When Families Attack

When Families Attack

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00:01
[Music] hey hi everyone my name is jerry wise and i'm a life and relationship coach and i've been helping people for over 45 years now i've seen all kinds of families and even families many families like i'm going to talk about on this video the video is entitled when families attack and i want to bring some common sense maybe some calmness and maybe some
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direction to this particular topic there are many of you out there who have had families who are attacking whether in groups whether individuals but many times and again a scapegoat is often an attacking family um i hope that you'll subscribe like comment and join and support this youtube channel these videos i provide free for people if you'd like to go to my website which
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is listed below there's a donation button i'd certainly appreciate anyone who's willing to give whatever amount to help keep free videos coming they do take time energy effort etc um if you would like to join and become a member of the youtube channel you may need to go to your browser to sign up and not just on your phone or on your phone use your browser don't just use the phone app i first want to say that
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if you are someone who experiences an attacking family and i'm going to talk about what an attacking family is i suppose some of you can somewhat surmise what that might be you're not alone there are many people who experience that and in fact it is more frequent than we actually want to believe i think it happens uh very often it can be quite painful for years
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uh even for a whole lifetime i've talked to people in their 70s you know or whatever and they've talked about how their family has been attacking them since childhood i want to also mention denial denial is one of the biggest hurdles and i'm going to talk about some of the symptoms of attacking family because denial is a big issue for healing when there are families who attack and i mean emotionally attack and in many other ways
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secondly after saying how serious it is i also want to say it's not as serious as we think i'm not minimizing anyone's pain my own or anyone's pain with a very attacking family but the problem is our over seriousness or our seriousness about it may keep us in a state of enmeshment or equilibrium with the attacking family and so that's a part of the struggle of
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being the one who's being attacked uh it becomes so serious that we cannot maneuver out of it and so uh working on that seriousness can be very important and i'll talk about that a little later we often get caught up in the keep trying harder loop which gets us nowhere well if my family's attacking me i'll try to bake more cookies for them i'll try to be nicer to them i'll try to attend more things i'll try to
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uh not yell back i'll try not to you know misstep or overstep and then we're always trying harder but it doesn't tend that type of trying because trying harder within a system only keeps the system in its status quo it doesn't change it and it doesn't change our functioning they attack i try harder they attack i tried harder try harder because we're
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wanting them to change so we won't be attacked but trying harder is not the approach and i'll talk about that today too and the bottom line and i have been preaching this for ever since i became a marriage and family therapist years ago the bottom line is you can live without your family it is very difficult to live without inner peace now i'm not suggesting lightly
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throwing families away i i'm not but i'd also don't want to deify families either to neither deify them nor demonize them or throw them away lightly so i want to share that with people because sometimes people will talk about oh well my family is and by the way i may not be talking about your family there's a whole continuum of families a whole line from from attackers who are annoying
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annoying annoying all the way to attacking families who produce physical harm to family members so or financial destruction things like that so there's a whole continuum i'm going to be talking about kind of the middle today so if you fall on either end please bear with me i think some of the things i'll say are still helpful but it's hard to talk to everyone's family situation on a video and i do the best i can to kind of make
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it generic and then i encourage people to get into therapy get into coaching contact us for help and then we'll help you with your specific family and what things you can do so let me also say that i work with many many clients who have had and experienced attacking families from saudi arabia to california to
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you know what's the british columbia to miami to mexico to australia to families are families all over the world they are made up of people i realize customs can be different i realize traditions can be different i realize even religion can be different but families are still humans and bowen family systems bowen's natural family systems approach i think really applies to all families
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even if you dress differently think differently we're still uh a part of this creation and a part of this universe and um and a part of the world and so we're going to function in a certain way uh we are human but we're also an animal or a mammal and and so there are some similar things that go on inside our brain wherever you're located this video is not intended to replace
