Unveiling Family Cut Offs: Navigating Change and Control, Part 1, with Lesley Corbett

Which Article is Right for You?

Two Types of Cut Offs: When you need to cut a person off & when you have been unfairly cut off

The topic of family cut offs is layered with many scenarios. On one hand there are “cut offs” where going “no contact” is warranted due to a variety of abuses that are chronic and that the only way to live freely and keep your sanity is to remove the unhealthy person from your midst. Another type of cut off is when someone cuts you out of their life due to their own unhealthy conflict style causing you great pain and anguish. Within these two different facets of family cuts offs there exists a vast array of further dynamics that need to be explored. Due to the complexity within family dynamic cut offs this series will be divided into four parts. Part 1 and Part 2 cover when you have been unfairly cut out of a family member (or members) life and Part 3 and Part 4 will cover the complexities for when it is necessary to cut an unhealthy person from your life.

Feel free to begin reading in Part 1 if you are experiencing an unfair cut off or conversely start reading at Part 3 if you are grappling with cutting someone from your life. Please note that because this series is extremely complex these articles will be continually updated and edited towards a comprehensive book on the subject. So if you do see some fragmented sentences etc just wait a moment as I am working on the articles and an update is coming within minutes. In the meantime I hope this information supports you on your journey towards living a life free to run your race with grace, dignity, compassion and respect for yourself and others.

Article 1

When Family Dynamics Shift: When You’ve Been Cut Off – The Power Play of “Cut Offs”

Within the intricate tapestry of family dynamics, there exists a concept that casts a long shadow – “cut offs.” This phenomenon, often shrouded in pain and confusion, can have a profound impact on those who find themselves on the receiving end. In this article, we embark on a journey to unravel the enigma of experiencing a family cut off and the deep scars they leave on the person who has been cut off.

So you have been cut off. You are searching for answers. Confusion, pain and deep emotional suffering are now part of your story. This current suffering may bring back memories of past traumatic events that you thought were long healed. You feel that this trauma is compounding with the past making the load difficult to bear. On the other hand maybe this current trauma of being cut off does not put you in touch with past traumas. Maybe you’ve never experienced trauma at all and these emotions, fears and experiences are all new and extremely difficult to navigate. I’m here to let you know that what you are experiencing is a traumatic event and that whether or not you have experienced trauma in your past this event carries the weight of significant trauma in the present. Don’t let anyone or yourself convince you that your response to this trauma is due to your past, your perception or that you deserved it. This trauma is complex (as it will be ongoing for some time). In this article I will be writing about dynamics of being cut off due to the unhealthy coping and conflict style of the person who has cut you off. This might be hard for you to believe right now as you may be blaming yourself. So throughout this article I will provide the proverbial litmus test, the reality check with questions you can ask yourself about what role or responsibility you own, if at all, in this painful scenario.

The first piece discussed in this scenario notes the being cut off for doing something healthy in your life, for example leaving a toxic relationship, losing weight, getting that dream job, or just making positive change for yourself in some capacity. Further along I will address more specifically, being cut off from someone you love due to the smear campaign of a narcissistic person who has infiltrated your loved one’s head space. The narcissist can be anyone, but often when it comes to being cut off from your children the perpetrator is the ex partner. Regardless of the person who has aided in your being cut out we are going to back up and look at this from a bird’s eye view.

The Family System: A Delicate Balance

Each family has its way of doing things. Think of a family system like a large mobile, like the kind we used to hang over our baby’s crib. Each piece of the mobile hung still when it wasn’t touched, but once touched it would flip around until it settled in to stillness once again.

Within any family system each member holds a specific place and weight. When everyone stays in their place, the mobile remains stable. Predictability and comfort come from this stability, as it helps family members understand what’s expected of them. Everyone knows their role, and this brings a sense of order and security.

This return to stability is true even when there are significant dysfunctional aspects to the mobile. For example, if one of the parent’s is an alcoholic the mobile will flit and flutter about during any unsettling event and then eventually calm down and return to it’s “normal” once the alcoholic’s rage (storm) has passed. Everyone settles back into their place. Even though a negative aspect of the mobile may cause disruption it will eventually settle back down to stillness. This causes a sort of predictability. People desire a certain level of predictability in knowing the mobile will settle eventually.

On the other hand healthier families have a mobile as well, and the same as any family when something happens to one or more of the members the mobile does become disrupted. The mobile does eventually settle as well. The difference between the unhealthy family mobile and the healthier family mobile is that the healthier family mobile does not take as long to settle and is not disrupted as often. It is the repeated unpredictability of when the mobile will become unsettled, and how often the unsettling occurs is what creates uncertainty and unremitting stress. Uncertainty + Unremitting stress + Anxiety. The overall point here is that all families have a mobile and what all family members desire within the system (whether good or not so good) is that eventually the mobile will settle.

The Challenge of Change

It appears problems do arise when change enters the equation. Change disrupts the mobile, shaking its stability, and for some family members, this can be nothing short of a crisis. Various changes can impact the family dynamic, including divorce, remarriage, the arrival of stepchildren, the birth of new babies, death, chronic illness, relocation, disability, mental health issues, financial crises, and external factors, as well as, such things as Covid-19 restrictions. As mentioned above not only do negative changes create distress within family systems, but positive changes may stir up turmoil as well.

Consider a family dealing with addiction. The addict often becomes the focal point of blame, shame, and outrage. However, when the addict seeks help and begins to make significant changes, the family system experiences disruption. Other family members may inadvertently sabotage the recovery when the chaotic atmosphere they’ve grown accustomed to starts to fade and new unfamiliar dynamics emerge. Dysfunctional families may prefer predictability even if it means maintaining a state of ongoing chaos.

Cut Offs: The Quest for Control

How does this connect to family members cutting off a loved one from their life? In the case of someone cutting you out of their life when you have made steps to take better care of yourself the uprising against this change is a member (s) attempt at “control” as they are feeling unsettled and out of control. Some people cut you off when you are doing good things for your life as they were in a somewhat comfortable position before you made this change. Prior to you changing they could predict how you might respond to their needs (which include financial, emotional, and physical etc.)  When someone decides to cut you off in this scenario it is typically an attempt to gain control over the changing family dynamic. It might be in response to changes you’ve made in your life, that is, changes that have shifted the balance of the mobile. Maybe you’ve become healthier, stopped being a people-pleaser, or refused to conform to the image others have crafted for you. Perhaps you’ve ceased responding to manipulation through guilt or walked away from an unhealthy relationship that was slowly eroding your well-being.

Not all change is bad, but all change brings about, well, change. When you take steps to improve your life, it inevitably impacts those within your family system. Some family members may have preferred the predictable and self-sacrificing version of you. While there is a time for self-sacrifice, like when raising children, once they’ve grown, it is time to consider how you want to spend the remaining years of your life. Transformative change affect everyone in the family mobile, and while some may support you, not all will. So if you are making positive changes in your life try to have a heart to heart talk with those you love. Reassure them you are the same only better. Those who support you will remain, but rest assured there are many who may cut you out of their life.

True Love and Selfishness

True love supports, cares, and desires the best for you. It recognizes your individuality and the gifts you bring to the world. People who are not championing your wellness have serious issues of their own. What would make a person not support you in what is legitimately good for you?

In any “cut off” scenario there is a significant element of “unhealth” that is not being addressed. When someone cuts you out of their life due to your growth or positive change this is a red flag. When someone you love doesn’t exhibit the skill set to self reflect upon their own feelings or shortcomings they may turn the tables essentially pointing all of those uncomfortable feelings onto you. They do not know how to resolve difficult feelings and perceptions. Instead of talking to you about their fears they might withdraw. A sample of some difficult emotions that need to be processed are: jealousy, fear, uncertainty about their place in your life, fear of sharing your affections with someone else, anger because you’ve changed, and ultimately hostility as they prefer to blame you than resolve their own inner conflict. Not being emotionally mature or relationally vulnerable will sometimes make it easier for people to take the easy way out and that is to cut you out of their life. Many times people will blame first and never really own what they are running from internally, as they send you out the door. One devastated parent said to me, “They basically told me in not so many words, but to go ‘X*&^%’ myself.”

Have you ever asked a child a pointed question and they just froze? You knew they were afraid and you knew you had to settle them down so you could get to the bottom of what had happened. So you gently help them come to share what is bothering them. Eventually the child grows up and with practice they are able to process their feelings and relay their feelings in respectful ways to others all the while not creating a breech in the relationship.

On the other hand, loved ones who kick you out of their life for no good reason are similar to the example of the frozen child. It is though they are stuck and frozen, as they do not possess many options in their tool kit to solve their problem(s). They don’t know what else to do with all of their confusing feelings so they kick you out of their life. Had they had the capacity to reflect upon their own feelings, perceptions and ultimately were able to express those thoughts and feelings to you in a respectful way, there is a high likelihood you both could have resolved this long ago. Cutting you off is a cop out. They are afraid to look at themselves. Unfortunately they become increasingly stagnated in their ability to problem solve within relationships as they tend to use “cut offs” to solve most relational problems throughout their life. This is typically a pattern with some people, and is extremely concerning, that is, using “cut offs” to solve their problems as this strategy doesn’t solve their problems at all.

So where do people learn to “cut off” as a means to solve problems. Typically they learn it from other family members and influences. It is by our own family members that we learn how to resolve conflict and interact socially in the world. If you have been cut off unfairly and with such callousness you just have to ask yourself is this a pattern in the family? What people do not transform they transmit to the next generation. That is why self reflection is an important part of personal growth and development.

In conclusion, family cut offs when you are changing for the better are often an attempt to regain control over a changing family dynamic. They can be triggered by personal growth and self-improvement in a specific family member, which, although positive for one individual can disrupt the equilibrium of the entire family system. It is essential to remember that your journey towards a better life is valid and love ought to support your pursuit of wellness. The best course of action for you is to stay the course. You matter, you deserve healthy love and devotion. It hurts to be cut away from a person whom you love.

Knowing why you’ve been cut off is only one aspect to this series. Later in this series I will discuss what you can do to mitigate the damage to your heart and soul. In essence you will learn how you can recover your life from this tragedy. Life won’t be what you once had dreamed of so the future will look different. You have the opportunity to engage in a new redirected dream around the bend.  Stay tuned for the heading, “My New Dream” in this series.

