feel like you belong anywhere - BOnus lesson
Take back your power!!!
Now is your time to step up and take back your power!
The main reason we suffer and dwell in negative emotions is due to a loss of power. We don’t know what to do with ourselves when we feel like this as we covered in the previous lessons.
Firstly, you need to decide to take it back. Decide that you are no longer a victim and will no longer live in suffering.
No matter what happened to you, stop reliving it and stop dwelling on in. You need to decide to move on with your life and make the best of the life you have. Only you have control over that. It is a conscious decision you need to make. Make it and stand by it. Decide “I will have a good life from here on forward”, “I am a strong person and can have everything I desire”, “Nothing will get me down, I will always keep standing back up”, “I am in control of my own life and of my feelings”.
Secondly, stop giving it away. Nobody can take your power; you can only give it to them. This is very important so read carefully.
People will push your buttons every day, several times a day, especially those closest to you. They do this to gain power over you (totally subconsciously) and when you “take the bait” and fight then it becomes a power struggle and someone has to loose. If you lose your cool, it will probably be you.
Abusive and disrespectful people are the worst case scenarios. Here are some guidelines to dealing specifically with them.
Weather it’s your partner, your child, your parent or even a boss or a stranger, abusive people operate from a “victim” mentality which really has nothing to do with what you have or haven’t done even though they will try to convince you it is all you. They take no responsibility for their actions and their problems and blame everyone around them resulting in disrespect and abusive behavior. They have mastered the art of getting you to give them your power to make themselves feel a little less powerless and it is up to you to stop them from doing that.
It’s not easy but if you practice it enough it will become easier and you will learn to stand in your power and feel like a whole person, which is the ultimate goal.
How to stop the arguments
Abusive and manipulative people love pulling you into an argument. Getting you to engage in that it the first way they get power over you. When you engage they have got you and the power runs from you to them like the blood from a victim to a mosquito.
One of the simplest ways to stop an argument is for you to recognize when you’re being invited to an argument. Then…don’t show up.
The fact is, you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.
Somebody cuts you off in traffic and shows you a zap while screaming some profanity at you. You have just been invited to a fight. If you go ahead and scream back at him and push him off the road it may escalate to the point where either someone ends up in hospital or in jail. Do you really want that drama in your life?
Don’t accept the invitation. Let him drive off and carry on with your day without giving him one minute of it. The more you dwell on it, the more time of your day and power you are giving him.
If you are a parent you may be able to relate to this example: Your child can also be an abuser, we just like to call them brats as it’s easier to face. It simply means they are treating you with disrespect and using your parent guilt against you. Every parent has parent guilt, for not spending enough time with them, for not giving them enough and who knows what else but they are like little vampires and they smell it on us. They will use it against us to manipulate us into giving them their way and before we know it they are entitled, demanding and abusive and this cute little person that we brought into the world is making our lives hell….if we let them.
Let’s say your child wants to watch TV at 10 o’clock on a school night when you’ve already established the rule that there’s no TV after 9pm during the week. But he’s starting to nag you about it nevertheless:
“Why can’t I watch TV? It’s not fair! This is a stupid rule. You treat me like a baby! Just let me watch this one show!”
Believe it or not, in that one rant, your child has invited you to 6 arguments:
An argument about why he can’t watch TV.
An argument about the nonsensical rules you’ve established.
An argument about fairness.
Another argument about how stupid your rules are.
Yet another argument about how you don’t give him any freedom.
And an argument that’s intended to get you to negotiate the rules with him.
Here’s the deal. If you stand there and accept any or all of the 6 invitations to argue that he’s thrown at you, you lose the minute you open your mouth.
Accepting the invitation to argue looks like this:
Son: Why can’t I watch TV?
You: Because I said so! You’ll be tired for school and won’t get out of bed, and I can’t take that tomorrow!
Son: No, I WON’T be tired!
Outcome: He’ll grind you into the dirt.
Son: You always do this!
You: I do not! I let you watch way too much TV as it is. Now turn it off!
Outcome: You’re shouting…and loosing.
Son: This isn’t fair!
You: I don’t care if it’s fair or not! I said turn off the TV! Now!
Son: Launches into the invitations to arguments 4 and 5.
Outcome: You’re trapped in this, and there’s no way out.
Son: This is a stupid rule!
You: Launch into a louder version of what you said in argument #2.
Outcome: You’re officially in a power struggle, and your son is going to be way better at it than you. He’s got nothing to lose. Heck, the longer you stand there and argue, the longer he gets to stay up.
