Harry defended himself by saying that he was following rules he’d heard in training: to increase teamwork, bring people together often; review production in your group often so you can keep people on track; give immediate feedback in public so everyone can learn from one person’s mistakes. But Harry is a micromanager.  Instead of making things better, he made them worse. He created frustration and dissention and stifled his staff’s initiative.

To read the rest of this article from the Philadelphia Business Journal, see: Micromanagers just don’t know when to let up http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/print-edition/2010/10/29/micromanagers-just-dont-know-when-to.html

Micromanagers rarely have enough time for the important tasks.  They’re too busy managing the minutiae.  Of course, good managers make sure important tasks are done right.  But micromanagers think everything is a priority.  They can’t distinguish between what’s crucial for them to be doing with their own hands and what’s a waste of their time.  They’re usually nit-picking perfectionists with all-or-none thinking.

Micromanaging is usually driven by narcissism and fear.  Harry thought he was the only one who knew how to do things right.  He was afraid that if he let others forge ahead, they’d fail and his career would be derailed.  Also, he was afraid that if he gave his staff freedom, someone might outshine him.

Breaking the micromanaging habit is difficult.  Typically, as in Harry’s case, understanding when and why he developed the habit didn’t change his behavior.

But there was a way Harry’s manager could eliminate the high cost of Harry’s addiction to low attitudes.  She could help him change his behavior.

All tactics are situational.  Expert coaching and consulting can help you create and implement a plan that fits you and your organization.

Harry defended himself by saying that he was following rules he’d heard in training: to increase 

teamwork, bring people together often; review production in your group often so you can keep people on

track; give immediate feedback in public so everyone can learn from one person’s mistakes.

Post #156 – BulliesBeGoneBlog Stop Bullies: Ignore Their Excuses, Justifications http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2011/02/28/stop-bullies-ignore-their-excuses-justifications/

Post #194 – BulliesBeGoneBlog Stop workplace bullies who beat you up with the rules http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2011/10/12/stop-workplace-bullies-who-beat-you-up-with-the-rules/

But Harry is a micromanager.  Instead of making things better, he made them worse. He created frustration

and dissention and stifled his staff’s initiative.

Post #190 – BulliesBeGoneBlog Be wary of these business animals http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2011/09/27/be-wary-of-these-business-animals/

Read more

To read the rest of this article from the Philadelphia Business Journal, see: Micromanagers just don’t know when to let up http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/print-edition/2010/10/29/micromanagers-just-dont-know-when-to.htm

l

Micromanagers rarely have enough time for the important tasks.  They’re too busy managing the minutiae.

Of course, good managers make sure important tasks are done right.  But micromanagers think everything is

a priority.  They can’t distinguish between what’s crucial for them to be doing with their own hands and

what’s a waste of their time.  They’re usually nit-picking perfectionists with all-or-none thinking.

Post #14 – BulliesBeGoneBlog Top ten ways to create a hostile workplace http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2008/02/26/top-ten-ways-to-create-a-hostile-workplace/

Post #114 – BulliesBeGoneBlog Self-Bullying Perfectionism Can Ruin Your Life http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2010/04/12/self-bullying-perfectionism-can-ruin-your-life/

Micromanaging is usually driven by narcissism and fear.  Harry thought he was the only one who knew how

to do things right.  He was afraid that if he let others forge ahead, they’d fail and his career would be

derailed.  Also, he was afraid that if he gave his staff freedom, someone might outshine him.

Post #52 – BulliesBeGoneBlog 7 Signs of narcissistic control-freaks http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2009/02/05/7-signs-of-narcissistic-control-freaks/

Post #19 – BulliesBeGoneBlog Stop verbal abuse by a know-it-all-boss http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2008/03/19/stop-verbal-abuse-by-a-know-it-all-boss/

Post #117 – BulliesBeGoneBlog Stop Bullies at Work: Control Freaks http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2010/05/04/stop-bullies-at-work-control-freaks/

Breaking the micromanaging habit is difficult.  Typically, as in Harry’s case, understanding when and why

he developed the habit didn’t change his behavior.

