Tom’s toxic, narcissistic parents always wanted everything he had. Even though he was 40 and had his own family, they wanted him to do everything for them whenever they wanted. Even though they were in good health and had money, they wanted all of his. They bled him dry – drop-by-drop, pint-by-pint.
How could he not give them what they wanted? Would that mean he was an ungrateful, uncaring son? How can he not trust them; they’re his parents? How could he resist; they’re his family? They tell him that blood is the most important thing…and it seems to him that they want all of his.
First let’s begin not by asking about whether Tom can trust all people or not trust all people. That’s a foolish question. What’s important is that he trust his accurate estimation of what they’ve done and what they’re likely to do.
Tom knows his abusive, manipulative, controlling parents are typical:
- They want Tom to give them everything he has when they want it. They’re demanding and insistent. When he gives them what they want, they want more. It’s never enough. When they change their minds, they want him to give him what they now want immediately. There will always be new wants.
- No matter what he does he’s wrong. They find reasons to blame him and guilt-trip him no matter what he does. He’s always at fault; he’s never good enough.
- If they’re sweet for a few minutes, he knows they’re just buttering him up. They’re just making friends with his wallet or his spare time. It’s like they’re putting a quarter in his parking meter to keep him from resisting. In a minute they’ll demand something from him.
- It’ll go on forever. They’ve changed tactics a little as he’s grown older, but it never really changes. Their way of getting what they want is to verbally beat him into submission or guilt trip him like he was a little boy.
- They always have reasons, excuses and justifications for what they want, why he should give it to them and why he’s bad if he doesn’t. He owes them his life, his present and his future. He owes them all his energy and all the fruits of his labor.
Narcissistic, toxic parents are bullies. They know all your guilt buttons and they know how to bully you into submission. They don’t stop. They rarely change, even after a near death experience.
What did Tom do?
- He faced his first decision: which counts more to get into his personal space; blood or behavior? He decided that having high behavioral standards was most important, even from his parents, relatives and friends. People had to behave nicely and not take advantage of him or browbeat him into submission by being nasty or guilt-tripping him. Now that he was an adult, he’d set his own standards and have his own rules. He’d keep score of their actions, not their excuses.
- He’d be polite but he wasn’t going to be their servant or banker. When they got nasty, he’d hang up. When they got relatives to intervene, he’d speak up about how his parents had always treated him. He’d test his relatives to see which recognized what his parents had always done and would take his side. He was surprised at how many did, once he took a stand.
- He’d follow his accurate instincts instead of talking himself out of doing what he felt was right for him. He saw that his true family was the one he’d made as an adult; the family of his heart, mind and spirit. They appreciated and respected him. They didn’t want his money or him waiting on them.
- He’d test to see if his parents would ever change. He’d know only after repeated and on-going change, not niceness one-time. Since he’d always been the one to initiate contact, they’d have to be the ones who called him and they wouldn’t ask for anything or start putting him down.
- He prepared himself for when they tried to hook him by being sick and needy.
An exercise that helped Tom gain his distance and feel like an adult, free from remorse, blame or guilt, had three parts:
- He started thinking of them by their first names, not by the relationship of his childhood – “mom” and “dad.”
- He spoke about them to other people by their first names, not by “my mom” or “my dad.”
- He prepared himself to call them by their first names when he talked with them.
Tom got free from the entanglement, enmeshment and suffocation he’d felt for so many years. His confidence and self-esteem soared like never before.
The best way to stop being used by bullying, selfish, narcissistic parents (and friends) is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and consulting so you can:
- Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
- Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the bully-free life your spirit has always hungered for.
Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert coaching by phone or Skype.