Nora finally gave up trying to rescue and educate one of her adult daughters.  That daughter thought she should be the center of the whole family’s attention and love.  Her brother and sister, and her parents should give her what she wanted.

Her daughter's anger had no bounds; her needs were ever changing and endless.
She was entitled to special treatment and if she didn’t get what she wanted, she felt free to be as vindictive, bullying and abusive as she wanted.  She tried to set her siblings against each other and against her parents whenever she could.

Five ways many bullies, narcissists and “professional victims” think:

  1. Their feelings are accurate, real, The Truth.  Their feelings matter the most and should be most important to everyone else.  No one is as sensitive; no one else’s feelings are important.
  2. They are justified in what they feel; other people should understand them, which means agree with them and make them feel better.  They should get what they want immediately.  Everyone should be a slave or servant to their needs.
  3. Their feelings cannot be changed by them; their feelings can be changed only when other people beg for forgiveness and give them what they want.
  4. The target of the moment should give in to make peace.  Spectators and bystanders should be made to side with them and gang up to make their oppressor give in.
  5. If they’re nasty or manipulative enough, their target will give in eventually.

“Professional Victims” gain control and turf by claiming they’re being victimized.
Other people walk around on egg shells trying to please them, make them feel good.

Five approaches that do not change the behavior of bullies, narcissists and “professional victims:”

  1. Letting them vent and waiting for them to become reasonable so you can educate them.
  2. Using evidence, facts, reason, logic to defend yourself.
  3. Thinking that if you give in this time, they’ll be satisfied and they won’t demand any more.
  4. Appealing to good values, conscience, caring and understanding for other people.
  5. The Golden Rule, niceness, kindness, unconditional acceptance.

Three conditions that might make them change their behavior:

  1. A change of heart, a miracle.
  2. Their need of you makes them come to negotiate after they fail.
  3. Your leverage and power.

Two unusual approaches might change their behavior:

  1. Challenge them with a smile, in public, so other people join your side.
  2. Embarrass them in public for attacking you (their demeaning, sarcastic, hurtful humor).

Nora gave up trying to satisfy that daughter.
She decided to protect the other children and herself and her husband.  She was not going to let that daughter sink the whole family.

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

Maggie finally stopped psychoanalyzing her parents and her adult children.  She accepted the accuracy of the idea she’d avoided for decades: they enjoyed crisis, drama and chaos.  They dropped bombs and swooped into to reap the spoils.  They enjoyed her pain.  That’s how they knew they were in control, had power and could feed on her emotional energy whenever they wanted.

Many bullies and narcissists enjoy melodrama and uproar.
They often talk behind people’s backs, work in the dark, pit people against each other, throw hissy-fits.  “Passive-aggressive” is too mild and wishy-washy to describe the emotional damage they cause.  They’re like hyenas or vultures feeding off the bloodshed, violence and war they create.  Pain and panic are like nutrition to their starved spirits.

They want everyone walking on egg-shells.
They want the whole family looking over their shoulders wondering when the next attack will come, afraid of not being perfect, thinking it’s their fault, accepting the blame, feeling guilty.  Often, they remain in the shadows while they stir up suspicion, distrust and fights.

Maggie started creating a bully-free environment by not taking their feelings and demands seriously.
She said openly that her parents’ needs did not require immediate responses from her and did not require her to do things the way they wanted.  She waited at least three days before responding to their calls.  She told them they could call emergency responders or have food and medicine delivered instead of demanding that she rush across town whenever they wanted.

She told her adult children that she was not on-call whenever they wanted her to make it possible for them to have fun.  She told them the purpose of her life was not to make theirs comfortable, easy and effortless.  She started sharing every text and email in which they said nasty things or told lies about each other.

Of course, there were consequences.
She had to face the rest of the family trying to make her feel guilty because she wasn’t loving, kind and caring enough.  She had to face her parents threatening to die alone and in poverty because she was an unloving and ungrateful daughter who wouldn’t serve them the way they wanted.  She had to face her children threatening to withhold the grandchildren because she was an unfit grandmother.

They were shocked when she said her life and wants were as important as theirs.
That was the big bomb she threw into the old family dynamic.  She was no longer a slave or servant.  Loving, kindly and caring did not mean she had to do whatever they wanted immediately.  She would find people who would love her tender, and appreciate and reciprocate her love and gifts.  She would not live in a melodramatic soap-opera.  She was not going to waste her time and energy on their temper-tantrums and hissy-fits.

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

Lilly was shocked when she realized her husband and two of her three adult children were making her life miserable by doing the same thing.  The pain and anguish, the bullying and abuse had finally broken through her resistance to seeing people she loved as narcissists who enjoyed tormenting and torturing her.

She was damned if she did what they wanted and damned if she didn’t.
No matter what she did, it was never right and it was never enough.  Their demands changed in a moment, usually escalating.  Everything was her fault.  She was never good enough as a wife and mother.

The problem was not that they didn’t understand how hurt she felt.
No matter how she explained and tried to teach them about kindness, love, caring and good character, they ignored her.  She had no voice because they didn’t listen.  The shock was seeing that they enjoyed her frightened, bewildered look; her frustration and tears; her walking on eggshells.

The problem was that her flesh and blood, and the husband she’d accepted in a sacred ceremony enjoyed torturing her; enjoyed her pain; enjoyed the power and control over her.

Suddenly she stopped thinking it was her fault; stopped feeling guilty.
She used to think, “I must not be communicating clearly enough, they must not understand how hurt and angry I am, I must not be able to set boundaries, I must not be good enough, I must have been a bad mom.”  And “If I give in, they’ll leave me alone.  If I resist, they’ll attack me worse.”

Now she realized nothing she did actually made anything better or worse.  Whenever they wanted, they’d always find logical reasons for torturing her and blaming her.

They were choosing to torture her and she must choose to ignore how they thought and felt.
She chose to stop caring about their opinions.  She was a decent person and she did know what was right and wrong.  She could trust her gut.  She felt her own power over herself.  And she began to do what she wanted.

They complained and heaped blame on her.
With a laugh, she accepted all their labels of “bad mom, bad wife, selfish, uncaring.”  She did have real consequences they didn’t like every time they threw temper tantrums or tried to jerk her around with their reasons for being angry.  And she stopped trying to make their lives easy and convenient by enabling, caretaking and being their servant.

