Once again Tracy’s narcissistic, toxic parents told her she was wrong and bad.  If she didn’t do what they wanted, she’d bring shame on them and the whole family.  They’d have to punish her by having the whole extended family estrange from her and by shunning her children.  It was bad enough that she married someone different from the person her parents had chosen, even worse that they’d moved away, totally unacceptable that Tracy and her husband were successful on their own and completely shameful the way she was raising their grandchildren.

Tracy didn’t need her parents’ money but she didn’t want to shame them.  She wanted their love and approval.  And she wanted the comfort and security of the extended family.  Her guilt and shame waged war with her anger at the bullying, manipulation and abuse she’d endured all her life for being independent and different from them.

Tracy had left the culture that had always ruled her and caused her pain. Some rules in the old culture (“cult”) were:

  • Tradition and her parents’ decisions were more important than anything Tracy wanted as an individual.
  • The name of the relationship, “daughter,” determined rules and roles that were more important than any other standard of behavior.  Tracy must follow the old rules and the role ordained for her as a daughter and female or else she would be made to suffer.  
  • Her parents could do whatever they wanted to draw her back into the tradition and culture of the old ways.  Any abuse or punishment was her own fault.  Tracy’s parents tended to use shame, guilt and emotional manipulation.  Her mother often wailed, “I nearly died having you and this is how you treat me.  You’re throwing our love back in our faces.  You’re selfish and ungrateful.”  Other parents in their old cultures will use threats of withdrawing money and love.

Tracy’s anger provided motivation, strength and courage for her to live her life in a new culture in which:

  • She could marry the person she loved and raise her children in the way she wanted.  Her individual decisions were more important than tradition and her parents’ rules for “Right and Proper Behavior.”
  • She could decide who she’d have a close relationship with based on how they treated her, not on the name of the relationship and someone else’s rules and roles for her.

Her bullying, toxic, narcissistic parents and their allies tried to subvert Tracy’s children and co-opt them back into their culture.
They tried to convince the children that Tracy and her husband were uncaring and unloving of their grandparents.  They tried to bribe the children with presents and money.  When these tactics failed, they were willing to pressure Tracy with the threat of estranging or abandoning her and their grandchildren

Tracy does have to protect herself and her children by distancing them from attacks by whoever in the family tries to control them and drag them back into the old ways.
But she does not have to distance herself from everyone in her extended family.  She can still be close to those who simply want to enjoy a good relationship with her and her family.

If her parents continue to turn their backs on Tracy, she’ll have to find and create a new family; a family of her heart, mind and spirit.
She’ll have to stop wanting love and approval from people who won’t give them to her unless she submits to their rule.

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