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

Different situations, same problem, same attempted solution, same lack of success.

Eddie’s parents were toxic, bullying and abusive.  When Eddie was growing up, his father had yelled, been sarcastic and never pleased with anything Eddie did.  Now his father was going after Eddie’s 7 and 9 year-old daughters.  Eddie’s mother seemed to be the opposite; talking softly and smiling.  But she was simply more sneaky and manipulative.  Everything had to be done her way and she’d nag relentlessly until Eddie gave in.  Now she went after Eddie’s daughters.  She’d even come to their house unannounced and tell Eddie’s wife and daughters what they should be doing, until they did exactly what she wanted.

Ellie’s adult daughters were toxic, abusive bullies.  Through social media, they told everyone what a rotten mother Ellie was, how she’d never do what they wanted and how Ellie always hurt their feelings.  They blamed their feelings on Ellie.  Ellie never did any of the things she was accused of but she could never please her daughters.  Even emergency babysitting and large gifts of money only bought a few hours of relief.

Eddie and Ellie kept trying to make their tormentors understand their side.
They kept trying to explain and offer evidence about what had really happened.

Eddie kept telling his parents how much his feelings had been hurt and how much his daughters’ were being hurt now.  Also, Eddie explained that he was now an independent adult and wanted to live his life his way; which was working pretty well.  He thought that if only his parents could understand the harm they were doing, they’d stop.

Ellie wanted her daughters to understand the pain they were causing her, how bad they made her look and how they were turning people against her.  She was sure that if her daughters understood, they’d come to their senses and stop torturing her.

Eddie’s parents and Ellie’s daughters didn’t care.
They didn’t want to change so they wouldn’t “understand” what their targets wanted them to.  Why should they understand and stop; they were winning by beating Eddie and Ellie into submission.  They thought they were justified, they did get their way, they could inflict pain whenever they wanted to and they even got obedience and money.  They were happy campers.

Eddie and Ellie were using one of the seven methods that never change bullies’ behavior.
Debating, reasoning, presenting evidence and begging for understanding doesn’t change hungry predators or relentless bullies.  Waiting until predators or relentless bullies accept your boundaries doesn’t stop them.  Bullies, like hyenas and sharks, take those tactics as signs of weakness.  They’re encouraged to be more relentless and to take bigger bites out of your flesh.

Their bullies pushed Eddie and Ellie to the boundaries of their comfort zones.  Then the bullies won because they pushed further, and Eddie and Ellie wouldn’t go further.
Eddie and Ellie thought being polite, calm and reasonable were the best virtues.  They felt shame and guilt if they ever blew up or acted in ways their oppressors called “nasty” or “vindictive.”  Also, they thought they couldn’t set boundaries unless their abusers accepted the boundaries.  They wanted their bullies’ agreement and permission.

As long as Eddie and Ellie settled for understanding and agreement, they couldn’t find consequences that would stop their bullies.  Eddie and Ellie needed to expand their comfort zones, get over their fears and find consequences the predators didn’t like.

Relentless predators understand only power; not reason, kindness and civility.
They must be stopped first, before trying to teach them other values.  You can’t change them if you begin by trying to get them to understand they’re hurting people or to accept your boundaries.

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

How can I give up hope that my beloved narcissists, bullies and tormentors will eventually change?  That’s the wrong question.  Never give up hope.

A better question is: “What should I do while I’m hoping they’ll finally change?”

For example: read the previous post about Jeri (alienated and estranged by her ex and her children) and James (controlled and bullied by his toxic, narcissistic parents).

Some therapists recommend you give in, accept all the fault and plead with narcissistic bullies in order to show you still hope.
Many people accept this advice.  How can you give up on them?  Of course, people who accept this path suffer daily.  Their hopes are raised then dashed at each new example of uncaring, anger, hatred, cruelty and abuse.

This path isn’t about maintaining hope.  It’s maintaining the illusion that wishful thinking will be answered, that a miracle will occur, and magically they’ll be transformed – instantly and easily one night.

I’ve never seen this path work.

I recommend you live magnificently and with joy while you maintain hope.
Of course that’s hard when your dreams have been destroyed and you wonder what you did wrong or what you might have done differently.  But there it is.  And there are methods to help.

While you’re hoping and wishing and praying and lighting candles, you’re not letting them suck your blood or whip you like you were their slave.  You’re telling them what amends they must make in order to be accepted back into a tribe of people who behave like humans.  You’re setting standards.  You’re being a model to everyone else.

So don’t be miserable while you’re hoping.

What can stimulate toxic bullies to change?
Ancient wisdom and my observations lead to the same conclusion.  They have to lose everything and suffer enough before they begin to change.  Unfortunately, hurting you is not suffering to them; they enjoy it.  Then they have to apologize in public and make public amends.  If circumstances don’t make them suffer, they won’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

Jeri and James had the same problem even though their situations were different.  They didn’t know how to make sure their bullying abusers would change.  What if they wouldn’t ever change?

After years of criticism, demeaning comments, yelling and abuse, Jeri had finally divorced her toxic, narcissistic husband.  He immediately started to alienate their teenage children from her.  She was the scapegoat for all their problems.  The kids saw who had won.  He won; she’d always backed down and suffered his abuse.  Since she accepted the blame and guilt, he took most of the money.  The kids didn’t need her so they bonded with him and were estranged from her.  They didn’t want to see her and she wasn’t allowed to see their children.  Her ex gloated.

James had grown up with toxic, narcissistic parents.  His father was always right and in charge.  When James wouldn’t obey, his father yelled and beat him.  James’ mother always gave into his father; she never protected James.  Instead, she turned on James even more relentlessly, but her control was through manipulation and relentless verbal and emotional terror.  Somehow James had become successful.  Now they tried to take control of his family.  They attacked his wife and children, and wanted him to attend only to them.  It was his duty.

