Zina had read enough internet articles to have names for what would happen during the holidays, as it had for as long as she could remember. The bullies and narcissists in her extended family would act out – they’d be critical, mean and nasty, and pretend they were only joking; they’d be gas-lighting; they’d use power overtly; they’d organize flying monkeys.

Her parents would demand that everything be done the way they wanted; even if she did they’d call her disrespectful; the loser child; the one they wished they’d never had; the one they’d cut out of their will. Then they’d relent because they were good, long-suffering people.

Some of the aunts and uncles would get drunk and make inappropriate, sexist comments about the good looking teenage granddaughters. They’d pile on racist and religious comments in all directions. They’d support each other.

Her husband and son would argue and step outside to fight, her daughter-in-law would claim that they should inherit everything, one of her daughters would claim Zina favored the other and, therefore, Zina would never see her grandchildren again. It was chaos and torture labeled as “family.”

Bullies, narcissists forced Zina to face moments of truth during the holidays.

Often, we gather together out of duty and responsibility with people we love but barely like. And they act the way they always have. And we feel like we’re going to explode.

Zina was so frustrated. Over the years all her dreams had been shattered. Not only did she not want to cook for these people, she didn’t even want to spend the holidays with them. She wanted peace and calm, she wanted generous people who cared. She had none of these.

Every year she’d promise herself she’d speak up and then do something. Her values demanded she act. She’d told her children when they were growing up that they should not tolerate bullies and narcissists. But she always held herself back. She’d always run from her moments of truth.

If Zina spoke up she’d be breaking the family.

She’d held herself back because she thought it wouldn’t do any good and if she spoke up she’d be offending many people. Who was she to offend them? If she did, who would take care of her when she was old? If she did she’d be alone.

But this was not the family she wanted. This family dragged her Spirit into the mud and stepped on it.

Everyone had told Zina to rise above it.

If she ever looked hurt or upset, they said she was too sensitive; not understanding and compassionate enough; not loving, caring and giving enough, especially during the holidays. She was arrogant and selfish. She should feel guilty and become a better person. Who was she to put her opinions above the rest of the family?

This year, Zina decided her values and standards were the most important things to her.

She would not let her Spirit be eroded. Her values were more important than the names of the particular relationships, than the pretend family. She would start caring for her Spirit more than their feelings. She knew she was a good person and gave a lot.

She’d hesitated because she was sure they wouldn’t change. Now she decided, while she hoped they would change, that wasn’t most important to her. Most important was stopping people from polluting her life; most important was creating the space she felt truly at home in.

She planned what to say to who about what. She wrote her responses on 3 x 56 cards so she could deliver them calmly and with caring. If bullies and narcissists got insulted and left, that was their problem. She would not apologize.

Being brave and strong in her moments of truth made Zina powerful.

She felt like a coward every time she forced herself to keep silent. All her talking about being Spiritual, about living an honorable life came to a head in these moments. They were moments that showed the truth about what she believed. Would she act or would she be just a passive spectator of her own life?

Zina decided she didn’t need their permission or approval to speak and act.

She didn’t need to be empowered by them. Her Spirit mattered to her. She spoke clear and firm.

She was surprised when many people in the family spoke up in support of her. Many people looked at her with respect and admiration. She saw that the bullies and narcissists were actually small in number. But no one else was willing to risk themselves by speaking.

She became a leader in the family. She started a process of weeding out the toxic, emotional polluters from her family. Only a few resisted and they were soon isolated by all the rest. Holidays became a respite and a treat.

Zina did break the fake family and become part of a family she wanted to be with. And her Spirit soared.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Wanda felt out of control as usual. If it wasn’t her parents, it was her husband. If not them, it was one of her adult daughters. There was always chaos; an emergency, a frantic need, a panic she needed to fix immediately, someone for whom she had to drop everything she’d planned and rescue.

Bullies, narcissists often use three tactics in varying sequences.

  1. They beat you into submission. Verbally, emotionally and physically they want you to submit to them. If you don’t, it’s your fault and they can do whatever they want to make you pay. Whether it’s the loud-silent treatment, temper tantrums, guilt trips or relentless criticism and belittling, they know they’re right and you’re wrong. You must submit; you must serve them the way they want instantly. You’re not allowed to have wants and needs of your own; you don’t matter, they don’t care. They try to convince you they’re more relentless so you’ll give up.

  2. They manipulate you. They lie, steal, cheat; they pretend they don’t remember agreeing or promising; they attack you in public when you’re too polite to resist; they tell stories and spread gossip and rumors behind your back to isolate you. They organize everyone else to tell you, “You should give in.” They’re better debaters so you have to give in.

  3. They create chaos. They’re not bothered by craziness and chaos because they know what they want, they know what’s right and they move deliberately and swiftly in the direction they want. While you’re trying to make sense out of what’s going on and figuring out what people’s motives are and what would be the perfect or best response, they take command to get what they want before you can act.

Bullies, narcissists want you feeling frustrated, powerless, helpless.

They want you to freeze. They’re happy when you feel hopeless and don’t know what to do. They win; you lose.

Wanda’s recognition of the patterns made her determined to detach from the game.

She had to make a great internal shift. She was no longer the daughter, wife or mommy whose sole responsibility in life was to make them happy instantly and constantly. She put aside all the “what ifs” that had sucked her in and simply didn’t answer her phone for hours when calls were from them. When they attacked her, she said she had been busy. She didn’t give further explanations.

Sometimes she said, “That’s a big problem but you’ll figure out how to solve it. Love you. Gotta go.” When they said they’d be inconvenienced or miss a big event, she was sympathetic but she didn’t volunteer to rescue them. “Oh, that must be so hard. I’m so sorry for you. But I have faith in you, you’ll figure it out. She didn’t make suggestions to solve their emergencies.

When they make demands or laid down the rules for the holidays, she smiled sweetly and said, “No. We’re doing it this way instead. You’ll just have to like it or not come.”

