Polly and Pete felt like they were in fights to the death. They could never win but they’d refused to back down.
Pete’s parents always tried to control everything he did. He had to serve them and follow their orders. They’d told him what school to go to, what subjects to take, what job to get and who to marry. Now, when he was grown, independent and successful, they still tried to order him. When he didn’t do what they wanted his father yelled, cursed him and gave him the loud silent treatment. His mother begged, pleaded, used his guilt and got the whole family to berate him. They’d even show up at his home without invitation and start again. They were relentless.
Polly’s eldest daughter had always tried to get her way. The older she got, the worse the fights got. She argued, cursed, told Polly she was an unfit mother and made up incidents that weren’t true. Any time Polly declared her boundaries, her daughter had to trample them. She always found evil reasons why Polly did what she did. She’d never admit she started the fights or she’d been wrong and she never backed down. She was relentless.
To us, the triggers seem minor. To them it’s a fight to the death.
Narcissists won’t give in about anything unless they offer a fake truce as a prelude to getting what they want and then attacking us again. Their bullying, abusive attacks are relentless. They’ve been training us to think resistance is futile. They’re not satisfied until we kneel before them.
As long as we engage, they win.
They want our time and energy focused on them, 24/7. They create and thrive in chaos. Then they can take charge and beat us into submission.
How can we not defend ourselves when they’re nasty and they lie?
As long as we defend ourselves, we’ll lose because we’re wasting our lives engaged in mortal combat with them. We wouldn’t argue with drunks so why defend ourselves against attacks from jerks? To them, even worse than losing is not fighting.
Pete and Polly withdrew from the fights. They discovered the only way to have boundaries with narcissists was through power and action.
Pete had his own life. He hung up on his parents when they began to throw fits. He hung up on the relatives when they called to coerce him. He told his parents if they ever came unannounced, he’d call 911 and have them taken away. They were shocked when he did. Pete got over his guilt.
Polly started laughing at her daughter. She told her to stop throwing hissy-fits. Sarcastically, she asked her if she needed a time out. Polly stayed calm and never argued back. She told the other children they had to choose; good behavior from their sister or fake “family” as slaves to her. She became more stubborn than her daughter. She was lucky, her daughter didn’t have children to hold as hostages in order to get Polly to give in.
Both Pete and Polly decided they’d never convince narcissists by arguing.
But they could insist that good behavior counted more than wasting their lives on somebody else’s battles to the death. They even stopped wasting time worrying about what their narcissists might do next or what the rest of the family thought about them. They’d deal with each episode when it came up. They decided they’d make wonderful lives with people who were their real families; the families of their hearts and spirits.
The same situations can occur with spouses, partners, siblings and friends who fight to the death.
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.