Being nice and rational, and arguing never changed their tormenters' behavior.
Jeri and James will never succeed in changing them through reason.  Their tormentors enjoy torturing them.  They don’t want to change.  Since there are no consequences that matter to the torturers, all the talk is merely begging.  Some therapists recommend you should always give in, take the blame, forgive and beg; some people keep trying those approaches.  Imagine begging hungry hyenas not to eat you.  Reasoning and begging are not languages hungry hyenas understand.

Only power has a chance to stop predators.
Jeri and James must take power over their lives.  As much as their hearts might be broken by the way their children and parents are, that’s the reality.  They must protect themselves from predators who want to rule their lives and eat them.  Or from masters who wanted them as slaves.

Jeri has to let go of her shattered dream.  Niceness won’t work with predators.  She has to find a way to live with joy the rest of her days and nights.  Of course it’s hard.  But there are many other people who would return her kindness with kindness of their own.  They could become a family of her heart mind and spirit.

James also has to let go of his hope that his parents will become the parents he’d wished he had.  He has to protect his wife and children from predators.  He has to stand up and be a model to them of how to resist relentlessly.  Now that he’s adult, he can.

What if their oppressors never change?
If they never change?  So what?  Jeri and James will each have long lives, lived well, grandly and fully.  Their childhood fantasies won’t have come true, but their adult dreams can come true.

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

Tom’s mother was crazy.  She’d suddenly turn from sweet to maniacal; she’d scream and throw things at him; she’d criticize and berate him; she’d beat him relentlessly.  He was afraid she’d kill him.  His only defense was to agree with everything she said and to hide when she went berserk.

Tom became a people-pleaser.
Surprise: Tom married a woman who created the same emotional environment.  She was selfish and narcissistic, bullying and abusive.  He couldn’t predict when she would blow up but then it would last for days.  She was angry and relentless.  She’d never let go of anything he did that wasn’t good enough or of any mistake he made or when he ever said anything back to her in frustration or anger.  Eventually he’d say whatever pleased her and then he’d try to get away.

His son became a people-pleaser also, except to Tom.
Since Tom always acquiesced and was nice, he was the one who was picked on.  After Tom finally divorced his wife and his son became 25 and started living on his own, Tom hoped his son would develop kindness, compassion and civility.  But he saw his son do everything his mother wanted, and be rude, neglectful and demanding to Tom.

His son’s behavior was the straw that changed Tom.  He knew he had to start standing up to all of them – his mother, his ex-wife and his son – or his future would be one of pain and victimization.

They wanted Tom to believe their anger was more powerful than God’s Grace.  But it’s not.
When Tom felt himself full of God’s Grace, filled with light and strength, he realized he had nothing to fear from any of them.  His self-doubt, self-questioning, guilt and low self-esteem vanished.  He didn’t even think about self-confidence.  He didn’t have to be perfect in order to ask for and even demand better behavior in his personal space.  He simply knew he was an adult and they couldn’t hurt him.  They could yell and scream, but he could leave.  He could have a wonderful life without them.

His son could fight him and ignore him and get angry, but Tom decided the most important thing was setting standards of polite, civil behavior in his personal space.  That was more important that the name of any relationship.

Tom had to set an example for his son before it was too late.
He realized his son would never learn until Tom showed him what they both needed to do.  He had to show his son that he could stand up to his mother’s wrath and not be destroyed.  Their anger wasn’t a big deal.  And if his son got angry at Tom when Tom stood up to him, that wasn’t so scary either.  By example, he’d keep trying to teach his son courage, inner strength and determination.

Obviously, men can do the same things that Tom’s mother and ex-wife did to him.

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

Clara’s husband always found reasons to be needy or angry.  No matter what she did, it was never good enough for him.  And he was jealous whenever she was happy.  He condemned her if she did something and condemned her if she didn’t.

He alternated between being an angry, vindictive little brat and a hurt little boy.
He said her job was to make him feel needed whenever he wanted, or be his whipping post when he wanted.  When he blamed things on her, she was supposed to feel guilty and beg his forgiveness.  His bad feelings and behavior, his bullying and abuse, were her fault.  He was selfish and narcissistic; the center of the world.

At 55, he was still fighting a war against his rotten upbringing.
Of course he thought he was fine and Clara needed therapy to become a better wife.  If Clara stayed, he’d continue fighting that old war but it would be waged on her body.

He wanted Clare to either submit or to fight back so he could batter her into submission.
He gained meaningless victories over her but he lost all the joy he could have had in life.  And he wanted to suck or beat the joy out of her life also.

The only way Clare could win her own life was not to play his war games.

The same patterns are found in women who are narcissistic, adult brats and princesses.

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
6 CommentsPost a comment

William had worked hard and become very successful.  However, his three adult-sons were lazy, selfish and narcissistic.  They expected him to provide everything.  Even worse, they were demanding, rude, abusive and criticized everything William did.

They expected William to bail them out of business problems, and buy them cars and houses, while they neglected him.  They never called or send birthday or holiday presents.  Even worse, they bullied William by saying if he didn’t give them everything they wanted, they’d keep his grandchildren from him.  Their wives were even worse to William.

They told William he had a father’s duty to take care of his children no matter how they abused him or failed on their own.
Finally, William had enough.  He gathered them at what they thought was a big gift giving and he told them he was done.  He was not taking their rotten behavior anymore.  No more bailing them out, no more big gifts and no more abuse.  They were all adults with families and they could provide for themselves.  He knew they were smart and capable of getting what they wanted on their own.

He had decided to be with people who would love him nicely, not pick his pockets.
He told them he was testing them.  Would they be nice enough to him to be worth giving or leaving anything to?  

At first they rebelled.  They cursed and threatened him.  They said he was blackmailing them.  He smiled and agreed.  They were old enough to accept, “Pay for performance.”  They could choose how to behave toward him and he could choose what to do with his time, energy, love and money.

I’m not saying what happened next because William was excited with what he’d said and did.  He didn’t feel guilty.  He felt free of leaches who were sucking his blood.  He felt full of energy and strength.  That was most important to him.

Obviously, the same pattern applies to toxic parents and other relatives who want to drain your blood and pick your pockets.