Son: You treat me like a baby!
You: I do not! Maybe if you didn’t act like a baby, you wouldn’t get treated like one!
Outcome: You’ve both descended into name calling and you have become his emotional equal.
Son: Just let me watch this one show!
You: Oh, alright already! But the TV goes off at 11 and that’s it!
Outcome: He wore you down to a nub and negotiated with you after bad behaviour. Get ready. You’re going to relive this whole thing tomorrow night, and it will be worse.
Your abusive partner is directly or indirectly telling you how fat you are and how you should be exercising more and eating less McDonalds…again.
If you take the bait you can either go into the definition of fat, the analysis of how much you do exercise, the nutritional breakdown of McDonald’s food or about his own weight, exercise or eating habits. In all of these scenarios you are losing your power and he has managed to upset you and convinced you to give him your power.
So how do you “not attend” the argument?
The key is not to get drawn into a verbal jousting match. Keep it simple and business like. Simply stand in your ground. If necessary keep repeating the same sentence.
Instead of coming back at him with a response to each one of his objections, just say “no.”
“No. You know the rules. The TV goes off at 9.”
“No. You do not get to treat me this way”
“No, I am me and that is what you get. Take it or leave it”
Then stop. Zip it. Don’t say another word. If the abuser then complains, swears or argues behind your back, don’t respond. Let his words fall to the floor. Since it takes two to fight, if you don’t attend the fight... there can’t be a fight.
Understand that when the abuser argues with you—and you argue back—you’re validating the argument. You’re making their point more real than it is or should be. And every time you argue back, you lose a little more control of yourself.
Sometimes with abusers this is the most terrifying thing because you think that if you stand up for yourself or you ignore them they will came back at you even more and the reality is that they might but if you are consistent enough they will stop. You need to be stronger than they are. Remember that abusers feel weak and that is why they need to step on others to make themselves feel stronger.
An adult abuser is just a bratty child that grew up without his parents putting him in his place. As a child they had a victim mentality and wasn’t taught to take responsibility for their actions. They always had someone else to blame or some circumstance to blame for their unfulfilling lives. They never learnt gratitude, earning something, appreciation and respect. But despite years of programming, they can still be taught these things but it will take a lot of work on your part if you are up for it. If it is a person you can remove yourself from, that would be the ideal situation but I know from personal experience that sometimes, more often than not, for many reasons other people often can’t understand, you can’t. So this is how you live with it and take your power back.
“Not attending the argument” doesn’t mean giving in.
If you give in to the argument, you’re giving the abuser the message that you don’t mean what you say.
Not attending the argument means not getting pulled into the verbal power struggle, sticking to your guns and having a clear plan of action if they don’t comply.
This is going to feel very strange to you. We feel compelled to justify our actions and decisions. It’s almost instinct to do it. But you should understand this:
Very often, we have to go against our instincts in order become strong and get our power back. This is definitely the case when it comes to arguments with abusers.
Teach them how to solve their problems appropriately…without arguing.
Weather it is your child or someone who never learned it as a child, if you want them in your life, you are going to have to teach them how to solve their problems without bickering, arguing and defiance.
And once you do this, an amazing thing happens. You take back control of your power.
A different way to respond to outbursts
To help you get back in control of your power, you need to respond to someone differently when they yell at you.
When someone gets in your face and yells, there are several common ways people respond. Unfortunately, most of them are ineffective, and they can actually make the behaviour worse.
Screaming Back - Yelling back at someone is ineffective because you become his emotional equal. You’re basically saying, “I don’t have a better way to solve my problems other than screaming.” You’re actually reinforcing the bad behaviour.
Giving in or backing down - When you give in or back off your rules just to get the outburst to stop, they learn that by turning up the volume, they can avoid having to take responsibility.
“Reasoning” with them - When you try to explain and justify your rules, you lose, because you can’t reason with someone who’s having a fit of anger. Also, justifying your rules means they’re negotiable. It’s not an issue of them not understanding your rules. They just want to get their way.
If you’re tempted to raise your voice and start yelling…don’t.
If you find yourself backing down or feeling like you need to explain yourself …don’t.
Say you ask your child to empty the dishwasher, and he refuses. Say he starts to yell at you, “This sucks! Get off my back! I’ll get to it!”
Your instinct may be to yell back at him, “No! You’ll do it now! I don’t ask much of you around here. Now get over here and take care of these dishes.” In this case, you’ve locked yourself into a power struggle.
