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Even before they did anything, her son reacted loudly, as if he could sense that his food and drug had been withdrawn.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. 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.