In the next article, Part 2 I will discuss those who have been cut off from a family due to a narcissist manipulating those you love.

Certainly there are many dynamics at play when being cut off from a family member or your family in general. Reach out to george@waypointcoaching.ca or lesley@waypointcoaching.ca and let’s get you on the road to your own recovery and healing. The pain of a family cut off is real and it is deep. The grief is profound, but you can heal. Reach out to find a way forward.

Until next time,



Breaking the Silence: Unmasking Sibling Abuse and Finding a Path to Healing

Breaking the Silence: Unmasking Sibling Abuse and Finding a Path to Healing with Expert Guidance from George and Lesley Corbett

Behind closed doors, where family secrets hide and childhood memories turn to nightmares, an insidious torment often festers that is, sibling abuse. These are the stories we seldom hear, the scars we cannot see, and the victims who suffer in silence. In this article, guided by the expertise of George and Lesley Corbett, distinguished professionals in the coaching field and educational psychology, we’ll shine a spotlight on this shadowy world. We’ll explore the harrowing reality of sibling abuse, delve into its hidden forms, and reveal the enduring scars it leaves. More importantly, we’ll uncover the path to healing and recovery for those trapped in this darkness.

Sibling Abuse: A Hidden Horror

Sibling abuse isn’t just a footnote in the annals of family dynamics; it’s a silent epidemic that thrives behind closed doors. Startlingly, research suggests that sibling violence is even more prevalent than spousal or parental abuse. Yet, it remains shrouded in silence, overshadowed by misconceptions about the sacredness of sibling bonds.

The Role of the Narcissistic Parent

One often-overlooked aspect of sibling abuse is the role played by the narcissistic parent. This toxic dynamic can fan the flames of conflict between siblings, as the narcissistic parent may manipulate and favor one child over the other. They may use one sibling as a pawn, sowing seeds of jealousy and resentment within the family unit. This not only perpetuates the cycle of abuse but also leaves the abused sibling feeling isolated, invalidated, and powerless.

Unveiling the Darkness: Recognizing the Forms of Sibling Abuse

Sibling abuse operates in the shadows, making it all the more insidious. It’s vital to recognize the subtle signs, for they hold the key to unlocking the torment:

Physical Aggression: Sibling violence, from punches to using everyday objects as weapons, inflicts both visible and hidden wounds, leaving scars that persist.

Verbal and Emotional Torture: Relentless insults, belittling, and emotional manipulation corrode self-esteem and mental well-being, leaving victims emotionally scarred.

Social Isolation: Some siblings employ tactics to isolate their victims from friends and family, turning their own homes into prisons of fear and despair.

Neglect: The silent suffering of neglect, where care, affection, and attention are withheld, is often one of the cruelest forms of sibling abuse, especially when one sibling is entrusted with the care of another.

The Abusive Sibling: A Narcissist in the Making

It’s crucial to recognize that the abusive sibling may be on a path toward narcissism themselves. The unchecked power and entitlement they experience within the family unit can cultivate narcissistic traits, such as a lack of empathy, a hunger for control, and a desire for dominance. This not only harms the victim but sets the stage for future abusive behavior in their adult relationships.

Real client examples of sibling abuse:

I had a client who was assaulted at 9 years old with by her abusive older sister by having a coat hanger shoved into her eye resulting in a emergency room hospital stay. Another was beaten by her teenage older sibling using a curling iron for not agreeing to loan her brand new pants. Another sibling was repeatedly kicked in the stomach while seated by her standing angry raging narcissistic sister for wanting to keep her paper letter from a friend private. There is no end to the horror stories we hear in our office about the violence and cruelty perpetuated against people at the hand of a sibling. Typically the root cause is the same story, however, power, control, and dominance are the order of the day for these abusive narcissists in the making.

The Enduring Impact: A Lifetime Scarred

Sibling abuse casts a long, dark shadow, inflicting deep emotional scars that persist:

Emotional Trauma: Victims grapple with anxiety, depression, and crippling self-doubt, their self-esteem shattered.

Shattered Relationships: The trauma severs not only sibling bonds but also impairs the victim’s ability to form healthy connections with others, allowing themselves to tolerate abusive relationships in the future.

Identity in Tatters: Victims are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered identity, struggling to forge a sense of self amid the chaos, unless they break free from the abuser.

The Heartache of Invalidation

Perhaps one of the most agonizing aspects of coping with sibling abuse is the heartache of not being believed by friends and family. The victim’s cries for help often fall on deaf ears, intensifying the torment:

Not Believed by Loved Ones: When victims muster the courage to disclose their abuse, they are met with disbelief, denial, and betrayal from those they trust most. Typically the abuse they suffer is minimized and they are told that it wasn’t that bad. I had one client tell me that their friend said they wanted to stage an intervention so they would make up with their abusive sister. This is just one example of the ridiculous responses that are offered to victims of sibling abuse out there.

Isolation and Loneliness: This crushing lack of validation forces victims into desolate solitude, convinced that no one comprehends their anguish.

Self-Blame: The invalidated are burdened with guilt and self-doubt, internalizing the belief that they are somehow responsible for their torment.

The Cycle of Abuse

Sadly, the torment doesn’t always end at childhood. Without intervention and healing, the abusive sibling can go on to perpetuate the cycle of abuse throughout their victim’s adult life. The abuse typically evolves more solidly into the social and emotional realm in adulthood. Some examples include; efforts to minimize the accomplishments of the abused sibling to friends and family, destroying the abused person’s relationships with his/her friends, children and even grandchildren. Another huge abuse in adulthood is seeking, controlling and ultimately stealing the family inheritance. Most of the tactics these abusive adult siblings use are through manipulating people within their target’s circle with half truths, horrible spins on portions of the truth, and crying out that they were in fact the victim. It is common for the abusive sibling to de-throne the abused person out of their own life. For example, I know an abusive adult sibling who has interloped at her brother’s place of work, his adult male friendships, his relationship with his mother, but worst of all she has completely interloped into his relationship with his adult daughter and grandchildren. This abusive adult sibling has successfully won over his adult child and grandchildren so that he is no longer welcome to family events or to be in his adult child or grandchildren’s lives. Lo and behold the spinner of the truth is now in his place. Abusive siblings do this through gossip, slander and downright lies. This cycle is relentless and can persist unless the victim makes significant changes with the help from professionals who understand the complexities within narcissistic family structures.

Seeking Healing and Hope with George and Lesley Corbett

Despite the overwhelming pain, there is hope, and healing is within reach with caring and supportive care.

Speak Out: Share your harrowing experience with a trusted friend, family member, or trauma informed coach (such as George or Lesley) who can provide solace, empathy, and guidance.

Therapeutic Help: Seek therapy or trauma informed coaching, whether individual or family coaching, to navigate the labyrinth of trauma and rebuild your sense of self.

Legal Action: In severe cases where physical harm persists, consider legal action to protect yourself and hold your abuser accountable for their actions.

Finding Strength in Numbers: Join support groups for survivors of abuse or Waypoint Wellness & Performance Coaching “Freedom from Sibling Abuse” Support Group, where you can find solace, understanding, and develop valuable coping strategies.

Breaking the Chains of Silence with Expert Guidance

Recognizing sibling abuse as a grievous issue is the first step toward preventing future generations from perpetuating this vicious cycle.

Education: Educate your children about healthy communication, empathy, and conflict resolution from an early age.

Intervene: Swiftly step in and address abusive behavior between your children, acknowledging that silence is not an option.

Embrace Family Healing: Consider family coaching to unearth and resolve existing conflicts, fostering a nurturing environment for all family members.

Unlocking Your Superpower with Expert Guidance

During coaching sessions with George and Lesley Corbett, you can unlock your superpower by asking yourself, “What if?” What if you were considered, heard, validated, cherished, and respected? How would you walk, talk, and interact? By using these “What if?” questions, you can break free from rigid thinking and embrace a brighter, healthier future. Plus, George and Lesley Corbett offer a free 40-minute consultation to ensure that the coaching experience is the right fit for you. You can reach out to them via email at lesley@waypointcoaching.ca or george@waypointcoaching.ca to begin your journey toward healing with confidence.

Your Path to Healing Starts Here

The pain caused by sibling abuse should not define your life any longer. Reach out to George and Lesley Corbett at Waypoint Wellness & Performance Coaching today. Your journey towards healing, self-discovery, and a brighter future begins now.





When your Family of Origin Makes You Sick: Series on Family Bullying Part 1

Scapegoating is the same as bullying (only worse)

I have come across many clients who exhibit common self destructive characteristics & symptoms that can ultimately be traced  to their role of scapegoat stemming from their unhealthy family of origin. The role of family scapegoat is the apex of being bullied within one’s family when the developing child needed to have been protected; being mocked when the developing child was to have been celebrated, as well as, being treated less than, in all aspects of human dignity when the developing child was to have been dignified, honoured and cherished. Unfortunately those goat horns feel hard, permanent and they stick out so everyone can see them.

Because of the indignities perpetuated upon the developing self within the child, the consequences of the role have a long reach far into the child’s future into their adult lives. Due to this being an insidious and heavily textured topic I have divided the articles into a three part series. This first article serves to educate regarding the family systems piece and will progress to real life stories as the series moves along. Most importantly as the articles unfold you will begin to shift your world view from a scapegoated person towards the “truth” of who you are. Instead of going through life wearing the goat horns, victory is on the way. It won’t be easy and it will take some work, but you can be set free.

Let me start off by exploring with you how this malady (being the family scapegoat) reveals itself in my office. While using “global listening” (the observation of pure facts, noticing body language as well as verbal expression) in the coaching room it is evident to me when a person has been or is currently being scapegoated within their family and/ or how it is currently showing up in their lives. The symptoms of being scapegoated surface as a “worldview” that is, how the client sees themself in the context of the world. Keep in mind this world view is distorted, but the consequences of the world view are very real. Think of the experiment of putting a pen in a clear glass of water. What happens? The pen looks as though it is in two pieces. The pen isn’t actually in two pieces, but is distorted by the water, the light and the glass. If you pull the pen out of the water, you will see that it is a fully intact pen. It isn’t in two pieces. It isn’t broken. It is just a distorted reality. There are telltale signs that surface from a person who has the worldview associated with being the family scapegoat.

