who’s getting old.  Or if you’re sure they’re serious.  In those cases, our considerations of love and duty may shift the balance.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situationThe best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Tom said about his narcissistic, toxic parents the same thing Tracy said about her bullying, narcissistic adult son, “How can they not care how I feel or what I want?  Look at all I’ve done for them.  I don’t believe they don’t care.”

Bullying, toxic, narcissists don’t care about us.
They have totally different standards, values and wants from us.  They have totally different rules.  They want what they want so much they’re willing to beat or manipulate us or even act nice temporarily to get what they want.

What we’ve given them in the past, our feelings or desires, our rules of honesty and fair play don’t matter to them.  The only thing that matters to them is what they want and they’ll use any tactic to get it.  And once they get it, they move on to the next thing they want.  We’re only used to give them what they want; we’re slaves.

Our power over our own thoughts, feelings and actions is the only thing that stops them.

Accepting that is the key to taking charge of our lives.
The people who call me for coaching were not bad parents.  They were fine.  They shouldn’t accept blame or guilt for these toxic, narcissists’ feelings or for not giving them what they want.

There was nothing Tom or Tracy could do to satisfy their oppressors.  The demands would be endless.  The problems were not them, the problems were his parents and her son.  Changing them was impossible; Tom and Tracy couldn’t perform miracles.  Changing them was above their job descriptions.

Once Tom and Tracy accepted that, which they knew in their hearts but didn’t want to admit, they could acknowledge years of bullying treatment.  They could see the patterns.  Simple and clear; just not easy to accept.

Now they could decide how to live the rest of their lives.
Tom could decide if he wanted to serve his parents until they died; knowing he’d be bullied, whipped and bled dry the whole time.  Tracy could decide whether she’d accept guilt and be scourged all the rest of her life in order to see her granddaughter.  She also knew, no matter what she did, her granddaughter would be raised to hate her and to try to use her like her son did.

Or they could decide, seeing the future more clearly, if they wanted to demand good behavior from their masters as the price for letting their predators into their worlds.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Agnes was distraught.  She thought one of her sons and his wife hated her and didn’t want to see her any more.  She was afraid they’d cut her off from her new grandchild.  She didn’t know why they would want to estrange from her.

Were her son and his wife toxic adult children; was his wife alienating her son from her?  How could Agnes tell?

  1. Agnes’ son and his wife were not harsh or cruel to her.  They’d actually explained, numerous times, kindly, almost pleadingly, that they simply liked privacy.  They were not bullying or abusive; no temper tantrums.  They said they didn’t want her coming over unannounced.  They’d call her at least month, maybe even more if she’d respect their privacy.  They begged her not to bring dinner.  She was a great cook but they liked cooking together by themselves.  Of course they’d spend the big holidays with her, in rotation with her daughter-in-law’s family.
  2. They told Agnes they loved her and simply had different personalities and styles; they liked distance.  She hadn’t done anything wrong and they were struggling with their guilt at not living their lives the way she wanted.  Her daughter-in-law even said she’d call her “Nonna.”  They felt guilty.  Nevertheless, they had to live the way they were comfortable.
  3. Agnes remembered that her son had always been that way.  He’d always seemed to want privacy and had distanced himself.  She’d insisted the family do everything together; that was simply what families did.  She’d spent a lot of his childhood dragging him back into the bosom of her family.
  4. They never asked for money or demanded her help on a whim.  They weren’t using distance or cruelty to blackmail Agnes or to make her life miserable.  They simply seemed to like more scheduling and planning ahead.
  5. They never used her grandchild as a hostage for demands.  They never hovered to oversee Agnes playing with child.  They even said they could see spending a day a month together or even leaving Agnes’ grandchild with her if Agnes gave them distance in other ways.
  6. They treated her daughter-in-law’s family the same way.

What was the problem?
Agnes’s other son and his wife were fine with Agnes’s being intimately involved in their lives.  One of them called at least once a day.  Unannounced, Agnes brought dinner to them at least once a week and spent all day Saturday with them.  That was exactly the way she imagined, all her life, being a mother and grandmother.  She was helper and caretaker.  Agnes focused all her vast energy on her family; she’d even vacation with them if they let her.