Of course, they attacked her even more. After all, they’d been used to beating her down eventually. But Wanda was a new Wanda. She kept repeating the same old responses. Since her children were grown, Wanda decided to find a job. Not only would she have her own money, but she’d have a good excuse not to rescue them.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
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Vera felt gut-punched. She realized that most of the people in her life, the people she loved the most, enjoyed tormenting and torturing her. And she’d let them.

Growing up, whenever she felt good, her parents had criticized, threatened and bullied her until she felt miserable. They still tormented her by making plans for her to do things for them and then changing their plans at the last minute to suit their convenience. They smiled when she got frustrated and angry.

Vera’s husband was always negative about her best efforts. He suddenly wasn’t hungry when she’d made a big effort to cook his favorite food. He belittled or threw away any clothes or mementoes she loved the most. He never let her do what would give her pleasure. Sometimes his verbal tirades and abuse became physical. He relished telling her she was worthless and a bad wife. She never served him the way he wanted and she’d never find anyone else who’d put up with such a loser.

One of her daughters perpetuated the pattern. For years, she used Vera to watch her young son when she needed someone. Vera and her grandson were soul-mates. When the boy asked to see Vera, Vera’s daughter said, “No” and, for months, severed all Vera’s contact with her grandson. Whenever Vera didn’t serve her daughter exactly as she wanted, she’d take the child away. Her daughter said she was in control now and Vera would have to do everything she wanted on her schedule or else.

Bullies, narcissists feed on your emotions – your frustration, hurt, pain, impotent anger and misery. They thrive on chaos and fighting.

Even worse than not caring about how you feel and what you want, they enjoy making you miserable. They trash every big occasion you hope for. Whenever you want to discuss or change something, they refuse to engage. They love ripping your happiness into shreds. They’re like vultures picking at your flesh or leeches sucking your feelings and energy.

Their idea of a good relationship is them as master, you as suffering slave.

You don’t get to vote. You don’t get to have an opinion. Whenever you have a hope or desire, they tantalize you with the possibility and then jerk it away at the last minute. When you get so frustrated you explode, you’re the guilty person who needs punished. Whenever you’re crushed, you deserve it.

You cannot change them; they’re having too much fun torturing you.

For forty years, Vera tried everything she could think of. She tried being perfect; praising and pleasing them. They enjoyed that but never stopped tormenting her and demanding more. She tried setting boundaries and threatening. They ignored or mocked her. She found experts and therapists who told them they should change. They found they own sources of support or said, “Who cares.” Sometimes they made promises but then enjoyed ignoring or denying what they said.

Vera finally quit being their source of amusement and nourishment; she left.

She began to love and nurture herself. She didn’t ask for their understanding, acceptance or permission. That action violated all her old rules, values and beliefs. She started tormenting herself by self-bullying. She felt terribly alone and miserable. But she got over her guilt and for the first time in her life, she felt totally free and filled with joy.

Of course, they ganged up to bad-mouth her and spread gossip. She thought, “Who cares!” Within a year, she’d attracted new and much nicer people into the space she’d created.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation. http://www.bulliesbegone.com/hire_ben.htmlto 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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Traci’s Spirit was crushed by her husband. He was in complete control. To him, marriage meant she was his “squaw” or slave; she was his property. He never asked her opinion; she never got to vote. Her job was to wait on him; to stand in the corner until he told her to do something and then she had to jump.

Whenever she asked for anything, he either said “no” outright, or said “I’ll see” and then never would talk about it again, or said “yes” but at the last minute changed his mind and told her she couldn’t do it and she should stop nagging him. She finally realized he enjoyed tormenting her by making sure she knew that her wants, needs and feelings were never to be expressed or fulfilled. The very fact that she wanted something showed she was uppity, aggressive and didn’t know her place. He was the head of their marriage and he decided everything.

Their therapist told her she wanted too much from a man; she should settle for what he was.

The therapist said her husband was a decent person: he didn’t beat her too much and he didn’t rape her too often. Her therapist said it’s normal for men to be in charge, to be demanding of their wives, to want their wives to give in and let them control everything, and not to do anything they didn’t want with the children.

Traci should submit and be a loving, docile wife. Men were often selfish, bullying, abusive and narcissistic. A good wife should dance around her husband, manipulate him to get what she wanted to get what she wanted and she should never hurt his feelings. If Traci want more, she was expecting too much.

Her husband gleefully said, “See!”

Don’t settle for what offends/crushes your Spirit.

Traci’s Spirit was fighting for her life. Traci was saying, “No:” She was not a slave, a “squaw” or even a servant. That’s not the kind of marriage she wanted. She was a person with her own desires, rights and dignity.

She realized she’d never tell her daughters to settle for the role their father wanted for her.

She’d be appalled if they wanted to marry men like their father. She got so angry, she challenged the therapist right there in the session. She told the therapist she pitied her if that was what she accepted from her husband. If that’s what the therapist thought, she had no business being a therapist. And she rushed out, crying at her own audacity.

Traci’s outrage finally carried her into action.

She told her husband and their therapist that if 75% of men are the way that therapist said, her degree of difficulty would be higher, but she’d weed through the 25% to find the one she wanted. She told her husband she would not accept that treatment. She had a duty to their daughters to show them they must demand and expect better.

On her own, she saw a divorce lawyer to see what she had to do to make her husband responsible for the children’s support and education, and her support until she could support herself. He was a successful financial advisor and could afford that. She hired a forensic investigator to track down all their money before he could hide it

The next time he tried to force sex on her, she resisted until he hit her. She called the police and made sure he got a record. She didn’t feel the least bit guilty and she was too angry to be scared into submission.

Her daughters were astonished and impressed.

They’d never thought that women could stand up to men. They’d thought they were second-class citizens. Now, they had a model of a first-class mother who was willing to suffer in order not to be crushed.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Sage was shook and then enraged when she realized her husband and her oldest, adult daughter used the same tactics her family had used on her all during her growing up. They were negative, critical, bullying and abusive. Their wants, feelings and standards mattered and were the focus of everything. Sage’s wishes, standards and values were wrong and didn’t matter. She was supposed to accept that horrible treatment.