You might also throw your hands up in disgust and empty the dishwasher yourself. In this case, your child learns that you don’t really mean what you say.
Try something different. Keep your voice even and your tone business like. Say, “It’s my responsibility to get supper. It’s your responsibility to empty the dishwasher. For every minute the dishes stay in the dishwasher, you lose an hour of computer time tonight.”
Then go about your business and don’t scream. Even if he shouts louder at you. Don’t raise your voice. Don’t back down.
It’s important to keep your focus on three things: rules, responsibilities and issues. This applies to dealing with anyone who is abusive, not just kids.
Keeping the focus on rules, responsibilities and issues—not on emotions and power struggles. This puts you back in control of your power.
If you keep your conversations business like and emphasize your rules, there’s nothing to fight about, no power struggle to start. Little by little, the screaming stops.
Here’s another helpful line you can use when someone yells at you. Say your partner disagrees with something you did and starts screaming and swearing at you. Instead of yelling, giving in, or justifying yourself, stop and think. How much time do you and your partner need to calm down? Pick a time that works, then say this:
“I’m not going to talk to you when you’re acting this way. I’m available at 6 o’clock to talk about this. I expect you to be able to speak to me in a mature and respectful manner. ” This works for kids and adults.
Then be available to talk about it (not fight about it) at 6 o’clock and not a moment sooner.
Saying this in a business like way puts you in control. You’re not getting sucked into a power struggle on their terms. And they learn—finally—that screaming doesn’t work anymore.
You can stop abusive behaviour...for good.
Remember: If someone is misbehaving, yelling and screaming, it’s because they don’t have the skills or structure to solve problems or cope with situations they find overwhelming, uncomfortable or intimidating.
If you teach them a broader repertoire of coping and problem-solving skills than merely yelling and misbehaving—they’ll stop the yelling and misbehaving!
Punishment vs Consequences
Let’s look at the difference between a consequence and a punishment.
A consequence is something that follows naturally from an action, inaction or poor decision. It’s meant to teach you something.
A punishment is meant to be hurtful.
When you get a speeding ticket, there’s certainly a punishment in that it hurts...your wallet. But it’s more a consequence of your poor choice to speed and break the law. And it teaches you that you have to slow down and follow the speed limit.
When you give an abusive person a consequence, it’s important to make it flow naturally from or be related their choice or action. The consequence should teach them something.
For example, if your son sleeps late and doesn’t get up for school, an effective consequence is for him to go to bed earlier—so he’ll get more sleep and learn that he has to get up on time.
Tell your son he has to go to bed early for the next three nights, and then, if he can show you he can get up for school, you’ll go back to the later bedtime.
An ineffective consequence would be to take away his cell phone for a week. Even though his phone is important to him, removing access to it won’t help him learn how to wake up earlier.
Putting consequences in place for adults is a bit more tricky than with children and so are adult abusive relationships.
One consequence that you can follow through on quite easily is to remove yourself from their presence when they are acting up. If they are screaming at you on a phone you simply tell them that you will not be spoken to like that and if they don’t listen you hang up. If they keep calling back, keep asking if they are ready to have an adult conversation. Keep hanging up if they start screaming again. If you are in a face to face situation remove yourself from the room or even the premises if necessary. They must understand fully that you will no longer be tolerating abusive behaviour.
If the abuse is physical the ideal situation would obviously be to get out of the situation but if you can’t , at least practice standing in your own and also avoiding the argument.
Here is another example:
Your colleague misuses your helpfulness and makes you do all their work. You let her because she always expresses such gratitude and you feel needed and accepted even though you hate doing it and are aware of how you are being manipulated and mistreated.
Remember that you don’t need to earn other people’s acceptance. When you stand your ground and are strong in who you are people automatically respect and like you. You don’t need to be anybody’s doormat to belong.
Does the abuser blame you for everything?
Abusive people love the blame game. They will blame you, blame others, and blame “things” supposedly beyond their control. But, in the end, all that blame and excuse-making does for them is provide cover for their bad behaviour and poor problem-solving skills.
And, it stops them from taking responsibility for their actions.
Does this sound familiar?
Your son gets an “F” on his report card. When you ask him why, he says it’s because his teacher doesn’t like him, she picks on him, or ignores him. So, it’s not his fault he got an “F.” It’s his teacher’s fault.
Or, let’s say you’ve asked your son to clean his room, but he doesn’t. And when you ask him why, he blames you—because you told him to finish his homework, or walk the dog, or that you “always make me do everything around here” and therefore he didn’t have time to clean his room. In other words, you’re to blame, not him.