That was the problem.  The first son wasn’t smothered by Agnes’s attentions but the second was.  He and his wife wanted more privacy and time for their nuclear family.  They were not toxic adult children; her daughter-in-law wasn’t alienating her son from her.  They simply didn’t wanted to be smothered by Agnes’ ever-present love.

The only thing Agnes had done wrong was not to see her son as an individual different from herself; with a different personality and style.  And possessing free will.  Her son and his wife were not toxic or bullying.  They didn’t try to beat Agnes down with anger or manipulate her by guilt at not having been a good enough parent.

Reconciliation was relatively straightforward.
Agnes had a hard time accepting that they had different personalities and styles from her dream.  She had a hard time thinking of them as independent and capable adults.  This was not the life she’d planned so carefully.

But once Agnes finished weeping her guts out, once she realized it wasn’t about who was right or wrong, it was simply about personalities, Agnes started listening to their boundaries.  Once she relented and talked to them calmly, her son and daughter-in-law also relented a little and welcomed her more than they’d originally said.  But no vacations together.

Of course, the same applies to every gender combination.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Bullying, toxic adult children want you defensive; they always attack.
These narcissists want you to take their charges seriously.  They don’t have to win every time as long as you’re always defending yourself.  Sooner or later they’ll win on something.  Or you’ll grow tired of defending yourself; you’ll give up and do what they want.  You’ll be glad to give them the little things they want.  Pretty soon you’ll even be glad to buy some peace and quiet by giving them the big things they want.  They want you as a useful slave, willing to take their beatings and admit your guilt.

Sam’s estranged wife had alienating his children from him.  Every bad feeling she or they had was his fault.  The selfish, entitled children hadn’t needed much encouragement.  She taught them to criticize him, accuse him of demanding too much of them and of not proving his love of them.  The only way to prove his love was to support them in whatever ways they wanted and to cater to their every whim.

Bullying, toxic adult children want you to worry about how they’ll attack you next.
They want all your fear, attention and energy focused on them.  They want you looking over your shoulder and walking on egg shells.  What’s their motive?  They want power and domination; they want whatever they want at the moment.  Sometimes they simply want to kick the dog.

Sam had already tried every factual, reasonable, logical approach he could think of.  These hadn’t worked because his bullying, toxic adult children thought his defending showed his weakness.  Those tactics only encouraged them to abuse Sam even more.

Some outrageous ways to get you off the defensive so you can take power and control back from bullies.

  1. Don’t take their charges seriously.  When they accuse you of being selfish, laugh and say, happily, “Yes, I am.  You taught me that’s the way to win.”  When they accuse you of not loving them, laugh and say, happily, “Oh no, you’re wrong.  I love you, I just don’t like you.  You’re simply selfish and spoiled, mean and vicious.”
  2. Mock them, frustrate them and get them angry.  When they say the economy is bad, their life is hard and you owe them, laugh and say, happily, “I’m so sorry you’ve turned out to be weak, cowardly and a loser.  I’d hoped you’d be stronger.  Deep down inside of you, I know you have the strength.  Find it and struggle and you'll succeed.”  When they explode, laugh and say, happily, “Still throwing temper tantrums or having hissy-fits at your age?  Do you need to go to your room and have a time out?”  Or laugh and pretend to be an Olympic judge and say, happily, “That’s only a 6.3.  I’ve seen you do a 9.7.  Try again.”  When they guilt trip you, laugh and say, happily, “You’re the ones getting punished for your guilt in manipulating me and treating me like a slave all those years.”  Of course, when you take back your power and control, they’ll be furious.  When they’re furious, you know you’re doing good.
  3. Ignore their charges and attack back, especially in public.  Bullying, toxic parents count on your being embarrassed and giving into them in public.  Don’t.  When they say you owe them, laugh and say, happily, “After all the torture you’ve inflicted on me, you owe me.”  Or laugh and say, happily, “You’ve been a horrible child.  Your job is to please me if you want anything from me, alive or dead.”  And mean it.
  4. Make an inner change so you’re simply not defensive when you’re with them.  For the last 80 years, popular culture and psychology have been wrong.  They taught parents to make their children happy, provide them whatever they wanted and make them the center of the world.  Nonsense.  That approach usually creates selfish, entitled narcissistic people.  The older culture was that children were supposed to please the adults, to serve the people who gave them life.  Both poles are wrong.  The inner change needed is that your primary task in life is not to make anyone else happy, not to accept judgment by anyone else’s standards.  You’re old enough to use your own experience and wisdom to make up your own mind.  Make a wonderful future for yourself.  Live with character, integrity and honor; live with passion and joy.  Do what your Soul, not your personality, is here to do.
  5. Don’t waste your life-blood arguing with jerks and narcissists, even your toxic, adult children.  Remember, bullying, toxic adult children want to keep you engaged so they’re the focus of your life.  You can’t save them.  That’s above your pay grade.  Don’t focus on what drains your blood and whips your flesh.  Kick them out of the nest.  Move away; mentally, emotionally or physically.  Find the true family of your heart, mind and spirit.  