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

June had been raised to be her parents’ servant.  They beat into her that her role was the Right Way.  They chose even a husband for her and told her she couldn’t protest.  It was her duty to honor her parents and to make the marriage work.  Or else!

June had been her husband’s slave for thirty years.
Her husband had only worked sporadically when he wanted to; had only helped with the children and the chores around the house when he wanted to; and had demanded she wait on him and his friends when he wanted her to.

During that time, June had raised the kids and worked to have enough money for groceries.  The children were now grown and gone.

The way he treated her made no sense to her.  It wasn’t nice and it wasn’t fair.

June’s Spirit rebelled.
Finally, June really heard him say, for the thousandth time, her job in life was to honor him and to serve him.  This time her Spirit rebelled.  No matter what he said, no matter what her parents said, no matter what her community said; they were wrong.  She wasn’t going to stand for that any more.

In an instant, she quenched that fire.  How could she disagree with everything she’d been told?  How could she be right and all of them be wrong?  How could she try to get away when she’d be all alone?  She should feel shame and guilt for feeling those thoughts and for feeling so angry.  She wasn’t understanding and forgiving.

Something in June snapped; never again!
But the damage to June’s old patterns had been done.  Her Spirit was stronger than their opinions.  She simply didn’t care about those questions and ideas.  She had to follow the demand that rose up from inside her.

To keep herself on track, June replayed an image she’d made of her life’s journey.  She saw herself as her parents’ slave.  They’d made her do everything; they’d beat her physically and verbally whenever she resisted or whenever they were upset for any reason, not only when she did anything wrong; and they told her she had to like it.  It was her role in life.

June saw herself as her husband’s slave.  He did what he wanted and her task was to make his life as easy as possible.  She was supposed to do all the work; she was supposed to endure his verbal beatings, whenever he felt like it even though there seemed to be no reason; and she was supposed to like it.  Whenever he wanted to kick the dog, she was the dog.

All their behavior now made sense.  It fit a pattern.  That’s what Masters did to slaves.  June could never understand why a person would chose to treat other people that way, it wasn’t right.  But she could see the power they all loved being Masters.  They felt good being waited on; they felt good being powerful and in control; and, sometimes, they felt good torturing something helpless.

The demands of June’s Spirit were more powerful than her previous brainwashing.
Many people run from their Spirit’s demand.  They choose the path they’d been trained for.  But not June.  Her inner force was stronger than her fear, and her low self-confidence and low self-esteem.

Replaying that image of her slavery gave June power.  She motivated herself and gave herself strength, courage and determination.  She’d never again be anyone’s slave.  She’d never put up with bullying and abuse.  Her life was hers and she’d never give anyone control.  She gave her life to her Spirit’s demand.

It was hard for June to break away from a life-time’s training and to find people who supported her determination to make a new life for herself.  But June persisted.

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 knew she didn’t have much time to save her grandchildren from the craziness of her angry, narcissistic, sociopathic daughter.

Her daughter made her life hell, and tormented and brutalized the grandchildren.  She then insisted they hate Polly for not doing everything their mother wanted to.  All their troubles were Polly’s fault.  Polly knew that her daughter wanted to alienate the children from her.  Polly also knew the only reason she’d ever see her daughter or her grandchildren would be when her daughter needed money or child care.

Polly had given up on having a meaningful, close relationship with her daughter but she wanted to save her grandchildren from her daughter’s toxic behavior.
She didn’t care if she ever saw her daughter again; she’d grieved horribly at that loss once she’d allowed herself to see what her daughter had become.  She couldn’t understand what had caused it but she knew she had to let go or her daughter would suck all her money and blood, and then abuse her for having no more.

But she wanted to help her grandchildren grow up loving and kind, despite what their mother said about her, and despite the hurt and pain they felt being around their mother.  They already knew never to displease their mother.  Her daughter’s husband also lived in fear of her temper.

What could Polly do to save her grandchildren?  Polly finally realized:

  1. Kindness, compassion and consideration for others would not help the children resist their mother’s craziness and anger.  Those qualities, admirable as they are, would be used by their self-centered mother to make them her slaves.
  2. The kids need to be fierce.  They need a fire in their hearts, a fighting spirit to endure their terror and to resist their mother’s bullying, abuse and lies.  They need courage, strength and fierce determination not to be beaten into submission.
  3. They need to keep their Fire and Will secret from their mother until they could get away.  If they fought openly, their mother would destroy them before they were old enough to defend themselves.  Kids from every physical and cultural war zone in the world need that fierceness in order to escape and to make their own lives.  They need to be invulnerable – undefeated by the pain until they could escape the prison they were born into.
  4. They need to develop a skill so they can become physically and financially independent.  They already knew what happened when they were helpless before their mother.

How can Polly help grow that seed of their Souls?  A good gardener germinates seeds and then showers them water sunlight, water and manure.
In the short time Polly had with the kids, she could help those seeds grow and bear fruit.  In secret, Polly:

  1. Told the children about the seed they had within them.  Told them they needed to develop fierce courage, strength and determination.  Encouraged their fierceness as well as their compassion.
  2. Told them to keep secret their determination.  Told them she’d love them always and if their mother separated them, not to believe their mother’s reasons but, when they were old enough, to come find her on their own.
  3. Sent birthday and holiday presents in big boxes and kept records of every gift.  She let her daughter be the one to deny the kids.
  4. Told them stories about what some of their ancestors had survived, which was much worse that what their mother dished out.  Pointed out the great survivors and heroes and heroines in the movies, books and television programs they watched.
  5. Reminded them of how peace, safety and warmth felt when they were with her as opposed to the shame, guilt and terror they felt with other people.  Told them to go where it feels good and to judge “how” people love, not by what they said, but by how good they feel when they’re with them.
  6. Set high expectations for behavior when they were with her, especially handling their emotions.  All the while she created a safe space for them to talk about anything they wanted.
  7. Told them she was going to be a model for them by living a wonderful life, full of joy.  Told them suffering, whining and complaining were victim-talk.  They too could make such wonderful lives and she would help them when they got free of prison.  Told them they could succeed, no matter what had happened in their early years.