She was amazed how free she felt.  And how they changed in reaction to her filling her life with joy.

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

Kyra felt stuck.  If she tried to break her role in the family as caretaker, rescuer, enabler and scapegoat she would be causing her parents, her siblings and her adult children pain.  How could she cause pain and grief for the people she loved and felt sorry for?

Growing up in the chaos of a family with alcoholic and narcissistic parents, Kyra had tried to protect herself, her siblings and her parents from each other; from the lies, hypocrisy, manipulation, brutality, pain and rage that were constant.  She’d become the target of all the pain they dished out.  Her role was to give in, to take it, to rise above, to be strong enough to make them feel as good as she could.  Her pain didn’t matter to anyone.

Her adult children continued the pattern.  As soon as they were old enough, they forced her into the same roles.  Since her habitual way was trying to bring peace, order and consistency to chaos and pain, she went willingly.

What’s more important, politeness and long-term order or truth and justice?
Kyra finally had enough.  The negativity, criticism and back-stabbing, the bullying, abuse and narcissism had become overwhelming.  They denied everything, they said she was too sensitive and it was all her fault, they wouldn’t listen to her.

What’s more important, keeping an old way of being that destroys your Soul or giving your Soul the love, honor and freedom it needs to direct your life?
The future she’d always wanted was fading and disappearing.  Every time she tried to claim it, they snatched it away and drew her back into the family melodrama with her as the villain.  She felt her life was not in her control and would continue that way forever.

Her Spirit had risen up and simply said, “Enough!”  
Her health deteriorated and she wanted to run away from them all and disappear.  Her survival instinct rose up.  She’d always fought for survival and now she’d fight for her own life, the life she’d always wanted.  They’d respect her or else.

She wasn’t going to take it anymore.  But how could she be sure she was right when everyone disagreed with her?  And how about the guilt that flooded her when she thought of the pain and grief she’d cause them, breaking up the family they said was so important to them?

To have your own unique Soul-filled life you must cause predators (vampires, wolves, and leeches) and slave owners pain; you must cause bullies, narcissists and abusers pain.
Kyra found a place in her gut that felt like “Absolute Truth.”  She sensed the family dynamic in full clarity.  She was certain of what had happened to her and what would happen if she continued to play her role in this sham they called a loving family.

She was done carrying all their pain.  She was done being responsible for their happiness.  She was done with the sham.  She wanted a real family; a family in which she would be accepted for who she truly was, a family that appreciated, respected and honored her efforts, a family that wanted her tender love and loved her tender in return.

Their pain is the only chance you can offer to help them change.
Instead of seeing their pain and suffering as something bad she should feel guilty about causing, she now saw their pain and suffering as her invitation to them to change, to open up to new ways of being and loving.  She realized they’d never gain unless she acted in a way they’d choose to feel pain.  And they had free will.  They could accept her loving invitation or reject it.  In any case, she’d go looking for people in the tribe of her heart.  Them or other people; their choice.

Words alone are never enough; there must be painful consequences or they’ll never treat you right.
Kyra realized that the history of her whole life showed they wouldn’t change when she tried kindness and reason, when she tried to educate them, to show them better ways to interact, to rescue them from the pain they inflicted on each other and on themselves.

She would not act mean or nasty.  She would simply act firm, determined and courageous.  If necessary, she do what she said matter-of-factly.

There had to be consequences; she would break the family dynamic.
She’d even act in public, even if they were embarrassed.  Their apologies would be nice but wouldn’t count for much.  They’d have to make amends.  You wouldn’t let them off the hook; wouldn’t let them think they’d gotten past it because she’d accepted an apology.

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
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Jeri was tired of being told to “stop being so sensitive, be more forgiving, just move on, get over it, make peace, start fresh.”

Jeri’s 32 year-old daughter had blown up the holidays, as she usually did. Excuse this time was Jeri’s fiancé hadn’t told her enough times how wonderful she was.  She wasn’t going to put up with Jeri marrying a man who wouldn’t give her all the money she wanted (as a good step-father should) and who didn’t approve of her new boyfriend because he showed up drunk, as usual.  She wasn’t coming to Jeri’s wedding.

Her daughter had been selfish, narcissistic, bullying and abusive all her life, even before Jeri had finally divorced her ex-husband for the same traits plus his gambling away her money.

Jeri’s parents and extended family had also said the same things whenever her younger sister had destroyed her favorite things, stolen her jewelry and put her down in public.

Families usually give in to the person who throws the biggest temper tantrums and won’t stop.
They think the mean, vicious, nasty person won’t change so they try to coerce the nice, polite person to accept bullying and abuse in the name of “peace” or “family.”  They give in to their fear and cowardice.  They won’t stand up for justice and good standards of behavior if that means conflict, confrontation and discord.  They want peace at any price.  So the most hysterical or crazy or determined person has the power and wields it ruthlessly.

That only encourages the sharks to take bigger bites out of their target’s flesh.  Jeri’s extended family were spectators to the drama of watching the martyr/scapegoat thrown to the lion.

We can’t stop bullies and narcissists by being nice and polite or by explaining carefully and lovingly why they should change.
They’re getting their way; they can be lazy, mean, greedy and vicious, and they’ll get what they want so why should they change.  The 20th Century showed clearly that when we give into bullies and narcissists, we make mountains out of molehills.  Bystanders can watch alligators feed while hoping they’ll be the last ones eaten.  Eventually the initial spectators will get eaten also.

Life is not a spectator sport.
We can’t stand by – which means tolerate and support and encourage – bullies or narcissists.  We must stand up against evil, or we collude and enable its rise.

We can’t start fresh when we face the same old bullying, narcissistic personality.
Jeri realized that if she accepted or tolerated the same behavior, she’d be harming, not helping, her daughter.  She’d never be providing her daughter with an important lesson and consequences.  Her sister had been allowed to keep behaving the way she always had, with only gentle suggestions to try to help her.  She’d never changed and Jeri could see the same path in front of her daughter.  Jeri threw away her guilt.

We can start fresh with a “new person” only after a miracle has occurred.
Jeri’s daughter and sister need a change of heart.  They need to become different personalities in order to be welcomed back into Jeri’s life.

Miracles are above our pay-grade.
The word “miracle” also describes the probability that it will occur.  All Jeri could do was set standards and keep encouraging her daughter to have a miracle.  And pray and light candles.

