Lucy’s stepdaughter has hated her since they met when the girl was ten.  In the past 25 years, she’s blamed Lucy for all of the many bad decision she’s made, for every bit of bad luck and, in general, for everything when she feels bad or is angry.

Lucy tried everything to be a good adult friend when the girl was growing up and she’s made repeated attempts to befriend the girl since she’s been an adult.  But every attempt has been rebuffed.  Her stepdaughter has been negative, critical, verbally abusive and bullying toward Lucy.  She’s cursed Lucy regularly.  Therapy only seemed to give her approval for acting out her hostility and anger.

For the past 15 years, she’s treated her father the same way.  Although she’s taken his money, she’s never softened her approach.  She’s made his life miserable but he’s never acted on the consequences he’s threatened her with.  He’s tried every one of the nine methods that don’t stop relentless bullies…and they haven’t stopped his daughter.

The daughter was a toxic child and is now a toxic adult.

Except for that subject, Lucy’s marriage has been wonderful.  She and her husband have fun doing everything except dealing with this problem.  He’s never required his daughter to behave better.  When Lucy has finally lost her temper and said, “No more,” he’s tried to smooth everything over and always asks Lucy to be more tolerant.  After all, he says, “She’s still my sweet, little baby.  And it’s my fault I divorced her mother.  If we’re nice enough, she’ll come around and appreciate you.”

The truth is that the girl’s mother was crazy, abusive and an alcoholic.  After years of taking her abuse, Lucy’s husband finally divorced her and got custody of their daughter when she was five.  The girl was as out of control as her mother when she didn’t get everything she wanted.  Lucy’s husband has begged his daughter for the last 30 years to be polite and civil, but she’s always tried to argue him into submission or blackmail him emotionally into giving her everything she wanted at the moment.

The situation finally came to a head after the daughter got pregnant at age 33 and married the loser who’s the father of baby.  That guy wants Lucy’s step-daughter to go back to work to support him while he hangs out with his friends.  Or he’s willing to be supported by Lucy’s husband.  In a shouting match last week with Lucy, her stepdaughter shoved her and smacked her.  Then she did the same to her father and threated him that he’d never see his granddaughter unless he supported her and her husband, and got rid of Lucy.

Lucy’s husband said he doesn’t know what to do.  He hoped that if Lucy apologized for getting his daughter upset, she’d relent and let him see his granddaughter.

Lucy was finally adamant:

  1. She had nothing to apologize for and his daughter had the apologizing to do.
  2. They have just enough money for their own needs and can’t afford to support the couple.
  3. She’s tired of the continued abuse and won’t see the girl or her rotten husband any more until they apologize and change.
  4. She wanted her husband to demand good behavior from his daughter or no-contact even if that meant he wouldn’t get to see his granddaughter.  She wanted him to stop coddling his daughter and start treating her as an adult who has to be responsible for her words and actions.
  5. She wanted her husband to start protecting her and the future they’ve dreamed of even if that costs him a relationship with a person who is toxic to him and his wife.

This was difficult for him.  Even after 30 years, He still felt guilty.  And, deep down he thought his daughter and her husband would go under if he didn’t give them everything they wanted.  He couldn’t see how to love his daughter while enforcing strong standards about behavior he simply won’t tolerate.  He had a life choice to make.  What kind of future did he want?

The best way to learn how to see clearly and to protect what’s most important to you 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 deal with the specific situation you’re in.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert coaching by phone or Skype.

AuthorBen Leichtling