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

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

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

When Barbara’s son started having children and began to succeed in business he became a different person.  Previously he’d been sweet but self-centered.  Now, he lashed out at his parents and at his grown sisters over nothing and everything.  He criticized everything they did.  Nothing was ever good enough; he was abusive because they were guilty.  He claimed he’d never been given enough and they’d better start paying attention to him first or Barbara would never see her grandchildren.  They had to follow all his rules about family get-togethers and communication with him or else.

Pretty soon the whole family was focused on him.  Barbara and her daughters thought about him, talked about him and worried about him every day.  They obsessed on figuring out why he was angry; what they done wrong.  They became codependent peacemakers, and empathetic to his every whim.

The more they focused on him, the more demanding, selfish, bullying and narcissistic he acted.

Bullies and narcissists are nourished by power and control; by your focusing on them.
They insist on being the center of everyone’s attention and concern.  Barbara felt like she had intravenous feeding-tubes connected from her arms to feed him.  She felt more drained than when she was nursing him.  The girls felt like they were spoon feeding a baby 24/7 and couldn’t even spare time or energy to take care of their own families.

Finally Barbara and the girls made a pact: they wouldn’t think, worry, talk about him; they’d withdraw the drug he wanted.
In a deep reverie, Barbara removed the intravenous tubes and watched them attach at both ends to her son.  Her daughters put down their spoons and turned away from him to pay attention to their lives.  They stopped feeling guilty, stopped wondering what they’d done wrong, stopped thinking about his criticism and demands.

They felt free and started having fun.

Even before they did anything, her son reacted loudly, as if he could sense that his food and drug had been withdrawn.
That’s the way it seems; as if bullies and narcissists can sense a withdrawal of concern about what they think and do; as if they can sense when you’re not bullied by their feelings.  At first he doubled his attacks on them.  When that had no effect, he blamed on them.  Then he tried to manipulate them to argue with each other.

They remained clear; if he wanted attention he’d get it for good behavior, not bad.
Staying on track was hard, but their path was clear and simple.

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. 1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. 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 couldn’t sleep and couldn’t stop obsessing on her two adult children who were continuously selfish, bullying and abusive.  She knew it hadn’t started when one was displeased that the wonderful wedding Vera and her husband had provided wasn’t lavish enough, while the other was angry that Vera and her husband hadn’t bought her a house as a wedding present.

They’d always been entitled, demanding and narcissistic.  They’d begun working on the third sister to estrange from their parents also.

Vera was overcome with grief and failure.  They were so angry; she must have done something wrong.
Not true.  Vera hadn’t done anything particularly bad to them.  She hadn’t even over-indulged them.  She’d tried to teach them the value of hard work and the importance of gratitude for the things they got.  But they hadn’t wanted to learn those lessons.  They’d whined, complained and demanded when they didn’t get what they wanted.  They thought the world owed them everything they wanted.

Vera kept asking, “Why so many selfish, narcissistic, entitled, adult children now?”

Her friends gave Vera explanations that depressed and immobilized her; that made her feel powerless, helpless, hopeless:

  • If the kids are spoiled it must be the parents’ fault.  She’d either been too harsh or too indulgent.  And she should never talk about it.  It was too embarrassing.
  • The children were subverted by the experts, the media and their friends.  The forces in the world were too strong for them to resist.
  • There must be something wrong in the water or the tooth paste because so many adult children were like that.  Or, maybe, Vera simply had bad genes that ruined her children.

I do think many commonly accepted rules of parenting are wrong.  For example, I think it’s false that making children happy builds inner strength, character and kindness.  But knowing that now is not going to help Vera or other afflicted parents.

These excuses and justifications for her adult children only made her feel more ashamed and guilty.  She kept obsessing on every incident she could remember in order to identify the thing she must have done wrong.  Then, maybe, she could apologize and reconcile

Explanations that gave Vera clarity and hope were:

  • It’s not Vera’s fault.  An epidemic of selfish, entitled, arrogant adult children has occurred in every society I’ve studied that has gotten wealthy.  For example; we have Greek plays written 2,400 years ago, after the Greeks conquered Persia, where the next generations of adult children treated their parents even worse than adult children do now.
  • No matter what happened to them, the individual adult children always made the choices.  Fear, greed and the pleasure of torturing someone only stimulated their selfish, narcissistic behavior.  Vera decided the problem was her children, they were making choices while being swept away by their thoughts and feelings.  They chose to be weak, lazy and cowardly.  They chose to remain childish; manipulating or beating their parents into giving them goodies.