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 Inga’s daughter was young, she was the perfect child.  She lavished praise on Inga, never argued, helped around the house and got good grades.  Other parents were jealous.

When she became sixteen and Inga got her a car, she began to change.  She said she was now in charge of her life and could do what she wanted.  She threw temper tantrums, stayed out as late as she wanted and told Inga her job as a parent was to make her happy.  Inga accepted it all, hoping it was a phase and her “real” daughter would return with love.

Her daughter moved with negativity, criticism and abuse through the college Inga paid for.  When she married, she made Inga do all the work for the wedding, pay for everything she wanted and, at the reception, yelled at Inga for being a horrible mother who never loved her enough and tried to ruin her life.  Inga was mortified.

Two children later, her daughter had complete control over Inga.  If Inga didn’t please her, she would not be allowed to see the grandchildren.  She mocked Inga in front of her friends and even in front of Inga’s.  She seemed to relish torturing Inga by changing her mind at any whim.  She laughed at Inga, saying “How do you like it now that I’m in charge.  Do you hate it as much as I used to?”

Bullies and narcissists are addicted to their relationship to power.
They see the whole world in terms of power, not any of the ethical or moral values we have.  Bullies, narcissists respect power, not kindness, understanding or reason.

If someone has power over them, their most typical reactions are:

  • Act subservient and suck-up.
  • Rebel.  They resist and fight or try to take the power away by open attack or sneaky manipulation and back-stabbing.

If they have power over someone, their most common tactics are:

  • Torment, torture, abuse, bully, take advantage of the less powerful.
  • Act like a master.  Make the weak to do all the work, worship them and endure beatings with a smile.  They strut like Gods walking the earth, and they will not allow the inferior to respect anyone else.

Asking without consequences is begging.
Inga tried every method she could think of to educate and rehabilitate her daughter.  When Inga preached and followed the Golden Rule, her daughter, demanded more.  Her selfishness had no limit.  To her daughter, Inga’s, love, caring, kindness and open door meant Inga was weak and would submit to any control and abuse.

We can’t change bullies and narcissists by appealing to their shame, guilt, conscience, morals and ethics.  Since they enjoy the adrenaline rush of control and power, they have no reason to change.  They have no appreciation; any more than a master has for a slave.  Inga had learned that the hard way.

We must use power and leverage to get bullies and narcissists to act civilized.
Even though their hearts haven’t changed, sometimes they can be made to behave nicely.  But beware, they’re only waiting for an opportunity to become the master again.

Don’t give bullies and narcissists what they want; we can’t make them happy enough to change.
When they lose everything, a few might be cracked open enough to change.  When a heart is changed, we call that a miracle; which tells us how often it occurs and that making it happen is above our pay-grades.  The kindest, most compassionate and loving thing we can do for a bully or narcissist is to help them fail as quickly as possible.

Inga got lucky.  Her daughter’s marriage finally fell apart when her husband couldn’t stand the same treatment she’d dished out to him.  They’d been deeply in debt and Inga’s daughter got nothing.  She was totally dependent on Inga.  Inga used her leverage wisely.

Inga got over her guilt and shame; she had accepted that a rotten child was the mother’s fault.  She was freed when she began to say in public, “My daughter’s kind of crazy; she’s a controlling narcissist who wants to treat me like a slave.”  She was surprised when many people sympathized and told her about their selfish 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

To bullies and narcissists, their convenience and wishes matter more than anything else.

These examples have a common theme, a pattern:

  1. Hillary’s son was enraged at her again.  She’d broken her hip and was in the hospital over New Year’s Day, just when he wanted to come to stay at her house with his wife and another couple so they could enjoy New Year’s Eve in the big city.  Now, if he came, he’d have to waste his precious time visiting her in the hospital and she wouldn’t want them to stay in her house without her.  She was so inconsiderate.
  2. Henry’s friends were so upset at him.  He wasn’t doing what they needed.  He’d gotten a new, large patio table and had offered them his old one, which was still in good condition and which they’d admired.  He told them if they didn’t want it, he’d have a charity come and get it.  They were excited to get it and wanted him to deliver it on Saturday between 10 and 11.  That was the only time convenient for them.  He said he was busy all weekend and they’d have to drive over with their truck and take it.  They told Henry he was selfish, narcissistic and way too demanding of their time.
  3. Helen’s parents were extremely agitated when they called her.  They’d decided the most important thing was for her to leave her family and move immediately into their house to take care of them.  They didn’t want to leave their house and they were sure they’d need her in a few years so she might as well get started today.  They wanted some grocery shopping today and a trip to see some friends.  When Helen said she wouldn’t leave her family and become their full-time servant, they became outraged.  “You’ve always been a good girl waiting on us and now you’ve turned selfish and ungrateful.  We don’t want to spend our money paying people to do what you should.  We can’t imagine living the way we want without your full-time help.”

Bullies and narcissists think they’re important; you’re not.
Their time and comfort matter; yours doesn’t.  They want to control you.  Usually, the only time they initiate contact is when they want something or they’re spending ten seconds to keep you hooked as a willing servant or slave.

Some common tactics of bullies and narcissists are:

  1. They review your schedule and plans to show you what you must ignore or change so you can do what they want.
  2. They get demanding, abusive and try to beat you into submission.  They’re negative, critical and righteous; they know best.  They throw hissy-fits loaded with personal attacks and threats.  They lie about history: “I’ve done so much for you and you never do anything for me.”
  3. When their targets won’t do what they want, they accuse them of what they’re actually guilty of; selfishness, narcissism, entitlement.
  4. They try to manipulate using guilt-trips: “I feel unloved, you always put yourself or other people first, you’re a bad parent and a good parent would want me to be happy.”
  5. They threaten about the future: “If you don’t do what I want, your grandchildren will grow up hating you and no one will love you and you’ll die alone.”

Hillary, Henry and Helen all found ways to get over their guilt and to establish their boundaries.  They used their inherent power.  They took strong actions with consequences in the face of their predators/masters.

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

Gail’s husband continued the training her parents had begun.  He was in charge and her roles were to:

  1. Serve him every moment.  She was not allowed to have wishes of her own or to leave without permission.
  2. Smile submissively and adoringly while taking the criticism and negativity, the public put-downs and demeaning comments, the bullying and abuse.  She was the dog he could kick any time he was bored, stressed or upset at anything.