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professional help when dealing with families who are physically harmful or financially devastating you may need a therapist you may need a coach you may need an attorney you may need you know there may be specific support that you want to get for those kind of difficult situations and i've worked with families who've had all those struggles and problems and clients who are facing all of those difficulties certainly get professional help when dealing with seriously toxic families these notions are best used with a
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health being professional there are many uh which i believe are also just common sense and so i probably will present common sense things as well attacking families is often emotionally spiritually psychologically financially devastating and traumatizing and again i don't mean to make light of it we'll talk about making it not so serious later
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but i understand it's seriousness and its traumatic effect families who attack use many forms of maltreatment as you can well imagine manipulating labeling i always like labeling uh that kind of a little went along with my family labeling is very painful and and difficult rejecting uh refusal to show affection
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isolating terrorizing or or maintaining a climate of fear or threat ignoring corrupting i remember one client whose father brought him into a criminal enterprise when he was a late teenager like 18 19 or whatever and again corrupting his own son um and his son was fortunately able to avoid prison but did have consequences
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because he was involved with his father and and wanted his father's approval and acceptance and dad's going hey let's do this horrible financial situation there's also hitting or physical maltreatment spiritual abuse i hear this often well you're gonna go to hell if you don't believe the way we do god won't love you if you don't go to our church with us no one will accept you if you marry that muslim sikh jew
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catholic protestant our family will never accept you or your marriage which again is a part of that spiritual abuse um and it's not the love that often uh the religion preaches uh or teaches but it's it's the abuse the laws the rules and you are on the outside of them and so they will use spiritual means to control you and guilt and shame there's also maltreatment by attacking
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families in financial maltreatment lawsuits cps child protection services or whatever you call it in your area using you know utilizing the criminal system the family social service system to attack there's scapegoating as i have a couple two three videos on scapegoating on my channel scapegoating someone i think is when the family attacks there's controlling
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controlling can be very very painful difficult uh and maddening there's infantilizing and again uh bullying and possessiveness which is you're still my child i own you um and you need to do what i say i'm the parent even though we're adults and if you don't do what i say then you're going to hurt your mother you're going she's going to feel bad uh i'm
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going to reject you and again that's that infantilizing and possessiveness and bullying uh our parents don't own us they've actually never owned us parents are not supposed to own children parents are responsible to raise love and nurture and educate children and keep them safe not own them we're not anyone's possession um there's also the maltreatment of lying
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and triangulating against you again getting others on board to be negative towards you or what i also call the cabal getting the cabal of a group of people or all the siblings against one sibling or mom and dad and the four siblings against this one sibling that's a big cabal um then there's also when families attack you know withholding children or grandchildren using children as a weapon
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or as a negotiating tool you know it's it's very very ugly at times and of course there are many other ways as well i can't go into all of them today but i want to at least share if we're in that kind of situation where some of these things are happening and really can even be one of the things you've got kind of an attacking family because that's not an accepting loving mature family it means you know boundaries are crossed
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or we don't have any boundaries at all and it really is upsetting and can cause our inner peace to evaporate and maybe we've never truly had our inner peace because we grew up in this family why do families attack and i and i asked that my workshops and you know i go why why do why are families you know treating you badly families attack
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to expel something from the family the attack is the symptom or the challenge not the problem families attack to expel anger and pain that they cannot handle and that's why i do try to help people understand that families attacking it's not about you it is about the family not able to handle their anger and pain
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which they've never been able to deal with and so i think now it doesn't mean it's not focused at you it can be painful i understand that but it's not about you not only do families attack to expel anger and pain uh and there are some other reasons why they can attack too if you have some mentally ill family members if you have personality disorders but even then you're talking about anger
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and pain and brokenness that's never been dealt with so it gets expressed through the family attack families attack to maintain the family's super self or oneself or family self it's this overarching self that we're all supposed to partake of and actually there's a healthy explanation you know when you're an infant you don't have a self when you're an infant you we haven't developed that far