Just to be clear the list below is reality. This is not in the scapegoated person’s head. The distortion is not what the scapegoated person experiences, but rather the distortion is how the scapegoated person allows themselves to be mistreated in the world due to the deficit of knowing the truth of their worth.

There are telltale signs that surface from a person who has the worldview associated with being the family scapegoat. They often tolerate abuse and mistreatment due to their lack of knowing the truth about who they are due to the distortion.  Below are examples of “ways of being” that may come from a scapegoated individual; Self doubt, second guessing, difficulty making a decision for fear of getting things wrong, fear of failure, fear of success, feelings of helplessness, seeing others as being favoured, feeling left out, feeling small in a big world, feelings of shame, feelings of worthlessness, fear of shining & being noticed, fear of making others jealous & angry, allowing other to take their items & money, remaining stuck in unhealthy one sided relationships, giving and not receiving much, stuck in jobs and careers where being used and not compensated fairly, and the list goes on.

Believe or not the above examples are merely a small number of red flags that make me sit up and take notice to probe further in my office. Once the client themselves describe specific experiences and is able to identify their scapegoat role within their family of origin do we realize together that this was the role they were assigned and are currently living out in their lives.

Building Their Own Kingdom

Essentially the family that creates assigned dysfunctional roles to its’ members are dysfunctional and typically hold a narcissist at the helm. There may be drug and alcohol addiction as well, but certainly there is a narcissist in the midst regardless. So in order to dig into this topic let’s start by going back to dissect the family dynamics at play. It is apparent that the roles and subsequent dynamics of this type of family serve to raise the status of some of the family members and demote the status of another. Make no mistake, this does not happen by chance. This is very strategic, although not always within the narcissistic parent’s level of awareness. What is in the narcissistic parent’s level of awareness are their own needs, that is the need to control, shine, steal the limelight and possess their children for their own needs rather than to raise children to become strong and solid individuals. Ultimately these flawed and abusive households have their roots embedded deep into the childhood of the narcissistic parent. It is the narcissistic parent who is the master and creator of these family dynamics. Unfortunately when the narcissistic parent does not seek the help they need in order to process their own wounds, they choose to create a microcosm, their own kingdom so to speak, where they themselves reign supreme. These narcissistic rageaholic parent(s) do not have children for the same reason as most healthy well adjusted adults do. Bringing children into the world is a selfless act. When the narcissistic parent brings a child (and/ or children) into the world, albeit not always conscious of this reason, it is ultimately a self serving act accompanied by a sense of entitlement. The children will come to serve a function that benefits the psychological frailty of the narcissistic parent. The children will not be raised to live their lives to fulfill their own God given purpose, but rather they exist for the narcissistic parent to shore up their fragile sense of self. Essentially the children, friends and other family members of the narcissist become an appendage to the life of the narcissist. To be the child of a narcissistic parent will mean that you do not exist in the true sense of developing a “self,” at least not during such a murky childhood, but rest assured you can and will develop your own solid “self” once you are free of the narcissist as well as the unhealthy narcissistic family system.

Family Scapegoat

There are so many painful family roles within these systems, but for today I am focussing on the role of the family scapegoat and how that role evolved within a specific environment. But first, let’s start with how issues can present in my office. For example, when I observe all fingers pointed toward one family member I can say unequivocally that a red flag goes up for me. Healthy family systems just do not do this. In these unhealthy dysfunctional family systems the only way unhealthy members can protect their fragile sense of self is to cast blame and shame upon another member. Every member of a family contributes to the health or the unhealth of the system, that is, except for young children. Children are innocent pawns.

Created in the Narcissistic Kingdom for a Purpose

The role of the scapegoat serves a number of significant functions within the family structure. The most important purpose is to exonerate the narcissist or those the narcissists favours from responsibility. The only way a narcissist will take responsibility is when there is praise, adulation and admiration at stake. Otherwise responsibility is not on the table for the narcissist as it does not serve the cravings that the narcissist has, that is, to be worshipped. The narcissist contrives a family system that ensures that their own needs are met and in order to do this they convince all members within the family system to believing the massive lie that someone must always be blamed when something doesn’t go according to their plan. The thinking goes like this, someone must be at fault, therefore, the rest of us are blameless. Ultimately the narcissist will work the rest of the group into believing that the scapegoat is the reason for all the ills of the family even when the scapegoat isn’t even present and couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the said problem. This crafty and insidious way that the narcissist constructs a system which only promotes their need for approval, attention, admiration and dominion is extremely abusive and downright evil. The narcissist is so self aggrandizing that they will literally sacrifice another family member in order to get their delusional needs met.

So now that we all know how pathologically unwell a narcissistic parent is to hurt their children in this way, my hope for you is that you start to pick away at the fake goat horns that were placed on you doing your growing up years. My hope is that you begin to touch them, feel them and start to imagine that these imaginary horns are merely made of paper and that none of this was ever your fault. The pain inflicted on you is the responsibility of a member of the black triad personality types, such as narcissism. If you were a scapegoat it was never your fault. You didn’t deserve to be mistreated, you don’t deserve to be mistreated today, and hopefully after reading this series you will be able to discern what mistreatment is and what it is not, as well as what you will no longer tolerate in your life. It is not your fault that you do not have a reference point for healthy treatment within any context, but help is on the way. Now put your hand on your head. Don’t these horns feel a little bit like paper now?

If you would like to have 1:1 coaching feel free to reach out to lesley@waypointcoaching.ca or george@waypointcoaching.ca. We work online with people all over the world and in person at our coaching office located in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada.

Check out part 2 in the Family Bullying Series in this blog for the next segment.

Until next time,


Mobbing and Treated Like a Scapegoat? Series on Family Bullying Part 2

So now that your goat horns are beginning to feel like paper, what does that make you think? Perhaps they are removable? Let’s see what happens next.

The Function Within the Dysfunction

Emotional maturity doesn’t look at the world how the dysfunctional family system operates. In a healthy environment the members of the family leave room for members to clarify ideas, revise thoughts, change one’s mind, share common goals and all members help one another to achieve their best. Family members that emit mental wellbeing understand that everyone in the family system has something to learn; that we all make mistakes, that we can own our part, and we all take responsibility. Forgiveness is not only sought, but is also offered generously. In contrast the unhealthy family system is wrought with punishments which take on many forms.  For example, ostracizing, belittling, gossiping, using abusive and biting sarcasm, smearing the reputation of the target, and excluding the target for perceived infractions are high on the list. The role of exclusion has to be underscored due to the level of pain it causes the target, as well as the social currency obtained by the narcissist and the narcissist in the making.

Emotional Immaturity Works

Let’s start with the root cause of the initial problem that is massively overlooked within these families. The bottom line is that the narcissist is emotionally immature and does not know how to process uncomfortable emotions without exhibiting immature tactics that have worked for them in the past. These tactics include yelling, tantruming, not allowing others to speak, cutting people off in conversation and essentially building a one sided case in order to get what they want. Narcissists work diligently at getting what they want, or at getting out of what they don’t want (responsibility) and they will stop at nothing no matter the cost.

I have seen narcissists go out of their way, lose sleep, spend money, and obsess over their target just to stick it to them. In other words Narcissists are so vindictively motivated that as the old adage says, “they cut off their nose to spite their face.”

I know of a narcissist who has squandered her own and her siblings’ inheritance on meaningless junk just to make sure her siblings did not get their share.  Beware of narcissistic siblings who have manipulated their way into the role of executor.

They have no scruples so lying and smearing their target’s reputation to get ahead is of no consequence to them. They do not know how to negotiate, nor how to treat others with dignity and respect, but more importantly they don’t care about the rights and dignity of others. Narcissist’s are driven by their own selfish desires and they do not care about you, about others or about anything other than themselves. When they do care about you it is only in relation to themselves in terms of getting what they want and what you will provide for them. Narcissism is essentially a sickness of extreme callous deviant selfishness. You cannot reason with someone who only cares about themselves and who disregards those around them.

I have met narcissists who believe that they have all the rights in the world, that is, to your time, your money and your possessions. Another such narcissist loves to spend a lot of time in small claims court as their public record shows just how often they waste the time of the courts (as well as unsuspecting defendants) battling targets over what they believe is owed to them. Entitlement much?

One of the two most effective strategies by which narcissists’ get what they want is by the use of rage and by also convincing themselves and those around them that they are in fact the “victim.” They have an uncanny way of crying victim after they have abused, abandoned and cruelly hurt their own children or target.

I know of a narcissist who showed me bruises that ran up and down the length of both of her arms, and while wiping a tear from her eye she shared how she got these when in a fight with her husband. She went on to say that the police had to come to her home. At first I felt compassion for her, but eventually the full story emerged and as it turned out she obtained those bruises while beating her husband with her arms, fists and hands. It was her husband who called the police looking for help. Although she was the abuser she was still longing for and looking for pity, sympathy and concern from those around her. She was so delusional that the truth of her story was completely left out when foraging for attention. Have you noticed that narcissist’s do not tell the whole story? The are strategic editors that spin a story for the advantage of getting supply. Supply is the delicious drug that narcissists crave, that is, attention, recognition, sympathy, status, and the like. 

There is a technical psychological term for all this anger however. It is called, “narcissistic rage.”  This is the unreasonable and profound anger stemming from a huge deficit in emotional maturity. Narcissistic rage has been noted as the reaction the narcissistic has to perceived slights (clinically termed narcissistic injury).  This emotional immaturity serves the selfish needs of the narcissist due to the way they manipulate those closest to them with fear. They become so scary and irrational that those around them tend to capitulate. Being a grown demanding baby does have its perks. No one wants to deal with the annoying behaviours and relentless demands of the narcissist so often they turn a blind eye inadvertently reinforcing the negative behaviours.

Question: What happens if you give in to an angry person today? Answer: You will be giving in to them tomorrow, the next day, and the next day after that throughout the the entire time you know and relate to this person. Standing your ground will be tough, but so very necessary.  

Getting Away With Theft

Narcissist’s are the ultimate thieves as they believe they are entitled to everything you have and they spend most of their lives coveting (longing for what is not theirs) as they are extremely jealous people. They are angry and will turn on you if they think they can steal the shirt off your back, as they are entitled in their distorted mind believing that everything you have is ultimately theirs. The thing is it does not stop there as narcissists, although they don’t think of it as stealing, will stop at nothing to steal your friends, your parents, your children, and even your grandchildren.