Three children later he was still trying to break her spirit.  He was willing to let her serve the children as long as they did not interfere with her service of him.  When their demands interfered, he made them live in fear of his anger.  Her children soon expected her to fulfill the role of their servant; they were entitled.

When the children were teens, Gail woke up and refused to play her old role.
She told the kids they had to treat her with politeness, respect and appreciation.  Most importantly, she started saying, “No” when they demanded immediate service.  That upset them and they became even nastier.  “Your job is to give us everything and make us happy.  You to prove your love to us.  You’re a bad mother.  We won’t love you anymore.  You should feel guilty.”

When she told her husband the same thing, he retaliated.
He told the children they were right; they deserved to be waited on, Gail was a bad person.  All their bad feelings were her fault.  He told their friends and neighbors how rotten she’d become.  He made up tales of her lies and affairs.

At first Gail thought it would be wrong to tell the children the truth about their father’s treatment of her.
She thought children needed to think the best about their father.  Then she realized she was at war with him for the sake of their Souls; their good character.  For their sakes, she had to fight to win.

As Gail was divorcing him, she challenged the kids.
She told them she could see they were deciding how to be when they were adults.  It was hard to be polite and kind.  It was hard to do some of the work.  It was hard to develop self-control and self-discipline.  It was tempting to feel entitled, demanding and narcissistic.  It was easy to blame other people and try to beat them into submission.  But did they want to sell their Souls to their laziness, selfishness and greed?

She reminded them to trust their feelings.  With whom can you be happy?  Who are you afraid of disagreeing with because you’re afraid he’ll retaliate?  How good do you feel when you’re blaming, angry and demanding?  Of course you feel powerful then, but do you want to be a person who feels and acts like that?  Is that the highest you aspire to be?

Gail said high standards of behavior were more important than getting what they wanted by using other people.
She challenged them to do the hard work, to become better people than their selfish father.  After the divorce, two of her three children came with her.  They said they began to respect and appreciate her when she started to say, “No.”  They decided they would do the work to give in order to get.

The other child went to live with her father.  She was narcissistic, angry and demanding her whole life.  And she was the one who failed: she couldn’t hold a job and lived with or married a long series of men just like her father.  And fought with them for power and control every day.

Gail prayed for her, but that daughter didn’t change.

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

Fran’s old role in her dysfunctional, toxic family was to be the fixer, enabler and rescuer.  Her parents were an alcoholic and a narcissist.  They were incompetent at most everything in life except bullying and abusing the children, creating chaos and destroying everyone’s self-esteem.  Fran held it together for everyone while everyone ignored her hurts and her wants.  The rule for her was get over it and move ahead, which meant to give in, eat the pain and let them do it to her again and again.

Even when Fran became an adult and had her own family, her parents and siblings still expected her to drop everything and serve them with a smile, no matter how rude, abusive and taking her for granted they were.  If she resisted, she felt guilty and they twisted the knife; “Stop being selfish and arrogant.  Set a good example for your children.  Take care of us, your family.  If you don’t, no one will like you and you’ll die alone.”

Fran finally said, “No!” but they attacked her harder.
She said she was not playing her old role any longer.  Her parents told her she was responsible for ripping the family apart.  Her siblings said she was causing her parents too much grief, she should be a better person and overlook what had been done, she should rise above and keep the family together, it was her duty.

Fran laughed, agreed and told them exactly what she wanted.
Fran’s hurts and hints had been ignored.  Clearly they didn’t care about her feelings or boundaries.  This time when she was attacked, she laughed and said she knew that’s what they’d say, and she’d won a bet with her husband.  She was delighted to be the most selfish and stubborn of the children.  She was going to cause all of them grief because they needed the grief in order to grow.  They’d better get used to it.  She told them they were to blame for breaking the family.

They were taken aback that she wasn’t beaten into submission by their usual tactics.
She told them each exactly what they’d have to do to get back into her life.  And she waited.  She would not be the first one to approach.  After a while, some of them approached her with their usual name calling and manipulation.  She laughed at them, said that wasn’t good enough and hung up.

Fran’s husband and children cheered her on.
She was done with guilt and regret.  They started enjoying life together without Fran’s having to run off to be a servant to her toxic family.

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.

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AuthorBen Leichtling
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Ellie was so frustrated, she was ready to give up.  She could never set boundaries with her bullying, narcissistic parents, her controlling, manipulative husband or her demanding, entitled adult children.

They ignored what she wanted.  Actually, whenever she said she wanted something, they got busy demanding she do the opposite.

They always used her as their servant.
Her parents acted as if her time was their time.  She should drop whatever she was doing and do what they wanted when it was convenient for them.  Her husband ignored her opinions and demanded she wait on him.  Or he criticized her and showed her she was too stupid or too selfish to vote.  He never wanted to be with her or interact with her unless she said she was very busy.  Then he’d need her to do things for him or he’d demand she talk or watch television with him.  Her children said her job was to make them happy.  If she didn’t, she was a bad mother; they wouldn’t love her and they’d estrange from her.

Ellie was riddled with self-doubt.  She had low self-esteem and no confidence.
She was always either angry or she was sad and depressed.  They said they were happy except when she’d failed them so why couldn’t she be happy.

She thought, if only she were a better person, she could serve them better and not carry around a huge weight of guilt.  And if she deserved better, she’d be able to set effective boundaries.  Since the people closest to her were so unhappy with her, something must be terribly wrong with her.

Ellie thought they were so unpredictable, she’d never be able to satisfy them.
Ellie finally saw that, actually, they were very predictable.  They wanted her to serve them, instantly; to do whatever they wanted at the moment.  Her voice never mattered.  Actually, whenever she had an opinion or wanted something, they’d instantly change in order to thwart her.  Thwarting her and making her serve them was most important to them.  Servants or slaves are not allowed to have personal wants or preferences.

They never listened to her boundaries because she only talked but would never act on her “No.”
The only consequence to them was putting up with her threats.  They seemed to enjoy her frustration and anger.  They knew her anger would blow over and she’d get so frustrated, eventually she’d give in and do what they demanded.  Then they could enjoy beating her up for being angry at them.

