Good parents whose angry, vindictive, narcissistic, toxic, adult children are estranged, feel crushed and heart-broken.
They’ll never let us see our beloved grandchildren unless we accept blame, guilt for all their emotions, bad decisions and failures; we accept repeated beatings (verbal and sometimes physical); we give them everything they want at the moment and kiss their feet whenever they want.
They’re negative and hypercritical. They misinterpret everything we do and give themselves reasons they think are good enough to justify their anger and rage. They always have reasons and justifications to bully and abuse us. They blow up and throw temper tantrums. They’re always right and we’re always wrong. Or when we’re right, it doesn’t really count.
Can we ever reconcile?
Yes. But there’s a big “but.” I’ve never seen success with the typical way we all try to build bridges or keep the door open. Some of the ways that do not bring them back are to keep:
- Giving them what they want in hopes they’ll know we love them and the door is always open so that, by some miracle, one day they’ll wake up transformed into decent, loving, caring adults with great character.
- Trying to educate, explain and teach what’s right. They don’t have the same standards of right and wrong that we do. And they don’t want to learn ours.
- Arguing about who did what. Argue that they’re misinterpreting, that their feelings are way out of proportion, or debate or reason with their emotions.
- Bribing them by giving them gifts and money. Appease them by accepting blame and guilt so they can beat us even more.
- Begging or pleading with them to treat us decently, without any real consequences for criticism, name-calling, cursing, wishing us dead or physical violence. Words – polite asking or threats – without consequences are begging.
- Thinking that if they see us suffer enough, they’ll become nice to us.
These methods have zero chance of succeeding.
You can’t reconcile with predators.
You’ve tried everything you could think of – you’ve tried minimizing, ignoring, explaining, reasoning, accepting blame, begging, bribing, threatening – but it hasn’t worked. Again, not your fault. They don’t want to reconcile. Period.
“Reconcile” is not in their vocabulary. Winning, eating your flesh, drinking your blood, draining your resources and discarding you – those are in their vocabulary. They are predators.
How can you reconcile with a hungry wolf, shark or energy vampire? They want to devour you. Period.
They won’t forgive.
They might pretend for a while in order to get what they want, but as soon as they have it, they start tormenting us again.
Bullies, abusers and predators misinterpret our kind, caring, moral gestures as weakness. They think we’re easy prey and they go after us even more. They want to hurt us; they’re happy when they see us suffer.
Ignorance is not the problem. Education is not the solution. They think their lives wouldn’t be messed up if we hadn’t harmed them way back when. They think their criticism, anger and rage are justified now because we did or do something they don’t like.
Trying to change them is like trying to change the weather. Good luck with that. Better strategy: when it’s winter, take the necessary precautions.
What is effective?
The only approach I’ve even seen be effective in bringing them and our grandchildren back into our lives is to set clear boundaries with consequences. They have to pay a price – good behavior – to get close to us.
Not every adult child is strong enough to finally grow up. However, some chance is better than zero chance the other way.
Many techniques for doing this are the subject of the next article.
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:
- 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 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.