Could Vera teach them they were being selfish, arrogant and narcissistic?
She saw that everything she and her friends had tried with their children had failed.  The problem couldn’t be solved by lectures, education, scripture.  You can’t educate people who don’t want to be educated.  You can’t educate people who enjoy feeling victimized and responding with righteous anger.  You can’t get a scorpion to stop stinging, a vulture to stop wanting carcasses to pick on or a narcissist to change her spots.

Those children would have to learn the hard way; through suffering when their tactics no longer worked.  Narcissists need a complete change of heart.  Miracles are above Vera’s pay grade.

Were her friends right when they told her to always keep the door open, no matter how much pain they inflicted on her?
No.  Keeping the door open made the predators happy and gave them feelings of control and power.  One of her daughters had even said she wanted to inflict on Vera ten times the pain she’d felt when she hadn’t gotten what she wanted.  Keeping the door open only reinforced her daughters’ joy at tormenting and torturing her.  Keeping the door open guaranteed failure.

Vera decided to protect herself from predators and parasites who wanted to bleed her dry.
She told those daughters she was done with them the way they were.  She was no longer their servant, slave or whipping-girl.  She stopped making excuses for them, stopped reaching out and stopped apologizing. When they attacked her, she laughed at their temper tantrums or told them off angrily; especially in public.

 She told them she’d find people who would return her love and kindness with love and kindness of their own.  She cut them off and started going out and being as happy as she could.

She told them she’d always love the potential for good she still saw in them, but she despised the narcissistic, characterless people they’d chosen to become.  She hoped their struggle to make themselves happy would help them develop good character.  She knew they could do it if they wanted to.

This path has the possibility of success, which is better than the guarantee of failure on the path of accepting blame and always reaching out.

Of course, it was hard.  Vera’s heart was broken for a while.
Her daughters were stunned and upset.  They’d lost all their power and control.  One became even more vicious but the other learned the hard way.  And that daughter and the youngest one turned against the vicious one.

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

One of Ralph’s daughters tried to bully Ralph into giving her everything she wanted at every moment to make up for the sins she felt he’d committed years ago.  Ralph and the other children thought his only fault was giving her too much.  She tried to rally the other children to beat Ralph into submission or she tried to manipulate them into hating Ralph.  Everyone in the family knew it was her way or the highway; there was no in between, no peace except through taking her side.  They knew disagreement started a war to the death with her.

Rachael’s parents always controlled her.  When she was growing up, if she didn’t do exactly what they wanted, she was abused physically, mentally and emotionally.  Her most important job was to be obedient, to submit and to serve.  Even though she was now grown and had her own family, they told her she had to honor them by doing everything they wanted immediately.  If she ever protested or refused, they got everyone in the extended family to threaten her.  They also got everyone in town and in the Church to pressure her.

Bullies and narcissists create cults.  Some of the characteristics of these cults are:

  1. You don’t know what’s right or true; you can’t trust yourself or your judgment.  That message to Rachael created great self-questioning and self-doubt all her life.  She lacked self-confidence and self-esteem.  She couldn’t trust her intuition.  For example, when she was tormented by her parents, they said those were acts of love.  She should feel guilty if she disagreed or was angry.
  2. They’re right; they know everything; they can justify everything; you must submit to their wisdom and authority.  Ralph’s daughter knew the truth about every voice tone or facial expression she didn’t like.  Everything Ralph did showed he loved the other children more.  Nothing he did was ever right or good enough, even when she changed her mind every moment about what she wanted.  It was all-or-none, black-and-white; she knew everything, he knew nothing.
  3. You must believe everything; you must follow all the rituals the way they want.  Rachael’s parents insisted she never doubt or question their authority.  All family holidays and birthdays must be done exactly the way they wanted or else.  Rachael’s parents insisted she shun anyone they didn’t like at the moment, including her husband’s parents.  She was not allowed to be nice to them.
  4. You must be their slave or servant.  Ralph must sacrifice everything for that one daughter and leave everything to her.  He must rescue and enable her whenever she wanted.  His wishes didn’t count, only hers were important.  He must submit to her verbal beatings with a smile and grovel for her forgiveness.  He could show he was sorry and took all the blame by giving her everything.  She treated him with contempt.
  5. You are held hostage; if you try to leave the cult you’re an infidel; people who are not in the cult are infidels.  Anyone who didn’t agree with Rachael’s parents were bad and sinful, and whatever was done to them was deserved.  Minor infractions could be treated with major punishment.  If Rachael ever tried to leave the cult, they would pursue her, ruin her; she would fail in life, starve, be alone forever or be damned to hell.  Everyone should attack her because that’s what we must do to infidels.  They used force, emotional blackmail, manipulation and guilt.