Your boyfriend blames you for driving him so crazy that he had to beat you. It is all your fault for wearing that seductive outfit that he warned you not to. You made him go crazy and he just had to teach you a lesson.
Your manipulative mother in law falls down the stairs and it’s all your fault because you won’t let her stay with you.
Don’t accept the blame.
When you accept the blame they throw at you, or when you allow them to point an accusing finger at you or someone else, you’re not helping them learn how to solve problems constructively and to take responsibility for their actions.
As children we should have learned how to solve problems and complete tasks without making excuses yet so many people didn’t. As adults we have to take responsibility for our actions in order to function properly in life. Excuses won’t be accepted. Excuses won’t prevent us from starving to death or from getting fired.
Diagnosed disorders are not acceptable excuses.
Using a diagnosis or a handicap as an excuse for inappropriate behaviour or for a lack of problem-solving skills is never helpful.
No matter what the disorder or diagnosis, every person still has to grow up and learn to perform like an adult.
Adults with ADHD or bipolar disorder still have to get up every morning and go to work, get along with their colleagues, respect their supervisors, and perform and be productive. Kids with dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome, or other neurological impairments have to lead productive lives if they want to make it in society. There’s just no getting around that.
Focus on the responsibilities— not the excuses.
If your husband who can’t hold a job or your kid who didn’t do his homework focuses on excuses, you need to focus on their responsibilities.
Of course, some excuses are valid, and the responsibility for knowing how to sort the acceptable ones from the unacceptable ones rests with you. But many excuses are simply just that: excuses. Dramatized explanations as to why they should be excused from meeting their responsibilities.
The next time they want to shift the focus away from their responsibility and onto an excuse for why a task wasn’t performed or why they didn’t behave properly, shift it back from the excuse and onto the matter at hand: their responsibility.
If your jobless husband says “That job just wasn’t for me”, “My boss was just mean and nasty”, you say “We are not talking about the job, we are talking about your responsibility to contribute towards this household and to feed your children.”
If your child says, “I couldn’t do my homework because I forgot to bring my text book home,” say, “We’re not talking about your excuses for not doing your homework, we’re talking about your responsibility to get it done on time.”
And if you argue or debate the excuse, you’re only encouraging them to come up with a bigger and better excuse.
Understand this: You cannot solve their behavioural problems. You have to empower them to do that for themselves.
Taking their behaviour personally
Don’t worry. The vast majority of abuse victims do, especially parents being disrespected and manipulated by their very own kids. You think, “How could you do this to me?” You feel violated. Your trust is broken. The same goes for cursing and name calling,” it cuts you to the core.
Many people regard their abuser’s acts of disrespect as a personal assault or defeat. As if the person is trying to “get back” at them on a very personal level. And let’s face it. Sometimes they are trying to hurt you. When they call you a filthy name, they are trying to hurt you personally. They are treating you like garbage. It’s hard not to feel hurt, sad and angry.
But here’s the thing…
Taking their behaviour personally is a trap
There’s no doubt that being abused and disrespected is an emotional thing. But your emotional attachment can trap you into doing some very ineffective things.
Like protecting them from the consequences of their behaviour. Like over negotiating with them. Like tolerating abusive language against you. Like lowering your expectations of them around basic things like responsibility.
You have to separate yourself emotionally from your person’s behaviour.
That doesn’t mean being emotionally detached from them. You can still love them. It just means that you need to deal with your expectations for their behaviour, responsibilities and consequences without making it an emotional thing, and without taking it personally.
Think like a business manager
Think of your family (your partner and kids or your parents and siblings) as a business. And your business is producing a product: people who have learned appropriate behaviour and the problem-solving skills they’ll need now and later on in life.
See yourself as the business manager of your family. Don’t be apologetic. Be firm and clear. When you’re dealing with their behaviour and the assigning of consequences, don’t turn it into an emotional event.
Keep it business like. Deal with it in a calm and methodical fashion. For example, if your child doesn’t do his chores and you can feel the emotions rising within you, stop and think. It’s not a personal defeat. Treat it in a business like way. If you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid. If your son doesn’t do his chores, it has to cost him something. That’s all. It’s not a personal attack on you. It’s not a vendetta.
Think of it this way: He’s not “trying to make you mad.” He just doesn’t have the skills to deal with the problem called “chores.”
Did you enjoy this course?
Have a look at our Relationship Rescue course