Clara eventually realized that her husband always took control of what they were talking about. Whenever she protested about his bullying or abuse, he changed the subject. She followed his arguments and never got back to what she wanted to talk about.
One tactic of sneaky bullies, narcissists is to focus your attention on the subject they want; they attack, you defend.
They that tactic use to gain power and control. Every time Clara said she didn’t like what he said or did to her, he didn’t answer about what he’d done. Instead, he attacked her. He said things like, “You don’t love me” or “It’s always your way or the highway” or “You’re rejecting me” or “You ruin everything” or “You’re trying to control me” or “You’re too sensitive and demanding” or “You did that three years ago to me” or “You’re trying to bully me.”
When Clara started defending herself, he made more charges.
It was endless. The more she defended herself, the more he attacked. If she was successful defending one charge, he changed the subject. She followed his attacks and never got back to her original objection. Clara felt like she was on trial, with a hostile prosecutor, judge and jury.
Don’t give bullies, narcissists control of the subject.
Don’t defend yourself, don’t debate, don’t argue. At first, Clara tried to keep him on the track she wanted by writing down her subject, listing his subjects afterward and repeatedly saying, “We’ll talk about what you want after we’ve talked about my subject.” But her husband was relentless in changing the subject. Then he got angry, threw a temper tantrum and stormed off.
When he’d calmed down, sometimes after a few days’ silent-treatment, he acted like nothing had happened. If she brought up her original complaint, he called her dirty words and said she was ruining their happiness by throwing up ancient history he’d forgiven her for.
She tried stopping defending herself and tried attacking him. That slowed him for a minute but then he ignored what she said and attacked her louder and faster.
Clara decided to believe what she believed and act the way she wanted.
She’d tried to drag him to couples counseling but that never worked. Finally she told him she’d decided he was an abusive, bullying narcissist. She didn’t need him to accept or agree that he was. He called her the same.
She said, “Why should I stay with someone who treats me like that?” He said she was at fault, she was the guilty person. The Elders at Church agreed with him. He suffered her only because he was the more spiritual person and could forgive her for her sins.
She made plans in secret to get away.
When she started separating from him, he acted all lovey-dovey. But she’d seen that many times before. She told him she was making distance and she’d see how long the love-bombing would last before she considered letting him court her once again.
He turned angry and abusive. And that was the end of that.
Clara was no longer on trial to decide if she was a good enough person.
For the first time in her life, she felt free; she was in charge of herself.
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.