Behaviors you do:
1. You often walk on eggshells around this person. When you live with a tyrant, you’re often taking their emotional temperature—looking for signs of upset or like they’re going to snap. While monitoring them, you’re also monitoring your behavior making sure you don’t do anything to ‘set them off”.
2. You frequently give into this person’s demands. You become very skilled at just going along to get along. Regardless of what you want, you often go with what they want—it’s simply not worth the fight.
3. You often silence your voice. If they’re upset about something, you’re more likely to listen and say very little—even if you disagree or they’ll totally wrong in their accusations. You’ve found that the best way to keep their anger short and controlled is to let it pass with very little push back.
4. You make excuses for this person’s behavior (I.e.: S/he had a hard day, s/he doesn’t mean to say those things). Whether they snap at the kids or at you, often you hear yourself saying things like, “Your father didn’t mean that” or “He’s a good man. He just had a hard upbringing.”
5. You only talk about things that you think this person would want to talk about. The tyrant seldom is a really good listener and more often than not seems annoyed by your talking. You have steadily shared less with the tyrant and more with friends and family. There’s no mutuality or joy in speaking with someone who isn’t interested in what you have to say.
Behaviors the tyrant does:
1. Frequently speaks harshly to others. They can bark orders at others, bitch about some happening at work or talk down to those around them (I.e.: “What are you a slob?” “Don’t you know how to do anything.” Etc.).
2. Blows up quickly and intimidates those around (although does not become physically violent). They can be calm one minute and then blow up the next yelling and screaming about what to you appears to be a minor issue. The witnesses to these blow-ups are anxiously watching while they feel their hearts beating out of their chests. When the tyrant is told they are scary—the tyrant dismisses the fear saying, “I’ve never hit you or the children—that’s ridiculous you’re afraid. You’re just saying that.”
3. Snaps at the children and you for behaviors s/he doesn’t like. A great deal of the tyrants interactions with children are around snapping orders, harsh discipline, calling them names or shaming them in some way. Tyrants frequently break a child’s spirit and sense of self worth.
4. Rarely apologizes or even acknowledges their behavior. Tyrants often lack remorse or even awareness of their behaviors. There is no need to apologize because they seldom feel they do anything wrong. If anyone does dare to call tyrants out on their actions, more often than not, they become highly defensive.
5. Blames their anger and upset on others for “making them mad”. Tyrants often feel justified in their behaviors. If the children are afraid of them, the tyrant believes children should be afraid of parents. If a family member is upset at the tyrant’s behavior, the tyrant will turn the blame around on the person and say they got angry because of something that person did. If people would stop “making” the tyrant mad, then the Tyrant believes s/he wouldn’t have to yell.
If you’re living with a tyrant then you know how incredibly difficult that can be. They bully those around them constantly and have little to no remorse about doing it. Tyrants can be grumpy, mean, selfish, scary and entitled all at the same time. Many people living with a tyrant end up shrinking in order to keep the peace and avoid the tyrant’s wrath. Consequently, they end up losing themselves, being unhappy in their lives and feeling stuck and hopeless about change.
Don’t lose yourself. There are steps you can take to get out from under the misery of living with a tyrant.
Challenge: Stay tuned next week to learn some of the steps you can take when living with a tyrant…or sign up for my Grounded Powerful Strength teleclass (starts Tuesday Sept. 8) for a more detailed understanding of how to get back yourself and control of your life.