Bullies, narcissists want you to pretend what they do is alright.

Growing up, Sage was told it was her fault if she was hurt and offended, she was guilty if people did bad things to her and she must keep the family secrets about her parents’ drinking, fighting and abuse of the children. She must keep the secrets about her uncle who molested the girls.

She was told that none of that was so bad. It was just the way those people were. They’d had bad childhoods themselves or they were just having a bad time in life and Sage had to accept what they did to her. They would never change. Those reasons had become excuses and justifications.

The only person she could change was herself. Sage realized that was exactly what her husband and her oldest daughter gave her as reasons to accept their behavior, pretend it was good enough and not to protest; especially never make a scene in public.

Bullies, narcissists want you too scared to challenge them publicly.

Growing up Sage was afraid of the verbal, emotional and physical punishment that would descend on her if she protested. Her husband threatened to get the children on his side, abandon her and leave her broke if she didn’t accept his rule. Her daughter deprived her of her beloved grandchildren if she protested. Until that moment, Sage was convinced they’d treat her worse if she protested. They were too determined and nasty; she was too sweet and loving to win.

Sage decided to use her rage effectively, as energy and motivation to get free.

When Sage looked forward to another 30-50 years of being beaten or coerced into submission she decided she was not going to submit. Her Spirit rose up in her and she decided to learn how to fight to take her own life back. Her rage gave her the strength, courage and determination she needed. She used that energy to change her beliefs, rules and roles, as well as to plan her actions.

Don’t be an accomplice, don’t collude in the family lies.

As her first tactic, Sage chose to be open and honest in public. She casually spoke up at holidays with her family of origin, stating the truths that had been kept secret. She never argued, debated or proved what she said. She just said it and smiled. People choked on their turkey. Some were offended and chastised her. They tried to make her feel guilty. Others applauded and agreed.

When she was out with her husband and friends, she casually mentioned, how he treated her. And also told about her daughter’s abuse, lies and threats. Some people took the side of the bullies and narcissists. They said if her daughter and husband were upset, it must be Sage’s fault. Sage cut them out of her life. Others were shocked and appalled, and stood up for Sage. Those she kept.

Sage prepared for a wonderful and glorious future.

Sage’s husband and daughter minimized their behavior, claiming Sage was too sensitive. And they increased their threats. Sage kept smiling and started tracking all their valuables and money in preparation for the divorce he’d promised her. She saw a divorce lawyer on her own. She started figuring out how she could go back to work to support herself.

Sage told her oldest daughter she was not her slave and her daughter had to behave if she wanted anything from Sage. Her daughter was furious. Of course Sage was heart-broken and terrified. But she used her anger to keep herself on track and to keep smiling.

And she did find her present becoming more wonderful. When she found she was not drained of energy and fun, she realized that was because she’d stopped allowing her husband and oldest daughter to drain her. At first, she forced herself to fill her life with new friends, activities she’d always wanted to do and with her other adult children. She felt alone and was lonely only a bit of the time.

Sage had many hard moments in the beginning but with time, better and better people came into her life and appreciated her. And the pain of being without her husband or daughter was certainly less than the pain of being beaten and tormented by them. Sage’s life became her own.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Paula hesitated when her therapist told her that if she removed her bullying, narcissistic, adult daughter and her even more vicious husband from her life, she’d spend the rest of her days feeling guilty and living miserably.

For years, Paula’s daughter had used and abused her.  She demanded money for a car, furniture and vacations.  She demanded instant child care any time, day or night no matter what else Paula had planned.  The worst: she demanded that Paula accept her blaming, demeaning, critical tantrums any time her daughter wanted to dish them out; in person, over the phone, on Facebook and at family holidays.  If Paula didn’t instantly accept all the blame for her daughter’s problems or bad feelings, Paula was denied seeing the grandchildren she loved.

Paula’s therapist told her to accept everything.
Her therapist said, if a mother distanced herself from her child, no matter what the cause, the parent would be the one at fault; she had not loved her child unconditionally.  Even worse: her therapist predicted that Paula’s guilt would haunt her forever; she’d never be happy again.

I think that’s all wrong.  We wouldn’t encourage a woman to let her husband batter her because she’ll miss him.  Much harder with a child but still the same principle.

Something in Paula rebelled.
Paula had fought all her life to make something of herself and to be a loving mother.  She’d given her daughter everything she could and she’d never done anything her daughter accused her of.  She’d always encouraged and provided for her daughter.  She loved her daughter; she simply despised her daughter’s personality.

Now, she refused to be bullied and abused, even by her own flesh and blood.  She saw her sporadic visits with her grandchildren, under fear of setting her daughter or her husband off, were not really helping the children.  She refused to show her grandchildren that bullies won.

Sometimes, the only way to avoid being killed and eaten is to get away.
Nothing Paula ever tried had changed her daughter’s behavior.  In fact, the more she accepted, compromised and negotiated, the more demanding her daughter had become and the more viciously she’d treated Paula.  Paula saw her daughter as some combination of a rattlesnake and a vulture; she was poisoning and eating Paula.

After Paula made distance from her daughter, she was pained, sorrowed and grieved, but she didn’t feel guilty.
More importantly, she began to feel alive again.  She felt like a crushing weight had been lifted off her whole body.

She prayed for her daughter, she lit a candle on her daughter’s birthday and the holidays were hard.  She felt the loss keenly.  She created a ritual to help her grieve and to let go of her daughter and her dreams of her daughter, as if the daughter she’d hoped for had died.  She weeded through her family and friends, keeping the ones who cared about her and understood the heart-breaking choice.

And she made new friends and even became a godparent to children who returned her love with love of their own.  She was surprised when she started spontaneously laughing, singing and dancing again.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situationThe 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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Opal finally gave up trying to teach her husband and one of her adult daughters the meaning of polite, caring, loving behavior.  They never got it.  She’d loved them unconditionally, given them everything and tried every method she’d read about.  She tried dragging them to every therapist she could find who promised to change the attitudes and behavior of bullies and narcissists.

