Jerry’s family was so mean to him that he wanted to live thousands of miles away and have a secret identity so they could never find him.
Jerry couldn’t understand why they did what they did. His parents would yell at him and at each other. They’d make promises to him and then deny them. They’d say they loved him and then they’d be relentlessly negative and critical. The nicer he was, the meaner they became.
His brothers and sisters were manipulative and stirred up fights. Everyone had secrets and trapped Jerry in the middle of the weird games they played.
Jerry always tried to reason with them but logic never helped. They’d get angry and explode, or they’d get hurt feelings, cry and sucker Jerry into trying to make them feel good. They always had reasons and excuses for why they were so mean. It was never their fault; someone else was always to blame for how nasty they were.
How can parents and family not care about you?
Jerry and his wife were at their wit’s end. They couldn’t understand why his family was so mean. They thought if they could understand, they could do something to make peace. But nothing they did managed to change his family’s behavior.
They finally concluded that Jerry’s family members cared only about the feelings they had right at the moment. They didn’t cared about acting consistency or keeping their words or about Jerry or about any standards of polite, kind, civilized behavior. Jerry and his wife felt their flesh was being torn by hyenas.
On the other hand, Jerry and his wife had great friends. They had fun with them and if there were any problems, they were handled above board and with no manipulation, lying, bullying or abuse.
“Family takes care of family no matter what. Family comes first, no matter how rotten they are or how you feel.”
That was the rule Jerry had been raised under. As long as Jerry kept that rule, he’d be at the mercy of his bullying family. Jerry and his wife wanted to turn their backs on his family but he was stuck emotionally.
It would be a huge transition, turning away from a culture that had lasted thousands of years in order to turn toward the new way of being Jerry wanted. He’d be pitting his personal vision against the many voices trying to drive or drag him back to the old ways. He would have to be brave, determined and strong. He’d have to become the hero of his own life.
“Good behavior counts more than bad blood.”
That was the rule Jerry wanted for the rest of his life. He would never let anyone, even relatives, who behaved badly close to his family. When his children were old enough to see what was going on and to see how Jerry’s family tormented their parents, Jerry finally had to confront, as an adult, his old family rule. Did he want to spend his life stuck with the old rule or did he want to choose to live the rest of his life with his new rule?
Jerry decided his most important values were
- Setting the best example for his children about what environment to create for them.
- Protecting and defending his family from people, including his parents and relatives, who he saw as crazy or savages.
He would stake out his own way against the old ways. Jerry’s wife was thrilled. Since the problem was Jerry’s family, she felt she had to wait for him to act. She didn’t want to be the lightning rod for his family’s attacks by putting Jerry in the middle. She’d stand with him but he had to be willing to stand up first.
This decision opened Jerry and his wife’s hearts toward each other and ended the fights between them. Now they had to figure out how to do it; how to disentangle themselves from all the tentacles that had been strangling them. Simple and clear but not easy.
The best way to learn how to create the life and space you want is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling 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 deal with the specific situation you’re in.