Yes, it’s hard, if you accept you’re a bad person or if you fear you won’t go to heaven without their approval or when they have some leverage like your grandchildren.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
6 CommentsPost a comment

Bullying, toxic parents want you defensive; they always attack.
These narcissists want you to take their charges seriously.  They don’t have to win every time as long as you’re always defending yourself.  Sooner or later they’ll win on something.  Or you’ll grow tired of defending yourself; you’ll give up and do what they want.  You’ll be glad to give them the little things they want.  Pretty soon you’ll even be glad to buy some peace and quiet by giving them the big things they want.  They want you as a useful slave, willing to take their beatings and admit your guilt.

Shauna’s parents had manipulated and abused her when she was growing up.  When she was a young adult, they took all her money.  They told her she’d fail and she wouldn’t get into heaven unless she did what they said.  Now they wanted her to give them full-time care in their house and to spend her savings to make their lives comfortable.  She owed it to them.

Bullying, toxic parents want you to worry about how they’ll attack you next.
They want all your fear, attention and energy focused on them.  They want you looking over your shoulder and walking on egg shells.  What’s their motive?  They want power and domination; they want whatever they want at the moment.  Sometimes they simply want to kick the dog.

Shauna had already tried every factual, reasonable, logical approach she could think of.  These hadn’t worked because her bullying, toxic parents thought her defending showed her weakness.  Those tactics only encouraged them to abuse Shauna even more.

Some outrageous ways to get you off the defensive so you can take power and control back from bullies.

  1. Don’t take their charges seriously.  When they accuse you of being selfish, laugh and say, happily, “Yes, I am.  You taught me that’s the way to win.”  When they accuse you of not loving them, laugh and say, happily, “Oh no, you’re wrong.  I love you, I just don’t like you.  You’re simply selfish, mean and vicious.”  When they accuse you of not honoring your mother or father, laugh and say, happily, “Yes, I wish I had ones worth honoring.”  Or, “I honor the way I want, not the way you want to use me as a slave.”
  2. Mock them, frustrate them and get them angry.  When they say their life is hard and you owe them, laugh and say, happily, “I’m so sorry you’ve made bad decisions about health and money but that’s your problem.”  When they explode, laugh and say, happily, “Still throwing temper tantrums or having hissy-fits at your age?”  When they guilt trip you, laugh and say, happily, “You’re the ones getting punished for your guilt in manipulating me and treating me like a slave all those years.”  Of course, when you take back your power and control, they’ll be furious.  When they’re furious, you know you’re doing good.
  3. Ignore their charges and attack back, especially in public.  Bullying, toxic parents count on your being embarrassed and giving into them in public.  Don’t.  When they say you owe them, laugh and say, happily, “After all the torture you’ve inflicted on me, you owe me.”  Or laugh and say, happily, “You’ve been horrible, bullying, toxic parents.  Your job is to please me if you want anything from me.”  And mean it.
  4. Make an inner change so you’re simply not defensive when you’re with them.  The inner change needed is that your primary task in life is not to make anyone else happy, not to accept judgment by anyone else’s standards.  You’re old enough to use your own experience and wisdom to make up your own mind.  Make a wonderful future for yourself.  Live with character, integrity and honor; live with passion and joy.  Do what your Soul, not your personality, is here to do.
  5. Don’t waste your life-blood arguing with jerks, even your parents.  Remember, bullying, toxic parents want to keep you engaged so they’re the focus of your life.  Don’t focus on what drains your blood and whips your flesh.  Move away; mentally, emotionally or physically.  Find the true family of your heart, mind and spirit.  