I’ve known narcissists who have essentially taken over other people’s families, other people’s parents and business’ that was never theirs to begin with. Have you ever met someone who has commandeered spaces and people that were not theirs to lead? They have a way of infiltrating the boundaries of other people’s lives. Narcissist’s are highly skilled people manipulators.

The name narcissist comes from mythology, but it really ought to be changed to “Extreme People Manipulators” because they do not only manipulate one person at a time, but they manipulate entire groups of people as well. They also manipulate large organizations. In other words, wherever there are people there will be a narcissist in the midst. The illness that is narcissism is dependent on the social sphere of any given group dynamic. Narcissists do not come with a warning label so it is imperative that you pick up on the signs. The first sign is to trust your gut, your senses and your reflective experience. Now is the time to stop brushing off your story and if you were family scapegoat you were trained to distrust your senses. Now is the time to become curious to how you are experiencing situations and the people around you. You don’t have to confront anyone or do anything, but become curious and observant at this point.

The reason for the unrest in a narcissistic home is not the children. It isn’t that so and so did or did not do something. The real reason for the family distress is that the narcissist, (as well as narcissists’ in the making) all suffer from severe emotional dysregulation and have no idea how to handle themselves. Because they are so out of sorts within themselves they revert to selfish demanding immature tactics essentially, because these strategies work. Why use mature reciprocity if that doesn’t get you what you want? Narcissist’s have to win at all costs and the costs are very high to those receiving the brunt of their abusive personality.

Blame Shifters Promote Family Bullying

Narcissist’s end up handling themselves with an extremely childlike immaturity that demand the world come through for them or else. The adage goes, “If only so and so did this or didn’t do that,” then the narcissist or narcissists (in the making) wouldn’t have to get so angry. It is the ultimate in blame shifting which works to avoid taking ownership over one’s own emotions and faulty thinking. “So and so made me act out of control and they are the reason for my inner torment,” goes the inner dialogue of abusive individuals. This manifestation of family dynamics serve as a smoke screen as the person or person(s) raging actually have anger management problems, but refuse to take ownership. In “reality” everyone makes mistakes and in healthy family system mistakes are not only allowed they are actually encouraged. It is by mistakes that people grow, that vulnerability is fostered, and where people can share together what it is like to be truly human.

In unhealthy and dark family systems, (and narcissism is part of the dark triad in the diagnostic manual) typically headed by a raging narcissist, mistakes are dealt with as follows: The narcissistic and protege'(s) never admit to any mistakes or hurtful behaviour. They rationalize that the reason they lash out is due to someone else. This doesn’t stop at how they deal with family members, but this is also how they deal with people they view as lower status in the workplace and social setting as well. They are masters of knowing who they can target and who they cannot. They are image managers of themselves and regardless of their bad behaviour they will always/always come out of the story as the victim. I will note why this heaps more abuse upon family & workplace scapegoats further in another article.

The only person allowed to make any errors are the narcissistic parent and the narcissistic child (in the making) who are in fact the narcissist’s protege’. The rest of the family members do not want to experience the wrath of the narcissist and protege’ so they too join in and point fingers towards the family scapegoat. Essentially the only one who is acknowledged to be making any errors are family scapegoats. This lie is ridiculous to any rational observer, but unfortunately this is not a rational group of people. It is a group of people trying to survive the raging narcissist. The rest of the family members buy into the lie. It is a sort of self-preservation where no one will admit fault or share in any responsibility otherwise the punishment would be too great.

School Yard Bully Dynamics Within The Family 

Just like school yard bullying may cause so many bystanders to opt out of helping the bullied child, the same dynamic is true within family systems. It is the ultimate form of family bullying. No one speaks up for the bullied child, therefore, the bystanders become guilty by either doing nothing to stop the abuse, or they themselves may be frightened of the bully, they in fact join in to administer the punishments to save themselves. In more insidious cases many bystanders engage in bullying the scapegoat in order to elevate their own status within the group. They often do this for their own power and control issues in combination with the fact that if they enjoy more status they are less likely to be mistreated themselves. Only people with a well developed sense of integrity and whom have their own support systems can withstand these sorts of group dynamics. When imposed on children by parent(s) the results are 100% compliance to family bullying.

The family scapegoat must carry the sins of the entire household. I cannot begin to share with you how many scapegoats wind up in my office or any other mental health support system for that matter. The level of self- blame, self-condemnation, self-recrimination is so great clients have become suicidal, self sabotaging, and tend to repeat unhealthy patterns within intimate relationships where they expect to be treated poorly.

She Didn’t Want To Make Her Ex-Husband Look Bad

A client of mine (whose role in her family of origin was scapegoat) was going through a divorce and her brother accused her of having an affair and not working on her marriage. This toxic sibling further violated her boundaries by speaking with the woman’s soon to be ex-husband (as well as all other family members) while never fully knowing that in fact it was the woman’s ex-husband who had the affair. In reality this woman had spent an entire lifetime dealing with her husband’s chronic lies and exasperating marital discord which led to her divorce. She couldn’t bring herself to discuss this with her brother as she didn’t want to make her ex-husband look bad. Yet her brother and ex-husband seemed to delight in the dismantling of her reputation.

The transition of separation into divorce is an extremely intense and difficult time for people, therefore, it is interesting that within her particular dysfunctional family system she was met with more of the same of what she endured in her childhood, that is, siblings offloading their own pain onto her at a time when she could barely withstand the pain in her own life. It is usually the personal pain experienced by the sibling from their own life’s story that gets offloaded at the first opportunity. Unconsciously this thinking is what drives the behaviour of the abusive sibling, “I feel terrible because of my divorce and I’m going to make you feel even worse. I feel helpless so I am going to blame you for these inner feelings within me.” In a healthy family system she would have received unconditional love and support to her suffering. So instead of helping the woman as she went through a painful divorce the brother smeared her name throughout her family of origin rendering any kind of emotional support to be cut off completely rendering her isolated and alone.

Needing Love Yet Receiving Pain

Scapegoats tend to allow dysfunctional controlling people into their inner circles and it isn’t until much suffering do they reach out for help and support. The challenge in the coaching room is actually to help the client break through their scapegoat role mantra, that they are “not good enough” or to break through their thinking that they somehow deserve to be abused (perhaps due to some sin or perceived infraction from their past). In one’s life journey everyone will let someone down as some point. It is part of the human condition. Forgiveness and self forgiveness are key pathways forward for all of us.

Forgiveness and self forgiveness are not familiar within the scapegoated person’s story and since people often repeat what is familiar, scapegoated people often find themselves re-living their “two steps down” role assigned to them from their family of origin. The symptomology within the family scapegoat is similar to those who have suffered from severe mental torture due to the fact that the scapegoated person has indeed suffered from severe mental torture, but this abuse is so profound in one’s life as it was inflicted from the hands of those whom they were supposed to feel safe, valued, and cared for. Those who have suffered mental torture in their homes of origin suffer a unique wound in that they often spend a lifetime wondering if a home that is safe is just not realistic. Many have given up the idea that they have any agency over creating a safe space for themselves in this world.

Red Flags In My Office

The role of family scapegoat is highly symptomatic of the ills of the entire family system. The serious manifestations of the pain and torture that the person who has been scapegoated suffers come to light through expressions and behaviours that emit self-loathing, self reproach and self sabotage. Behaviours that inflict further pain and suffering are often indicators of low self worth revealing quite probably significant devaluing, as well as, revealing a lack of nurturance during formative years. When a person presents with apologizing for things they do not have to apologize for, taking ownership over things they have no reason to own, and essentially blaming themselves for the bad behaviour of others it is suspect that I may have a scapegoated person in my office. It is as though the scapegoat is saying, “Hey you don’t have to hit me, yell at me or shame me. I can do this for you.”

Developing the “Self” in Nutrient Dense Environments

The “individual self” requires a healthy environment one which increases the likelihood for individuals to take risks, make mistakes, explore, laugh, cry and express all emotions in a safe and caring setting.  The environment created by the narcissistic parent does not provide nutrient dense soil to make growth possible. Instead the narcissistic environment is wrought with angry self-invested narcissists’ who manipulate all those using harmful behaviours for the sake of their own grandiosity. Selfish evil people do selfish evil things to get what they want. They lie, manipulate, and influence those who are vulnerable, frightened and powerless. There is nothing more evil in this world than to manipulate vulnerable people to gain gratification.

The Second In Command: It’s Much More Sinister Than You Think

Getting out from under the toxic system begins with the understanding that the system itself exists. Let’s examine who might determine the status of family members to begin with. It is usually the dominant extremely narcissistic parent, as well as, the second in command, that is, the narcissistic sibling. So how does one sibling become so powerful within the family structure so much so, that they are party to who becomes the family scapegoat? A child must possess two significant criteria in order to become as narcissistic as the narcissistic parent.

The second in command is the child through whom the narcissistic parent sees their own reflection, as well as, this child must also suffer from the same character deficits exhibited by the narcissistic parent.

My view is that while some Psychologists’ would label this preferred child the Golden Child, I do not necessarily see them as narcissists in the making. I believe that even golden children are victims within this unhealthy dysfunctional family system. Many colden children have a conscience and although they may enjoy feeling favoured from time to time, many feel compassion and empathy towards the scapegoated child. Many golden children feel that what is going on within the family is morally wrong and emotionally destructive. Not all bystanders (the children at school those whom are not being bullied) approve of the bullying of the scapegoat. Not all family members approve of the bullying of the scapegoated child within the family. Many golden children are at a loss on how to help. So in a nutshell, favouring a child doesn’t create a narcissist. Mere favouritism will hurt the non favoured siblings and promote sibling rivalry, but favouritism alone does not have enough teeth to create a narcissistic person.

Just a side note: When it comes to deviant behaviours in adulthood, Sociologists and Psychologists agree that specific undesirable behaviours were present within the person throughout their childhood. For example, most sociopathic serial killers had a childhood fascination with death and have been known to have tortured and murdered pets and animals. It is in looking back into the childhood of the deviant adult where patterns of behaviour emerge. So too can we look back from adult narcissists and see variables of behaviours and thinking that were present in childhood.