Polly can’t guarantee whether the seeds would grow and bear fruit.
We never know which kids are rocky ground and which are fertile soil.  All we can do is supply what we can.  Usually one child, or maybe two children, are invulnerable to their mother’s craziness.

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

Harry’s 36 year-old daughter insisted that he accept her rage and tantrums when she didn’t get what she wanted or when he tried to pin her down to whether she was coming for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  He was interfering with her freedom and life, and he was making her suffer.

She insisted he love her unconditionally and prove it by accepting how she was and giving in to her.
Harry should feel guilt and remorse.  He should forgive her if she acted out because she always had good reasons for her tantrums.  It was always his fault.  He should prove his love do what she wanted, whenever she wanted.

Harry was stumped.  He didn’t have an answer that would satisfy her.  He could never do enough to prove his unconditional love.

Accepting her narcissism, rage and uncontrolled outbursts is not unconditional love toward an adult.
Harry finally had his answer.  Unconditionally, he loved the potential he’d always seen in her to be a wonderful person.  Unconditionally, he loved her spirit that could be so loving, kind and compassionate.  Unconditionally, he loved the fire within her that could have made her a competent, successful and independent adult.  Unconditionally he loved the best he saw in her.

And he despised her personality, ego and sense of entitlement.  He despised the horrible choices she’d made.  He despised her selfish, narcissistic, entitled behavior with which she beat him and so many others.  He despised the least of her and he was disgusted when she gave in to that side of her.  One of the first jobs of any adult is to master herself, to be in charge of her emotions and behavior.  She needed to grow up.

She hated his answer but he was satisfied with it.
He didn’t have to satisfy her whims or prove his love any more.  When he first told her how he thought about her behavior, she was furious.  She bullied and abused him louder; she cursed him and called him a failure as a father.  She told him she’d never forgive him and never talk to him again.

Harry told her he had so much love, compassion and respect for her, he was kicking his little bird out of the nest.
Instead of trying to prove himself to her, Harry laughed and asked if she needed a “time out.”  He calmly and firmly told her he loved her so much he was no longer paying for her apartment, her car and her insurance.  She had a job and she had to learn to be a productive and independent adult.  Her choice was to crash or to fly.  It was the best gift he could give her and it was given out of respect, kindness and compassion.

Of course, Harry could see what she’d do next.  She’d give him the loud silent treatment and when that didn’t work she’d plead poverty and when that didn’t work she’d try to get him by being helpless – she was in danger or she’d threaten to commit suicide and it’d be his fault.

Harry was mentally and emotionally prepared.
While she was giving him the loud, silent treatment, he went and had a wonderful time.  He even started dating again.  He knew she’d find out and he didn’t want her to see him suffering and praying and lighting candles.

When she pleaded poverty, he said he knew she had the courage, strength and determination to struggle and to make a wonderful life.  He recounted all the times she’d been strong enough to beat him into submission.  He recounted all the obstacles she’d overcome when she was in school.  When she attacked him verbally, he laughed and encouraged her to be a better parent to herself.  She was at a loss when he laughed and didn’t defend herself.

He told her she’d have to start proving her love.  She’d have to prove she was worth having around.

In this situation, Harry had some leverage.  His daughter wanted things from him.  In other situations, the demanding, narcissistic adult child has the leverage, so different tactics have to be used.

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

One of Helen’s adult daughters was forcing her to choose between her daughter and her second husband.

That’s not the real choice.

Helen had three girls with Ed before she finally summoned the courage to divorce him when the girls were in their early 20s.  He was angry, demanding, selfish, manipulative, bullying and abusive.  However, she thought she had to stay because the girls needed a father and she always wanted to give them everything they wanted.

Ten years later she met Sam.  Helen never thought she’d ever meet someone who would love and care for her the way Sam did.  Also, he was wonderful toward her daughters and their young children.  He had a big heart which he opened to them even though he wasn’t their biological father.  After three years they decided to marry.

One of the Helen’s daughters, Mary, was furious.  It was a slap to her father Ed, it was wrong and she was going to stop it.  She cajoled, she threatened, she used emotional blackmail and intimidation.  She tried everything she could to get her sisters not to go.  Even though Helen pleaded and begged, Mary wouldn’t budge.

Helen went ahead with the marriage, saying that Sam was so wonderful, eventually Mary would be won over.

But Mary never changed.  For eight years she wouldn’t allow Sam near her or her children.  She organized big Thanksgivings and Christmas celebrations, big birthday parties for her children and her sisters’.  Helen was invited but Sam was never allowed to come.  And Mary would never go to Helen’s events if Sam was there.

All that time, Sam was still wonderful to Helen and the other two daughters and their children.  He kept asking Helen to stand up to Mary but Helen kept waffling.  Maybe she did feel a little guilty for remarrying.  Maybe Mary was right that Helen was driving a wedge into her family.

Helen kept attending Mary’s functions in hopes that Mary would eventually relent.  She kept begging Mary and reasoning with her.  She kept minimizing the damage she was allowing to her marriage.  

Helen’s other daughters said they couldn’t do anything because they didn’t want to destroy the family.  They said Mary was always this way.  Even when she was a little child, if Mary didn’t get what she wanted she became furious.  She yelled and screamed.  She threatened and manipulated.  She sulked and wouldn’t talk for months until everyone gave in.  She was relentless.  They thought that was just how she was.  So Helen and the rest had eventually given in to her.

We need a Code of Conduct, Standards of Behavior that are greater than individual personality and ego.
We pledge our allegiance to a Code of Behavior first, just like the law is above the King, Queen or President.  We recognize dictators and tyrants because they want their whims and personalities are above the law.

Supporting and enabling trashy behavior is not helping Mary.
Helen had to stop wanting to be forgiven and loved by Mary for the wrong reasons.  Mary’s love was not kind, considerate and compassionate; it was selfish, bullying and abusive.  Helen had to challenge Mary to love her for the right reasons and to love in the right ways.  Helen needed to take a risk and break the glass ceiling that she’d accepted.  She needed courage and inner strength to take the risk of standing up for the Standards she held so dearly.