Of course it’s hard, if you accept you’re a bad person or if you fear you won’t go to heaven without their approval.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Ruth and Ralph felt like they were at another choice point; who was in charge of their lives?

Narcissists want to control your life.
When she was growing up, Ruth’s father was in charge of his family.  He was the Patriarch: He had to be obeyed.  Her mother gave in and never protected Ruth.  Sometimes, she encouraged him to abuse the children.  Ruth learned how to make life easier for herself.  She’d guess what he would want and do it.  She remembers when she decided never have an opinion of her own.  When she was 18, her parents forced her into a disastrous marriage to a man who’d also rule over her.  Even now, at 45 and with her children independent, her father and her husband insisted on ruling her life.  They wanted her to be a good servant, a willing slave.

When his daughters were in their 20s, Ralph finally broke free and divorced his bullying, controlling, abusive narcissistic wife.  He’d never resisted her before because he saw that resistance would lead to immediate divorce.  He thought the girls would be harmed by divorce when they were young.  Now his daughters took over the role of selfish controllers.  Whenever he didn’t do what they wanted they threw hissy-fits.  He was a bad dad; he should feel guilty; they knew exactly how he should show his love of them; they knew what was best for him; they wouldn’t let him see his grandchildren if he didn’t jump every time they wanted.

Who do you want to decide on your present and future?
Ruth’s parents and husband, Ralph’s daughters, egged on by his ex-wife, wanted to be the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of their lives for their own benefit, not for Ruth’s and Ralph’s.

In moments of clarity and anger, both Ruth and Ralph felt totally alive and free and powerful and wonderfully peaceful.  Their submission and guilt vanished.  They no longer felt like helpless little children.  They felt like competent adults.  They would take charge of their lives.  They would dedicate themselves to making their futures wonderful for themselves and for those who wanted them to enjoy life.

Their narcissistic controllers had said they only wanted what was best, but both Ruth and Ralph knew better.  It was best for the Masters.  They were narcissists who wanted servants and slaves.

Feeling free of the old beliefs, rules and roles was crucial and was only a first step.  Ruth and Ralph had to back that up with actions made against huge resistance.  But the feeling of freedom and power stayed with them, and inspired and guided them to become the Matriarch and Patriarch of their own lives.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Polly and Pete felt like they were in fights to the death.  They could never win but they’d refused to back down.

Pete’s parents always tried to control everything he did.  He had to serve them and follow their orders.  They’d told him what school to go to, what subjects to take, what job to get and who to marry.  Now, when he was grown, independent and successful, they still tried to order him.  When he didn’t do what they wanted his father yelled, cursed him and gave him the loud silent treatment.  His mother begged, pleaded, used his guilt and got the whole family to berate him.  They’d even show up at his home without invitation and start again.  They were relentless.

Polly’s eldest daughter had always tried to get her way.  The older she got, the worse the fights got.  She argued, cursed, told Polly she was an unfit mother and made up incidents that weren’t true.  Any time Polly declared her boundaries, her daughter had to trample them.  She always found evil reasons why Polly did what she did.  She’d never admit she started the fights or she’d been wrong and she never backed down.  She was relentless.

To us, the triggers seem minor.  To them it’s a fight to the death.
Narcissists won’t give in about anything unless they offer a fake truce as a prelude to getting what they want and then attacking us again.  Their bullying, abusive attacks are relentless.  They’ve been training us to think resistance is futile.  They’re not satisfied until we kneel before them.

As long as we engage, they win.
They want our time and energy focused on them, 24/7.  They create and thrive in chaos.  Then they can take charge and beat us into submission.

How can we not defend ourselves when they’re nasty and they lie?
As long as we defend ourselves, we’ll lose because we’re wasting our lives engaged in mortal combat with them.  We wouldn’t argue with drunks so why defend ourselves against attacks from jerks? To them, even worse than losing is not fighting.

Pete and Polly withdrew from the fights. They discovered the only way to have boundaries with narcissists was through power and action.  
Pete had his own life.  He hung up on his parents when they began to throw fits.  He hung up on the relatives when they called to coerce him.  He told his parents if they ever came unannounced, he’d call 911 and have them taken away.  They were shocked when he did.  Pete got over his guilt.