Ralph and Rachael felt stuck.
They correctly saw they were being presented with all-or-none choices: submit or lose everything.  Ralph would never see one set of grandchildren and might be estranged by his other children also.  Rachael was haunted by guilt and fear if she didn’t give in to her loving and needy parents.

Both Ralph and Rachael faced their choices and decided they would not be slaves or servants to bullies or narcissists, even in their own families.  They would not accept the abuse; temper tantrums were not acceptable; no excuses.  They required high standards of behavior.  

They were surprised.
When they took strong stands, many people took their sides, including Ralph’s other children and Rachael’s husband and children.  They’d simply been waiting for Ralph and Rachael to stand up for themselves and for high standards of polite, civil behavior.

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

One of Polly’s daughters had always been selfish, narcissistic, entitled, demanding and RIGHT.  At 35 she’d become even worse.  Polly or her other children could never do anything good enough.  Her daughter’s demands changed and escalated every moment.  She was relentless in her bullying and abuse.   She fought as if every little thing was life-or-death.

Sometimes she was overt – throwing things, yelling, spitting or hitting whoever she was angry at.  Sometimes she was sneaky and manipulative – making up lies, slyly spreading poisonous opinions, stimulating people to feel insulted or left out, lying and backstabbing with a smile.  She’d organize other people as her “flying monkeys” to attack her scapegoat of the moment.

One rotten narcissist can spoil a whole barrel of good apples.
Polly was very competent.  She could always find ways of bringing other people together and negotiating peace.  But nothing had ever changed her bullying, narcissistic daughter.  It was her daughter’s way or a fight to the death.  The rest of Polly’s children gave in; “That was the way she always was.”  Polly had never stopped her, so they simply abandoned the fight.

Holidays always ended in anger and fights because somebody had always offended her daughter.  Polly’s family was falling apart.  Her children didn’t want their children to be with their sister and her children.  The pain and poison were spread all around.

Polly finally accepted she couldn’t rescue her daughter; it was above her job description.
The price of enabling her daughter to control the whole family was losing her family.  The other children were becoming selfish and nasty, or victims in order to protect themselves from emotional damage.  Trying to reason with her daughter would not save the barrel.  It’s as useless as trying to resist gravity by flapping your arms.  Giving in to gravity is hard for smart, competent people who’ve always been able to find solutions.

Polly accepted she was not giving up on her daughter; she was simply accepting gravity and the need to remove a rotten apple before all the other apples are ruined.  It was her job as the mother to save as many of the good apples as she could.  And to pray for her daughter.

Polly had to use strong measures, e.g., police and social services, before her daughter was forced to accept help.  That was the only way Polly could see to save her grandchildren from their toxic, narcissistic mother.  Polly was surprised that when she stopped letting her daughter act out, her other children rallied behind her.  But that’s the way it usually is.

We can also look at narcissists like we look at infected splinters or cancer cells.  We all know what we need to do.

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

Mona was drained and exhausted – she wanted to run away and go where no one could find her.

She’d been raised by narcissistic, bullying, guilt-tripping parents to give them their every desire.  To show empathy, caring and compassion she had to make them happy, no matter the cost to her.  Her toxic, abusive adult children used the same tactics to bleed her dry.  She had to give them everything they wanted immediately or they’d attack her privately and in public as a bad parent.  Whatever she gave was never enough, they always wanted more.

Mona realized her pattern when a needy friend asked her to buy her an expensive car.

Some of Mona’s old rules were:

  • A good and caring person is empathetic and compassionate, especially for people who are not getting what they want and feel like victims.
  • Empathy and compassion meant that when people are unhappy, she must give them what they want to make them happy the way they want.
  • Empathy and compassion meant that she must understand how hard it is for people so she’s required to overlook when they’re selfish and mean, when they blame and attack her, when they never apologize or change their behavior.
  • Empathy and compassion meant that her wishes, pain and feelings don’t count, other people’s are much more important.  Empathy and compassion mean that their suffering is so great they don’t have to listen to her voice or respect her stated boundaries but she must always jump to respond to theirs.

How do you know their relationship, friendship and “love” are merely because you’re the bank?