The choice was about which standards of behavior Helen would allow in her personal space and the family she wanted.
Helen though Mary was behaving horribly, like some sort of trash.  Or, Mary was dumping toxic waste into Helen’s family.  She’d always done that and Helen had not stood up to protect the rest of her family from pollution by one daughter.

Helen finally saw clearly.  This was the same choice she had to make when she divorced Ed.  Mary was the one driving the wedge.  Mary was the poison serpent in the family.  Mary had the heart and Soul of a raisin.

Looking at it that way, the choice was clear for Helen.  She couldn’t allow the bullying, temper tantrums of a five year-old take control of her family, especially when the five year-old was in a mid-forty year-old body and should have learned better.

There never is “the family.”  There is only, “What specific behaviors would Helen allow in the family she wanted.”  It was a horrible choice to have protect the rest against one daughter, but it was the choice Mary was forcing on Helen.

Helen was the mother and she had to set a good example for all the younger people.

Helen chose the standards she wanted to live with the rest of her life.
She chose the happiness and joy she felt with Sam; she chose the way she and Sam treated each other.  At first, her other daughters didn’t back her because they thought she’d never have the courage and endurance to resist Mary.  But after they saw Helen’s determination, they also insisted they didn’t want manipulation, bullying and hissy-fits around their families.

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

Elaine had not recognized Brian as a sneaky narcissist until it was too late, she thought.

Elaine had given her life to Brian.
She and Brian met when they were both in their fifties.  Her two children were grown and independent.  He’d never married.  His courtship of her charming and intense.  He swept her off her feet.  He claimed he had a thriving business but needed to move out of his apartment and into her house so they could really be together and he could devote extra money to the next growth steps in his business.

Within a year, Elaine had put his name on her house, given him half her business, put her savings into his business, him beneficiary of her will, and watched him run up huge debts on her credit cards.  She’d also quit seeing the friends she’d had for decades.  The way he explained it, made it all seem natural.

Even worse, her life started revolving exclusively around his schedule and his desires.  Brian insisted she keep working because they needed the money.  Also, he insisted she keep the house spotless and have food ready for him when he came home in the evening.  When she wasn’t perfect enough for him, he was critical, bullying and abusive.  But he always has good reasons.  He demanded she give in to him like his mother always had.

Elaine felt trapped.
She woke up one morning in a cold sweat.  She hated the way he’d treated her but she could never win an argument.  If she tried to leave, she’d be almost broke.  And Brain had been clear about what he’d done to business partners and previous women who’d disappointed and abandoned him.  He’d broken them.

Elaine felt hopeless and helpless.  She couldn’t see a bright future.  She’d been a fool.  It was all her fault.  Waves of shame and guilt washed over her.  She became anxious and depressed.

Elaine is not trapped.
Elaine was stuck but not trapped.  It would be a difficult task to get free, but she was not doomed to spend the rest of her life as Brian’s slave.

She felt her anger and her spirit rise in her.  She’d fight him to the death.  Even if it took the rest of her life, the fight would be better than giving up and becoming his slave.  She began to see and feel some hope.  And the more she fought, the more she found allies and the stronger she felt.  During her fight for freedom, she discovered many things she could use as leverage against Brian.

Of course it was hard.  So what?

Some people wake up only after they have children and are financially dependent on a sneaky narcissist.  That only increases the degree of difficulty.  Many people decide to wait until the children are grown.  But remember, sneaky narcissists will try to make you more helpless every day.  And the more you tolerate access to the children, the more they’ll be able to turn them against you.

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

Overt narcissists are pretty easy to recognize and label, even the first time we meet them.  They’re pushy, loud and over the top.

But sneaky narcissists try to lull us to sleep so we’ll drop our defenses and let them take over our lives.

However, we can learn the early warning signs, even the first time we meet them.  Sneaky narcissists exhibit typical patterns when we meet them.
Notice, we can recognize their behavior and we can also honor our feelings even though we may not have evidence that would stand up in court.  Some early warning signs of sneaky narcissists are:

  1. They appear quiet and pleasant but they always become the center of attention and conversation.  Their experiences, their feelings, their observations are the ones that count most.  If the spotlight shifts from them, they maneuver it back rapidly.
  2. They’re demanding and talk down to people who have to serve them.  They’re subtly negative about everyone who doesn’t worship them.  They’re experts at planting seeds of doubt or sharing confidences that play with your emotions.  Recognize sneaky narcissists by how often you’re your feelings about people change after they’ve been whispering in your ear.  They often had to retaliate against former friends or partners who were dumb, wrong and deserved it.
  3. They criticize, bully and abuse you with a smile until you distrust your own opinion.  They often change or deny what happened until you start questioning yourself.  You start to think you’re dumb and crazy.  Your self-esteem and self-confidence plummet.  You feel dependent.  See the movie, “Gaslight.”
  4. Their opinions and rules are right; they know best about everything, including you.  They might not yell, but they’re clear: they see accurately, they know the truth, their reasoning is right.  Their rule is that if they find one exception to your statement, it’s all false and you have to give in to them.  They want to convince you there will be a disaster if you don’t do what they want.
  5. They find perfectly logical reasons why they should control every decision, especially when it concerns money, jobs, friends and family.  They often start by pleasing you and then slowly making adjustments to your life, one seemingly small thing after another.
  6. They debate cleverly so you’ll let them win.  Their feelings are much more important than yours and come first.  They often use their hurt feelings so you’ll give them what they want.  Always, they take over more and more of your thoughts, actions and space.  They take over your life.  If you don’t give them what they absolutely must have (everything they want), they’ll be devastated.
  7. They’re relentless.  They may back off for a while but they’ll always return to reinforce their points and to find examples that disagree with yours.  Everything is a matter of life and death to them, although the most sneaky ones go slowly at first to take control of your life step-by-step.  You feel yourself not wanting to bring up things or to disagree because it’ll be too much trouble over something that’s not so important to you.