Ellie set effective boundaries only when she acted on her opinions and wants, without their agreement and approval.
Her assertion of her boundaries mattered only when she couldn’t be talked out of doing what she’d said; when her opinion was the only one that mattered and she actually did what they didn’t like.  They protested and argued, they guilt-tripped her and they ganged up on her.  But when her “”No” actually became “No,” whatever they wanted or thought, she able to take charge of her life.

Ellie finally honored her Spirit.

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

The short autobiography below captures many parts of the recovery from trauma perpetrated by bullies and narcissists.

Bullies and narcissists usually cause complex trauma and stress by:

  1. Overt intimidation.  Adults have control and power over children.  Their relentless mental, emotional, physical and spiritual negativity, criticism and abuse leaves scars.  The threat of being destroyed is ever-present.
  2. Sneaky Bullying.  They manipulate, guilt-trip, back-stab and lie.  They never believe us when we complain about our treatment.  They mock us and put us down, while saying they’re just kidding.  They use emotional blackmail words, saying we’re over-sensitive, have no sense of humor, are unloving, uncaring, selfish and arrogant.  They say we owe them and we’re bullying them.

Self-Bullying.
We carry their words in our heads as self-bullying.  We continue to suppress our “Inner Knowing,” our “Accurate Intuition,” our “Gut Wisdom,” like they trained us to do.  We repeat the old self-doubt and lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.  We stop ourselves because “They might be right.  How do we know for sure?”

They want to convince us resistance is futile.
They want us to give up because they’ll never give up.  Their bullying seems like a matter of life or death to them.  When we’re children, resistance might be futile but since we’re adults now we can become free in our minds and hearts, and free physically and financially.

They want to use us as slaves or servants because:

  1. Slaves and servants do all the work and masters don’t have to pay them much.
  2. Slaves and servants have no lives of their own.  They’re supposed to be standing at alert; ready at any moment to respond to their masters’ wishes.
  3. Slaves and servants are supposed to smile and laugh when their masters beat them for any whim or reason.
  4. Slaves and servants can be useful for a long time and then discarded whenever bullies want.

We have power over ourselves and, therefore, we can create an Isle of Song for ourselves.
I hope this short autobiography makes you laugh with recognition of part of the path of recovery you’ve taken.

Recovery: An Autobiography in Five Chapters - Anonymous

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in, again.
I can’t believe I’m in this same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out…

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I fall in…it’s a habit…but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down a different street.

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

Dana was an empath, always compassionate and understanding of her sisters and her youngest daughter.  They’d suffered so much that Dana felt she had to give into them, try to make them happy and overlook or minimize their criticism, bullying and abuse of herself and her other children.

Dana was stuck in the “Empathy Trap.”
The more she understood how they’d suffered growing up and the more she psychoanalyzed their pains and motives, the more she believed she had to accept and tolerate their overt hostility and sneaky negativity, whining, manipulation and back-stabbing.  Their greed and emotional neediness demanded that she understand and forgive them.  If she didn’t, she was cruel, heartless and guilty.

That kind of psychoanalysis makes targets put up with being victimized.
Psychoanalysis trivialized Dana’s pain to make her explain, understand and forgive them.  Dana wanted to be a good person; kind, loving and understanding.  There seemed no way out for her, even though she knew her other children were also suffering.

How could Dana resist when she felt so sorry for them?
When Dana realized she had believed a lie, it was easy.  She’d been taught the only way to show understanding and empathy was to give in to them.  That’s what they wanted her to believe.  But it’s a lie.

Dana realized she could have strong feelings for their suffering; she could understand and feel sorry they chose narcissism and bullying as their default styles.  And that giving in and catering to them never changed their feelings or behavior.  They felt more powerful and increased their demands.

Giving in to them only perpetuated their behavior; she’d become an enabler, a colluder, an accomplice.
Dana decided the best way to help them was to show them that their chosen victimhood, their outrage and attacks, their vindictive, sneaky manipulation and guilt-tripping would not get them what they wanted.  Kicking them off her Isle of Song was the best teaching lesson for them.

Now she could love them and feel compassion for them from a distance.
She could light candles, she could pray, she could hope a miracle changed their hearts and their favorite tactics to get what they wanted.  And sometimes she’d say, “You must do better and I know you can.”

As Maya Angelou said, “Being kind doesn’t mean one has to be a mat.”

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

Cindy’s parents used her like a slave.

  • They knew better; she was always wrong, stupid and shouldn’t trust herself.
  • They corrected, criticized, yelled and threated; they lied and manipulated; they bullied, punished and abused her.
  • They convinced her she’d be alone and a failure unless she did what they wanted.  They convinced her she was disobedient, selfish and uppity if she disagreed.
  • She was supposed to accept their treatment as love and caring; she was supposed to be smiling, happy and loving of them.  If she resisted, she was bad and guilty; she should feel ashamed.  She deserved their wrath.

No surprise: Cindy married a man who treated her the same way and raised children who continued the pattern.

Cindy lived in a world of selfish, bullying narcissists.
She never trusted her opinion or judgment.  She had low self-esteem and no self-confidence; she even beat herself up with self-questioning and self-doubt.  She knew she was never good enough to please the people most important to her.  Her future was a life of servitude; dark, dreary and depressing.

Cindy’s empathy, trained into her from birth, meant she always tried to please others first; maybe she could earn their caring and respect.
Of course she never succeeded in pleasing them enough; they never listened to her needs or even showed they cared about her feelings or voice.  She was supposed to be a humble, obedient servant to those who knew better.  Her job was to serve and to please.  

Cindy spent her life trying to prove herself, as if she was defending herself in front of a hostile judge and jurors in a court of law.
She never knew what was true, what to believe, what was right or what to do.  She was always on the defensive, always trying harder and never succeeding.

Cindy finally realized her childhood survival strategy wasn’t necessary or useful to her as an adult.
When she was abused as a child, she thought the big people knew better and she was supposed to obey.  It was natural to think she had to do things for them so they’d finally listen and be nice to her.  She squelched her anger, knowing if she let it out they would have destroyed her.  She was helpless.  And she perpetuated that silence and victim-attitude even when she became an adult.  Her husband and her children reinforced her slave mentality.  It served their desire for power and control; their desire to be waited on and catered to.