  • They’re greedy.  They always want money, food, baby sitting, emotional comfort, acceptance that whatever they do is good enough.  They expect-demand you give them what they want and they question your motives and character when you don’t give it.
  • They never accept your hints, feelings or boundaries.  They listen to you only as a prelude to asking you to give them something.
  • You avoid them because you know they’ll suck your blood and eat your flesh.
  • They get angry when you don’t do what they want; you’re cruel, mean, heartless.  They lie, manipulate and get other people to attack you.  You walk on egg shells.
  • If you don’t submit to their anger, they get sweetly manipulative and then guilt-trip or blackmail you (like, by withholding the grandchildren).  If you still don’t give in, they drop you and blame you.

How can you have empathy and compassion, and not make them happy?

  • Know the difference between their Spirit and their personality-ego.  Love the Spirit – have empathy and compassion for its struggle to take over their lives.  Protect yourself from their personality-ego.  Don’t feed their personality-ego by giving it what it wants.
  • Have empathy from a distance – pray, light candles, demand good behavior and don’t be a rescuer-meddler.  Fixing them is above your pay grade
  • Be a guiding light as a child, parent, friend.  The most empathetic and compassionate, the kindest and most caring acts are to give them what’s best for them whether they like it or not – the opportunity to suffer, to become independent and strong, and to develop character.
  • Give them the opportunity to develop a reciprocal, caring, loving relationship independent of money.

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

Hillary’s son seemed to be stubborn but alright when he was young. However, by the time he was a teenager, he’d instantly become filled with anger and rage.  He’d take the slightest word or expression as criticism and blow up at her.  By the time he was 32, he was continually bullying and abusive.  Nothing she did was ever good enough.  Everything wrong in his life was Hillary’s fault.  Even worse, he’d married a woman who felt the same way about her whole family and his.

Hillary’s son was at war with the world.
He knew the world owed him what he wanted; he was entitled.  He’d either beat everyone in the world into submission or he’d argue or manipulate everyone to give him what he wanted.  He looked at everybody as if they were in one of three categories:

  1. Allies were people who actively agreed with him and helped him get what he wanted.
  2. Enemies were anyone who didn’t do what he wanted or give him what he wanted immediately.  They needed beaten, coerced or manipulated.
  3. People who didn’t matter because they weren’t useful at that moment – until he put them into one of the first two categories.

Since they’re at war with the world, every moment is a matter of life-or-death.
They never apologize or change – that would be a dangerous admission of weakness.  They over-react to the slightest provocation.  They fight to the death over the most trivial things.  Nothing is trivial to them.  If they make a truce for a moment, it’s temporary; they’re gathering their forces for the next attack.  Greed and war are necessary for survival.

He only recognized the language of power and control.
Every time she reached out to him, he interpreted that as weakness and an invitation for him to try to take more.  When she had leverage, he’d be nice so she’d lower her guard.  However, as soon as she gave up her leverage, he reverted.

He always attacked; she always defended.
No facts, reason or logic ever changed his mind.  She could never get him to understand; she couldn’t educate or rescue him from himself.

She recognized him as a narcissist.
She didn’t count; only his feelings at the moment counted and they counted for everything.  Eventually she recognize that it wasn’t personal in the sense that she’d really done anything she had to atone for.  He simply thought he needed everything or he’d die.  It was all about him and she was simply in the line of fire.

Hillary had to be on guard every moment.
Any contact with him or his wife was like entering a war zone loaded with land mines.  It was exhausting and frustrating.  She never knew when she didn’t matter or she had what they wanted or when she’d set them off.  He never talked or negotiated openly or honestly. Typically, his approach was enraged and cursing her.  It was all-or-none with him; sucking up or beating her into submission.  He’d argue or rant forever if he wanted something; he was relentless.

She stopped feeling guilty; nothing she’d ever done was that bad.
Actually, she’d tried to give him everything while trying to teach him values, character and decent behavior.  But none of that mattered to him.  The only things that mattered were what he wanted.  And he wanted victory and complete control all the time.  He wanted her to be a good servant; she should do everything he wanted and accept his beatings with a smile.

Hillary decided to keep her leverage and accept decent treatment without sincerity as the best she could get.
She stopped wondering whether he could ever change; she decided she’d simply protect herself one incident at a time and see what happened later.

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

Gina’s adult son was narcissistic, bullying and abusive to her.  He was callous, demanding and arrogant.  He never appreciated what she did for him.  He was 37 but couldn’t support himself in the style he wanted.  Even worse, when Gina wouldn’t solve his problems or give him all the money he wanted, his anger and rage toward her were overwhelming.