Polly started laughing at her daughter.  She told her to stop throwing hissy-fits.  Sarcastically, she asked her if she needed a time out.  Polly stayed calm and never argued back.  She told the other children they had to choose; good behavior from their sister or fake “family” as slaves to her.  She became more stubborn than her daughter.  She was lucky, her daughter didn’t have children to hold as hostages in order to get Polly to give in.

Both Pete and Polly decided they’d never convince narcissists by arguing.
But they could insist that good behavior counted more than wasting their lives on somebody else’s battles to the death.  They even stopped wasting time worrying about what their narcissists might do next or what the rest of the family thought about them.  They’d deal with each episode when it came up.  They decided they’d make wonderful lives with people who were their real families; the families of their hearts and spirits.

The same situations can occur with spouses, partners, siblings and friends who fight to the death.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
2 CommentsPost a comment

There comes a time for most of us (an age and stage appropriate time) when our Soul (or our Spirit, if you prefer) cries out to be fed, to be nourished, to finally get to direct our lives.

Often, we can see we have a third of our life left.  Make it grand, magnificent, awesome; full of wonder and joy; full of the deepest peace.  Be the hero of your life, an example of what’s possible.

This is especially true for people who have spent their lives doing what comes naturally and what they were trained for; taking care of spouses and kids, helping, supporting, people-pleasing and enabling.

Feed your Soul; not your childhood rules.
Many people were trained to think their life’s work was to make sure others came first, to care for others, to give them what they wanted, to be co-dependent.  Of course, when our children are little, we must take care of them; their lives do depend on us.

Then comes the time when we must kick them out of the nest, when they must fly on their own, when their survival depends on their own efforts.  We are no longer “mommy” or “daddy” wiping their noses, keeping them away from hot stoves, paying for everything.  We are now loving parents wanting loving, adult relationships.

We can’t give in to the old rules that we must make sure everyone else is settled and secure before we’re allowed to take care of ourselves.  We don’t have to save everyone first.  Now, we must listen to what’s been calling from the depths of our Souls.

It’s selfish to feed your personality and ego; it’s not selfish to feed your Soul.
Some cultures were clear about the stages of life:

  1. Our childhood.
  2. Our householder days.
  3. Feeding our Souls

I’m not talking about running away with the pool boy or pool girl.  I’m not talking about throwing away spouses or partners.  I am talking about clearing out the selfish, narcissistic, bullying, abusive, controlling, entitled, vultures, hyenas and leeches so we can focus on feeding and nourishing our Souls.

It’s simple to know what your Soul needs; not necessarily easy to figure out how to do it.
What makes your Soul sing?  Stop bullying yourself.  Let your guilt evaporate; it’s only bad gas.  And if the old, outdated rules say it’s wrong to spend money on yourself, tell that voice to grow up.  Live within your means and feed what’s been starving.

Let your Soul run your life.
End the inner war by siding with your Soul.  Use your adult skills in the service of your Soul.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
2 CommentsPost a comment

Does the most difficult person create melodrama, occupy everyone’s thoughts, become the focus of attention and planning, and rule your family?  Has family life become a soap opera or a chapter in the life of the Kardashians?

Nancy’s toxic mother was always kind of crazy.  In Nancy’s childhood, without warning, her mother would go berserk, lashing out with fists and words.  Nancy’s father simply gave in and told the children to do the same.  It was easier to hide while riding out the storm than to try to argue or fight.

Now that Nancy and her siblings were grown and independent, with families of their own, it was even worse.  Nancy’s mother still ruled.  Nancy’s children had to dress and look the way her mother wanted…or else.  Holidays were planned the way she wanted…or else.  Everyone had to live where she wanted and give their money to her when she wanted…or else.

Ned’s oldest daughter ruled him and the rest of his children.  If they didn’t please her, an endless tirade would be unleashed, and everyone would be called in to force the offender back in line.  No amount of reasoning and begging would change his daughter’s mind.  Only a groveling apology and an acceptance of blame would do.