Many begin by flattering you in order to gain control.
They can’t live without you.  They’re charming and sweep you off your feet.  They want to move in right away and do everything together.  Or they want you to sell your place, quit your job and move in with them.  Then you’re helpless, arranging everything around their desires and schedules.

Notice how that undying love is slowly replaced by distain and control once they have you.  Recognize what they do when you deny them something, especially unconditional submission, adoration or money.

Always trust your inner radar.  Even if you don’t have external evidence, move on before it’s too late.

We might be fooled by the cleverest of narcissists or sociopaths until we marry them, but once we realize what’s going on, we can and must get out before we lose ourselves in their control.

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

People who grew up as victims to their parents’ narcissism often have a void, an emptiness right in their center, an excruciatingly painful emptiness they are driven to fill.

For example, Linda had been trained by her father to feel empty.  She was not allowed an opinion of her own.  Her sense of Self was discarded and a void created in the center of her chest.  He trained her to be filled (temporarily) only by his throwing her an emotional bone of love once in a while.  

When Linda grew up, she was driven to fill that emptiness at any cost, even further dismissal of her own Self; her thoughts, her feelings, her opinions; her standards, her values, her desires.  She bounced from man to man, always looking for someone to give her a little love, at any price, in order to fill that void.

Linda was an addict.
She saw versions of herself in movies and television; heroin addicts doing anything for a fix, even the slightest amount, to take the pain of that emptiness away.  She was addicted to narcissists.

Recovery.
Finally, in despair, Linda went cold-turkey.  She had to endure intense loneliness, longing and pain while she started to fill her emptiness with her own Spirit, her own Soul, her Higher Self.  She also filled that void with God and the Great Mother.  She felt the love pouring in and filling her like warm milk and light: Bliss, Joy, Home.

She remembered a few moments early in life when she’d felt filled and she did exercises to keep filling herself.  As she felt filled, she stopped seeing the world in terms of whether she was loved or not.  She no longer needed external suppliers of temporary fixes of love; the narcissists, bullies and abusers she’d previously sought.  She was able to see clearly what people’s personalities were and would likely continue to be.  She saw who she could be with and who she could not; who had their own interests at heart and would seek to hook her again.

Then a miracle happened: She stopped feeling thrilled and attracted to the bad men and women who promised a little relief but really sought to hook her.  She began looking at the world for wonderful things to be seen, to be experienced, to be done.  She began feeling attracted to people who would be real friends and lovers.  Walking around with her chest filled, she felt attractive and she was.

Within 6 months she fell madly in love with a real partner to share her new self.

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

Sneaky, seductive narcissists use many tactics to be the center of attention and to lure us into becoming slaves to their feelings, their desires and their view of the world.  They want to rule.

For example, Linda had been trained by her father to feel empty.  She was filled only by his throwing her an emotional bone of love once in a while.  She finally rebelled and severed contact, even though she still felt a gnawing emptiness.

Later, her relationship with Chuck was stormy.  He charmed her with compliments and seeming adoration before subtly taking over her life; her mind, her feelings, her home, her business.  Then her Spirit would rise up and she’d throw him out.  In a month or so, when her loneliness became consuming, he’d start worming his way back.  Then, in 3 months she’d wake up and realize he’d slowly gotten complete control of her again, and she’d throw him out.  The cycle kept repeating.

Some sneaky, seductive narcissists’ tactics.

  • Chuck told her he couldn’t live without her: she was the most beautiful, intelligent and funny woman he’d ever met.  If she’d give him a chance, he’d prove he loved her totally.  The compliments filled Linda’s inner void.
  • When she felt strong enough to argue, he’d resist for days before changing the subject.  He’d point out something he didn’t like about her.  She’d feel guilty and be drawn into a different argument.  The arguments were consuming her time and energy, and draining her Spirit.  But whenever she gave up the argument, he’d reward her, be charming and she’d melt in his arms.
  • Sometimes, after days of arguing, she finally forced him to admit he had narcissist tendencies.  He countered with the argument that since he was trying to change, she should take him back so he could prove he’d become different.
  • When she got angry, he’d promise to give her everything she wanted as soon as he could.  In the meantime he’d prove it with loving words and candy, which he’d have to eat because she was diabetic.  After all, he loved her just the way she was.  She never had to change to please him.

Faced with new promises, how could she be sure a sneaky, seductive narcissist had changed?
In truth, we can never be sure a person has changed because we can only see the evidence in the unknown future.  And even though they might have broken a million promises, maybe they’ll keep the next one.  We never know.

But the more Linda filled her inner void with her own Spirit, the more the question shifted.
She saw sneaky, seductive narcissists:

  • Want to be the center of attention.  They want their feelings, ideas and point of view to rule.
  • Want you to be engaged in arguments rather than leave.  Arguments are better for them than no attention.
  • Will say anything if forced to.  Chuck would even take responsibility and ownership for what he’d done, but he didn’t change his behavior for long.
  • Will suck us back in slowly, step-by-step, while casting a spell over our eyes.
  • Will never give up.   For them it’s a life-death struggle.

Linda’s question to herself changed.
The more she filled her emptiness with her Spirit, the more she thought, “Do I want to spend my time on this roller coaster?  Do I want to endure bullying and abuse while I hope he’ll change?  Are there other people who’ll love and adore me nicely?”

Finally, she said, “”Enough!”  She dumped Chuck for good and went looking for someone where the loving was easy.  After all, she was beautiful, intelligent and funny.  And no longer needy.  Of course, after enduring a period of loneliness, she found someone wonderful.

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

Liz’s experience with her 20 year-old daughter, Kendra, had been similar to Laura’s with her daughter, Kelly, as I described in the last article.

Kendra expected everything; she felt entitled.
Kendra had always insisted that her rules should rule their home.  The older she got, the more demanding and threatening, the more bullying and abusive she became.  Liz finally saw this as the logical consequence of her merely trying to teach Kendra polite and civil rules without any consequences, and of her ultimately letting Kendra win and do what she wanted.  Kendra had become selfish, narcissistic, unappreciative, ungrateful, entitled; with an “I can treat you any way I want and you’ll still give me what I want” attitude.

