Different situations, same problem, same attempted solution, same lack of success.
Eddie’s parents were toxic, bullying and abusive. When Eddie was growing up, his father had yelled, been sarcastic and never pleased with anything Eddie did. Now his father was going after Eddie’s 7 and 9 year-old daughters. Eddie’s mother seemed to be the opposite; talking softly and smiling. But she was simply more sneaky and manipulative. Everything had to be done her way and she’d nag relentlessly until Eddie gave in. Now she went after Eddie’s daughters. She’d even come to their house unannounced and tell Eddie’s wife and daughters what they should be doing, until they did exactly what she wanted.
Ellie’s adult daughters were toxic, abusive bullies. Through social media, they told everyone what a rotten mother Ellie was, how she’d never do what they wanted and how Ellie always hurt their feelings. They blamed their feelings on Ellie. Ellie never did any of the things she was accused of but she could never please her daughters. Even emergency babysitting and large gifts of money only bought a few hours of relief.
Eddie and Ellie kept trying to make their tormentors understand their side.
They kept trying to explain and offer evidence about what had really happened.
Eddie kept telling his parents how much his feelings had been hurt and how much his daughters’ were being hurt now. Also, Eddie explained that he was now an independent adult and wanted to live his life his way; which was working pretty well. He thought that if only his parents could understand the harm they were doing, they’d stop.
Ellie wanted her daughters to understand the pain they were causing her, how bad they made her look and how they were turning people against her. She was sure that if her daughters understood, they’d come to their senses and stop torturing her.
Eddie’s parents and Ellie’s daughters didn’t care.
They didn’t want to change so they wouldn’t “understand” what their targets wanted them to. Why should they understand and stop; they were winning by beating Eddie and Ellie into submission. They thought they were justified, they did get their way, they could inflict pain whenever they wanted to and they even got obedience and money. They were happy campers.
Eddie and Ellie were using one of the seven methods that never change bullies’ behavior.
Debating, reasoning, presenting evidence and begging for understanding doesn’t change hungry predators or relentless bullies. Waiting until predators or relentless bullies accept your boundaries doesn’t stop them. Bullies, like hyenas and sharks, take those tactics as signs of weakness. They’re encouraged to be more relentless and to take bigger bites out of your flesh.
Their bullies pushed Eddie and Ellie to the boundaries of their comfort zones. Then the bullies won because they pushed further, and Eddie and Ellie wouldn’t go further.
Eddie and Ellie thought being polite, calm and reasonable were the best virtues. They felt shame and guilt if they ever blew up or acted in ways their oppressors called “nasty” or “vindictive.” Also, they thought they couldn’t set boundaries unless their abusers accepted the boundaries. They wanted their bullies’ agreement and permission.
As long as Eddie and Ellie settled for understanding and agreement, they couldn’t find consequences that would stop their bullies. Eddie and Ellie needed to expand their comfort zones, get over their fears and find consequences the predators didn’t like.
Relentless predators understand only power; not reason, kindness and civility.
They must be stopped first, before trying to teach them other values. You can’t change them if you begin by trying to get them to understand they’re hurting people or to accept your boundaries.
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.