But her husband and daughter resisted every attempt; they never changed.  They were convinced they were right and demanded whatever they wanted.  They changed their demands at a moment’s notice and told her she was forgetful, stupid and lying.  If she didn’t jump immediately she was a failure as a wife and mother.  She should feel guilty forever.  They even seemed to enjoy tormenting and abusing her.  They were uncaring and unloving.  She was their servant and wasn’t allowed to have any wants or needs of her own.  She simply didn’t matter as a person.

“Have I done enough?  Have I done everything?” are the wrong questions; they’re guaranteed to keep us slaves forever.
Opal had wanted to stop waiting on them but had been unable to resist her own discomfort at doing that.  She gave in to her childhood training.  She bullied herself with self-doubt.  Maybe she hadn’t done enough or been good enough?  If only she’d kept trying, maybe they’d finally change?  She couldn’t stop hoping.  To give up on them would be a sin.

Although “Have I done enough?  Have I done everything?” seem like questions, actually, they are not.  Questions are questions because there can be at least two answers.  But there’s only one answer to those questions.  We can never know we’ve done enough; we can never have done everything possible.  The answers to those questions lie in the unknown future and maybe something new and different might work in the future.  Or maybe, for some reason, the old methods might work in the future.  We can never know.

Why do we call changing the hearts of bullies or narcissists, “a miracle?”
We are very accurate when we say that to change the hearts of bullies and narcissists requires a miracle.  Think about what a miracle means:

  1. The probability of a miracle happening is really low.  Make your own guess.  One in a billion?  One in a trillion?
  2. Making miracles is not in our control.  Making miracles is above our paygrade.  No matter what we do, we do not make miracles.

A better question is, “Do I want to keep going on that roller coaster ride?
We get to answer that question.  We decide.  Opal was clear.  Something inside her had snapped and she was done trying to educate and convert her husband and that daughter.

The pain of their roller coaster ride was too great.  She wanted to go on different rides for the rest of her life.  She wanted rides that might bring her joy; rides which she could share with people whose behavior showed they loved and appreciated her.

Who am I to decide what’s good enough for me?
As soon as Opal decided to leave them, her heart leaped with joy.  She felt that a huge weight had been lifted off her back and the forever knot-in-her-stomach relaxed.  However, she rapidly began running the old guilt-tapes she’d carried since childhood.  She was scared by the thought of throwing the old tapes away and being on her own.  It would be arrogant and disloyal; she’d be alone and unloved.

But she was an adult now and could decide her own rules for life.  Especially when that meant throwing out rules from her past that had always made her life miserable.  Those were the old rules that kept her accepting negativity, criticism, sarcasm and many other demeaning behaviors.  Those were the rules that kept her chained to her abusers.

Once she dedicated herself to try different rules, what to do was clear.  How to do it wasn’t going to be easy.  So what?

Do we have to give up hope?
Not at all.  But we do have to give up being responsible for making them happy.  They’d have to figure out how to do that by themselves.  Opal still had hope they’d change someday.  She wished them happier lives.  But if they hated her all their lives, too bad for them.  They’d have to answer for their hate as well as their hate-filled behavior.

What can we do while we’re waiting for a miracle to occur?

  1. Opal could now distinguish her husband and that daughter’s spirits, their Souls, the potential she saw in them, her hopes for them from their selfish, lazy, entitled personalities.  They chose to let their mean, nasty, vicious personalities were.  They’d sold their Souls to the worst of their personalities.
  2. From a safe distance, Opal could light candles and pray for them.  She could wish them well.  And she knew she had to protect herself from their greed, power and control.  Her continued slavery would be bad for them.
  3. If Opal had leverage or power over them, she might have been able to change their behavior, even if she couldn’t change their hearts.  But she didn’t.
  4. She could create a wonderful life with people who cared for her in ways that made her feel good.  She could replace guilt and self-flagellation with appreciation that she’d finally started becoming the person she’d always wanted to be.

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.

Nora finally gave up trying to rescue and educate one of her adult daughters.  That daughter thought she should be the center of the whole family’s attention and love.  Her brother and sister, and her parents should give her what she wanted.

Her daughter's anger had no bounds; her needs were ever changing and endless.
She was entitled to special treatment and if she didn’t get what she wanted, she felt free to be as vindictive, bullying and abusive as she wanted.  She tried to set her siblings against each other and against her parents whenever she could.

Five ways many bullies, narcissists and “professional victims” think:

  1. Their feelings are accurate, real, The Truth.  Their feelings matter the most and should be most important to everyone else.  No one is as sensitive; no one else’s feelings are important.
  2. They are justified in what they feel; other people should understand them, which means agree with them and make them feel better.  They should get what they want immediately.  Everyone should be a slave or servant to their needs.
  3. Their feelings cannot be changed by them; their feelings can be changed only when other people beg for forgiveness and give them what they want.
  4. The target of the moment should give in to make peace.  Spectators and bystanders should be made to side with them and gang up to make their oppressor give in.
  5. If they’re nasty or manipulative enough, their target will give in eventually.

“Professional Victims” gain control and turf by claiming they’re being victimized.
Other people walk around on egg shells trying to please them, make them feel good.

Five approaches that do not change the behavior of bullies, narcissists and “professional victims:”

  1. Letting them vent and waiting for them to become reasonable so you can educate them.
  2. Using evidence, facts, reason, logic to defend yourself.
  3. Thinking that if you give in this time, they’ll be satisfied and they won’t demand any more.
  4. Appealing to good values, conscience, caring and understanding for other people.
  5. The Golden Rule, niceness, kindness, unconditional acceptance.

Three conditions that might make them change their behavior:

  1. A change of heart, a miracle.
  2. Their need of you makes them come to negotiate after they fail.
  3. Your leverage and power.

Two unusual approaches might change their behavior:

  1. Challenge them with a smile, in public, so other people join your side.
  2. Embarrass them in public for attacking you (their demeaning, sarcastic, hurtful humor).

