Lucy’s mother was horrible to her for as long as Lucy could remember – always critical, controlling, sarcastic and predicting failure. According to Lucy’s mother, Lucy was not only never good enough, she was rotten to the core – a bad seed. Lucy’s mother had denied or taken away everything Lucy has wanted.
Lucy had tried to please her mother in every way she could think of, but nothing had bought more than a moment’s reprieve from her mother’s harassment. Lucy also learned that if she put up more than a token argument, her mother would get even meaner and more abusive. Her mother had rarely hit Lucy but the mental and emotional abuse felt like torture.
Lucy’s father wasn’t mean or nasty but he never stopped Lucy’s mother. He simply turned his back and vanished. His only advice to Lucy was, “That’s the way she is, you’ll just have to put up with it.” Her relatives and siblings felt the same way. By continuing to minimize or excuse her mother’s behavior or sometimes piling on also, they enabled Lucy’s mother to continue bullying them all.
So Lucy had endured her toxic mother.
When she was 21 and still living with her parents, Lucy had met and fallen in love. Despite her mother’s hatred of Harry, Lucy had married him. And despite her mother’s predictions, it turned out wonderful. Harry was really nice and his parents welcomed Lucy into their hearts. Lucy and her husband were financially independent and they had two wonderful children.
Lucy’s mother expanded her negativity and abuse to include Lucy’s children. Lucy told her mother how her bullying and abuse was harmful but her mother hardly stopped.
Lucy’s oldest child didn’t care. He didn’t fight back; he simply ignored his grandmother. But Lucy’s youngest child was more sensitive. She was crushed by what her grandmother said and did. Initially Lucy wanted her daughter to get over her hurt feelings and grin and bear it. But finally Lucy snapped. She didn’t want her daughter to have the scars she had. She’d had enough.
Lucy saw that she had to make a choice: Protect her mother or protect her daughter.
Of course, Lucy brought up many questions before she felt ready to protect the wonderful life she and her husband had created:
- How could she stop her mother’s bullying and abuse when she’d already tried every logical argument she could think of? In the past, her mother had simply ignored Lucy’s pain and anger, and pretended that what she did was justified and normal.
- How could she ignore the debt she owed her mother for raising her? How could she get over her guilt at resisting her mother? Was it morally right to dishonor her mother by choosing her daughter as more important?
- If she pushed her mother away, would she lose her whole family? What if the rest of the family started twisting her arms? How could her family survive if she cut off her mother? Who would come to help if she got sick?
- What could she do if her mother behaved sweetly for a little while and then reverted to her old ways?
Lucy did act bravely and strongly. She succeeded and created a bully-free environment for herself and her family. I won’t go into Lucy’s answers and the strategy Lucy chose. You can begin learning from an earlier article: What You Owe Toxic Parents
The best way to learn how to stop toxic parents and enabling families 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 get bullying and abuse out of your life.
Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert coaching by phone or Skype.