Hope divorced her narcissistic, angry, bullying, abusive, sadistic husband when the kids were 10 and 14. Her ex rapidly reverted to the life-style he had when she met him: he quit his job, sponged off whoever he could, started living off an alcoholic tramp and preached against education and a good career for himself and his children. He was nice to the kids only when they did what he wanted or to cause them guilt to get them to give in to him. His mantra to the kids was, “Don’t get a swelled head and rise higher than me.”
But he could also be charming when he wanted so she worried that her children would get sucked into his desire to control them, to turn them into allies against her and to turn them into losers.
What could she tell them?
- “Trust your gut.” Most important for kids is to trust what they see, hear and feel. They do recognize tension, anger, control and verbal and physical beatings, and manipulation. They do know where they feel like they have to walk on egg shells. Don’t let them start to distrust themselves because some adults try to disguise the pain they’re causing by labeling it, “Love. For your own good. Show me you love me by doing what I want. I know best for you. This is the way things should be.”
- “Improve your gut. Learn to recognize sooner when someone is using you or taking advantage of you or causing you pain – no matter what reasons or excuses they give you. Also, learn to examine yourself for times when you are simply reacting because you don’t get what you want.”
- “Choose what to be loyal to. Your father will want you to be loyal to him and his agenda, to show your love by being an accomplice in attacking your mother and in destroying the wonderful future you can have. Don’t be loyal to your father. That’s not the most important value. Don’t be loyal to your mother, either.”
- “Be loyal to the greatest future you can imagine. If that hurts the feelings of either parent, tough for them. Your future is more important than your parents. The most important loyalty is to a wonderful future for yourself. Be true to that future. You’re both smart. Dream big. Get educated; get great careers. Be all you can be in the world. Do what makes your life the greatest it can be.”
When Hope looked at the decisions for herself and her kids that way it was clear and straightforward; not necessarily easy. It was not a fight between her and her ex, even if he wanted to make it into that. It was a fight within her kids to struggle for the best future they could imagine versus giving in to anyone who thought the kids should do less and become less just to make them feel good.
Of course, husbands sometimes have to say the same things to counter narcissistic wives.
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.