Dana was an empath, always compassionate and understanding of her sisters and her youngest daughter. They’d suffered so much that Dana felt she had to give into them, try to make them happy and overlook or minimize their criticism, bullying and abuse of herself and her other children.
Dana was stuck in the “Empathy Trap.”
The more she understood how they’d suffered growing up and the more she psychoanalyzed their pains and motives, the more she believed she had to accept and tolerate their overt hostility and sneaky negativity, whining, manipulation and back-stabbing. Their greed and emotional neediness demanded that she understand and forgive them. If she didn’t, she was cruel, heartless and guilty.
That kind of psychoanalysis makes targets put up with being victimized.
Psychoanalysis trivialized Dana’s pain to make her explain, understand and forgive them. Dana wanted to be a good person; kind, loving and understanding. There seemed no way out for her, even though she knew her other children were also suffering.
How could Dana resist when she felt so sorry for them?
When Dana realized she had believed a lie, it was easy. She’d been taught the only way to show understanding and empathy was to give in to them. That’s what they wanted her to believe. But it’s a lie.
Dana realized she could have strong feelings for their suffering; she could understand and feel sorry they chose narcissism and bullying as their default styles. And that giving in and catering to them never changed their feelings or behavior. They felt more powerful and increased their demands.
Giving in to them only perpetuated their behavior; she’d become an enabler, a colluder, an accomplice.
Dana decided the best way to help them was to show them that their chosen victimhood, their outrage and attacks, their vindictive, sneaky manipulation and guilt-tripping would not get them what they wanted. Kicking them off her Isle of Song was the best teaching lesson for them.
Now she could love them and feel compassion for them from a distance.
She could light candles, she could pray, she could hope a miracle changed their hearts and their favorite tactics to get what they wanted. And sometimes she’d say, “You must do better and I know you can.”
As Maya Angelou said, “Being kind doesn’t mean one has to be a mat.”
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.