Post #198 – BulliesBeGoneBlog Micromanagement is a double-edged sword http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2011/10/26/micromanagement-is-a-double-edged-sword/

Post #88 – BulliesBeGoneBlog Stop Bullies: Will Knowing Why Bullies Keep Abusing Us Help Us Stop Them? http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2009/10/04/stop-bullies-will-knowing-why-bullies-keep-abusing-us-help-us

-stop-them/

But there was a way Harry’s manager could eliminate the high cost of Harry’s addiction to low attitudes.

She could help him change his behavior.

BulliesBeGone Books and CDs http://www.bulliesbegone.com/products.html

All tactics are situational.  Expert coaching and consulting can help you create and implement a plan

that fits you and your organization.

Post #63 – BulliesBeGoneBlog Workplace Bullying and Harassment: Recognize Common Techniques Bullies Use http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2009/03/25/workplace-bullying-and-harassment-recognize-common-techniques

-bullies-use/

BulliesBeGone Hire Ben http://www.bulliesbegone.com/hire_ben.html

Most people think that if they made a mistake, broke the rules, weren’t good at something or did something wrong they deserve what they get.  So they accept being scolded, chastised and browbeaten. This attitude is so common that we have many words and expressions for these put-downs and abuse. For example, admonished, assailed, assaulted, attacked, bashed, bawled out, beaten, berated, blamed, castigated, chewed out, condemned, denigrated, disapproved, disparaged, dressed down, flayed, punished, rebuked, rejected, reprimanded, ridiculed, slammed, straightened out, taken to task, thrashed, told off, tongue-lashing, torn to pieces, upbraided, vilified, whacked.

I used my handy Thesaurus because I want to ask: “Which feels most familiar to you?”  That tells you who you’ve been living with.

Most people allow bullies to bring up incidents forever, whenever the bully feels like attacking them.  After all, victims and oppressors reason, they did wrong; facts are facts.

The real mistake is when we allow ourselves to be bullied, scolded and chastised.

This isn’t about pretending that a mistake wasn’t a mistake or that we were ignorant when we actually could have known better.  Sometimes a fact is a fact.  Sometimes we easily might have known better or done better.  Maybe we weren’t careful enough.  Often there were consequences.

This is about the “so what” if we made a mistake.

There’s a big different between reviewing behavior to see what could have been done better and being scolded or chastised.  There’s a big difference between recognizing our mistakes and determining to do better versus being beaten into submission, verbally or physically, in order to make a point.

You know how it feels when a predator gleefully pounces on you with, “I gotcha.  Now I can beat you.”

Some common examples:

So the first action message is not to allow yourself to be talked to that way.  Period.  Not even “when you deserve it.”  If you catch it early it’s easy to end the relationship.

That method of negative self-talk stimulates self-bullying perfectionism as if, “If I’m not perfect, I’m worthless and deserve to fail and get beaten.”  Allowing yourself to be scolded and chastised increases anxiety, stress and depression, and leads to self-doubt and low self-confidence and self-esteem.  If you allow those nasty, hostile, personal attacks in your space you increase your helplessness and hopelessness.

People who bully this way simply from ignorance and habit can understand rapidly, even though breaking the old habit will take longer.  Allow as many chances as your spirit can take easily, but no more.

People who enjoy the feeling of righteous power rarely change.  You can’t reason, appease or forgive them or love them enough to change them.  The Golden Rule won’t help youVote them off your island before they destroy you.

The second action message is don’t say things that way.

These messages train people to accept bullying and to become bullies.  Don’t train people to respond to messages phrased that way.  Don’t train your children or spouse that they have to be beaten before it’s serious enough for them to change or do better.  Don’t train yourself that you have to be beaten before you’re willing to listen.  Don’t train them that they have to beat you.

Get expert coaching to change these patterns for yourself and others.  Otherwise you create and reinforce an Island in which bullying must occur in order for change to occur.

Sometimes toxic parents think they have us over a barrel even after we’ve grown up, gotten physically and financially independent, and started our own family.  They count on our loyalty to some ideal of “family” no matter how badly they treated and still treat us.  They count on our self-bullying and guilt.  They count on us still trying to jump through their hoops to win their love and approval...  They count on our fear that they’ll manipulate the rest of the family into thinking we’re ungrateful and bad.  And they often count on our enduring the verbal and emotional abuse so we can inherit our share of their fortune. Of course, I’m talking about those toxic parents who are still blaming everything on us and abusing us because “It’s your fault” or “You are selfish, ungrateful and don’t deserve any better” or “It’s your duty to do what they want in their old age.”  They’re the toxic parents who know our every weakness and sensitivity, and still poke them hard when they want too; still find fault with every little thing we do; still compare us unfavorably to someone else or to their standards; still criticize, belittle and harass us and our spouse and our children in public or they’re the sneaky ones who criticize, demean and denigrate us in private but pretend they love us in public so everyone thinks they’re wonderful, loving parents.