Cindy found the place in her that signaled her “Accurate Intuition.”
Her history showed her she could always trust that specific feeling in her gut.  She could stay in her body, see truth clearly and decide what she wanted to do.  She saw when she’d allowed them to talk her out of that truth or when she’d talked herself out of her truth, she was bewitched, deceived and taken advantage of.

Now she’s an adult.  She decided listen to herself always; she took power over herself and, therefore, over situations.
She decided to always trust that feeling (her Accurate Intuition) and act on it even before she could understand or justify it in a court of law.  Of course, the whole family was thrown into an uproar.  Of course, they tried to force her back into her assigned role as their humble, obedient servant.  But the more she trusted herself, the more wonderful, free and powerful she felt, and the more her future brightened.

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 Barbara’s son started having children and began to succeed in business he became a different person.  Previously he’d been sweet but self-centered.  Now, he lashed out at his parents and at his grown sisters over nothing and everything.  He criticized everything they did.  Nothing was ever good enough; he was abusive because they were guilty.  He claimed he’d never been given enough and they’d better start paying attention to him first or Barbara would never see her grandchildren.  They had to follow all his rules about family get-togethers and communication with him or else.

Pretty soon the whole family was focused on him.  Barbara and her daughters thought about him, talked about him and worried about him every day.  They obsessed on figuring out why he was angry; what they done wrong.  They became codependent peacemakers, and empathetic to his every whim.

The more they focused on him, the more demanding, selfish, bullying and narcissistic he acted.

Bullies and narcissists are nourished by power and control; by your focusing on them.
They insist on being the center of everyone’s attention and concern.  Barbara felt like she had intravenous feeding-tubes connected from her arms to feed him.  She felt more drained than when she was nursing him.  The girls felt like they were spoon feeding a baby 24/7 and couldn’t even spare time or energy to take care of their own families.

Finally Barbara and the girls made a pact: they wouldn’t think, worry, talk about him; they’d withdraw the drug he wanted.
In a deep reverie, Barbara removed the intravenous tubes and watched them attach at both ends to her son.  Her daughters put down their spoons and turned away from him to pay attention to their lives.  They stopped feeling guilty, stopped wondering what they’d done wrong, stopped thinking about his criticism and demands.

They felt free and started having fun.

Even before they did anything, her son reacted loudly, as if he could sense that his food and drug had been withdrawn.
That’s the way it seems; as if bullies and narcissists can sense a withdrawal of concern about what they think and do; as if they can sense when you’re not bullied by their feelings.  At first he doubled his attacks on them.  When that had no effect, he blamed on them.  Then he tried to manipulate them to argue with each other.

They remained clear; if he wanted attention he’d get it for good behavior, not bad.
Staying on track was hard, but their path was clear and simple.

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. 1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. 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
3 CommentsPost a comment

Alice’s parents reinforced Alice’s natural tendency to look outward, to sense what they wanted and then to satisfy those whims.  Alice grew up empathetic, knowing if she didn’t satisfy her parents she’d be punished severely.

She was taught to distrust what she knew (saw, heard, felt – her judgment, her inner truth).  She was told she was wrong, didn’t know what was true and if she followed her own heart or gut, she’d end up alone and unloved.  The way to get love was to turn to them for truth, explanations and direction, and to give them what they wanted.  If she listened to herself she was selfish, arrogant, and judgmental, and caused confrontations, which she always lost.  If she showed anger she’d be hurting her parents feelings and they’d criticize, bully and abuse her because she was guilty and a bad person.  She’d asked for it.

You can guess how her husband and children treated her.  She catered to everyone; she never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings by denying them what they wanted.

With help, Alice finally saw that everyone else got their desires met except her.
Her desires were ignored or scorned, or she was punished for having desires.  She was convinced that, by nature, she was an empath; controlled by other people, incapable of getting what she needed and doomed to be totally focused on satisfying others forever.   She was doomed to have low self-confidence, low self-esteem and to be co-dependent.  It was her fate.

With help, Alice found her own center and decided to be empathetic toward herself.
Now that she was an adult, she could use her empathetic skills to recognize what was actually happening in interactions with other people, to recognize how she felt and to listen to the voice of her Soul; to never talk herself out of listening to her “accurate intuition.”  When she did this, her mind stopped racing and she found herself calm, joyous and full of inner peace.  The bullying external voices from her parents, husband and children were muffled.  Her inner dialogue quieted and her self-bullying inner voices stopped.  She was able to hear her own voice and felt strong enough to act on it.

Everyone protested angrily.
They were enraged that Alice was no longer their servant.  They told her she was bad, selfish and would go straight to hell.  And she’d be alone and lonely here on earth before she got there.  Alice persisted.  She said, “That’s what you want me to believe but it’s not true.  I feel fine.  And if you’re nice to me and take care of me also, I’ll still take care of you reasonably.”

Alice did not turn into a selfish, narcissistic person.
She simply trusted her own judgment and to meet some of her needs.  She saw who the greedy narcissists and bullies were.

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

Zora’s husband and children were mean to her.  She recounted many incidents when they were negative, critical and sarcastic in public and in private, even when she was fixing wonderful meals for them or she was driving them wherever they wanted to go.  They never considered what she wanted or how she felt.  They seemed to know when she was weakest or trying her best to please them, and then they tore her down mercilessly.  She kept explaining the way loving people should treat each other but they either laughed or ignored her.

Zane’s parents and wife were demeaning, demanding and abusive.  In public they’d put him down and criticize him to anyone who’d listen.  They tried to control everything he did and thwarted his attempts to do what he wanted.  They’d laugh, even years later, at every mistake he’d made and they ignored his successes.  He felt like a servant who was never good enough and who could be whipped whenever they felt like it.

Why does it matter whether they meant to be mean?
To Zora and Zane, it mattered totally.  They couldn’t believe the people they loved could be intentionally mean; they must be trying as hard as they could.  Since they assumed the torment was unintended, their job was to educate and teach those people better ways…forever.  They shouldn’t give their tormentors any consequences since they didn’t know how hateful and hurtful they were being.  Their job was to forgive their tormentors as long as it took.  Surely, someday, their love would be strong enough that their perpetrators would wake up and see the error of their ways.

Zora and Zane realized why they could never set boundaries.
No one listened because there were never any consequence for being mean.  It was as if Zora and Zane had no voice in their families.  When Zora and Zane began to look with new eyes they saw the people around them as uncaring, not merely ignorant.  They saw their tormentors enjoying being selfish, narcissistic and bullying.  The choice to be uncaring was easier than paying attention to Zora and Zane.  They enjoyed having a servant or a slave they didn’t have to pay attention to.

