Ruthie panicked every time she thought of being straight, strong and powerful with people who were using and abusing her. Her mind went blank and she froze.
She knew that was a legacy from her narcissistic, bullying father. She’d learned early that to stand up to his wrath and vengeance meant death – mentally, emotionally and physically. She decided the only way to survive was to be sweet, beg him to consider her once in a while and accept any punishment with a smile. She even had to accept when he’d pimped her out to promote his business and told her to suck it up.
Long after he was dead, she perpetuated her terror and helplessness with her husband and her children. Of course they preyed upon her like alligators, ripping her to shreds almost all the time but being considerate once a year to keep her hopeful of winning their love and kindness…if only she remained powerless.
Ruthie finally realized bullies and narcissists understand only power.
Of course they hate our power and try to convince us they’ll be more hateful and relentless than we’ll be, and they’ll never change so why fight. They have many good excuses to justify their criticism, negativity, demands and anger when we disobey. Also, they try to convince us that if we resist, we should feel guilty; it’s our fault if they’re upset.
Ruthie realized that she was the one who needed to change.
Her change was to give up the goal of finally winning their love and respect, of making them peaceful, and to have a new goal; to use her power to decide what behavior to allow in her personal space.
As much as she loved them, she didn’t like them at all. She decided she was not going to live the rest of her life in terror, accepting punishment as her due. She’d rather be alone than be a cowardly slave all her life. She had to use her power, whether they liked it or not.
She allowed herself to feel her rage at them and used it to fuel her determination.
She started small, then escalated, eventually even in public. She told her husband she was going out with her friends whether he liked it or not. When he trashed the house during her absence, she spend his birthday present money to hire cleaners. When he grabbed her hard, she called the police.
She started refusing her adult children’s demands to watch their kids at the last minute when she had other plans. When they were mean and demeaning at an extended-family gathering she got up before the meal and told everyone what they were doing. She called them selfish, arrogant and narcissistic in front of everyone. And spontaneously, she started singing Elvis Presley’s “Love me Tender.” It was shocking and hysterical for the ones in her extended family who’d hated the way the others had treated Ruthie.
When they said they’d keep the grandchildren from her, she cried but, through the tears, said it was their decision and she was so sorry they’d be teaching their children what to do to them when they grew up.
Ruthie didn’t end up alone.
Freedom for her came when she accepted she couldn’t change them no matter how she tried. That goal would keep her enslaved for life. Ruthie thought she had no power but we found some for her, even though it was the power to leave. Her task was to use her energy and power to make her life wonderful, surrounded by people who were kind to her and who made her laugh, while she did the same for them.
The end of the escalating, as they attacked her more outrageously, was when she filed for divorce and also blocked one of her children. It was the most difficult thing she’d ever done. But she was not destroyed and the world didn’t end, only one cherished dream. And her other son and his family enjoyed her company. And many old and new friends came in to fill the space that had been wasted on alligators.
The only cure for fear is courage and action.
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.