Nora gave up trying to satisfy that daughter.
She decided to protect the other children and herself and her husband.  She was not going to let that daughter sink the whole family.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Maggie finally stopped psychoanalyzing her parents and her adult children.  She accepted the accuracy of the idea she’d avoided for decades: they enjoyed crisis, drama and chaos.  They dropped bombs and swooped into to reap the spoils.  They enjoyed her pain.  That’s how they knew they were in control, had power and could feed on her emotional energy whenever they wanted.

Many bullies and narcissists enjoy melodrama and uproar.
They often talk behind people’s backs, work in the dark, pit people against each other, throw hissy-fits.  “Passive-aggressive” is too mild and wishy-washy to describe the emotional damage they cause.  They’re like hyenas or vultures feeding off the bloodshed, violence and war they create.  Pain and panic are like nutrition to their starved spirits.

They want everyone walking on egg-shells.
They want the whole family looking over their shoulders wondering when the next attack will come, afraid of not being perfect, thinking it’s their fault, accepting the blame, feeling guilty.  Often, they remain in the shadows while they stir up suspicion, distrust and fights.

Maggie started creating a bully-free environment by not taking their feelings and demands seriously.
She said openly that her parents’ needs did not require immediate responses from her and did not require her to do things the way they wanted.  She waited at least three days before responding to their calls.  She told them they could call emergency responders or have food and medicine delivered instead of demanding that she rush across town whenever they wanted.

She told her adult children that she was not on-call whenever they wanted her to make it possible for them to have fun.  She told them the purpose of her life was not to make theirs comfortable, easy and effortless.  She started sharing every text and email in which they said nasty things or told lies about each other.

Of course, there were consequences.
She had to face the rest of the family trying to make her feel guilty because she wasn’t loving, kind and caring enough.  She had to face her parents threatening to die alone and in poverty because she was an unloving and ungrateful daughter who wouldn’t serve them the way they wanted.  She had to face her children threatening to withhold the grandchildren because she was an unfit grandmother.

They were shocked when she said her life and wants were as important as theirs.
That was the big bomb she threw into the old family dynamic.  She was no longer a slave or servant.  Loving, kindly and caring did not mean she had to do whatever they wanted immediately.  She would find people who would love her tender, and appreciate and reciprocate her love and gifts.  She would not live in a melodramatic soap-opera.  She was not going to waste her time and energy on their temper-tantrums and hissy-fits.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situationThe 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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Lilly was shocked when she realized her husband and two of her three adult children were making her life miserable by doing the same thing.  The pain and anguish, the bullying and abuse had finally broken through her resistance to seeing people she loved as narcissists who enjoyed tormenting and torturing her.

She was damned if she did what they wanted and damned if she didn’t.
No matter what she did, it was never right and it was never enough.  Their demands changed in a moment, usually escalating.  Everything was her fault.  She was never good enough as a wife and mother.

The problem was not that they didn’t understand how hurt she felt.
No matter how she explained and tried to teach them about kindness, love, caring and good character, they ignored her.  She had no voice because they didn’t listen.  The shock was seeing that they enjoyed her frightened, bewildered look; her frustration and tears; her walking on eggshells.

The problem was that her flesh and blood, and the husband she’d accepted in a sacred ceremony enjoyed torturing her; enjoyed her pain; enjoyed the power and control over her.

Suddenly she stopped thinking it was her fault; stopped feeling guilty.
She used to think, “I must not be communicating clearly enough, they must not understand how hurt and angry I am, I must not be able to set boundaries, I must not be good enough, I must have been a bad mom.”  And “If I give in, they’ll leave me alone.  If I resist, they’ll attack me worse.”

Now she realized nothing she did actually made anything better or worse.  Whenever they wanted, they’d always find logical reasons for torturing her and blaming her.

They were choosing to torture her and she must choose to ignore how they thought and felt.
She chose to stop caring about their opinions.  She was a decent person and she did know what was right and wrong.  She could trust her gut.  She felt her own power over herself.  And she began to do what she wanted.

They complained and heaped blame on her.
With a laugh, she accepted all their labels of “bad mom, bad wife, selfish, uncaring.”  She did have real consequences they didn’t like every time they threw temper tantrums or tried to jerk her around with their reasons for being angry.  And she stopped trying to make their lives easy and convenient by enabling, caretaking and being their servant.

She was amazed how free she felt.  And how they changed in reaction to her filling her life with joy.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Kyra felt stuck.  If she tried to break her role in the family as caretaker, rescuer, enabler and scapegoat she would be causing her parents, her siblings and her adult children pain.  How could she cause pain and grief for the people she loved and felt sorry for?

Growing up in the chaos of a family with alcoholic and narcissistic parents, Kyra had tried to protect herself, her siblings and her parents from each other; from the lies, hypocrisy, manipulation, brutality, pain and rage that were constant.  She’d become the target of all the pain they dished out.  Her role was to give in, to take it, to rise above, to be strong enough to make them feel as good as she could.  Her pain didn’t matter to anyone.

Her adult children continued the pattern.  As soon as they were old enough, they forced her into the same roles.  Since her habitual way was trying to bring peace, order and consistency to chaos and pain, she went willingly.

What’s more important, politeness and long-term order or truth and justice?
Kyra finally had enough.  The negativity, criticism and back-stabbing, the bullying, abuse and narcissism had become overwhelming.  They denied everything, they said she was too sensitive and it was all her fault, they wouldn’t listen to her.

What’s more important, keeping an old way of being that destroys your Soul or giving your Soul the love, honor and freedom it needs to direct your life?
The future she’d always wanted was fading and disappearing.  Every time she tried to claim it, they snatched it away and drew her back into the family melodrama with her as the villain.  She felt her life was not in her control and would continue that way forever.

Her Spirit had risen up and simply said, “Enough!”  
Her health deteriorated and she wanted to run away from them all and disappear.  Her survival instinct rose up.  She’d always fought for survival and now she’d fight for her own life, the life she’d always wanted.  They’d respect her or else.

She wasn’t going to take it anymore.  But how could she be sure she was right when everyone disagreed with her?  And how about the guilt that flooded her when she thought of the pain and grief she’d cause them, breaking up the family they said was so important to them?

