Zina said she was born to enable; it was in her blood, reinforced by her childhood training of how to be a good, loving mom. Her 40 year-old son abused her need to rescue him and insisted she continue. He said he’d fail in life if she didn’t help him. She owed it to him because she hadn’t made him happy enough when he was growing up.

Bullies, narcissists want to be at the center of “a Great Circle of Enabling.”

Zina insisted her son was nice to her when he was growing up, even through high school and college, except when he was throwing temper tantrums at her for not rescuing him or making his life easy. To her, he was critical and demeaning; selfish and narcissistic; bullying and abusive.

Even though he was bright, she had to smooth things over when he was flunking courses because some teachers wouldn’t allow him to do nothing or be obnoxious in class, or some coaches wouldn’t play him because he hadn’t come for practices. She’d always manufactured excuses to get him more chances.

When he got in trouble with the police, she begged, pleaded and hired expensive lawyers. According to him, her job in life was to make sure he never suffered.

When he didn’t have good enough grades or Standard Test scores to get into the colleges he wanted, she did everything necessary to get him into colleges acceptable to him. Later, she begged or coerced administrators and professors to forgive his behavior in the dorms or class.

She knew he was spoiled but what could she do? She didn’t want any options closed to him. She was sure someday he’d grow up and be the wonderful son she’d hoped for.

When Zina didn’t protect, coddle or cater to him, he’d attack her.

If he didn’t get what he wanted or get away with what he’d done, she’d failed him. His problems were her fault. He’d throw temper tantrums, destroy furniture, call her a rotten mother and give her the loud, silent treatment until she gave in. He’d even pushed her and slapped her. But that was only twice so she thought it wasn’t too bad. He was just sensitive and high strung.

He threatened her; if she didn’t give him everything, he’d fail and kill himself.

Zina carried tremendous fear, responsibility and guilt. She kept encouraging and giving, hoping the one percent wonderful infant would take over his life, instead of the ninety nine percent lazy, manipulative and entitled adult.

To release her enabling, rescuing patterns, Zina changed her old beliefs, rules, roles and habits.

Eventually she saw he’d chosen a path that manipulated her and was bad for him. Enabling ensured that he’d stay narcissistic and fail; she’d been hurting him. He’d flushed all her time, energy, money and love down the toilet. He was addicted to his laziness and the rush he got from being angry at her. He was addicted to getting what he wanted, the way he wanted, and squeezing it out of her, and whining for more. That was easier than working for it.

The only chance he has for a miracle is to fail and suffer. Then, instead of continuing to blame her, he might choose to do the hard work of struggling and succeeding in the world. Or not.

Of course, Zina struggled with the possibility he’d really die homeless or commit suicide. But she persevered and didn’t allow her sympathy and guilt to deflect her from what she knew was his only chance. She kept encouraging him to find the strength she knew was buried deep inside him.

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.

AuthorBen Leichtling