Wendy stepped out of her old, unconditional love, forgiveness and enabling perspective for an instant and changed her life. She saw both her husband and one of her adult daughter’s trying to keep her in a cage and torture her into submission. She was like one of those teenage girls held captive by a sociopath in the attic or basement.

Some bullies and narcissists torture you in their cage.

Wendy’s husband insisted she stay home unless he send her out on special errands for him or she was shopping for groceries. He was negative, critical and demeaning; he was bullying and abusive if she got angry or spoke up. A few times a year he’d get her something he thought was nice so she’d know he really cared and loved her. But he’d always take it away in a few days because she’d displeased him. The more she tried to please him, the sweeter his voice became for a few hours but then she’d do something wrong and he’d have to punish her again. She could never please him or do anything good enough.

Wendy’s adult daughter’s cage was shaped differently. Wendy was never good enough to see her beloved grandson unless her daughter needed her. Then Wendy had to jump immediately to serve her daughter. And Wendy had to follow her daughter’s rules or else she wouldn’t be allowed to see him for weeks. Wendy knew her grandson missed her as much as she missed him. Her daughter told her she’d better do exactly what her daughter wanted or she’d be responsible for convincing her grandson she didn’t love him enough. The responsibility and guilt were crushing. Wendy could never figure out why her love and good behavior didn’t earn her more time with her grandson.

Bullies, narcissists want you all for themselves.

Wendy realized that anything she wanted to do for herself was forbidden. If she was interested in anything else, she might not be available to serve them. They told her she forced them to keep her in their cages. Wendy had thought of them as having minor “control issues.” That label made their behavior see almost normal; “That’s just the way they are.” Now she felt the weight of her oppression. She had to escape from torture in the cages they had for her.

Escape from her husband’s cage was hard but easier than from her daughter’s.

Clearly seeing the cage and torture gave Wendy courage, strength and determination. With her husband, she started by trying to educate him to pay attention to her feelings and wants. When that failed, she broke with her old beliefs, values and habits. She simply started saying, “No,” and she refused to accept any punishment for her resistance and lack of respect. His silent treatment now seemed like peace. His yelling and emotional manipulation hurt but she could endure the pain until she started enjoying the fresh air of freedom.

Wendy finally saw her resistance to her daughter’s rules did not make things worse.

At first, Wendy thought she was making her grandson suffer. But then, she realized her daughter kept her grandson away only when she didn’t need Wendy. She simply used the excuse that the punishment was Wendy’s fault. But as soon as she needed Wendy, she’d allow Wendy to crawl back into her good graces. No good behavior on Wendy’s part ever got her more time or freedom with her grandson.

Wendy allowed herself to see she didn’t like her daughter and wouldn’t play her old role as captive any longer.

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