To have your own unique Soul-filled life you must cause predators (vampires, wolves, and leeches) and slave owners pain; you must cause bullies, narcissists and abusers pain.
Kyra found a place in her gut that felt like “Absolute Truth.”  She sensed the family dynamic in full clarity.  She was certain of what had happened to her and what would happen if she continued to play her role in this sham they called a loving family.

She was done carrying all their pain.  She was done being responsible for their happiness.  She was done with the sham.  She wanted a real family; a family in which she would be accepted for who she truly was, a family that appreciated, respected and honored her efforts, a family that wanted her tender love and loved her tender in return.

Their pain is the only chance you can offer to help them change.
Instead of seeing their pain and suffering as something bad she should feel guilty about causing, she now saw their pain and suffering as her invitation to them to change, to open up to new ways of being and loving.  She realized they’d never gain unless she acted in a way they’d choose to feel pain.  And they had free will.  They could accept her loving invitation or reject it.  In any case, she’d go looking for people in the tribe of her heart.  Them or other people; their choice.

Words alone are never enough; there must be painful consequences or they’ll never treat you right.
Kyra realized that the history of her whole life showed they wouldn’t change when she tried kindness and reason, when she tried to educate them, to show them better ways to interact, to rescue them from the pain they inflicted on each other and on themselves.

She would not act mean or nasty.  She would simply act firm, determined and courageous.  If necessary, she do what she said matter-of-factly.

There had to be consequences; she would break the family dynamic.
She’d even act in public, even if they were embarrassed.  Their apologies would be nice but wouldn’t count for much.  They’d have to make amends.  You wouldn’t let them off the hook; wouldn’t let them think they’d gotten past it because she’d accepted an apology.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situationThe 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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
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Jeri was tired of being told to “stop being so sensitive, be more forgiving, just move on, get over it, make peace, start fresh.”

Jeri’s 32 year-old daughter had blown up the holidays, as she usually did. Excuse this time was Jeri’s fiancé hadn’t told her enough times how wonderful she was.  She wasn’t going to put up with Jeri marrying a man who wouldn’t give her all the money she wanted (as a good step-father should) and who didn’t approve of her new boyfriend because he showed up drunk, as usual.  She wasn’t coming to Jeri’s wedding.

Her daughter had been selfish, narcissistic, bullying and abusive all her life, even before Jeri had finally divorced her ex-husband for the same traits plus his gambling away her money.

Jeri’s parents and extended family had also said the same things whenever her younger sister had destroyed her favorite things, stolen her jewelry and put her down in public.

Families usually give in to the person who throws the biggest temper tantrums and won’t stop.
They think the mean, vicious, nasty person won’t change so they try to coerce the nice, polite person to accept bullying and abuse in the name of “peace” or “family.”  They give in to their fear and cowardice.  They won’t stand up for justice and good standards of behavior if that means conflict, confrontation and discord.  They want peace at any price.  So the most hysterical or crazy or determined person has the power and wields it ruthlessly.

That only encourages the sharks to take bigger bites out of their target’s flesh.  Jeri’s extended family were spectators to the drama of watching the martyr/scapegoat thrown to the lion.

We can’t stop bullies and narcissists by being nice and polite or by explaining carefully and lovingly why they should change.
They’re getting their way; they can be lazy, mean, greedy and vicious, and they’ll get what they want so why should they change.  The 20th Century showed clearly that when we give into bullies and narcissists, we make mountains out of molehills.  Bystanders can watch alligators feed while hoping they’ll be the last ones eaten.  Eventually the initial spectators will get eaten also.

Life is not a spectator sport.
We can’t stand by – which means tolerate and support and encourage – bullies or narcissists.  We must stand up against evil, or we collude and enable its rise.

We can’t start fresh when we face the same old bullying, narcissistic personality.
Jeri realized that if she accepted or tolerated the same behavior, she’d be harming, not helping, her daughter.  She’d never be providing her daughter with an important lesson and consequences.  Her sister had been allowed to keep behaving the way she always had, with only gentle suggestions to try to help her.  She’d never changed and Jeri could see the same path in front of her daughter.  Jeri threw away her guilt.

We can start fresh with a “new person” only after a miracle has occurred.
Jeri’s daughter and sister need a change of heart.  They need to become different personalities in order to be welcomed back into Jeri’s life.

Miracles are above our pay-grade.
The word “miracle” also describes the probability that it will occur.  All Jeri could do was set standards and keep encouraging her daughter to have a miracle.  And pray and light candles.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

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:

  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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

To bullies and narcissists, their convenience and wishes matter more than anything else.

These examples have a common theme, a pattern:

  1. Hillary’s son was enraged at her again.  She’d broken her hip and was in the hospital over New Year’s Day, just when he wanted to come to stay at her house with his wife and another couple so they could enjoy New Year’s Eve in the big city.  Now, if he came, he’d have to waste his precious time visiting her in the hospital and she wouldn’t want them to stay in her house without her.  She was so inconsiderate.
  2. Henry’s friends were so upset at him.  He wasn’t doing what they needed.  He’d gotten a new, large patio table and had offered them his old one, which was still in good condition and which they’d admired.  He told them if they didn’t want it, he’d have a charity come and get it.  They were excited to get it and wanted him to deliver it on Saturday between 10 and 11.  That was the only time convenient for them.  He said he was busy all weekend and they’d have to drive over with their truck and take it.  They told Henry he was selfish, narcissistic and way too demanding of their time.
  3. Helen’s parents were extremely agitated when they called her.  They’d decided the most important thing was for her to leave her family and move immediately into their house to take care of them.  They didn’t want to leave their house and they were sure they’d need her in a few years so she might as well get started today.  They wanted some grocery shopping today and a trip to see some friends.  When Helen said she wouldn’t leave her family and become their full-time servant, they became outraged.  “You’ve always been a good girl waiting on us and now you’ve turned selfish and ungrateful.  We don’t want to spend our money paying people to do what you should.  We can’t imagine living the way we want without your full-time help.”

