Joan grew up as the scapegoat in her large, extended family.  They seemed to take delight in blaming everything on her and making her feel bad.  They told her what should do/should have done, brought up every failure, belittled every success, called her demeaning names, criticized everything she wanted, told her she wasn’t good enough.  Her life with them was continued negativity, bullying and abuse.  They never respected any of her boundaries.

She assumed she must be guilty.  Why else would loving family do that?

Even though she had a wonderful marriage and three wonderful children, they still attacked her.

One day, in the middle of a wave of hurt and anger, when they’d belittled her children and belittled her to her children, she had a moment of clarity.  She saw them for what they were; alcoholic, dysfunctional, losers.  They couldn’t hold jobs, their marriages were horrible, they couldn’t be nice, they failed at everything they tried and they lashed out at the world and especially at her.  They were like a pack of hyenas.  She’d never done anything wrong, but they still ripped her to shreds.  When she protested, they ripped at her even more.

Then she felt terribly guilty for judging them.  But the image stayed with her and got more intense with time.  She’d rather die than be with any of them

She wondered, “Why do they do it?”
She hadn’t done anything to any of them that should provoke any hate or anger.  It seemed they just wanted her as a slave who could beaten but would come back for beatings whenever they wanted.

After many hours of psychoanalysis and therapy, with many professional experts, she knew a lot about their childhoods, hurts and failures but she wasn’t satisfied that these had caused them to be so hostile and vicious.

She finally decided she was asking a dumb question, “Why are hyenas, hyenas?”
Her understanding wouldn’t help her change them.

She noticed that she was the only one in the family who responded to nastiness, back-stabbing, manipulation and name-calling with attempts to be nice, kind, logical and rational.  Of course that didn’t stop them.  That wasn’t the language they spoke.  Her problem was in not making them suffer when they whipped her, in not using a language they understood.

She realized she’d never be able to prove herself to them.
Every time she pried to defend herself, to ferret out the truth, to tell the truth, Joan lost.  Their attacks only increased.  They changed the subject.  They weren’t interested in truth.  They were swept up in the thrill of the kill.

“Rising above” never changed them.
Joan was taught that a good, spiritual person should rise above attacks.  She should turn the other cheek; she should forgive.  But whenever she did that, they laughed with joy and attacked her more.  She didn’t want to continue being a martyr.

Joan embraced the straightforward solution, “You’re a swan; don’t stay with ugly ducks.  Go find your true family.”
Joan thought, “I’ve been raised by hyenas, but I don’t have stay with them.  I don’t have to keep coming back so they can take another bite of me or peel my skin off some more.”

Something in her snapped.  She was done with them.  She had to protect her husband and her children from those creatures.  She had to find her true family, far away from the hyenas.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situationThe 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