Tracy had tried to hide the realization all her life, but at age 50 she finally saw her parents and siblings clearly.  Her parents were narcissistic, controlling, manipulative and toxic.  Her sisters and brother had also bullied and abused her whenever they could.  

She was always told she wasn’t good enough, bright enough or nice enough.  Even when she tried to please them and even when she did all the work and acted like their slave, her efforts weren’t good enough.  Her wonderful marriage and successful career were never proof she deserved anything but negativity, criticism and scorn.

Now they were old, they told her she had to move in with them and spend her money to take care of them.
They didn’t care about her family and her own obligations and responsibilities.  They didn’t care about her savings.  All that mattered to them was what they wanted.  They were physically and monetarily well off but they missed having a servant to criticize and command.

When Tracy hesitated they tried to beat her into submission verbally and physically, like they always had.
They called ten times a day to remind her she was rotten, uncaring and a bad person.  When she visited to celebrate her father’s birthday, he shoved her against a wall and stomped away.  He refused to see her.  She was no daughter of his.  They’d cut her out of their wills.

When beatings didn’t work, they shifted into their life-long patterns of manipulation.
They used guilt and shame, “They had raised her and now she owed them.  How could she abandon them in their time of need?  She was not a kind or loving person.  She was a bad example for her children, who would treat her even worse.  She deserved to fry in hell.  ”

They got the other children and aunts and uncles to bombard Tracy with criticism.  They were too busy to help so Tracy had to.  If she didn’t, the rest of the family would shun her.

When they saw Tracy unmoved, her parents apologized for whatever she thought they’d done.
Since they’d apologized, she could show she’d forgiven them by moving in and taking care of them.

Whose way matters?
Tracy finally saw that in their minds, it was their way or nothing.  When she was 18, they didn’t want to spend money on her so they’d thrown her out even though she was a good girl and hadn’t done anything wrong.  Now, when they wanted to save their money and be taken care of, they wanted her to be their slave.  They didn’t want to face their fears in a new way.

But Tracy didn’t want to do things their way.  

The choices Tracy saw were:

  1. Give in to them; abandon her life, move in with them, spend her time, energy and money taking care of them.  After the episode on her father’s birthday, and her siblings’ reactions, Tracy knew that no matter what she did or didn’t do, it would never be enough or right.  She’d be criticized and condemned no matter what she did.
  2. Refuse to abandon her life to take care of them.  Tell them to spend their own money or get it from the other three children they’d always favored.
  3. Decide how much she wanted to give, maybe depending on what her siblings gave, and pay part for an independent living facility in the city they now lived, far away from her.  That way, she could love them from afar and avoid their toxic personalities.

Tracy chose the third course.  And she told them all if they were nice she’d come to visit on holidays.  But if they weren’t nice to her, she wouldn’t visit and she’d withdraw the money.  She was making her own rules for the benefit of her future and her family.


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