When Inga’s daughter was young, she was the perfect child. She lavished praise on Inga, never argued, helped around the house and got good grades. Other parents were jealous.
When she became sixteen and Inga got her a car, she began to change. She said she was now in charge of her life and could do what she wanted. She threw temper tantrums, stayed out as late as she wanted and told Inga her job as a parent was to make her happy. Inga accepted it all, hoping it was a phase and her “real” daughter would return with love.
Her daughter moved with negativity, criticism and abuse through the college Inga paid for. When she married, she made Inga do all the work for the wedding, pay for everything she wanted and, at the reception, yelled at Inga for being a horrible mother who never loved her enough and tried to ruin her life. Inga was mortified.
Two children later, her daughter had complete control over Inga. If Inga didn’t please her, she would not be allowed to see the grandchildren. She mocked Inga in front of her friends and even in front of Inga’s. She seemed to relish torturing Inga by changing her mind at any whim. She laughed at Inga, saying “How do you like it now that I’m in charge. Do you hate it as much as I used to?”
Bullies and narcissists are addicted to their relationship to power.
They see the whole world in terms of power, not any of the ethical or moral values we have. Bullies, narcissists respect power, not kindness, understanding or reason.
If someone has power over them, their most typical reactions are:
- Act subservient and suck-up.
- Rebel. They resist and fight or try to take the power away by open attack or sneaky manipulation and back-stabbing.
If they have power over someone, their most common tactics are:
- Torment, torture, abuse, bully, take advantage of the less powerful.
- Act like a master. Make the weak to do all the work, worship them and endure beatings with a smile. They strut like Gods walking the earth, and they will not allow the inferior to respect anyone else.
Asking without consequences is begging.
Inga tried every method she could think of to educate and rehabilitate her daughter. When Inga preached and followed the Golden Rule, her daughter, demanded more. Her selfishness had no limit. To her daughter, Inga’s, love, caring, kindness and open door meant Inga was weak and would submit to any control and abuse.
We can’t change bullies and narcissists by appealing to their shame, guilt, conscience, morals and ethics. Since they enjoy the adrenaline rush of control and power, they have no reason to change. They have no appreciation; any more than a master has for a slave. Inga had learned that the hard way.
We must use power and leverage to get bullies and narcissists to act civilized.
Even though their hearts haven’t changed, sometimes they can be made to behave nicely. But beware, they’re only waiting for an opportunity to become the master again.
Don’t give bullies and narcissists what they want; we can’t make them happy enough to change.
When they lose everything, a few might be cracked open enough to change. When a heart is changed, we call that a miracle; which tells us how often it occurs and that making it happen is above our pay-grades. The kindest, most compassionate and loving thing we can do for a bully or narcissist is to help them fail as quickly as possible.
Inga got lucky. Her daughter’s marriage finally fell apart when her husband couldn’t stand the same treatment she’d dished out to him. They’d been deeply in debt and Inga’s daughter got nothing. She was totally dependent on Inga. Inga used her leverage wisely.
Inga got over her guilt and shame; she had accepted that a rotten child was the mother’s fault. She was freed when she began to say in public, “My daughter’s kind of crazy; she’s a controlling narcissist who wants to treat me like a slave.” She was surprised when many people sympathized and told her about their selfish children.
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.