The child who will become the second in command suffers significantly (or more accurately makes others suffer) from significant moral and character deficits. They exhibit the same character deficits displayed by the parent narcissist, but on the scale of what children can do. This child who will grow into a full blown narcissistic adult will show a number of signs when interacting with others. The list below is not comprehensive and keep in mind that exhibiting elements of this list does not ensure that a  child will grow into a full blown narcissist. What this list does reveal is that when looking back from the adult narcissist and into their childhood these variables will be clearly evident.

The overarching element that defines a narcissist is their lack empathy for others. This lack of empathy cannot be overstated so this will be the cornerstone of what is observed throughout their childhood, adolescence and well into their adulthood.

In childhood these children are observed to exhibit the following: They do not care about the rights, feelings and experiences of their siblings or classmates, they will be first and get the most, they give others their scraps and never offer first choice, they blame others for their misdeeds, they delight in watching others get into trouble, they insist on getting from others what they would never give from themselves, they have an unrealistic view of what is owed to them as they often want something for nothing (this includes good grades, allowance etc.) They do not notice the sadness or hurt represented on children’s faces instead they are concerned if they will get into trouble, they do not show remorse for the hurt they cause, they do not apologize except at the command of an adult, they do not nurture or care for their younger siblings, they view siblings, animals and friends as competitors of attention, money, time, and status, they twist the truth, tell lies, fabricate stories, embellish scenarios, they often end up being the top dog of “mean girl” cliques or “bullyish boy” roles in high school. They make fun of and humiliate others to gain popularity, they steal through acts of omission or may even steal outright, they play the role of victim to gain favour with adults and pin blame on others, and unfortunately for the rest of us they do grow up and show up in managerial or leadership roles in the workplace.

Keep in mind that having the above noted characteristics are not predictors of narcissism in adulthood. What will enable narcissism to flourish into adulthood will be the above noted characteristics in combination with being significantly empowered by a narcissistic parent/adult. It is this perfect cocktail that will increase the likelihood that pathological traits will flourish into adulthood. This is a tragic (not magic) formula.

Suffering Sheds Light 

Just like some Jewish prisoners of Nazi concentration camps were given command to keep the other Jewish prisoners in line they often did so as they were rewarded with food, small cash incentives, and other freedoms that the other prisoners were not able to obtain. This is the ultimate example of bullying and mercilessness. Some Jewish prisoners who were placed in command over their peers went so far as to take on the persona of the Nazis’ as they punished and tortured their fellow Jewish prisoners, but not all did so at least not in the same way. Many pretended to be hard on their fellow prisoners when the Nazis were in their midst, but once the Nazis left the area they made sure their fellow Jewish peers were not abused. This happened due to their empathy that was embedded into their character. There were a few other Jewish prisoners who were placed in command of their Jewish peers, however who did get a sick sense of power when placed into these roles. The Nazis themselves were strategic in whom they placed in these positions, but it must have been difficult to determine who was “acting ruthless” and who was in fact “ruthless.” We cannot know for certain, but as the saying goes, “You will know them by their fruits,” so too is it with malignant narcissism. Time reveals many truths if you remain observant.

Like the example noted above, narcissistic tendencies in childhood that are empowered by the narcissistic parent result in devastating consequences for the family scapegoat. By giving power and control to the empathy deficit child results in such a disaster. The reason being that the empathy deficient child does not exercise any restraint due to their internal lack of  compassion to curb their own deviant self serving behaviours.

So when will we know if this empathy deficient child will become a full blown narcissist? Within the time between moving out of the family of origin home and the time that they start their own family is where the age of accountability kicks in. At this juncture it can be determined if the empathy deficient child has been empowered to the point of no return from the narcissistic adult of or if they have chosen to walk a more healthy and loving path. The indicator of the empathy deficient child becoming a narcissist is if they continue to punish the family scapegoat. If they continue in this punishment you can be certain that they have fully graduated into the role of senior narcissist. Heaven help their own children as the cycle will repeat itself into the next generation.

Is Health Possible for Narcissists?

Very few narcissists’ can be rehabilitated, because narcissists do not believe they have anything to work on. They will attribute any concerning issue to be the fault of the other person. They do not typically go for counselling/coaching/therapy etc. as they believe they are victims in this world, because other people are not listening to them, doing as they say or not making them feel extra especially important. Look out if you insult a narcissist for if you do you will experience rage like never before. They are easily angered, easily offended, easily set off due to their fragile sense of self. If you address their victim mentality while they are caught hurting other people they have been known to get up and walk out of sessions. They are notorious “phone hanger uppers.” They walk out of rooms when someone else has something to share. They are not able to recognize how they contribute to any unhappy situation. Typically in their minds they have absolutely nothing to learn and that other people need to be fixed. Their favourite catch phrases include, “Can you do me a favour?” as well as, “That person is nuts!” In teacher speak, you cannot teach someone who knows everything.

It is difficult to help an adult narcissist, but nothing is impossible. A significant humbling down is necessary though and this often results after significant life blows; such as divorce, job loss, money loss, abandonment realized etc. The best time to help a narcissist, however is when they are younger. There is so much research today on Emotional Intelligence as well as Moral Intelligence. Michelle Bourba teaches teachers how to teach for Moral Intelligence in school. Some people just need explicit teaching on what is acceptable and what is not. There are other “Empathy” training programs that take place in schools, one is called, “Roots of Empathy.” In “Roots of Empathy” a real baby is brought into the classroom with their mother where conversations about needs, health and caring are discussed with young children. Even those children who are empathy deficient can learn what empathy means (if only) cognitively they often can manage their behaviour to act appropriately with others. This makes life better for everyone long term including the “empathy deficient” person. Teaching children about empathy, creating limits no matter how angry the child becomes are just mere steps in the right direction. It is okay for people who have difficulty feeling empathy to know that they cannot behave in ways that they wouldn’t want repeated back to them. If you have been mistreated by a narcissist or someone you would define as empathy deficient seriously think about reaching out for help. It is never too late to change your view of the world and your life.

Now that those goat horns feel more like paper what do you say it’s time to tear them off? Read on in part 3 to find out how to do so.

If you would like to have 1:1 coaching feel free to reach out to lesley@waypointcoaching.ca or george@waypointcoaching.ca. We work online with people all over the world and in person at our coaching office located in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada.

Until next time,


Moving from Scapegoat to the Champion of Your Own Life: Series on Family Bullying Part 3

The Future of the Narcissist is Bleak While the Future of the Scapegoat is Hopeful

What you don’t transform you will transmit. Without intervention the sins of the forefathers have a way of multiplying forward. Even though the best of intentions are within most of us, without serious reflection and the development of a strong emotional quotient people tend to fall into automatic patterns of thinking and subsequent behaviours. Roles in dysfunctional families can be overcome, but one way to know how far you’ve come from acting and living like a scapegoat is when family events and gatherings arise. For example, as siblings age and are reunited at some event or crossroads, such as, weddings, funerals etc. without personal growth most fall back into the familiar toxic relating styles with which they grew up. Scapegoat bashing resumes, but the difference will be in how will you process it? How will you deal with it? Later in this article you will learn some specific strategies to help you see yourself in the light of the truth of who you are. This true belief is what will help you change how you interact with your entire world, including when you are around the original source of your former scapegoat persona.

Narcissists Want What is Best For Them: they don’t care about what is best for you.

It appears that not all families truly want what is best for you. When it comes to families with addictions & narcissism combined with overall anger management issues you can be certain that your family does not want what is best for you (especially if it means it won’t be best for them). Narcissistic family members become highly motivated by what is best for themselves. Essentially it becomes a pecking order of the fittest and strongest. Research indicates that within these family systems the older children significantly abuse younger siblings at an alarming rate. Why wouldn’t they? They have a role model of a parent who exhibits nasty, punitive and hateful behaviours. They have learned these ways from the parent. In essence the whole family is victimized with the narcissistic parent at the helm. Younger siblings are typically the recipient of the pecking order and are often brutalized by the pain within the family system. Siblings have fought since the beginning of time. Anyone remember the story of Cain & Abel? Jealousy, competition, blame shifting, scapegoating, and power moves are common in dysfunctional families.

These narcissistic families systems exhibit toxic ineffective parenting. When you find yourself judged by a standard that your family of origin members they themselves do not measure up you know you are dealing with a family system that is wrought with double standards, power and control issues and essentially mental abuse. Ever heard a sibling screaming and yelling that you are disrespectful while they are running you into the ground? Hey kettle are you black? So what can you do about it?

Healthy Detachment

You can start to detach in the most healthy way possible. Start with identifying the lines between who you are and who you are not. Start self-differentiating. You are not who your family of origin says that you are. Remember that there is a lot of information out there on self-differentiation. Learn what it means that you are a separate-self not defined by the insecure needs of immature and underdeveloped dysfunctional family members, but by a God who breathed life into you. I heard someone say once that God makes us all “free agents.” You are a free agent. Become aware that you are making choices. Opt for self-care and detox from the mental abuse/poison your family of origin injected into your veins. Just like the child born to a meth addict has to endure the painful experience of detox you too must detox your mind from all the lies, evil intent and toxic voices in your head that were imposed upon you in childhood. Here is the first step. Give those toxic voices in your head a name. For example, people with eating disorders are told to give their eating disorder a name in order to begin to distinguish the voice that is their true self from the voice that is their eating disorder. One woman calls her eating disorder voice Ed (for eating disorder). Another person calls her scapegoated voice Secona (which stands for Self Condemnation). When you hear these voices start speaking back to them. “No Secona, I don’t believe what you have to say to me. I didn’t intend to hurt anyone. Even though they are raging at me I’m not going to allow you to punish me and I’m certainly not going to punish myself.” You don’t have to accept everything that anyone says. You can reject it! Reject deep within your heart. No more aligning yourself with agreements with lies about who you were created to be.

