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Old 10-05-2018, 08:18 PM   #1
Arbie
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Making a Mess Out of Margie: An Instruction Manual For Emotionally Abusive Family Members

(With apologies to anyone who happens to be named Margie. The name is hypothetical. The situation happens too often.)

1. Pay as little attention to Margie's feelings as possible. If you start listening to her, respecting her, or anything ridiculous like that, she might get the idea that she matters. You can't let her get too big for her britches. She is the low person on the family totem pole, and she must remain in that position so that you are always above her. Don't let her develop any self-esteem whatsoever. If she does, she'll try to climb out of the hole you keep digging her into. You must teach her that she belongs at the bottom of the heap. If possible train her to like it there. That way, she'll stay put.

2. Donít make put-downs too obvious, or people might sympathize with her. You want to be able to deny that you're trying to destroy her. Use subtle suggestion instead. Drop constant little hints. While laughing at a dim-witted, unlikeable character in a television show, be sure to say how much that character reminds you of Margie. When Margie inevitably takes offense, you can truthfully say you never called her stupid. It's all in her imagination.

3. Demand absolute perfection of Margie at all times. Pounce on her every slightest bobble. These things happen to everybody, but for goodness sake, don't tell her that! Laugh yourself silly while loudly calling attention to her mistake. Keep bringing it up any time you're sharing "Margie is such an airhead" stories. Bonus points if Margie is in the room as you talk about it. When it embarrasses her, tell her she takes life too seriously. She needs to learn to laugh at herself.

4. Question any fact Margie states. "Are you sure, honey? No, that can't be true. You must be mistaken." When she turns out to be correct, don't concede the point. Instead, get angry. Call her a know-it-all. Accuse her of always having to be right.

5. Ignore Margie's boundaries. When she asserts herself, make her feel selfish for even bringing it up. Deliberately forget what she asked for. Misunderstand. Miss the point. Come as close as possible to doing as she asked, without actually doing it. Then tell her she's being unreasonable when that doesn't satisfy her. Go to the opposite extreme to punish her for expressing herself. Be passive-aggressive. If she asks you to be quiet while she concentrates on what she's doing, continue to refuse to talk to her long after she's finished with it. Sarcastically remind her that she told you to be quiet.

6. Any time Margie does something well, don't let her feel good about herself. Cancel it out as soon as possible. Use words and phrases such as "miracle," "got lucky," "will wonders never cease," and "did something right for a change." Tell her that what she did well won't get her a husband. Remind her of all the things she isn't good at. Those things matter more in real life, and that's why nobody likes her.

Eventually it won't be necessary to undercut Margie. She'll do the job for you and put herself down. Your task now is to pretend you have no idea how she developed such a negative attitude. Express concern for her mental health. Always remember, Margie is the one with the problem.
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Please be warned that parts of it can be triggering if you are sensitive to descriptions of abuse. I'm not using anybody's real names, including my own.
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:52 PM   #2
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For people who cant seem to follow instructions in ordinary circumstances, how did they all learn THESE rules, down to the last drop, not missing a step?? Makes you wonder.
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:53 AM   #3
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So sad that a lot of people actually goes through this. I'm so sorry.
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:26 PM   #4
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I have some steps I'd like to add. I may think of others. And anybody who wants to can add more.

7. Remember the good old double standard. "Do as I say, not as I do." Never, ever, under any circumstances, allow Margie to behave toward you the same way you do toward her. If you're teasing her and she jokes back in the same manner, tell her that was disrespectful, and she'd better watch her tone. If she teases anyone else, no matter how mildly, immediately act shocked and outraged while telling her what a mean thing she just said. Remind her again that this is why nobody likes her.

8. Any time Margie has a conflict with another person, it doesn't matter who the other person is, or what happened. Whether it was another family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger, always defend the other person while ignoring Margie's point of view. Make excuses for why the other person can't help it. Find some way to blame Margie. Tell her maybe she took it wrong. Even if the other person was undeniably rude or cruel to Margie, you can always tell her we teach people how to treat us, and it's her fault for allowing it.

9. Create no-win situations. For example, use Margie as a free babysitter, but don't back her up when the children misbehave. Hold her responsible for whatever goes wrong, because she should have been watching them. If she corrects their misbehavior herself, remind her she's not their mother and has no right to do that. If she tells you what they did instead of correcting them herself, call her a tattletale. And don't give her the option of refusing to babysit. She has to.
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Please be warned that parts of it can be triggering if you are sensitive to descriptions of abuse. I'm not using anybody's real names, including my own.

Last edited by Arbie; 10-11-2018 at 07:43 PM..
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Old 10-11-2018, 08:17 PM   #5
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10. Fuss needlessly over Margie, much more than you do other family members. Keep a close eye on her. Don't allow her freedom or privileges that most other kids her age have. Constantly second-guess whether she's up to a challenge. Predict that she's going to fail, before she's even had a chance to try. Worry that she might get lost, or something bad might happen to her, if she walks home by herself. Don't worry the same way about her younger siblings when they're walking home by themselves. This will communicate to Margie that something is wrong with her. Then she won't leave you, because she'll think she's defective somehow, and needs you to look out for her.

11. Don't teach Margie life skills. Withhold information, then tell her she should have known because common sense should have told her. Let her younger siblings have lessons in music, driving, or whatever, but when Margie also wants lessons, make excuses. You don't have the time or the money. Importantly, be sure to use this against her later. When she isn't as good at those things as her siblings are, don't give her credit for anything she managed to learn on her own. Instead, point out how much more easily her younger siblings can do it, and cite her struggle as evidence that she is abnormal.

12. Yell at Margie any time she makes a wrong choice or does something incorrectly. Threaten to severely punish her. Then when she eventually stops acting on her own and waits to be told what to do, yell at her for not being able to think for herself. Complain to her, and loudly tell everyone else, that even at her age, you still have to tell her every move to make.
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Old 10-12-2018, 11:48 AM   #6
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Thank you for this. #11 really hits home for me. They had time/money for my little brother to do football, little league... when I asked if I could do something too, it was, "we can't afford it." So I'd feel bad for even asking.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:41 AM   #7
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(((Arbie))) Are you me? Its uncanny. "How to parent completely wrongly".

I would add, never apologize or admit you were wrong, but thats sooooo out of the ballpark its not even worth mentioning.
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Old 10-17-2018, 11:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unaluna View Post
(((Arbie))) Are you me? Its uncanny. "How to parent completely wrongly".

I would add, never apologize or admit you were wrong, but thats sooooo out of the ballpark its not even worth mentioning.
Oh, I think it's very much worth mentioning. Thank you, from one "Margie" to another.
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:37 AM   #9
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You write like a boss. I especially like the title.
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Old Today, 12:41 AM   #10
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hi Arbie, im Marge. thnks for your posts. theyre so validating.
shoutouts to all the Margies out there xoxoxoxx
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