Of course, we’ve tried everything we can think of, but the negativity, harassment, criticism, blame, shame, bullying and abuse haven’t stopped.  We’ve tried to do exactly what they want, but it’s never enough.  We’ve apologized and pleaded with them to stop, but that just makes them act nastier.  We’ve gotten angry and threatened not to see them, but they broke down in such tears of distress we felt guilty or they blamed on us even more or they acted nice for a few minutes but, when we relaxed, they attacked us more about something different they didn’t like.

So what can we do now?

  1. For the sake of peace and quiet in the whole family, we could keep trying to endure the abuse while begging them to stop.  After all, we never know; if we only kept trying, if we only did enough, they might change.  Also, they might leave us in the will.  And it’d be our fault if we quit too soon.  Many people fly low until they have children and see their toxic parents either criticizing and emotionally abusing their children or belittling and criticizing them while being sweet to the grandchildren.
  2. We might continue objecting and arguing; enduring our frustration and anger.  Usually this tactic repeats endlessly and often spirals out of control.  Relentlessly toxic parents won’t admit they’re wrong and give up.  Eventually they’ll escalate and cut us out of the will.
  3. We might try withdrawing for a while; not seeing them, telling them we won’t return emails and calls, and then carrying through.  People usually shift from the first two tactics to this one when they see the effect of their toxic parents on their own children.  This tactic sometimes convinces nasty, mean, bullying parents that they’d better change their ways or they’ll lose contact with their grandchildren.  But the relentlessly toxic parents don’t care.  They’re sure they’re fine and they’re sure they’ll win if they push hard enough, like they’ve always won in the past.  So they don’t change and we go back to arguing or we give up or we finally respond more firmly.
  4. The next step is to withdraw for a long time, maybe forever – no contact.  It’s sad but we have to protect the family we’re creating from our own predatory parents.  It’s usually both scary and very exciting.  Most people, despite any guilt they feel, also feel a huge surge of relief, as if a giant weight or a fire-breathing dragon has been removed from their shoulders.  Our spouse and children may celebrate.  Get out of town, go on a vacation, turn the phones and email off.

What to expect and how to respond?

  1. They’ll attack when we withdraw.  Expect them to make angry calls and send hostile emails.  Save these on an external drive or a cheap recorder before deleting them.  They want to engage us, so do not engage endlessly and fruitlessly; no return calls or emails, no hateful or vindictive responses.  We’ve only gotten to this point because they haven’t changed after many approaches and warnings.  We might have to change our phone numbers to unlisted ones and change our email addresses.
  2. They’ll rally the extended family.  Prepare by making cue cards of what to say; no excuses or justifications.  Just tell the family what you said and did, and what you plan.  Ask them not to intervene.  Tell them we’d like to see them but only if our toxic parents are not present.  We’re sorry they’re caught in the middle but that’s life.  They do have to choose who to believe and what behavior to support.  Be prepared to withdraw from anyone who attacks or interferes.
  3. They’ll disinherit us.  When they can’t manipulate us through love, blame, shame and guilt, they’ll try greed.  If we don’t do what our toxic parents want right now, they’ll cut us out of the will.  Don’t be a slave to greed; it’s a deadly sin.  If we want to have a bully-free family life, we’ll have to make it on our own.  The real benefit is not merely ending the brutality, it’s the strength of character and the skills we gain when we make decisions for ourselves and chart our own course in the world.  We’ll end the negativity, stress, anxiety and depression usually caused by toxic parents.  We’ll develop the strength, courage, determination, perseverance and resilience we all need to make wonderful lives.  We’ll be able to express our passion and joy without cringing, waiting for the next blow to fall.
  4. We’ll have an empty space in our lives.  Even more than the empty physical space we’ll now have at the times when we used to get together with our toxic parents, we’ll have a huge mental and emotional space.  How many hours have we wasted thinking about our parents, worrying about the next episode, dreading what might happen next, agonizing over what to do.  We don’t have to do that any more.  Of course, being weaned from an old habit takes a little time.  We must be gentle with ourselves.  Focus on the freedom we now have.  Now we can think about the things we want to think about; not about pain and suffering, not about past failures.  Now we have space to bring into our lives people who will be part of the tribe of our heart and spirit.
  5. Our children will wonder why.  Tell the kids in a way that’s age appropriate.  Are we protecting them from the verbal abuse of their toxic grandparents or from lies that paint us as bad people?  They’ll want to know what’s going to stay the same.  Will they have fun, celebrate holidays, get presents, have extended family?

