PREVIOUS: Responding to Cs #1
RESPONDING TO CONTROLLERS (Cs) (cont)
If we’re around a controller long enough we’ll inevitably absorb the pain & rage they’re projecting onto us. If we let this continue unprotected, it means we still have too much S-H, AND
as a co-dependent Rescuer we may think it’s helping them feel better – to ease the C’s pain by providing attention, understanding & compassion.
But it will never be enough to fill their bottomless pit AND it’s not our job to parent them! All we’re doing is rewarding them for toxic behavior, giving them permission to keep it up, & letting ourselves to be their emotional garbage can! NOTE: The ‘evil’ is their disease, not the person.
MIRROR as CORRECTION
a. We need to reflect back to the C. what we hear them say, & if possible what emotions we observe being expressed. EXP :”You sound angry / frustrated / upset….. What’s really bothering you?”
b. This is in contrast with our Truth – how their behavior affects us, physically & emotionally
EXPs : “You just told me I’m ‘no good for nothing’. I know that’s not true about me AND it’s not a nice thing to say to anyone! // You just said I’m crazy. I know I’m not. Please don’t ever say that to me again. // I heard you tell me I’m stupid for not knowing _____. Why are putting me down?”
In dealing with Cs (narcissists) always throw the ball back in their court. Let them be responsible for their defense mechanisms – their unhealthy way of communicating. Do not take it on, & then feel bad about yourself !!
Exp: While at a party Tina started talking to a group of friends. One of the men asked her what she did & she told him she was a Healer. He started making fun of her & her profession, which Tina did not appreciate.
Instead of justifying her career choice, or getting angry & attacking him, she put her hand on his shoulder, looked him in the eye, & calmly said: “Why are you talking to me that way?”
He was stunned, & backed right up, barely knowing what to say – & then apologized!
KEEP IN MIND – when we do find ourselves being controlled, manipulated or taken advantage of, how well we handle the situation tells us a lot about our level of maturity & Recovery.
• Even when we’re stuck in a bad situation, getting nasty or throwing a tantrum usually makes things worse for us. If we let the WIC react, we’re being just like the C.
So – the more we come from an Adult Ego State the more likely we’ll get what we want AA Big Book Promise #11 – in Recovery:
“We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us”
• In most cases we do have choices, even though many of us still function from ‘learned helplessness’. When possible, try out some new options. EXPs:
🔆 Immediately end a conversations if it starts to get verbally violent or controlling – by physically leaving, or saying goodbye & hanging up
🔆 Do NOT return abusive or harassing texts!
🔆 End a call with any incompetent Customer Service person, & try again until you get someone who can help. We can always choose a different service provider, friend, bank, waiter, church, store…..
🔆 Privately smile or even laugh at the stupidity or ridiculousness of a C’s comments, rather than getting angry or hurt
🔆 Sometimes the only healthy option is to quit & find a job elsewhere, altho not always possible.
NOTE: With practice, gradually it gets easier to handle familiar controlling situations – some better than others – depending on the depth & size of each button we have.
Buttons are old wounds – things that hurt us over & over as kids, like being accused wrongly, being threatened with abandonment, being ignored, expected to be ‘up’ all the time, often told to shush….
The milder our re-actions to old wounds, the better we’ll feel about ourselves. However, some wounds will take a very long time to heal, while others will not.
In tough cases the goal is to recover our dignity as soon as possible. DO NOT give yourself a hard time when somethings still gets to you, even after many years of personal growth. That’s just being human!
NEXT : Responding #3