Ruth was upset; she wanted to get rid of the bitterness and anger she felt against one of her own adult children.
That child was ripping Ruth’s family apart. Since she’d been a teenager, she’d thrown tantrums, blamed her unhappiness on Ruth and tried to turn the other children against Ruth. She demanded all of Ruth’s time, energy and money; she tried to control every situation and manipulate everyone to her hidden agendas; she claimed she was never loved enough; she was negative and critical of everything, nothing would satisfy her. She was bullying and abusive. She expected Ruth to feel guilty, apologize and grovel at her feet.
I’ve seen the same pattern in other situations: people often feel bitterness and anger toward toxic parents and siblings, and also toward controlling, manipulative ex’s who continue to torment them.
Ruth thought bitterness and anger were bad characteristics.
She thought she wasn’t a good person since she obsessed on all the wrongs her daughter had done and the harm she’d caused. She wished she could simply let go and love her daughter unconditionally as she had when the girl had been an infant.
Bitterness and anger provide motivation.
Ruth realized her bitterness and anger served an important function. She needed those feelings to motivate herself to protect herself against a predator who wanted to destroy her and her family.
She needed to be on guard every moment in order to stay safe from a crazy, vicious narcissist who happened to be in her family. She needed tremendous energy and focus to protect herself from hidden agendas, attacks and manipulation. But the mental, emotional and physical cost was high for Ruth.
There is no good, joint resolution with narcissists and relentless bullies.
Ruth’s unconscious knew her daughter would take advantage if she ever relaxed her guard. Her daughter might look sincere, might make “binding” agreements but she’d shown she was simply a great actress. Only her daughter’s good behavior over time, without reward, would show her daughter actually had a change of heart.
With narcissists and relentless bullies there is no joint understanding and forgiveness so you can immediately move ahead with love and good behavior.
Don’t be fooled by “sincere” apologies.
Many of Ruth’s friends told her to let go of her bitterness and anger. They advised her to be more forgiving. If she let go of her fear, her daughter would also let go of whatever she was afraid of. They said that the only person Ruth could change was herself, and when she changed, her daughter would automatically change in response.
What bullies and narcissists mean by “forgiveness” and “reconciliation.”
When they say they want to put the past behind and move ahead with a clean slate, they mean they want to continue getting away with abusing you; they want you to instantly open up again to further abuse because you’re so easily fooled. If you’re willing to give them instant gratification, they don’t have to change their ways at all.
When will Ruth let go of her bitterness and anger?
She’ll let go of the bitterness and anger when she knows she’s protected, when she has no fear because she knows she’s safe; naturally, automatically and easily.
Finally, Ruth can see what she has to focus on: staying true to what she knows, not letting fleeting feelings of remorse and guilt sweep her into letting a hungry wolf in her home. She must fence her daughter safely away from the rest of the family. She must keep the fence electrified until she’s sure, because of her daughter’s amends, reparation, and good behavior over time without instant reward, that a miracle has occurred in her daughter’s heart.
Simple, clear. Not easy. Until Ruth changes her motivation strategy or until Ruth knows she’s safe, she needs bitterness and anger.
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.