Do you walk on eggshells?
There are many signs that tell you who you’ve given control to.  For example: who fights to the death over trivial things, who do we try to placate or satisfy, whose wrath do we fear, who do we think, talk about and adjust to before any holiday gathering, who do we wish would get too sick to come?

Don’t let bullies rule your thoughts and family.
Don’t give in to emotional blackmail, manipulation, abuse and narcissism.  Don’t let words and feelings like “guilt” or “love” hold you hostage.

Take charge of your thoughts, energy and family.
Nancy rebelled.  She proudly claimed the title of the rebellious, selfish daughter.  She stopped worrying about what her mother might do.  She spoke up and challenged her mother, and the family rules.  In support of good behavioral rules, Nancy became the most stubborn person in the family.  She split the family; three against two, two against three.

Ned started talking like The Father.  He told his daughter the rules of good behavior and he started enforcing them.  One Easter when his daughter went berserk and slapped one of her sisters, Ned called the police, filed a report and had her removed.

To bullies and narcissists, only actions and power count.
That’s the language they understand.  They may hate it, but it’s the only way to have a hope of changing their behavior.  And if they don’t change, you will still have created a wonderful space for your life by preventing them from polluting your kingdom.

The same is true for the controllers in your circle of friends or at work.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situationThe best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
2 CommentsPost a comment

To a narcissist – your bullying partner or your alienating ex, your toxic parent, your abusive, adult child, your manipulative, controlling friend – you are not a person.

What I mean is that to us, a person’s voice counts, their feelings and wishes matter, they get to vote.  To a narcissist, you’re not a person.

Typically, narcissists are:

  1. The center of all attention and concern.
  2. Right and righteous.
  3. Interested in you only as an object; a slave, property, a toy.

Think about those thousand or ten thousand of interactions you’ve had with the narcissists in your life.

  • Masters don’t let slaves vote.  The feelings of slaves don’t matter.  Slaves are property.  They get to do all the work and take the beatings with a smile.
  • Narcissists do whatever they want to the furniture.
  • Narcissists play with their toys like cats play with mice.  Narcissists get to discard their property and toys whenever they’re bored with them.  If the toys don’t like it, it’s their fault and their problem.
  • Narcissists are not grateful to slaves, property, toys.    

Does that pretty much sum up most, if not all, of your interactions with some people?

What if narcissists are nice or charming one time?
Imagine those thousand or ten thousand interactions you’ve had with each person.  Put each one in a DVD case and attach them individually as the surrounding background you have to any image of that narcissist.  If they’re nice one time, you can cover one of the ten thousand rotten interactions with that nice one.

Oh look, still 9,999 rotten ones surrounding that person.  Now you can see what you’re dealing with.  When they’re nice or charming, they simply have an agenda to get something from you.

What do you think will happen after they get what they want?

How do you know they’ve changed?
Performance over a long time leads you to trust your estimation of what that person is likely to do.  They still have 9,999 incidents to balance out.

What if they accuse you of doing bad things or being a bad person?
Keep paying attention to the 9,999.  Don’t argue, justify or debate.  Don’t prove yourself.  Don’t think about their charges or listen to their excuses.  Thank them for sharing.  Simply tell them, “9,999 to go.”  Get your opinions from people who have 10,000 wonderful DVDs surrounding their images.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
5 CommentsPost a comment

Mary and Michelle finally worked up the courage to set boundaries with their abusers.

Telling relentless bullies does not set boundaries.
Mary told her toxic, bullying parents to stop calling her and yelling at her about how bad a child she was when she didn’t do exactly what they wanted, whenever they wanted.  She told them to stop driving six hours to her house unannounced, expecting to be taken in and treated to a fancy weekend whenever they wanted.  She told them to stop criticizing her relentlessly compared to her sister.  She told them to stop trying to make her feel guilty when she wasn’t their slave.

But they didn’t stop.  They told her she was a selfish, narcissistic child.

Michelle told her adult daughters to stop telling her and the rest of the extended family what a rotten mother she’d always been, what she hadn’t given them and how much she’d thwarted them.  She told them to stop posting their harangues and sarcastic abuse on social media.  She told them to stop demanding money in order for her to see her grandchildren.  She told them to stop showing up unannounced to drop their children off whenever they had dates or wanted to go away for a weekend with their latest boyfriends.