How To Take Care Of  Yourself (Don’ts and Do’s)

  • I always encourage the scapegoat to never be alone with any of the family of origin members.
  • Don’t write family members emails, or send videos to help explain your thinking without first sharing it with someone who truly loves you and who has your back.
  • Be assertive without being aggressive.
  • Find your voice.
  • Journal, chat with a friend, and introduce yourself to someone new.
  • Reality check all communication you must have with the narcissist. Examine emails, conversations etc with someone loves you and cares about your best interests as they will tell you the truth of your perception (this is important as the narcissist will skew their meaning of their words based on your reactions. They will tell you that you heard them wrong, that they didn’t say this or that, or that it is all in your head).
  • Never explain yourself to the narcissistic abusive people in your life. It is normal to want to explain yourself (especially when you are being misunderstood) but I am observing more and more that you cannot explain yourselves to these abusive people because they don’t care what you think. “They need you to be awful in their minds.” So nothing you say or do will change their thinking.
  • Do not waste your good nature on those who do not own a good nature.
  • Limit contact, go no contact, breathe, live, pray, and remember that you matter and your feelings matter.
  • Now is the time to set your goals, lose that weight, finish that course, and start that new project.
  • Put your mind on good things and surround yourself with those who truly know you and love you, and especially surround yourself with those who actually DELIGHT in you! This is how you were designed. You were not designed for the abuse and rot that smolders from a dysfunctional family. You were made to exhibit and experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self control. Be with those who celebrate you! Don’t even settle for those who tolerate you.
  • Also remember to always remove yourself from abusive and punitive people who have ranked themselves as more important than you.
  • Leave jobs where you’ve found yourself experiencing many of the same feelings from your family of origin. Beef up your resume, look, seek and knock. Do not give up and learn to leave when a narcissist is at the helm in your workplace.
  • Resist the urge to agree with the negative voices in your mind and then the hauntings of these evil characters will leave your life.
  • Make new friends, recognize what is healthy and what is not.
  • Don’t overshare everything you think and feel with people who do not love you.
  • Treat yourself as the unique and valued gift that you are to the world. Send yourself flowers, build yourself a new piece of furniture, take your painting to the next level.
  • Go camping, sit around a bonfire, sing in the car and remember to laugh.
  • Go for that bike ride, run, or walk in your neighbourhood.
  • Get outside.
  • Plant something.
  • Start taking control of your thoughts. Thoughts create feelings and then feelings create behaviours. You can do this. We can all do this.
  • Hire George or Lesley and allow us the privilege to walk alongside you out of that pit and into the life you were meant to live.

If you would like to have 1:1 coaching feel free to reach out to lesley@waypointcoaching.ca or george@waypointcoaching.ca. We work online with people all over the world and in person at our coaching office located in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada.

Until next time,


Men Suffering on “The Never Enough Hamster Wheel”

Clients come to Waypoint for a vast array of concerns. In this blog I am going to be speaking to the tired, worn down, and weary male client that has been exhausted by the hostile manipulative behaviours of a person or persons within their life story. As I listen to the individual accounts of men who express difficulties with others, that  is, difficulty with those who exhibit narcissistic type characteristics, I am never surprised at the level of fatigue, lack of motivation and pure exhaustion exhibited in my client’s body language or speech. As the session roles along and with probing questions what surfaces is typically a coping style that resembles a hamster wheel stuck at the level of “never enough”. It is though the lever had been stuck at this setting as far back as they can remember. They do not know how to do life at any other level. In a nutshell it goes like this: the person (s) in their life yell “jump” and the client attempts to please, respond, anticipate, and appease the never ending demands of the narcissistic type. For the record reinforcement is taking place from both sides, but note the end result. These men end up hating their lives as much as they are now hating the narcissist and then they start fantasizing of a new life free from the tyranny of that hamster wheel.

I offer empathy and slowly work with clients to re-gain, or for many for the first time, foster a sense of the “self.” Again as things surface it is obvious the more dysfunctional the family of origin (those families with rigid prescribed roles) the less of a sense of “self” the client exhibits. So what is the remedy to all of this? How can men take responsibility for their lives, assert themselves and march to the beat of their own hearts instead of the demands from those around him?

My clients’ are trying to make sense of the conflict within their own lives and truly want to be part of healing, but don’t know where to start. In coaching we always start with the only person who can exercise any control in any given situation and that is the client themselves. Once a client begins to internalize that they have agency (choices) they begin to notice a sense of “existence” within themselves. At this point they are coached to exercise this sense of “self or I exist” within the context of their lives. This is where the relational problems actually get much worse before they get better. This is when the client needs the most supportive coaching possible. Those who are accustomed to manipulating the male are typically going to up the ante (increase what is at stake for both sides).

So what is at stake when the dominated male wants to exercise their own “self?” Two major reinforcements of behaviour are at play. The dominated male will often acquiesce in order to get his legitimate needs met that have been driving his unhelpful behaviour all along. That is, the need to belong, the need for acceptance and simply the legitimate human need to be loved. On the other hand the narcissistic type, that is, the demanding person ups the ante of “coercive control” in order to get their own needs met. The thing is the narcissistic person’s “needs” often come from a place of deep insecurity and not vulnerability.

Typically these needs include the need for control; reassurance, comfort on demand, and the need to recruit allies. More often than not the narcissist’s own lives are filled with turmoil resembling a battlefield. They have spend a good deal of their time in relationships using war like tactics in order to fulfill themselves. Unfortunately for them they are never truly fulfilled. This is why they repeatedly move on to soft targets (unwitting males seeking love). Think of the narcissist like a drug addict. The need for the next fix, that is, public recognition, control over their own narrative, delusions of grandeur (not based in current reality etc) and a drive and lust for admiration. When these wounded souls connect they get locked in a dance where one partner becomes increasingly passive and the other becomes increasingly demanding, diabolical and destructive all the while blaming the more passive compliant partner. Let’s take a look at the typical pattern. In this case we are talking about a male client, but the converse is also true for a female client suffering under the weight of becoming passive in a narcissistic relationship.

Most often the manipulative person will start off controlling their partner with lower level manipulations and increasingly “up the ante” along a continuum in order to gain the upper hand against the more passive male. It often starts with infamous pouting, murmuring under her breath, rolling her eyes, grumbling within listening distance, being passive aggressive, gaslighting, creating no win situations, sabotaging, yelling, & especially blaming. The manipulative person does not see the world as a place where different perspectives exist. For them the only perspective is their own. If these destructive behaviours do accomplish getting the dominated male to capitulate then the narcissist graduates their tactics to include punishing. Punishing is often displayed by targeting the dominated male in much more severe ways; such as being excommunicated from the group, children and grandchildren used as pons, personal boundaries being crossed, publicly disrespected, smear campaigns spread by gossip & slander, as well as dirty looks especially in public etc.

I knew one male whose best friend died and his seethingly angry sister showed up to the funeral and made it clear that she didn’t want to talk and walked away when he said hello. The fact that someone would treat someone in mourning in such a disgraceful way speaks to the fact that nasty people are really good at one thing. They have perfected the art of being nasty. Think about it like this, when a person acts nasty to get people to give into their demands and compliance is achieved what happens? The nasty behaviours are reinforced and this person truly does get really good at being nasty. The problem for them is that nearer the end of their lives the only remaining people within their circle are those there due to fear of reprisal. Not a recipe for love for sure, which is the more vulnerable need they are missing in their lives.

The men who are entangled with these narcissistic types suffer in silence for years and yet they come by all of this honestly. These people pleasing (and ultimately partner pleasing) behaviours have been programmed into them since infancy. The legitimate need for love and acceptance was dangled before them like a carrot from demandingly harsh parents. In other words, they have been programmed from childhood to be manipulated by their world so when they encounter the abusive types they are often trapped into these dysfunctional and toxic relationships.

Men lose their voice in this world as the result of abuse much the same way women experience a lack of voice after abuse. Going along to get along is often a coping strategy that served a child who suffered extreme punitive antics from hostile and angry controlling parents.

So how does the dominated male deal with this? What can he do when he finds himself in this never ending hamster wheel of never enough? Typically even when he changes relationships the problems remain. These narcissistic types find him at work, on the baseball field, and in intimate relationships. How is that so? The answer to his problem is that he must change how he seeks love. He must no longer jump to the demands of the bottomless pit female or others exhibiting similar traits. He must risk push back in the form of anger, reprisal, & public ostracism as he extracts himself from their selfish ways. He must be coached to recognize the difference between love and manipulation. Love does not demand its own way. Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. Love will demonstrably care about his well being. In other words he will “matter” in the most respectful sense of the word in the context of any relationship. Check out 1 Corinthians 13. 

Decision making and movement forward only takes place when the client comes to see they can only control themselves and let go of pleasing others. These men must face the fear of disappointing others and they must let go of people pleasing. They can no longer view their role in this world as making others happy. Letting go of outcomes and allowing the other person to deal with their stuff is not easy, as they will blame shift and use every tactic possible to guilt you and reel you back to where they had you.

It is at this juncture in coaching where the male client becomes stronger as they recognize their right to be loved in the most healthy way possible. They get strong and begin to look within their current situation and examine whether or not they are being manipulated or loved. Knowing the distinction and receiving validation through coaching impacts their lives in ways they never thought possible. Their life begins to change dramatically. No longer are sulky demanding women or demanding insecure males interested in him anymore as they move on to their next target. These types can’t get what they want out of him so he becomes less desirable of a target. In other words he is no longer a “good fix.” He is free of them and seeks out healthier and much more mutually loving relationships.

Although what is said above is true note that this will not be easy. He will need to be more courageous than he has ever been in his existence. The seriousness of the fall out as he detaches himself for the sake of his mental health will come at a cost. The narcissistic types will make sure of it. Depending where he was entangled in this dysfunctional dance he will suffer for taking control of his mental health. Remember he was entangled with those who have severe mental health issues (narcissism and manipulation are a serious mental health issue). Leaving these toxic relationships will devastate many aspects of his life. He may suffer a wide variety of losses through a brutal divorce. He may lose all of his money, his reputation, and his career. He may even lose his children and grandchildren.

These men often stay stuck in these relationships as the threats are real. It takes courage to change and become who you were meant to be, and it takes courage to go through the gauntlet to get to the other side. Both women and men stay stuck in abusive relationship dynamics for good reason. But if you persevere just think of the freedom you will gain in your spirit. Imagine a life where you are no longer made to move by the demands of others or externally driven by the choices of other rather than making your own. Imagine feeling the wind on your face knowing you are good enough just by being yourself.

So what is the other side like? What happens when the dominated male no longer allows himself to be dominated (especially from the women in his world). He grows and blossoms and becomes who he was created to be in the first place. He becomes a man who knows he is worthy of love, caring, and tenderness in a world that is often harsh and self centred. He becomes strong and authentic. He is no longer led around by the bit and bridle of the domineering. He leads his own life with dignity and is someone to be admired. Even his children will come to see what an incredible strong and courageous man he is.

Are you ready to get off of the never enough hamster wheel?