They’d chosen to be mean so often, it’d become a habit.
By now, they didn’t have to plan to be mean; it came naturally.  They were the center of their universe; their feelings, whims and fears mattered.  Zora and Zane’s didn’t.

Zora and Zane broke the family dynamic.
When they stopped accepting the pain and hurt, when the said “No,” and, especially, when they applied consequences, everything changed.  Words didn’t have an impact, only deeds were effective.

At first, their tormentors protested loudly and tried many methods of emotional blackmail, manipulation and guilt-tripping.  But when Zora and Zane remained steadfast and committed to the standards of how they wanted to be treated, when they stopped giving reasons, debating and arguing, when they stopped asking for permission to do what they wanted, when they said, “I don’t care what you think and want, you’re not nice to me so you get nothing,” their oppressors had to adjust or get nothing.

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

Wendy’s parents had gotten her to serve them forever by telling her a good, kind, spiritual person must give without expectations.  Her husband had insisted on the same rule.

She could see one way in which they were right: she did all the giving and she never got anything back.  They ignored or laughed at what she wanted.  It was trivial; she was silly.  She felt like a servant; no, like a slave.

All the people who told Wendy to give without expectations were freeloaders and takers.
They never gave in return.  And they were never satisfied with what she gave.  It was never good enough or sufficient.  There were always more demands.  And when she wanted something she was called selfish, needy, greedy.

Wendy said she was told to have low expectations of people but to hope that if she gave enough, she’d finally get back eventually, maybe in heaven.
But what did “have low expectations” really mean.  She was told it meant she should accept and tolerate their poor performance and not giving back, it’s all they’re capable of.  Even more, it was all her fault because her high expectations were arrogant, greedy and demanding.  That’s why people didn’t give back.  She was also told her low expectations caused them to perform poorly.  It made no sense; it was confusing.

Exhausted, drained and in despair, Wendy realized their lack of giving, caring or appreciation was not her fault; it was them.
They were selfish and narcissistic on their own.  She was bullied and abused because that’s what they did.  She was blamed and guilt-tripped because that’s how they manipulated her.  Her fault was letting it continue.

The question was not really what she could do to explain, educate or enlighten them.
She’s been ignored by them all her life.  She was important only as a provider of what they wanted.  She realized they hadn’t changed in all their lives.  They’d never change by anything she did.  She couldn’t educate, convert or win them.

The real question for her was if she wanted to keep wasting her life tolerating their behavior or trying to rehabilitate them?
She’d have to pit her judgment against theirs.  She hadn’t done that successfully before and they had a lifetime of experience manipulating and emotionally blackmailing her.  But the pain of thousands of examples she kept in front of her mind helped her be strong and persevering.  Wendy decided she didn’t have to convince them she was right, she could act on what she decided was right, without their understanding or agreement.

Wendy stopped wasting her life being the person who fed everyone while they picked her flesh like vultures.

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

Vera couldn’t sleep and couldn’t stop obsessing on her two adult children who were continuously selfish, bullying and abusive.  She knew it hadn’t started when one was displeased that the wonderful wedding Vera and her husband had provided wasn’t lavish enough, while the other was angry that Vera and her husband hadn’t bought her a house as a wedding present.

They’d always been entitled, demanding and narcissistic.  They’d begun working on the third sister to estrange from their parents also.

Vera was overcome with grief and failure.  They were so angry; she must have done something wrong.
Not true.  Vera hadn’t done anything particularly bad to them.  She hadn’t even over-indulged them.  She’d tried to teach them the value of hard work and the importance of gratitude for the things they got.  But they hadn’t wanted to learn those lessons.  They’d whined, complained and demanded when they didn’t get what they wanted.  They thought the world owed them everything they wanted.

Vera kept asking, “Why so many selfish, narcissistic, entitled, adult children now?”

Her friends gave Vera explanations that depressed and immobilized her; that made her feel powerless, helpless, hopeless:

  • If the kids are spoiled it must be the parents’ fault.  She’d either been too harsh or too indulgent.  And she should never talk about it.  It was too embarrassing.
  • The children were subverted by the experts, the media and their friends.  The forces in the world were too strong for them to resist.
  • There must be something wrong in the water or the tooth paste because so many adult children were like that.  Or, maybe, Vera simply had bad genes that ruined her children.

I do think many commonly accepted rules of parenting are wrong.  For example, I think it’s false that making children happy builds inner strength, character and kindness.  But knowing that now is not going to help Vera or other afflicted parents.

These excuses and justifications for her adult children only made her feel more ashamed and guilty.  She kept obsessing on every incident she could remember in order to identify the thing she must have done wrong.  Then, maybe, she could apologize and reconcile

Explanations that gave Vera clarity and hope were:

  • It’s not Vera’s fault.  An epidemic of selfish, entitled, arrogant adult children has occurred in every society I’ve studied that has gotten wealthy.  For example; we have Greek plays written 2,400 years ago, after the Greeks conquered Persia, where the next generations of adult children treated their parents even worse than adult children do now.
  • No matter what happened to them, the individual adult children always made the choices.  Fear, greed and the pleasure of torturing someone only stimulated their selfish, narcissistic behavior.  Vera decided the problem was her children, they were making choices while being swept away by their thoughts and feelings.  They chose to be weak, lazy and cowardly.  They chose to remain childish; manipulating or beating their parents into giving them goodies.

Could Vera teach them they were being selfish, arrogant and narcissistic?
She saw that everything she and her friends had tried with their children had failed.  The problem couldn’t be solved by lectures, education, scripture.  You can’t educate people who don’t want to be educated.  You can’t educate people who enjoy feeling victimized and responding with righteous anger.  You can’t get a scorpion to stop stinging, a vulture to stop wanting carcasses to pick on or a narcissist to change her spots.

Those children would have to learn the hard way; through suffering when their tactics no longer worked.  Narcissists need a complete change of heart.  Miracles are above Vera’s pay grade.