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so uh you know the you know the and some even say the only self they have is either uh the breast or you know if they're infants there's there's no other there's no sense of eyeness at that point and so their whole world is about mom or dad or that's their whole world and they don't have a sense of self a family super self and that's a healthy
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phase to not have a self as we're growing into becoming self a family super self is a unified self that everyone partakes of because the real self is not allowed and so it is not i am me in the family it is i am us i am we and emotionally we function that way
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and then if we get attacked or if the system expels this anger and pain out to different members then again where it's can be very difficult because it's the only self i've got it's the only self i'm connected to and it can be very difficult for us as adults families attack to use power to deal with their weakness and failings and their psychological and emotional issues
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and i work with narcissistic families children of narcissists and commonly again the narcissists will attack to continue to keep that super self of maintaining their supply they're empty inside attacking gives them something and that can be very painful families attack as a continuous
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extension of previous generational trauma you're being attacked today by your family probably has five generations of history to it i know that sounds for some people that may sound oh that that's crazy jerry what are you talking about well if we had movies of your parents their parents your parents parents parents etc etc you know five generations we might find
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the origins of this type of pain hurt anger and getting expressed in attacking ways also families who attack act cult-like and gang-like and cabal-like when they haven't experienced a real healthy family and oftentimes they haven't experienced that real healthy family they don't know what that is or if they do they can't maintain it
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because there's still again so many systems feelings and if you want to watch a video i have on systems feelings i have several videos on systems feelings there's so many feelings in the system that they can't maintain a good healthy uh for very long or because there's just too much pressure to get them back into the rut and back into the the um
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you know the road to hoe and we keep in that row and it's hard to get out of that row i come from indiana so i think of cornrows and rural kinds of sorry for those of you in urban areas but rural kind of things um let me give you a couple examples of attacking families and and these are all real they are all true but i've changed many of the details uh so that you would not know who i'm
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talking about or be able to identify them bob's family was very wealthy and very toxic narcissistic parents he was the third of four children he experienced maltreatment physically scapegoating ignoring shaming and and a miserable childhood i mean miserable they had everything but happiness
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you know they had everything but a good family and a loving family as an adult he experienced ignoring manipulation threats of unfair inheritance financially and put downs of his wife and kids and in fact put downs of every decision he would make that was the norm eventually bob decided to go no contact at the age of 65
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and he has found a great deal of relief less stress and he feels more able to fulfill his own purpose and not always be caught up emotionally with his family's unhealthy drama and again his coming out of denial was taken not not that he had denial about dad was awful he always kind of knew that but again just pulling it all together
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and having the veil pulled away and and the scales falling off your eyes so you can actually see what what's going on in the family and how they function with me and how i function with them let me talk about judy's family uh judy is a nurse she grew up with a narcissistic mom she was the youngest of five children she endured put downs verbal shaming toxicity toxic religious beliefs in the
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family uh she should never she could never please her mother uh the siblings would attack her and her choices her beliefs and any move she might make to be herself or to be a self the siblings all had a cabal of the siblings where they all kind of clumped together and would exclude judy and very painfully into their adulthood and they just could not get along but
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would always blame judy and never look at their own behavior one of judy's sisters when she was young when judy was young one of her sisters because all of her sisters were older lost a child and that was traumatic and it certainly would be but from then on that sister was the focus of everyone's concern tiptoeing around her feelings the youngest child judy
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had to always defer to the older sister who had lost the child and basically the sister who lost the child got infantilized for years you know poor poor mary oh mary well this is you know four or five years later you know poor mary and just infantilize of which that keeps you it can keep you in an unhealthy grief position and also there's too much emphasis in which it doesn't allow us
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to grow up and deal with our own challenges and problems mary's not the only one to have lost a child many people have it would be a horrible thing to have happen but we also want to move on with our lives and we need to move on with our lives it doesn't mean we can go back before the child was lost i you know and we'll never forget it but our job is to live life even with