If you are a dominated male caught in the never enough hamster wheel feel free to reach out knowing it won’t be easy, but it will be well worth becoming the man you long to be.

As a word of wisdom and a first step:

Steer clear of those people who exhibit the following character traits: Resentment, bitterness, grudge bearing, meanness, judgment, self-aggrandizing, misery, hostility, demanding, antagonistic and faithlessness.

Look for the following character traits in yourself and surround yourself with people who also exhibit the following: Compassion, love, forgiveness, gentleness, goodness, mercy, self control, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and faithfulness.  Those of us who possess these character traits are often found to be on the receiving end of those who have the opposite traits.

Intentionally look for those with good character and start making decisions of who gets to be within your circle instead of leaving your fate up to punitive angry people. Time to take control of our own life. You get to decide.

Take good care,



Why: why we believe professional certified coaching is the best form of support for most of life’s difficulites

Coaching is gaining in popularity. People are no longer viewing coaching as it relates to fitness & sport. CEOs of large corporations & institutions, small business owners, career minded people, college students, couples’, stay at home parents, young adults, middle aged and the elderly are all hiring personal coaches to assist with everything from transitions of life, break ups, work performance to couples coaching. Coaching is quickly becoming a much sought after support system due to the fact that hiring a professional coach works. The proof is in the fact that coaching moves you through wherever you are and helps you get to where you want to go!

What is important to know about coaching is that professional /certified coaches are not taking some weekend warrior course on life coaching. Professional coaching is so much more comprehensive and skilled than that. So check the credentials of your coach before you move forward.

Professional /certified coaches have to go through extensive training from an ICF recognized school that includes theory, coursework, mentoring, observations, and over 100 hours of active “hands on” coaching before they even embark into the field. ICF, the International Coaching Federation is a governing body that has its own criteria that needs to be accomplished before the coach can be certified by ICF. There is a significant /important Code of Ethics that coaches are required to follow as well as one must prove competence in the core competencies outlined by ICF by submitting video footage etc. A comprehensive, timed final exam is also required. Coaches are also trained to know where clients may benefit from other therapies and are required to refer clients on if this is the case. The thing is most people do NOT need therapy. There are people who need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist, but coaching is quickly taking people helpers to the next level. Coaching is a very empowering process when administered from highly accredited and certified coaches.

George and Lesley are certified coaches though Canada Coach Academy, ICF (International Coaching Federation) and Christian Coach Institute. George & Lesley “each” have 30 years teaching, coaching, counselling and working in the area of advanced Educational Psychology experience and education. Both George and Lesley hold advanced post graduate degrees in Ed. Psychology so the “learner mindset” is prevelant in the work we do as coaches. Life is viewed as lessons to learn from and making plans with new thinking.

So why did George and Lesley decide to get into coaching? Why not counselling, social work, psychotherapy etc? Both George & Lesley have advanced graduate work in Educational Psychology and each of us have a total of 16 years combined in University course work. So why did we pursue the coaching route that parallels many of these helping professions? The answer is compelling, but not difficult to figure out.

At times in our personal lives we had reached out to therapy styled professions in the past and the results were disastrous. Here are the reasons we decided we could offer people something above and beyond the poor supports that we experienced. We knew there had to be a better way.

  1. Often we left more discouraged than prior to walking into the session. We believe this happened because of a “deficit” model. Essentially in other models the therapist is acting as the “expert” and the client/ patient is seen as someone who has a deficit that needs to be fixed. We believe that with significant psychiatric concerns this model has a place, but for most people who are relatively mentally stable and not suffering from an organic untreated mental illness this model falls extremely short. The model we use is one that sees the client as a whole person who can benefit greatly for the opportunity to have a safe space to think out loud and be guided through an extremely powerful & creative process. With strategic questioning, a safe space, and a trusted relationship with the personal coach the client then leaves the session with feelings of self empowerment and self determination. Walking out of an office should never feel as though you are deeply flawed. You are human and you have what it takes to work through your concerns with the right support. At Waypoint we won’t let your negative self talk cause you to feel inferior with us and we will never act as superior towards you. Instead we will continually remind you of the truth so you can kick that negative self talk to the curb.
  2. Other times we felt as though the therapist was injecting themselves, their biases, and their solutions into our story with catastrophic results. Your story is your own. No one has walked in your shoes. It is unprofessional for anyone to inject their biases into your situation. At Waypoint the only advice you will get are honest observations that you allow us to share at your discretion. We ask permission to share our observations and we respect your space as it is yours alone. We will poke holes in your unhealthy beliefs as you will discover they are getting in the way of what you want. We will do so respectfully as we are highly trained to “stay in our lane”. At Waypoint you can know you matter and we will observe without judgment, and ensure you are the designer of your path forward.
  3. Other times the “times up” which typically cued the end of the session was implemented with terrible timing. Either the therapist wasn’t able to move the conversation to where we would leave on a definitive note with steps of action or the session was terminated at a significant point of vulnerability. Because we want our clients to make progress and we don’t want our clients to feel cut off after they leave a session we have created unique ‘in-between” session coaching at no extra charge. Waypoint coaching does not end at the end of your session. You can always reach out to us in-between your session. We also develop ongoing in-between session work where necessary and we do hold you accountable to meet your goals. No one leaves a Waypoint session in tears.
  4. Other times trauma was completely mistaken for drama. If you are experiencing any trauma whether at work, home or in any area of your life we will be able to identify it and support you in a way that is often overlooked by other deficit models of therapy. When a therapist appears to be watching your life the way they would watch a drama unfold on TV it is time to get out. We won’t allow you to blow up your life if you are experiencing trauma, but instead will guide you through the appropriate self-regulation strategies you will need to get yourself back from the aftershocks of your traumatic experience. This way you can move forward informed making solid decisions from a place of stability and consideration. At Waypoint we won’t let you blow up your life when you’ve been traumatized. We’ve got your back!

With backgrounds in Educational Psychology both George and Lesley are able to create curriculum that enhances coaching during the in-between sessions. That is, you get more support than you ever would with another type of counselling or therapy. These assignments are tailored to the unique needs of every client. We use assessment tools to help identify your strengths, and we help you put your strengths to work. Coaches help people in the area of mental health, relationships, careers, business, and yes, also fitness pursuits in such a way as to give the client the level of respect that is second to none. We don’t pathologize clients (we do not diagnose clients or find flaws that need to be fixed). We do not set ourselves as above our clients, but we do know that we can walk our clients through a process that is empowering and develops self determination at its core.

With a professional/certified coach all of the addictions, trauma, and pain from life is handled in a much different way than with other therapies. We do not blame you, yet we hold you accountable to the plan that YOU create. We develop curriculum/assignments/reflections that are unique to your own learning style. We deal with shame from a place of self discovery while fostering life changing self-compassion.  Coaching is a strength based, client centred approach to supporting you in whatever place you find yourself. The philosophy and paradigm for coaching is the belief that you have everything you need inside you to make the decisions you need to make to plan a way forward. We take you through a process at your pace, and support you to find the strength you didn’t know you had. It takes time to change thinking, and to overcome the hard things that life has presented you with, but we are here to show you that the best is yet to come. It is a privilege to come along side you to work with you in whatever place you find yourself.

We offer a no-charge 40 minutes consultation so that you can determine if coaching is right for you. If you are reading this article then perhaps the time is right for you to get started.

So why did we go into coaching? We decided to be the kind of help we would want for ourselves, our loved ones, and for those in this world who are hurting, ready for change, traumatized, tired, and/or just ready to be inspired.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1

We look forward to working with you,

George & Lesley

The Destructive Nature of Anger: anger & pain and circular transmission

Anger. You see it everywhere and especially now during Covid fatigue. People in grocery stores are losing patience with one another. The maskers are angry at the anti maskers. People are becoming increasingly frustrated with arrows on the floors and especially angry at those who don’t follow the arrows. Tempers are flaring and people are tired, frustrated and ANGRY.

I’ve had a number of clients coming to me of late asking for help with their anger. They know they are losing their personal battle with their inner anger gremlin. They find themselves at their wits end as they are noticing they are losing friends, hurting their intimate relationships and bumping, more like smashing, into co-workers completely unaware on how to deal with this powerful emotion. Conversely I have clients in my office suffering at the receiving end of someone else’s anger. Whether it be within the context of toxic family of origin members, toxic workplace environments or at the hands of toxic bosses whose idea of leadership is in fact dictatorship. I will be writing more on leadership for the benefit of all at a later date.

Whether you want to control your own anger or figure out how to get off of the floor due to someone else’s destructive anger this article is designed to help you sort through your emotions and give you the tools you need to move forward. You are not helpless, but this emotion is not easy to navigate alone.

People get angry for so many reasons. Anger was designed to do good. Anger is an emotion intended to produce action and it was given to us so that we could be energized to move in the direction of correcting a wrong in this world. Don’t believe me? Think back to the last time you were angry. Did you perceive some kind of injustice? Whether the perceived injustice was towards yourself, towards your loved ones, or for some important cause that required your help? Anger mobilizes us. You become ready to fight, to swing, to run, to do something about the injustice when you are angry. I’ve heard it said that those who have been severely abused and suffer from learned helplessness or a loss of personal agency, do good to get in touch with their deep anger as this often is the momentum they require to propel them off the floor. What one may do with anger is what will determine whether the action will move circumstances towards a positive outcome or towards a more destructive one.

To understand that anger is a strength-building human emotion when used properly, and conversely a destructive force with far reaching implications when used improperly is the first step in taming this powerful emotion. To channel your anger into what you want instead of blindly finding yourself in the middle of what you don’t want is in fact deep work in self awareness.

The people who end up in my office wanting to work on their own anger management are greeted with unconditional positive regard and know they have a safe place to explore this malady that has been messing up their aspirations in life. However, those who want to deal with their own anger in a healthy and constructive way are a very small fraction of the population as most people who go to anger management do so only when their lives are falling apart or when they have been ordered to do so by the court. Those who volunteer themselves over to self examination concerning their own anger, and include a sense of personal compassion, are those able to make the shift from being controlled by their anger towards the kind of person they want to be. These are the “anger over-comers” who work diligently at developing a strong sense of self control & self respect and these are the people who are more likely to chart a mature path forward. The word “maturity” isn’t meant to sound derogatory here. I will use this word in the clinical sense, that is, to manage oneself, create space to discern the problem at hand, and to choose to act in ways befitting a man or woman who maintains personal dignity.  Developing and maintaining dignity is important as well as giving dignity to others, regardless of the choices others’ may make. This creates self determination within your life story. In other words your dignity is not based on the behaviour of other people.