But they didn’t stop.  They told her she was a terrible mother who didn’t deserve to see her grandchildren.  It was her fault they had trouble and she should feel guilty.

Relentless bullies want to be your master.
Mary’s parents and Michelle’s adult children wanted them to be their slaves, robots or toys.  They wanted Mary and Michelle to serve their whims of the moment and to be available for beatings whenever they wanted.  Or they wanted to keep IVs in Mary and Michelle so they could drink their blood whenever they wanted.

To masters, slaves and robots don’t have feelings that matter.
That’s how Mary’s parents and Michelle’s adult children thought of Mary and Michelle.  And when they were finished with Mary and Michelle for the moment, they discarded them like uninteresting toys.  Mary and Michelle didn’t have opinions or desires worth considering.  

Masters don’t accept boundaries from slaves, robots or toys.  It was clear and simple to Mary and Michelle, although hard to swallow.

To bullies, only actions and power set boundaries.
Mary and Michelle changed their situations when they took power over their own actions, especially when Mary’s parents and Michelle’s children didn’t like it.  Mary and Michelle stopped reasoning, arguing and pleading for permission and acceptance.

Mary and Michelle didn’t wait to be empowered.
They simply used the power they always had, but thought they weren’t supposed to use.

Mary stopped being bullied by guilt; she closed the door in her parents’ faces and laughed when they got upset.  Her parents didn’t like it and they protested loudly.  But when Mary didn’t debate, argue or budge, they began to do what she wanted.

Michelle’s children thought they had control because of the grandchildren.  They threatened more when Michele laughed at their threats, refused to take the children when they showed up unannounced, and even told the whole family what narcissistic jerks her children were.  When she started enjoying her life publically, her children started respecting her boundaries.

Find people who respect your words as boundaries
Mary and Michelle decided they’d let people close to them if they respected them and their words enough to treat them as boundaries.  People who wouldn’t listen unless they fought with them weren’t worth having in their lives.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Post #478 – Kindle Book – “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks,” 2nd edition
http://bulliesbegone.com/blog/2014/12/6/kindle-book-how-to-stop-bullies-in-their-tracks-2nd-edition

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
2 CommentsPost a comment

We’ve been selected #6 in Top 20 Bullying Blogs by Anuj Agarwal, founder of Feedspot, and his panel.

You can see the whole list at http://blog.feedspot.com/bullying_blogs/.

We’re honored to be first on the list that’s not an organization – government, educational, collections of posts.

We focus on counseling, coaching and consulting to individuals and organizations to stop hostility, intimidation, abuse and bullying by toxic, narcissistic individuals and groups at home, in relationships and personal life, in schools and in the workplace.

Create bully-free relationships with spouses, partners, children, teens, friends, parents, bosses, co-workers and employees.

Overcome fear, hesitation, shame and guilt.  Get rid of old beliefs, attitudes, rules and roles.

Stop wishing for your problems to go away.  Instead, take effective action.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situationThe best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Larry and Laura; opposite situations, similar blood-suckers, opposite responses, same life-sucking result.

Larry’s parents were toxic, bullying, abusive narcissists.  When he was young, they wanted him to be their willing slave and they tried to break his spirit.  Now that he was grown and independent, financially and physically, they still wanted to enslave him.  Their rule: his role should be to take care of them and give them everything they wanted in the way that was most convenient for them.

Laura’s daughters were also toxic, bullying, abusive narcissists.  When they were growing up, they demanded Laura give them everything they wanted immediately.  They were continually nasty, critical and demeaning.  Nothing Laura ever did was good enough.  Every time they were upset, Laura was blamed.  They were selfish and entitled, and none of their charges was true.

Now they had children, they blackmailed Laura.  They wouldn’t let Laura see the children.  She had to give them all the money they wanted, and be available instantly to help make their lives easy or they wouldn’t give her updates on her grandchildren.

Larry felt angry.  Laura felt guilty and terrified.
Larry hated his parents and focused all his energy and rage on them.  He worried about their next demands and what excuses he could make that they’d accept.  He spend hours with friends venting about his life made miserable by them, even though they lived a thousand miles away.