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whatever comes [Music] so judy then later on in her life when she was having some problems maritally job-wise relationship-wise church-wise interpersonal relationship-wise judy began to become more self-aware and more self-defined and more self-regulated actually becoming more self-differentiated
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now judy has become and has a more positive relationship with her siblings she's able to stay calmer around her siblings she's able to address problems that she doesn't like or has not not thought kind and to address those her narcissistic mother has passed away her siblings have been able to convide confide in her more and have begun to challenge their
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beliefs about their growing up due to judy's growth and maturity she stayed connected with her siblings she could have gone non-contact with everyone but she stayed connected with her siblings those were her values and was able to maintain more of a sense of self in a calm non-anxious presence which also tends to open up other people's thinking and emotional functioning if we can do that
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um she has utilized good boundaries uh while accepting her siblings who lived under a unfunctional alcoholic father and a narcissistic mother this has calmed down the family's anxiety and a couple of sisters having even entered therapy so there is hope for some families if we can get ourselves under control uh but judy didn't choose to get herself
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under control to change her family she got herself under control her anxiety her beliefs her sense of self more in order and growing up and mature maturing for herself not to change the family if we do that there's a greater chance it can affect and change a system lastly let me talk about sarah's family sarah is a physician who grew up with a mom a professor and a dad who's an attorney
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both are narcissistic sociopaths they would help sarah when she needed their help with an eye to financial gain as a result they would rage at her accuse her lie to her and have even stolen money from her now they've lied to the irs and their accountants about the intertwined financial dealings with their daughter sarah who's now 50 years old now her parents are still trying to take advantage of her and sarah's and and her
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money that they have squandered sarah for all the misunderstandings all the lies uh while pleading they were only trying to help her in the past years gaslighting and and all of those things a very painful attacking by family in other words you do what we say or we will unleash all these negative things on you sarah has now engaged an attorney to sort out the enmeshed family financial
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dealings and she may be stuck with a large tax tax bill who knows because of their mismanagement of her assets and that her taking and them taking money she has been doing much more self-care she has become more realistic realistic about the lack of love and empathy her parents have always shown and again part of that's coming out of denial that you know my parents really haven't been loving and they haven't
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shown empathy huh you know what should i do it what does that mean she is moving towards no contact with them but with enmeshed families this can be a hard process and an emotional process that is very upsetting or difficult so it's not easy to do that and and many times when i see comments on my youtubes some people say oh well just go no contact and let those crazy people go well you may have gotten to that place
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they may not be at that place and they may have lots of different struggles financial intertwining dealings you know i've got one man you know if he just lets his family go does he let the 62 million go and then just live free or does he see if there's somewhere in between he can for inheritance somewhere he can deal with that and have less problems and interaction with his family while also not losing financially so not that money is worth you know
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money is not worth me being miserable inside i'm not saying that but i'm just saying the circumstances vary with different with people and so let's just be empathetic to other people who are still struggling in their families sarah is becoming much less entangled with them taking some losses just to be free from them and as i have mentioned families can attack in many ways what can we do to deal with our functioning
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being challenged by an attacking family first of all we want to remember that we're the glue that holds together the attacking family and the cabal you know the the gang the cult we're the glue that holds it together because if you focus on someone outside if you triangulate on someone the scapegoat or the then we all can feel glued together and close and oh you know how she is you know how he is and they
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all you know have an enmeshed or uh an attached they are attached due to that attack and due to the attacking process uh and so we're the focus so if we're the focus and if we're the glue i want to melt as much of that glue as i possibly can so i want to maybe take a gray rock approach a technique that involves avoiding
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interaction with a maltreating person someone who treats me with maltreatment keeping unavoidable interactions brief giving short or one-word answers to questions communicating in a factual unemotional way matter-of-fact way so going gray rock can be a help to that so that there's so we're not providing them extra information to be able to help their glue stay together