He asked for her advice but when she tried to help him avoid another disastrous decision, he’d yell that she wasn’t respecting him as an adult.  When he ignored her advice and failed, he’d curse her and say it was all her fault; he was entitled, she owed him everything he wanted.

Gina was afraid.
She was afraid if she didn’t give him what he wanted every moment, he’d fail and become depressed and maybe even suicidal.  On the other hand, she was also afraid if she didn’t keep bailing him out, he’d hate her forever.  The twin fears kept her participating in a sorrow-filled dance that always left her sobbing with frustration, pain and guilt.

Gina decided to wean him.
She accepted that by remaining in the game, she was hurting him; she was being a bad mother.  By thinking of him as weak and frail, she was reinforcing his own fears.  By treating him like a child she was preventing his rough and painful passage to becoming an adult.  In order for him to grow up, he needed to face the challenge and risk of possibly failing.

The next time he demanded respect for him as an adult, Gina had cue cards prepared.  They carried the following messages:

  • You’re not an adult, no matter how old you are, until you’re self-sufficient.  So I’m weaning you off any advice and money and we’ll see if you can take care of yourself.
  • You’re not an adult, no matter how old you are, until you can control your emotions toward me.  Adults can have polite, civil conversations even about touchy subjects.  As long as you’re throwing hissy-fits, I’ll think of you as a child needing a time out and I’ll give you appropriate consequences.
  • Since you’re still at the stage when you’re learning the magic words – please and thank you and you’re welcome – I won’t give you any milk until you use the good manners I know you have.  The problem between us is that you don’t respect me.
  • I always love you but I don’t like your personality.  You’re bullying and abusive to me so you don’t get near me.  I can’t save you from yourself.  I know you’re strong enough to make it on your own.  But if you fall apart, I’ll gladly institutionalize you.
  • Our relationship will never be about money.  We’ll bring each other wonderful, interesting things to talk about or we’ll talk about the weather.  If you can’t do any better than surface, small talk then I know what our relationship is about.

She even read the cue cards to him.  That shocked him because he realized his game was so predictable.

Of course, he threw a huge temper-tantrum.
But Gina ignored him.  Then she laughingly said to let her know when he was ready to come out of the time out she was putting him in, and apologize and do better.  Meanwhile, she was going to have a good time the rest of her life.

Of course she was afraid.  But she saw this as the only and necessary approach.  She’d see if he needed institutional help.  And she knew she couldn’t be the one to rescue him.

In this situation, Gina's son needed her.  So, after trying to beat her into submission and failing, after trying to manipulate her into backing down, he capitulated and began treating her respectfully.

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 heart ached so much for her narcissistic, bullying, abusive son.  Even worse for her than his hostility and anger towards her was that he couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of himself even though he was 41.

He was bright enough and talented enough to succeed but he was an incompetent loser.  He lost jobs, apartments and girlfriends.  Fran was afraid if she didn’t bail him out he’d get depressed and turn to drugs or suicide.  He begged for her help but when she’d advised him or gave him the money he wanted, he’d turn nasty.  Then he’d blame her for all his problems and yell at her to stop controlling him.

Fran felt guilty and tortured herself.
She thought since he was an arrogant, entitled narcissist, it must be her fault.  Since he hated her, she must have done many things wrong.  His therapist agreed with him.  The only way she could think of atoning for whatever sins he thought she’d committed was to keep giving him everything he wanted and to accept his verbal and emotional bullying and abuse.

Her narcissistic parents had abandoned her when she was young and she’d vowed never to abandon her child.  She felt compelled to rescue him, to save him from himself and the hostile world.

We can’t rescue someone who doesn’t want to be rescued.  Only he could save himself.
Yes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.  You can’t save a person’s soul when his pit is bottomless.  Fran couldn’t save him from himself, from the laziest, greediest, most entitled parts of himself.  

Giving him what he wanted would only enable him to stay a selfish bully.
Fran’s son didn’t really want to learn to be independent.  He always complained but he wouldn’t make the steps he knew he needed to take.  He wanted Fran to make all the effort so he could get what he wanted easily, and then reject and lash out at her.  That game was more important to him than succeeding independently.  He’d much rather fail and have excuses to justify his failure and his reasons for blaming her.  