Were her friends right when they told her to always keep the door open, no matter how much pain they inflicted on her?
No.  Keeping the door open made the predators happy and gave them feelings of control and power.  One of her daughters had even said she wanted to inflict on Vera ten times the pain she’d felt when she hadn’t gotten what she wanted.  Keeping the door open only reinforced her daughters’ joy at tormenting and torturing her.  Keeping the door open guaranteed failure.

Vera decided to protect herself from predators and parasites who wanted to bleed her dry.
She told those daughters she was done with them the way they were.  She was no longer their servant, slave or whipping-girl.  She stopped making excuses for them, stopped reaching out and stopped apologizing. When they attacked her, she laughed at their temper tantrums or told them off angrily; especially in public.

 She told them she’d find people who would return her love and kindness with love and kindness of their own.  She cut them off and started going out and being as happy as she could.

She told them she’d always love the potential for good she still saw in them, but she despised the narcissistic, characterless people they’d chosen to become.  She hoped their struggle to make themselves happy would help them develop good character.  She knew they could do it if they wanted to.

This path has the possibility of success, which is better than the guarantee of failure on the path of accepting blame and always reaching out.

Of course, it was hard.  Vera’s heart was broken for a while.
Her daughters were stunned and upset.  They’d lost all their power and control.  One became even more vicious but the other learned the hard way.  And that daughter and the youngest one turned against the vicious one.

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

Once again Tracy’s narcissistic, toxic parents told her she was wrong and bad.  If she didn’t do what they wanted, she’d bring shame on them and the whole family.  They’d have to punish her by having the whole extended family estrange from her and by shunning her children.  It was bad enough that she married someone different from the person her parents had chosen, even worse that they’d moved away, totally unacceptable that Tracy and her husband were successful on their own and completely shameful the way she was raising their grandchildren.

Tracy didn’t need her parents’ money but she didn’t want to shame them.  She wanted their love and approval.  And she wanted the comfort and security of the extended family.  Her guilt and shame waged war with her anger at the bullying, manipulation and abuse she’d endured all her life for being independent and different from them.

Tracy had left the culture that had always ruled her and caused her pain. Some rules in the old culture (“cult”) were:

  • Tradition and her parents’ decisions were more important than anything Tracy wanted as an individual.
  • The name of the relationship, “daughter,” determined rules and roles that were more important than any other standard of behavior.  Tracy must follow the old rules and the role ordained for her as a daughter and female or else she would be made to suffer.  
  • Her parents could do whatever they wanted to draw her back into the tradition and culture of the old ways.  Any abuse or punishment was her own fault.  Tracy’s parents tended to use shame, guilt and emotional manipulation.  Her mother often wailed, “I nearly died having you and this is how you treat me.  You’re throwing our love back in our faces.  You’re selfish and ungrateful.”  Other parents in their old cultures will use threats of withdrawing money and love.

Tracy’s anger provided motivation, strength and courage for her to live her life in a new culture in which:

  • She could marry the person she loved and raise her children in the way she wanted.  Her individual decisions were more important than tradition and her parents’ rules for “Right and Proper Behavior.”
  • She could decide who she’d have a close relationship with based on how they treated her, not on the name of the relationship and someone else’s rules and roles for her.

Her bullying, toxic, narcissistic parents and their allies tried to subvert Tracy’s children and co-opt them back into their culture.
They tried to convince the children that Tracy and her husband were uncaring and unloving of their grandparents.  They tried to bribe the children with presents and money.  When these tactics failed, they were willing to pressure Tracy with the threat of estranging or abandoning her and their grandchildren

Tracy does have to protect herself and her children by distancing them from attacks by whoever in the family tries to control them and drag them back into the old ways.
But she does not have to distance herself from everyone in her extended family.  She can still be close to those who simply want to enjoy a good relationship with her and her family.

If her parents continue to turn their backs on Tracy, she’ll have to find and create a new family; a family of her heart, mind and spirit.
She’ll have to stop wanting love and approval from people who won’t give them to her unless she submits to their rule.

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

Sarah finally felt it forcibly when her husband said he wouldn’t talk about her complaints; she didn’t deserve an opinion and she certainly didn’t get to vote on his behavior.  Then he walked out of the room whistling.  He’d said and done things like this before, but she’d never felt his contempt so clearly and strongly before.

Bullies, narcissists treat you with contempt.
Of course, toxic parents, abusive adult children, fake friends and co-workers also treat people with contempt.

She allowed herself to see that he chose to get stuck in normal, early-child development.
Most babies are born selfish and demanding.  They demand food and changed at 2 in the morning whether we like it or not.  As we grow, we learn to take other people’s feelings and wishes into account.  Usually, we learn because there are consequences if we don’t.

Sarah’s husband thought he didn’t need to take her into account.   He was right.  Years of getting what he wanted had only increased his contempt for her, not his love and caring for her.  He didn’t even try to bribe her by promising to change but then not doing anything.  He could get what he wanted by ignoring her, making her submit, manipulating her or guilt-tripping her.  The worse he got, the more she tried to save him.

He usually said, “You’re not perfect so you have to accept me as I am.  So shut up!”
Sarah knew she wasn’t perfect so, in the past, she’d talked herself into accepting and submitting.  But now she felt different.  She realized when she lost her temper, he’d provoked her.  But he was always angry and took his rage out on her.  She was the dog he kicked.  Now she decided her 10% failings did not equal his 90%.  It was not the same.

Something snapped within her.
She was done trying to help him see how cruel he was; how he was throwing their marriage away.  After years of constant criticism, negativity, scorn, bullying and abuse, she gave up trying to save him from himself.  He’d never listened to her; never cared about what she wanted.  In his eyes, she was good only for the money she gave him and how good he felt when he beat her, physically, mentally and emotionally.

When I’d said he treated her like a slave or servant, she hadn’t felt the impact.  But his contempt had broken her desire to put herself on harm’s way anymore.  She’d pray for him but she wouldn’t save, rescue or enable him anymore.

Maybe if she tried harder one more time, he’d understand and change.
This thought had kept Sarah attached and playing his game.  She’d always talked herself out of leaving by thinking, “Since I don’t know the future, maybe one more loving attempt will save him.  Maybe if I loved him more?”  But no more.  Now she decided her task in life was not to save him.  She was done trying because she didn’t want to endure the pain any longer.  She decided that was more than enough reason for her.  She wouldn’t waste the rest of her life on him.  She’d take her pearls elsewhere.  She’d save herself.  He was on his own.

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