Bullies and narcissists think they’re important; you’re not.
Their time and comfort matter; yours doesn’t.  They want to control you.  Usually, the only time they initiate contact is when they want something or they’re spending ten seconds to keep you hooked as a willing servant or slave.

Some common tactics of bullies and narcissists are:

  1. They review your schedule and plans to show you what you must ignore or change so you can do what they want.
  2. They get demanding, abusive and try to beat you into submission.  They’re negative, critical and righteous; they know best.  They throw hissy-fits loaded with personal attacks and threats.  They lie about history: “I’ve done so much for you and you never do anything for me.”
  3. When their targets won’t do what they want, they accuse them of what they’re actually guilty of; selfishness, narcissism, entitlement.
  4. They try to manipulate using guilt-trips: “I feel unloved, you always put yourself or other people first, you’re a bad parent and a good parent would want me to be happy.”
  5. They threaten about the future: “If you don’t do what I want, your grandchildren will grow up hating you and no one will love you and you’ll die alone.”

Hillary, Henry and Helen all found ways to get over their guilt and to establish their boundaries.  They used their inherent power.  They took strong actions with consequences in the face of their predators/masters.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situationThe 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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Gail’s husband continued the training her parents had begun.  He was in charge and her roles were to:

  1. Serve him every moment.  She was not allowed to have wishes of her own or to leave without permission.
  2. Smile submissively and adoringly while taking the criticism and negativity, the public put-downs and demeaning comments, the bullying and abuse.  She was the dog he could kick any time he was bored, stressed or upset at anything.

Three children later he was still trying to break her spirit.  He was willing to let her serve the children as long as they did not interfere with her service of him.  When their demands interfered, he made them live in fear of his anger.  Her children soon expected her to fulfill the role of their servant; they were entitled.

When the children were teens, Gail woke up and refused to play her old role.
She told the kids they had to treat her with politeness, respect and appreciation.  Most importantly, she started saying, “No” when they demanded immediate service.  That upset them and they became even nastier.  “Your job is to give us everything and make us happy.  You to prove your love to us.  You’re a bad mother.  We won’t love you anymore.  You should feel guilty.”

When she told her husband the same thing, he retaliated.
He told the children they were right; they deserved to be waited on, Gail was a bad person.  All their bad feelings were her fault.  He told their friends and neighbors how rotten she’d become.  He made up tales of her lies and affairs.

At first Gail thought it would be wrong to tell the children the truth about their father’s treatment of her.
She thought children needed to think the best about their father.  Then she realized she was at war with him for the sake of their Souls; their good character.  For their sakes, she had to fight to win.

As Gail was divorcing him, she challenged the kids.
She told them she could see they were deciding how to be when they were adults.  It was hard to be polite and kind.  It was hard to do some of the work.  It was hard to develop self-control and self-discipline.  It was tempting to feel entitled, demanding and narcissistic.  It was easy to blame other people and try to beat them into submission.  But did they want to sell their Souls to their laziness, selfishness and greed?

She reminded them to trust their feelings.  With whom can you be happy?  Who are you afraid of disagreeing with because you’re afraid he’ll retaliate?  How good do you feel when you’re blaming, angry and demanding?  Of course you feel powerful then, but do you want to be a person who feels and acts like that?  Is that the highest you aspire to be?

Gail said high standards of behavior were more important than getting what they wanted by using other people.
She challenged them to do the hard work, to become better people than their selfish father.  After the divorce, two of her three children came with her.  They said they began to respect and appreciate her when she started to say, “No.”  They decided they would do the work to give in order to get.

The other child went to live with her father.  She was narcissistic, angry and demanding her whole life.  And she was the one who failed: she couldn’t hold a job and lived with or married a long series of men just like her father.  And fought with them for power and control every day.

Gail prayed for her, but that daughter didn’t change.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Fran’s old role in her dysfunctional, toxic family was to be the fixer, enabler and rescuer.  Her parents were an alcoholic and a narcissist.  They were incompetent at most everything in life except bullying and abusing the children, creating chaos and destroying everyone’s self-esteem.  Fran held it together for everyone while everyone ignored her hurts and her wants.  The rule for her was get over it and move ahead, which meant to give in, eat the pain and let them do it to her again and again.

Even when Fran became an adult and had her own family, her parents and siblings still expected her to drop everything and serve them with a smile, no matter how rude, abusive and taking her for granted they were.  If she resisted, she felt guilty and they twisted the knife; “Stop being selfish and arrogant.  Set a good example for your children.  Take care of us, your family.  If you don’t, no one will like you and you’ll die alone.”

Fran finally said, “No!” but they attacked her harder.
She said she was not playing her old role any longer.  Her parents told her she was responsible for ripping the family apart.  Her siblings said she was causing her parents too much grief, she should be a better person and overlook what had been done, she should rise above and keep the family together, it was her duty.

Fran laughed, agreed and told them exactly what she wanted.
Fran’s hurts and hints had been ignored.  Clearly they didn’t care about her feelings or boundaries.  This time when she was attacked, she laughed and said she knew that’s what they’d say, and she’d won a bet with her husband.  She was delighted to be the most selfish and stubborn of the children.  She was going to cause all of them grief because they needed the grief in order to grow.  They’d better get used to it.  She told them they were to blame for breaking the family.

They were taken aback that she wasn’t beaten into submission by their usual tactics.
She told them each exactly what they’d have to do to get back into her life.  And she waited.  She would not be the first one to approach.  After a while, some of them approached her with their usual name calling and manipulation.  She laughed at them, said that wasn’t good enough and hung up.

Fran’s husband and children cheered her on.
She was done with guilt and regret.  They started enjoying life together without Fran’s having to run off to be a servant to her toxic family.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
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Ellie was so frustrated, she was ready to give up.  She could never set boundaries with her bullying, narcissistic parents, her controlling, manipulative husband or her demanding, entitled adult children.

They ignored what she wanted.  Actually, whenever she said she wanted something, they got busy demanding she do the opposite.