First, they have to be transformed on the inside.
First, they have to become people who are determined to pull themselves up no matter how hard that is.   Then, they have to take difficult steps to help themselves out of the pit they dug for themselves.  Only after Fran’s son made concerted effort over time against adversity could offered help be helpful.  And it would be better coming from someone else.  Fran had to take herself out of the rescuer/meddler role.

What to do while we’re praying for their transformation.
This is the hardest role because it goes against our promises to ourselves and our natural inclination to reach out and put a healing balm on our baby’s pain.  We must remember they’re no longer babies.  And pain, suffering and natural consequences can be the greatest stimulators to their developing the strength, courage and determination they need to survive.

Fran decided to break the game – without his “understanding” or permission.

  1. She told her son she was finally weaning him.  She’d stop paying for his phone, car insurance and rent.  She’d stop covering his debts when he’d overspent.  To help him, she’d stop meddling in his life; she’d stop rescuing him. She was no longer a hovering mommy to a little child.  
  2. She’d continue being a cheerleader encouraging him to solve the problems and difficulties he made for himself.  Maybe, when he bottomed out he’d get the help he needed on his own.  Maybe not.  But she’d let him fail and bear the consequences.
  3. She said she wouldn’t listen to his problems and suffering.  They were boring and trivial.  She’d be glad to talk with him about was exciting in their lives; books, movies, music, art, etc.
  4. She said her home was no longer his home; his childhood room no longer his room.  He was an adult now and had to be a guest in her home.  And he knew the rules for behavior of a guest who’d be welcomed back.  Then she gave him all his childhood stuff and converted his old room into a studio for herself.
  5. She said if he showed himself incapable of making great use of his gifts and talents, she’d find other people who would make something great with her love and money, and appreciate her in return.

Of course, her son blew up and tested her resolve.
He ranted and raved at her.  When he couldn’t bully her into submission, he begged and pleaded and threated to die on the streets.  When that didn’t work he tried worming his way back to her money bit by bit.

And of course, she sometimes gave in but she then went right back to her chosen course.  One moment of weakness did not set a precedent.  And of course, it took months of manipulation attempts before her son finally started becoming independent.

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

Elle’s grown children treated her just like their father, her ex-husband, had.  They demanded whatever they wanted, put her down at every opportunity, yelled and blamed her when she didn’t give them everything immediately and then threatened to withhold her grandchildren.  They were narcissistic, abusive bullies.

Elle was always kind and gentle with them.  She tried to defend herself with examples, reason and logic.  Her parents had taught her that gentle words always turned away wrath.  She always apologized and begged for forgiveness, even though she knew she hadn’t done anything wrong.  But that never seemed to help.

She thought, if she was kind enough, they would treat her the way she wanted.
Clearly, she wasn’t gentle, kind and understanding enough.  She was to blame; she was guilty; she must be a bad mother.

Bullies, narcissists aren’t turned back by gentle words
If kind words are effective with someone, that person isn’t really a bully or narcissist.  Relentless bullies and narcissists aren’t stopped by gentle words.  Actually, that’s my test to see if someone is really a bully or narcissist.

This applies to all relationships: toxic parents, controlling siblings, righteous friends, selfish, entitled adult children and domineering co-workers.  They all use the same approaches and varied the tactics slightly depending on the situation.

Elle remembered her parents had always told her to understand and forgive bullies.  She’d tried but the bullies never stopped.  She’d used the same approach to her parents’ demands and anger but they never stopped manipulating her or taking advantage of her.  She could see now they wanted her to be kind and gentle while they allowed themselves to be selfish, demanding and angry.  Even now, they were toxic in her life.

Be a scientist; believe your experience, not their explanations.
Your experience with them is the real evidence, the data.  Elle realized that her parents, her ex-husband and her children’s behavior had always been consistent: bullying and narcissistic.  Their reasons, excuses and justifications had varied but always had the same theme: they were entitled; she should give in and submit to their will; she should be sweet and obedient, and maybe someday she would win their kindness in return.  But she never could.

Commit to your standards, not theirs.
Their standards for her behavior always gave them the advantage.  She always had to defend herself and eventually become submissive and docile.  They always got their way.

But now Elle committed to follow her own standards of how she would allow people to treat her, no matter the name of the relationship.  She decided that the kindness, most respectful thing she could do for their Souls would be to tell them to stop being demanding, arrogant and bullying, to stop throwing temper-tantrums and hissy fits.  She would honor them with the truth.  The way they were acting is bad for them and for the whole town.  They would have to be gentle and kind in order to get into her space.  

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