The most important lessons we offer our children are not through books and lectures.  Those are important, but the most important ones are the ones they see in our behavior when we’re models of behavior we want them to learn.

Be a model for them of someone who protects himself and them from anyone who would target them, even someone who’s close by blood.  Being close by behavior counts more than blood.  Show them not to be victimized even by blood relations.

Show them to how to be the hero of their lives.

With expert coaching and consulting, we can look at individual situations and plan tactics that are appropriate to us and to the situation.  We can overcome the voices of our fears and self-bullying.  We can overcome childhood rules to endure whatever bullying and abuse our toxic parents dish out simply because they’re our parents.  We can become strong and skilled enough to stop bullies in their tracks – even if those bullies are blood relatives. “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks” has many examples of children and adults getting over their early training and freeing themselves from toxic relationships.  For more personalized coaching call me at 877-8Bullies (877-828-5543).

Posted
AuthorBen Leichtling
24 CommentsPost a comment

Julie (late 30’s) had been living with Harry (also late 30’s) for 6 months when she discovered that he often snuck off to his computer room in the middle of the night to look at internet porn.  They both have good jobs and Julie says the sex is good, so what’s with Harry? Harry says that there’s no problem; it’s perfectly normal and it’s no big deal.  It doesn’t affect how he feels about her; it’s on his own time and there’s no reason for him to stop.  She shouldn’t be so judgmental.

Julie can’t find a good reason to justify her dislike of it, but she’s concerned about where it might lead.

What would you do?

Julie shouldn’t debate about what’s normal or try to convince Harry that her feelings should matter.

She should see clearly what’s ahead and get out of there.  She has already gotten her gut response to the question, “Do I want to be with someone who leaves our bed and sneaks off to look at porn?”  She should trust her gut response of “No.”  Her feelings are sufficient for her to act; she doesn’t have to convince him she’s reasonable or right.

She may be getting along well with Harry now, but in addition to dealing with a person who leaves their bed to look at internet porn, she’s also dealing with a narcissistic, covert, stealthy bullying boyfriend.

When there are problems or pressure in the relationship, he’ll choose porn over her.  He’ll withdraw from the difficulties of face-to-face intimacy and turn to virtual, not real, reality.  Later, as a stealth bully, he’ll get blaming, manipulative and demanding.  He’ll try to make her feelings sound wrong, old fashioned and uncaring.  He’ll claim that his porn habit is her fault.  He’ll say that she should stop nagging and trying to guilt-trip him.  If she only gave him what he needed, he’d stop.  But no matter what she does, it’ll never be exactly right or it’ll never be enough for him.

Why do I predict that?  Experience as a coach and therapist.  I’ve seen it over and over.  And it also happened in this example.

Julie should focus on behavior she wants or doesn’t want in her environment; not on philosophical arguments.  She’s never going to change him.  Later responsibilities as a husband and father won’t change him.  He’s a bullying, narcissistic control-freak who’s addicted to porn.  She doesn’t need to convince him that he needs therapy to end his addiction.  She should get the coaching she needs to get away as fast as she can.

Julie needs coaching to decrease self-doubt and self-bullying (Case Studies # 8 and 9 in “How to Stop Bullies in their Tracks”).  She also needs counseling to get past her fear that Harry is right; if he leaves, she’ll never find anyone else.  She should ignore her self-bullying; that little voice that doesn’t like her, that tells her that Harry might be right.

She needs to start living the life she wants to lead.  Just like Lucy in case study # 14 of my book, if she doesn’t trust her own guts, she’ll get sucked in.  The longer she goes on Harry’s roller coaster ride, the harder it will be to get off.  Does she want to settle for Harry as the best she’ll ever get?  Does she want the pain?