They always used her as their servant.
Her parents acted as if her time was their time.  She should drop whatever she was doing and do what they wanted when it was convenient for them.  Her husband ignored her opinions and demanded she wait on him.  Or he criticized her and showed her she was too stupid or too selfish to vote.  He never wanted to be with her or interact with her unless she said she was very busy.  Then he’d need her to do things for him or he’d demand she talk or watch television with him.  Her children said her job was to make them happy.  If she didn’t, she was a bad mother; they wouldn’t love her and they’d estrange from her.

Ellie was riddled with self-doubt.  She had low self-esteem and no confidence.
She was always either angry or she was sad and depressed.  They said they were happy except when she’d failed them so why couldn’t she be happy.

She thought, if only she were a better person, she could serve them better and not carry around a huge weight of guilt.  And if she deserved better, she’d be able to set effective boundaries.  Since the people closest to her were so unhappy with her, something must be terribly wrong with her.

Ellie thought they were so unpredictable, she’d never be able to satisfy them.
Ellie finally saw that, actually, they were very predictable.  They wanted her to serve them, instantly; to do whatever they wanted at the moment.  Her voice never mattered.  Actually, whenever she had an opinion or wanted something, they’d instantly change in order to thwart her.  Thwarting her and making her serve them was most important to them.  Servants or slaves are not allowed to have personal wants or preferences.

They never listened to her boundaries because she only talked but would never act on her “No.”
The only consequence to them was putting up with her threats.  They seemed to enjoy her frustration and anger.  They knew her anger would blow over and she’d get so frustrated, eventually she’d give in and do what they demanded.  Then they could enjoy beating her up for being angry at them.

Ellie set effective boundaries only when she acted on her opinions and wants, without their agreement and approval.
Her assertion of her boundaries mattered only when she couldn’t be talked out of doing what she’d said; when her opinion was the only one that mattered and she actually did what they didn’t like.  They protested and argued, they guilt-tripped her and they ganged up on her.  But when her “”No” actually became “No,” whatever they wanted or thought, she able to take charge of her life.

Ellie finally honored her Spirit.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
2 CommentsPost a comment

The short autobiography below captures many parts of the recovery from trauma perpetrated by bullies and narcissists.

Bullies and narcissists usually cause complex trauma and stress by:

  1. Overt intimidation.  Adults have control and power over children.  Their relentless mental, emotional, physical and spiritual negativity, criticism and abuse leaves scars.  The threat of being destroyed is ever-present.
  2. Sneaky Bullying.  They manipulate, guilt-trip, back-stab and lie.  They never believe us when we complain about our treatment.  They mock us and put us down, while saying they’re just kidding.  They use emotional blackmail words, saying we’re over-sensitive, have no sense of humor, are unloving, uncaring, selfish and arrogant.  They say we owe them and we’re bullying them.

Self-Bullying.
We carry their words in our heads as self-bullying.  We continue to suppress our “Inner Knowing,” our “Accurate Intuition,” our “Gut Wisdom,” like they trained us to do.  We repeat the old self-doubt and lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.  We stop ourselves because “They might be right.  How do we know for sure?”

They want to convince us resistance is futile.
They want us to give up because they’ll never give up.  Their bullying seems like a matter of life or death to them.  When we’re children, resistance might be futile but since we’re adults now we can become free in our minds and hearts, and free physically and financially.

They want to use us as slaves or servants because:

  1. Slaves and servants do all the work and masters don’t have to pay them much.
  2. Slaves and servants have no lives of their own.  They’re supposed to be standing at alert; ready at any moment to respond to their masters’ wishes.
  3. Slaves and servants are supposed to smile and laugh when their masters beat them for any whim or reason.
  4. Slaves and servants can be useful for a long time and then discarded whenever bullies want.

We have power over ourselves and, therefore, we can create an Isle of Song for ourselves.
I hope this short autobiography makes you laugh with recognition of part of the path of recovery you’ve taken.

Recovery: An Autobiography in Five Chapters - Anonymous

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in, again.
I can’t believe I’m in this same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out…

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I fall in…it’s a habit…but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down a different street.

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling

Dana was an empath, always compassionate and understanding of her sisters and her youngest daughter.  They’d suffered so much that Dana felt she had to give into them, try to make them happy and overlook or minimize their criticism, bullying and abuse of herself and her other children.

Dana was stuck in the “Empathy Trap.”
The more she understood how they’d suffered growing up and the more she psychoanalyzed their pains and motives, the more she believed she had to accept and tolerate their overt hostility and sneaky negativity, whining, manipulation and back-stabbing.  Their greed and emotional neediness demanded that she understand and forgive them.  If she didn’t, she was cruel, heartless and guilty.

That kind of psychoanalysis makes targets put up with being victimized.
Psychoanalysis trivialized Dana’s pain to make her explain, understand and forgive them.  Dana wanted to be a good person; kind, loving and understanding.  There seemed no way out for her, even though she knew her other children were also suffering.

How could Dana resist when she felt so sorry for them?
When Dana realized she had believed a lie, it was easy.  She’d been taught the only way to show understanding and empathy was to give in to them.  That’s what they wanted her to believe.  But it’s a lie.

Dana realized she could have strong feelings for their suffering; she could understand and feel sorry they chose narcissism and bullying as their default styles.  And that giving in and catering to them never changed their feelings or behavior.  They felt more powerful and increased their demands.

Giving in to them only perpetuated their behavior; she’d become an enabler, a colluder, an accomplice.
Dana decided the best way to help them was to show them that their chosen victimhood, their outrage and attacks, their vindictive, sneaky manipulation and guilt-tripping would not get them what they wanted.  Kicking them off her Isle of Song was the best teaching lesson for them.

Now she could love them and feel compassion for them from a distance.
She could light candles, she could pray, she could hope a miracle changed their hearts and their favorite tactics to get what they wanted.  And sometimes she’d say, “You must do better and I know you can.”

As Maya Angelou said, “Being kind doesn’t mean one has to be a mat.”

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.

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling