difficult child, early on, spent a lot of time telling me how we (his dad and I) ruined his life by sending him to a middle school he didn't want to go to, then back to the high school he did want to go to, because he lost all of his friends in that interim, and then that we were so strict in high school that he was scared to death all the time and thus...never had any fun. "So, now, I'm going to just have all the fun I can have." I could almost here the: so there! You bad mother. I'll show you.
I had no idea what he was even talking about.
Yes, we sent him to the middle school we felt was best. I actually wanted to send him to a private high school because I thought it would be better for him (the trouble was already beginning, although at a dull slow pace) but he raised so much heck we abandoned that notion very quickly.
In high school he played soccer all four years, had a car of his own, that we provided, from the time he was 16, very nice clothing, a great huge bedroom with its own bath, multiple video game systems, car insurance, dinner on the table every night, the ability to participate in all school activities. On and on. A great life. He also was required to work part-time and pay for his own gas and spending money, make good grades (there were consequences, like being grounded), had a curfew of midnight on weekends, had to go to church, had to be respectful and clean his room. We had reasonable rules and expectations.
But we were just horrible parents.
I realize now I sent him very clear messages that I would tolerate a lot from him. The more I tolerated, the more he acted out. I enabled him a lot. I kept thinking he would grow out of all of this bad behavior, and then the bad behavior became illegal behavior and he started getting caught by the authorities. It was out of my hands.
I was very naive. I had no experience with any of this. I couldn't believe the stories I would learn, little by little, over time, about things he had done. It was truly more than my mind could even comprehend. I was always reeling and reacting.
And things just kept getting worse. Looking back, I was a babe in the woods compared with him. I was his "patsy." Remember that old-fashioned word? He used all kinds of techniques with me, and they all worked.
He was super-powerful where I was concerned, and I was like a puppet on a string. I loved him so much and I couldn't imagine then---being where I am today in my own recovery from the disease of enabling.
But I didn't know what I didn't know.
Now, my son isn't a toxic bully with me. And one of the reasons is that I don't tolerate it anymore.
Like the man in the video said: You'll get what you put up with.
Yes my difficult child daughter definitely fits here as toxic bully. Thanks for posting the video. I was going great with over 4 years of no contact with difficult child - then I let my guard down and things were OK for a while as long as I did not bring up anything that offended her revised history. Then one day she directly asked me a question where the answer led to the situation where she stole all the money from me and rrriippp like pulling off a band-aide - off came the mask of being "changed" and "civil" and there was the face of the sociopath with all the toxic ugly bullying and so I am back again at No Contact where I plan on staying. If you can remember - this time it is her - she told me not to talk to her again until I apologize for saying she stole the money she DID steal from me. Well OK then, that ain't happening, so thank you dear for giving me a great excuse to go and remain no contact! So as the gentleman in the video says - if you put up with it - they will put you through it. As my situation shows, there is never any real change, only what mask they where changes.