In college, Kendra continued bullying, abusing and then dismissing her mother.  She demanded everything she wanted.  Liz complied: she paid for Kendra’s car, gas and insurance; she paid for Kendra’s phone; of course she paid Kendra’s tuition, room, board and books.  She sent Kendra extra spending money each month.  Liz was glad to do all this to give Kendra a head start in life.

But she deeply resented that Kendra never said “”Thank you” or showed any signs of caring about Liz’s feelings or the hard work it took her to give Kendra all that money and goodies.  Kendra never expressed caring, appreciation or respect.

In Kendra’s sophomore year, Liz was pushed over the edge when her daughter appeared suddenly for a weekend because her other friends would also be back in town.  Kendra spend the two days with her friends, raided the refrigerator and emptied it, and trashed her room and bathroom before racing to get back to school.  She never stopped to even have coffee with her mother.

Liz applied consequences.
She didn’t send Kendra money the next month.  Kendra called in a rage.  Liz said she’d spend the money restocking the refrigerator and hiring maids to clean up the mess Kendra left.  Instead of apologizing and making promises, Kendra cursed her mother and raged more.  Big mistake.

Liz said she was not going to pay for Kendra’s phone any more.  Kendra raged even more.  Liz said, since Kendra never showed any appreciation, she might as well not give.  Kendra said that was simply financial blackmail and she’d never give in.  She was in charge of her own life.  Liz owed her whatever she wanted and Liz had better pay up.  Big mistake.

Shortly before Christmas break, Liz told Kendra she’d converted Kendra’s room into a studio for herself.  If Kendra came home for vacation, she’d have to come as a guest and sleep on the pull-out bed in the living room.  And any mess left in the living room would go right to charity.  Kendra raged even more and said she wasn’t coming home.  Liz replied with excitement: since Kendra wasn’t coming, Liz would use the time to go on a vacation trip with friends.  And she’d changed the locks.

After Christmas, Kendra called Liz to tell her Liz had ruined her life.  She had a miserable time at a friend’s house where she had to be on her best behavior all the time.

Liz said she knew Kendra could be a wonderful person if she wanted and she hoped Kendra would maintain those high standards of behavior toward her.  And if she didn’t, the car was next.

Kendra blew up.  Liz should feel guilty for ruining her life and forcing her to accept standards she didn’t want.  Mothers are supposed to make their children happy.  Liz laughed and said she thought daughters were supposed to make their mothers happy.  Or they were both supposed to make each other happy.

She was proud, not the least bit guilty.  She was finally teaching her daughter how hard it would be to make her way in the world as a selfish, entitled, narcissistic person.  Giving respect and appreciation in return for generosity was a crucial part of succeeding in life.  Kendra raged more.

Three days later Kendra called to apologize for her treatment of Liz.  She promised to be good and respectful.  Liz said she thought that would be wonderful.  Kendra said, since she promised to act nice, would Liz immediately send money, pay for her phone and give her a key and her room back.

Liz requires good behavior over time; not mere promises.
Liz explained to Kendra a series of steps Kendra would have to take over time in order to be given more.  It was just like apologizing and making amends over time.

Kendra would have to call at least once a week and be polite and fun for two months before they’d talk about the next step.  Liz could hear Kendra clench her teeth but she promised.  And then she did.  Over the next two years, Kendra satisfied every one of Liz’s requirements.

Would Kendra maintain her polite, considerate behavior when she became financially independent?
Liz couldn’t predict.  Kendra would show her true character when the time came.  But, at least Liz could enjoy two years of good connection with her daughter while she hoped for the best.

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

Laura was so frustrated with her 15 year-old daughter, Kelly, she was ready to give up and walk away.

Kelly had always insisted that her rules should rule their home.  The older she got, the more demanding and threatening, the more bullying and abusive she became.

Laura finally saw this as the logical consequence of her merely trying to teach Kelly polite and civil rules without any consequences, and of her ultimately letting Kelly win and do what she wanted.  Kelly had become selfish, narcissistic, unappreciative, ungrateful, entitled; with an “I can treat you any way I want and you’ll still give me what I want” attitude.

When Kelly was a child, Laura had lectured her about manners at the table – simple “Please” and Thank you,” simple eating politely and not bolting off to her room to chat with her friends.  Laura tried educating Kelly but Kelly snarled that Laura was old fashioned and her generation didn’t have to follow those silly rules.  And she stormed out.

Laura couldn’t think of a justification for manners so, after mild protests, she finally gave up.  She let Kelly do what she wanted.

Kelly became consistently negative, critical, sarcastic, rude and demanding.  She expected to get everything she wanted immediately.  She became like Veruka Salt from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

For example, she never said “Thank you” for any birthday or Christmas presents.  She demanded a huge birthday party but after Laura had made huge preparations, Kelly and her friends never showed up.  They went to the mall without telling Laura.

Why rules of behavior matter.
Rules of behavior or “manners” are crucial in any society.  They enable us to live peacefully with each other in a crowded world where we’re surrounded by many more people than our family.

The earliest “manners” were probably the “guest-host relationship” rules.  Imagine a stranger coming to a family or village seeking shelter from a storm.  We need a basic rule, accepted by both sides, in order to be safe.  In the middle of the night, the guest will not murder and steal from the hosts.  The hosts will not murder and steal what the guest has.  Manners lets both sides know that we’re going to follow that rule.

That set of rules was still maintained in the early 20th C out on the prairie: No asking personal questions and no horse stealing.

Arguing rules of polite behavior never succeeded with Kelly.
Laura had tried to educate Kelly peacefully.  She seemed to believe that if she lectured with exactly the right words, eventually the lesson will sink in.  Some kids accept their parents’ teaching and behave.  Others do not; they resist with every ounce of their strength and determination.

Laura knew Kelly knew what was wanted because the mothers of Kelly’s friends praised Kelly’s politeness.  But Kelly wouldn’t change at home simply because she didn’t want to and didn’t have to.  Laura kept teaching until she eventually gave up.  She wouldn’t accept what Kelly was showing her.  

Consequences might succeed.
Bullies and abusers show you what you have to do to change their behavior.  For a long time Laura was unwilling to do anything “harsh” or “nasty” or “punitive.”  She thought those were not the way to raise a nice person.  But Kelly was showing her what would not work.

Laura faced a choice: continue the way she’d been going and pray real hard for a miracle, or start applying consequences despite Kelly’s protests.

Laura decided to apply consequences with a calm smile.
She wouldn’t debate or argue.  She’d simply state the way it would be.  And she made clear the connections between Kelly’s behavior and the consequences.

For example, when Kelly was nasty about a meal, Laura simply picked it up and dumped it in the garbage.  And made sure there were no candies or extra food in the house.  She didn’t buy Kelly a birthday present because Kelly never said “Thank you” so Laura assumed Kelly didn’t want one.  When Kelly demanded a big party, Laura said she wouldn’t because of Kelly’s behavior the last time.  But she did wish Kelly a wonderful next year.

The climax for Laura and Kelly came when Kelly finally saw her mother was adamant.  She blew up, ranting and raving that Laura’s job was to make her happy.  By not letting her do what she wanted, Laura was ruining her life.

Laura simply smiled and told Kelly she was childish, weak and cowardly.  It was easy for her to try to beat up her mother, who loved her.  It took strength and courage to act civilized to people who loved you and who would give in.  It took strength and courage to try to get what you want from people in the world who didn’t care about you.

Laura continued referring to Kelly’s behavior as childish, weak and cowardly.  Kelly said Laura was blackmailing her.  Laura smiled and said, “Of course.  That’s life.  If you want something from me, you pay with good behavior.  If you continue to treat me badly, I won’t pay for a phone, a tablet or a car.  I know you can do better.  You’re a wonderful person.”

Kelly finally gave in, reluctantly.  Her senior year was much happier for Laura.  Would Kelly maintain her civility once she moved out?  Laura decided to deal with that when she got there.

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

All her life Betty had been kept in cages and trained by narcissists.

Her father.
Betty’s father trained her to be his soul mate and to hate her mother.  Whenever she hesitated, he bullied and abused her, just like he did her mother.  She never remembered rebelling.  She knew he’d withdraw and be vindictive.  She wouldn’t be daddy’s little princess any more.  When she did his bidding, he praised and stroked her.  She learned what was expected of her and gladly performed.  Then she was fed by his love.  She never had an opinion of her own; her thoughts were subject to his approval.

Her husband.
Against her father’s wishes, she fell madly in love and married.  While they were courting, her future husband praised and petted her.  She was the world to him; she was perfect.  But right after the ceremony, he started acting like her father.  He was critical, sarcastic and cruel.  But when she was docile, he seemed to love her and she glowed with happiness and pride.

When her husband started wooing their daughter and turning her against Betty, Betty remembered her father and mother, and she bolted.  She took her daughter but gave her husband all the money and visitation he demanded.  Soon he controlled their daughter and they teamed up against Betty.  Despite all the horrible and demeaning things they said and did, Betty always remembered the few times he’d complimented her.  She remained madly in love with him, even though she tried to keep him at a distance.

She never understood why she never had a voice with either of them.  They never cared what she thought or said.

Her boyfriend.
Then she met Harry.  He was handsome and charming, and seemed to have his own money.  After a whirlwind week, Betty was madly in love.  She invited him to move into her home.  He seemed thrilled; Betty was perfect.  Betty’s life rapidly revolved around making Harry happy doing what he wanted.  She didn’t even remember why she put his name on the house title, let him quit running the company he said he had owned and let him hang out all day while she worked.

Soon she felt like she was back with her father and her ex.  She did everything to please Harry but every time he was unhappy, she was at fault and she plunged into guilt and despair.  He began making sarcastic remarks and raging at her in public.  Harry always had good reasons why he should do what he wanted and she rapidly gave in.  Every time she thought of rebelling, he complimented her and her heart swelled with love.

Her revelation.
Betty’s whining and complaining about how she felt trapped in a horrible relationship with a guy she was madly in love with, led her few friends at work to suggest she learn about narcissists.  She saw her father, her husband, her daughter, her boyfriend and many others as narcissists – selfish, manipulative and actually totally uncaring about her.  She saw herself as having been trapped in a cage, performing for them whenever they wanted.  She hated them and, mostly, she hated herself.

She felt her Spirit and her anger rise inside her.  Her spirit was calling her to take back her life; to follow her own star.  Answering that call would be hard.  She’d have to fight her oldest rules and beliefs, she’d have to fight her oldest strategies for survival, she have to resist being swept off her feet by the words of narcissists and her need to please them.  

But that anger fueled her courage and determination.  She did take back her life.  She stopped feeling alone and desperate.  She learned to fall in love with a good man who backed up his words with appropriate actions.

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

In the last article, we saw Jeri transform her paralyzing (“bad”) guilt and shame into motivation (“good”) to resist her daughter’s manipulation and battering.

Jeri wouldn’t be her daughter’s whipping post or slave any more.  She was done accepting bullying and abuse.  She wouldn’t let her daughter pollute her life with toxic venom.

Beyond guilt and shame.
At first Jeri needed some self-bullying pain and torment to motivate herself to solve her problems.

But then, she trained herself to recognize the first slight signs of turning on herself – a catch of breath, a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, a hunching of her shoulders.  She connected these seemingly minor signs to her energy focused outward to protect herself and to deal with whatever was happening – attacks by her daughter or personal criticism by anyone else.  The process had generalized to every area of life.

With practice, this new connection became an automatic, natural and easy response that propelled Jeri forward, focused on what was in front of her instead of on herself.  She no longer felt guilt and shame.  She simply responded to what was happening in the outside world without any endless loops of self-mutilation through internal focus.

Jeri was surprised she no longer had to go off and process for days.  She speedily dealt with situations in the present.  And she now had much more room for the feelings she wanted.  

Her self-confidence and self-esteem rose dramatically.  Actually, she said she hardly ever thought about herself, and those concepts seemed a waste of time.

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