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because again we're that glue and again we're the focus we don't want to engage very much it only strengthens their glue and so we want to interact minimally and we want to starve them of information if if a family is attacking remember it is a focus on you but not about you i know it's so hard to imagine that because it seems so personal families who attack are expelling anger
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pain um to maintain the family's equilibrium because it must go somewhere you know i'm sorry you got chosen in the family system uh that probably has to do with about five generations as i've mentioned and there's a good book oh my gosh what i can't remember though oh there's a good book about thinking back many generations to the core of how these family things are happening
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right now and i'll put that in the description for this video don't uh triangulate with the cabal or members unless there's an opening or someone starts to see the light but proceed very cautiously i would use these six steps one admit you're being attacked not simply annoyed
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or accepting the attacking anymore we have many denial statements about attacking families well that's how they are well they don't really mean it you know they've they've always been this way we'll tell ourselves they are my family they're not trying to hurt me they're just mad or moody and we say that time and time and time again
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and it keeps us in our denial of what's really happening secondly understand your denial and why you have it and where you started learning it when did your denial begin understanding our denial also focuses on our fears low self-esteem emotional dependence on the attacking family financial dependence on the attacking family
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why are we why do we stay in denial fearful that we'll have to let go of our fantasies about having a wonderful hallmark family it's not going to happen thirdly understand your functioning and work on completing your unfinished business and issues which are at work inside you these issues that we have inside uh
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yearning for parents who will love us not caring for ourselves and being overly critical of ourselves those kinds of issues will keep us bound to this attacking family i do like the book inner bonding and i would recommend that by margaret paul i i think you might find that helpful because we don't want to be bound by those issues it will only keep us bound and connected to the attacking family
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fourthly confront or alert your family of your new awareness and pain if possible not always is that possible not always is it advised not you may want to get some help as to whether you do that but you can advise them i am unhappy with being criticized so often i'm putting the family on notice that i am unhappy with being criticized so often i don't like the questions about my
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personal life i will share with you things about me on my timetable when i come over i do not want to hear about mary karen bob steve you know my career my relationships my looks etc etc i have been unhappy about this for a long time you can also say and this is not the kind of relationship i want to have
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with my family and if you want a different relationship i'm open if you don't then we may be drifting apart fifthly pay attention to your personal true feelings and to your system's feelings you can learn more about those take a look at the video called true systems versus systems feelings i made a video and that might help you to
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so you can kind of gear is this how i'm really feeling or is this how i'm supposed to be feeling and see that's the difference one is how i'm really feeling systems feelings are how i'm supposed to be feeling maybe i'm supposed to feel guilt when really you're not really feeling guilty about this you know i i don't feel guilty about anything i just did but or i don't feel there's really any need for any guilt but i feel guilty that's systems guilt versus true guilt
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um sixthly six take your power back learning to say no great book when i say no i feel guilty by manuel smith setting boundaries enforcing boundaries explore no contact if necessary or even a very low contact you can say i will no longer allow you to criticize and correct me
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i am no longer a child and i don't expect to be treated like one learn to say please stop you must stop stop or i will leave you heard the intensity of those three it's okay if they'll stop if i say please stop i'll interrupt people if they're being attacking i will just interrupt them and say please stop you know and if they're not going to
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stop then i'm going to exit be sure to be a mirror and not a sponge the ross rosenberg you know observe don't absorb be a mirror not a sponge in other words i'm going to mirror back to you what i see you doing i'm not going to absorb the feelings because of what you're doing and these are things that i teach in my sessions with clients
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uh maybe even you know you know i don't like how you are acting towards me when you continue to put my wife down and that i'm a bad husband versus well i guess they're right about me and that's what they say or i need to take in their anger or criticism and change my behavior or attitude one is mirroring one is absorbing or being a sponge and then of course we want to stop
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trying harder and harder and harder and work on letting go and detachment life is short i hope you'll subscribe to the channel you'll join like and comment if you want to make a donation on my website i'd certainly appreciate that i want to thank you all for joining me today have a great day and be wise [Music]
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