Jack’s sister brought a toxic, controlling, “crazy” person into the family – her new husband.

I’m using the term “crazy” loosely because we use it to describe someone who has to have his own way all the time, who had to be the center of loving attention all the time, who controlled her and wanted to control everyone else.

If his sister’s husband didn’t get what he wanted, he threw temper tantrums in public.  He yelled, cursed, threatened and then stormed off.  He’s hyper-sensitive; if he got his feelings hurt, he blamed everyone else and he exploded.  He’d done that all his life.  He controlled his birth family and he was trying to take over Jack’s.

Of course, many of us are born into families that already have such tyrants in them.  Even harder to detect are the manipulative, sneaky controllers.

These people are spoiled brats whose only approach is to try to beat the world into submission to get what they want…immediately.  Think Veruka Salt from “Willie Wonka.”

Most people don’t want to confront these people so they use some of the “Nine Tactics that Don’t Stop Bullies.”  For example, in Jack’s family:

  1. They minimized, excused, explained and tried to overlook the behavior.  They pretended it wasn’t so bad and that he had some reasons for being so rude, abusive and bullying.  “Don’t make a big deal out of it; ignore it; it’s your sister’s husband; he’s family now.”  
  2. They begged and bribed him to be nice.  Which, of course, let him know that he had power, and encouraged him to try to get more or he’d be upset.
  3. They turned on everyone else to negotiate, be understanding, compromise and make apologies in hopes that they could buy a little bit of civil, polite behavior.  “He’s never going to change so we have to give in for the sake of ‘family’ and to protect your sister.”  But, of course, he never had to be understanding, compromise or apologize.
  4. They refused to admit that such craziness could exist; “certainly not in our family.”  Therefore, if her husband was angry, it was Jack’s fault and he’d better smooth things over.  Deep down, the rest of the family knew his sister’s husband wouldn’t change and they were afraid of breaking up their image of family.  They’d give in because they’d never make a scene in public.

Ultimately Jack’s sister must decide to confront and stop the behavior.  When she does, Jack can support her.  But until she did, any time Jack tried to reach out to her, she rejected it.  She blamed Jack; it was his fault her husband was upset.

Jack saw that people like his sister’s husband are like an infectious disease that would destroy the whole family if it wasn’t checked – think Ebola, HIV, plague.  There is no co-existence with such poisons.  They must be quarantined and destroyed.

Jack wouldn’t accept such verbal beatings and guilt-trips.  He wanted to protect himself, his wife and his children from such manipulation, control and verbal beatings.  He wanted his children to see that bullying, temper tantrums and hissy-fits are not good ways of acting or successful ways to get what they wanted.  So he wouldn’t back down.  He spoke calmly and openly about such childish behavior.  He would not expose himself or his family to that bullying.  He became the protector and defender of his own kingdom.

It wasn’t easy but Jack’s stubbornness and unwillingness to debate or back down changed the whole family dynamic.

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.

AuthorBen Leichtling