Laura accepted that her daughter’s anger was her fault and she lived in fear of never seeing her beloved grandchildren.  She spent all her waking hours seeking help to figure out what to do to win her daughters’ love so they’d treat her fairly.  She spend nights turning everything over in her mind, trying to find a way to assuage her guilt and to make amends to them

Larry and Laura’s tormentors loved them as masters love servants or slaves.
Larry and Laura were stuck trying to get their tormentors to love them; they were stuck thinking that if their blood- and energy-suckers became loving, they’d treat them nicely.

But how do masters treat slaves?  Masters want slaves to do everything they want, and with a smile, because that’s what slaves are for.  Masters also want to beat slaves whenever they feel like it, like kicking the dog.  Masters love power and tormenting slaves.

If you live in fear and anger, you’ll miss the joy of today.
Larry and Laura’s consumed their thoughts and energy focusing on his toxic parents and her rotten daughters.  As long as Larry and Laura held themselves back, focusing on those masters, they were, indeed, slaves.  And their life’s energy would be bled dry, pint by pint.

Fear and anger are simply energy to motivate us to act.
But fear and anger are not good for supplying solutions.  That’s what our brains and skills are for.  We can use fear and anger to increase our strength, courage and determination to carry out the plans we make.

As Stephen Jenkinson says, “Fear is full of uninformed anticipation masquerading as heightened awareness.  Fear knows enough to mobilize, stir, run, and fight, but it knows next to nothing about the feared thing.  Fear is not knowledge.”

Larry and Laura faced their fear and anger; they changed their old, outdated beliefs, rules and roles.  They took charge of their energy and changed the directions of their lives.  They made the rest of their lives worth living.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Kelly and Kim had the same problem but in totally opposite forms.

Kelly’s parents were toxic, narcissistic bullies.  They’d criticized Kelly her whole life and taught her she should always do what they wanted.  If she didn’t, she was a sinner and they would punish her accordingly.

Kim’s adult children had the same idea.  She should be their servant.  Her time and money were theirs whenever they wanted.  When she wouldn’t give in to them at a moment’s notice, they’d explode, curse, spread angry lies throughout the extended family, attack her publically in social media, and deny her access to her grandchildren.

Kelly and Kim were used as scapegoats and whipping posts, as slaves.  Their oppressors wanted to be their masters.

Kelly and Kim were told repeatedly that their abusers were doing the best they could.
Whenever Kelly and Kim protested or refused, their families told them to overlook their standards and accept whatever treatment they got.  Kelly shouldn’t make her parents feel bad; Kim shouldn’t hurt her adult children’s feelings.  Bribery and acceptance were what was being demanded of them.  Kim and Kelly should feel guilty for their feelings and resistance; they should be more forgiving.

Any psychological reasons offered for why Kelly’s parents or Kim’s adult children acted the way they did were not really “reasons.”  They were excuses and justifications for the outrageous behavior so Kelly and Kim should not apply any consequences.

When do we insist on performance, not “the best they can?”
The short answer is, “Whenever it matters.”  Would we accept poor performance from a surgeon, dentist or pilot; from professional athletes on your home team; from your children’s teachers or school bus drivers; from people who repeatedly batter their spouses?  Of course not.  We expect them to meet certain standards and when they don’t, we remove them.

Why wouldn’t it matter when someone is bullying and abusing us?

When do we overlook abusive behavior?
There are situations in which we typically try to overlook abusive behavior.  For example, in taking care of a child with a disability or an elderly parent with dementia.  And we protect ourselves by being in charge of the relationship.  And we often sign up because we can see it’s for a finite time and then will end.  And we know what a huge toll that takes on our physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Can we really change relentless bullies with enough giving in and enough love?
I’ve never seen these approaches be successful.  Predators don’t wake up one day and suddenly see that our civilized ways are much better?  Miracles like that rarely happen.  That’s why they’re called miracles.

Instead, predators keep coming back for more easy food (money, time, feeling the pleasures of righteous anger and tormenting you).

The only method I’ve ever seen effective is setting high standards and demanding performance.
This approach won’t always succeed.  Those selfish, narcissists do have free will.  Indeed, history and biography do show many people choosing to be vicious and evil.

Then, the question is really about what situations we want to put our lives into for the next 30, 40, 50, 60 years?

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
2 CommentsPost a comment