We have all been the recipient of someone else’s anger. We have all been on the receiving line of injustice imposed on us by another’s desire for personal gain, revenge, one up woman/man-ship and at the extreme side of the pendulum “sadism.”

Here are some examples of various abuses and misuses of anger experienced by the recipient (s), although this list is not exhaustive. “Overt” faces of anger include: Yelling, making cutting remarks, sarcasm, obvious exclusion at work or family systems, cutting you off from children and/or grandchildren, slander, property theft, property disposal, property destruction, manipulation, deception, being framed/blamed for things one has not done, swearing at a person, physical hitting, slapping, kicking and any other form of physical &/or sexual abuse.

Other examples of more “covert” or passive aggressive forms of anger include: Showing up late, calling last minute to cancel, taking credit for your successes and ideas, planting seeds of distrust & suspicion about you to people you work with or to those in your personal life, assassinate your character to those you love, excluding you from family functions while inviting members closest to you, the silent treatment, interrupting while you are speaking, jumping to conclusions about anything you have said or done without talking to you about it first, forming opinions (aka making assumptions) about you without first inquiring about your point of view, using your things without returning them, mocking you publicly, & gossiping about you behind your back. Gossip deserves its own article so I will write more to that at a later date. There are many more examples of what people do to people when they are angry and feel justified to engage in these mean, nasty and sadistical behaviours as noted above. Research indicates that these passive-aggressive forms of anger are significantly more used when the perpetrator believes they can get away with these behaviours and not get caught out. In other words passive-aggressive behaviours (as described in the covert expression of anger) are used by those who want to express their anger without taking responsibility for their role.

Nothing puts a person in touch with having a sense of helplessness more than the infamous smear campaign designed to hurt & destroy one’s sense of value and worth. The devaluing of another person is a common trait among narcissists and is meant to cause pain (saddism). When your pain makes someone else smile you know you have a narcissist or worse in your midst. So having observed anger misused in the workplace, family of origin systems, social pecking orders, and life in general there are some things that you truly can do to manage your own anger and manage your response to someone else’s anger aimed towards you. You can regain a sense of control, of personal value, and of personal agency, that is, sensing you have some influence over your own life & situation without succumbing to the lie that you must act or retaliate.

For starters, let’s get real.

We all have an inner anger gremlin. This is a fact. You cannot sit and point fingers at someone else’s inner anger gremlin as four fingers are pointing directly back at you and yours may even have more hair than theirs. So let’s talk about anger, how we learned to cope with it, how we can unlearn those destructive ways, and how to make a shift in the only person we have control over, that is, ourselves.

Recall an incident where you experienced any of the above experiences at the hands of someone else’s anger.  If so, pause and think about how it made you feel. These words are often noted: hurt, rejected, offended, insulted, saddened, out of control, condemned and…ANGRY. Yes there it is. Anger is also in the mix when you’ve been hurt by someone by their lack of ability to manage their own anger.

Angry people do not communicate very well. Feelings of hurt often turn to feelings of anger and out of control anger turns to rage. Rage on the loose impacts your brain. Rage will distort your reality and your mind will look to find evidence to back up the intense feelings that you are experiencing. Your perception becomes altered and your body kicks into flight or fight mode.

You were designed for your sympathetic nervous system to kick in whenever there is a threat, real or percieved. Your sympathetic nervous system directs the body’s rapid involuntary response to dangerous or stressful situations, and when this response is activated you get a rush of hormones that boosts your level of alertness accelerating your heart rate ensuring the you have extra blood going towards your muscles. Your body does not know that the perceived threat is not physical and that a wild animal is not chasing you. Your body has no idea, but your mouth goes dry, your armpits sweat and your fists become clenched along with your jaw.

The most important part of dealing with your own anger and/or your response to someone else’s anger is to become aware of your body. Yes, your body. Your thoughts are busy racing so right now you need to get your body back to calm. Good decisions are never made when your body is in flight or fight mode. So how can you get your body back to calm?

You need some private (the only you know) kind of tools in your tool box that can help you get your body’s sympathetic nervous system under control. You can create your own list, but here are some strategies:

  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Excuse yourself with the intention to come back
  • Find a rock

Hands: Take notice of your hands. Are they clenched. If they are clenched then open them up so that your palms are open. Make the mental connection to this personal gesture as a reminder to yourself that you do not have to fix people or situations. You do not have to insist that anyone or anything come through for you in order for you to be okay. A child makes these demands of life and people. This is why we call it a tantrum. As painful as the circumstances you find yourself, and the injustice that you are experiencing are facts and the stories you tell yourself. Stop telling yourself stories about what is happening. Know that your wellbeing, survival and future is not based on whatever is going on. Open palms. Insist on nothing.

Feet: Notice your feet. Particularly notice the soles of your feet. Note what year it is. Where are you standing. What are you wearing? You are grounding yourself in the here and now. You are not back to the event where you felt traumatized by someone in your childhood or the out of control boss at work from years back. You are in the current moment and the former events are NOT happening. You are feeling triggered. These are merely old emotions that you can feel, experience  and let go. You are in the here and now. Nothing is as bad as you once felt.

Excuse yourself with the intention of coming back to the table: If you find yourself feeling way too intense that you know you are probably going to react instead of respond to the situation then you may have to excuse yourself. Tell those you are with at that moment that you need a few minutes, and inform them that you will be back to discuss the issue as soon. Give them a timeframe or reschedule. Once you are away from the conversation practice using your hands and feet as a reminder of giving up control over people and events as well as grounding yourself in the present.

Find a rock: and write a word on it that reminds you of who you want to be in every circumstance. Perhaps you write the word “peaceful”, “loving”, or “dignity” for example. Choose a word that defines for you who you choose to be in this world write it on the rock and put it in your pocket. Keep it with you always or at least until you have internalized your ability to stay grounded.

Something that has become increasingly obvious to me as I coach people who are dealing with their own anger or don’t know how to respond to the anger of others is that, without a doubt, people are touchy.  More often than not people over react to others and circumstances. Often people think the worst. So if people are over reacting, thinking the worst of a person or situation, and they are easily angered they are in fact not managing their own nervous systems. In general people say things that never should be said and they also snap at one another in ways they would never want done to them.

For the most part I have witnessed people treating others in ways they would NEVER want others to treat them. They have a tendency to re-write their level of innocence and typically cast themselves as the victim and the other person as the villain. Yes, some people are control freaks and they run roughshod over others to get what they want. Some people need to have reminders that there are boundaries around you that they are not allowed to invade without consequence. I will discuss more on boundaries in a later article. What I want to emphasize is that MOST people have significant difficulties managing their own anger than most realize.

Unmanaged anger blows thoughts out of proportion, creates miscommunication, emphasizes the weakness in others and discounts any strengths. Unmanaged anger creates a “victim” storyline in your life and casts others in the role of villain. Thought distortions, self inflicted drama, cutting people out of your life who deserve better, are often the result of unmanaged anger. Anger management problems are the unwelcome gifts you have received from your family or origin. These gifts will keep on giving if you don’t figure out how to manage your own anger for if you don’t understand that healing truly does begin with you then neither will your children and the cycle will just keep repeating itself.

There are some things to never fight over. Don’t fight over money, because you can’t take it with you. Don’t fight over material possessions as you can’t take them with you either. Don’t fight for others to be or act in a certain way as you cannot nor should you try to control anyone. If someone exhibits anger problems that inflict pain on you just know they should not be in your inner circle. Remember the number one trait of a narcissist is they lack empathy and for anyone to be in your life they must show empathy towards you. If someone doesn’t care how they make you feel, what you think, nor consider you going forward they do not belong in your inner circle. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Manage your own anger and remove yourself from the toxic self entitled anger of others. Doing so will create the peaceful experience that you hold dear and you will be a role model for generations to come.


Until next time,



Getting Unstuck For Real

As a coach I hear a lot of people talking about circumstances and situations where they feel truly stuck. I can empathize with the pain that stuckness creates. The indecisive quagmire of “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” scenarios. Nothing is more mentally painful than to find yourself in the middle section of the “I want this but I don’t want this” continuum. Personal inner turmoil ups anxiety and anxiety is the worst state to make any decision possible resulting in more stuckness. Stuckness is  universal, but I am here to tell you that there is no universal answer to your stuckness.

If you research this topic you will find a lot of people talk at length on how to get unstuck from a difficult situation. Often their answers will appear trite as they preface their help lines with “If you only…” or “You should…” or how about “Why don’t you just..” The list can go on forever. It is disheartening when the person you enlist to assist you just doesn’t get it.  I am going to approach stuckness from a very different paradigm. I am here to be a voice crying out to you in the wilderness to tell you that you are actually stuck for a very GOOD REASON and this reason is what is causing a lot of indecisiveness in your life. The resulting indecisiveness is merely a symptom to why you are stuck. You need to get to the root cause that is unique to you. A one size fits all approach will NOT work.

Many people helpers will try to work on your indecisiveness instead of the reason for your stuckness. For example, some helpers might try to help you get your energy back by encouraging you to start implementing positive self talk (although positive self talk is always helpful). Perhaps doing jumping jacks every morning might help? No it won’t. Your problem isn’t that you are not doing jumping jacks, nor is it negative self talk, and it certainly is not looking for moments of zen and restfulness. The bottom line is that you are in a pit. You need a ladder, a rope, and the strength to pull yourself out of that pit. I won’t coach you to fill your life with what isn’t addressing your biggest concern or your personally identified level of stuckness. That would be a waste of time.

Recently I listened to an audiobook on how to coach yourself so that you could change your bad habits to good habits in 30 days. While listening I noticed that I became increasingly agitated. When I reflected further I realized that I was agitated because all the author did was use overused -one size fits- all cliche pep talks that I found to be annoying and unrelated to the specific concerns experienced by any given individual. If any of us could get unstuck by looking at memes, reading cliches or positive self talk there would be no need to hire a coach let alone be reading this article about “Getting Unstuck For Real.”

So let’s get real about your reason for the stuckness in your life that is causing you so much internal distress. Let’s talk about what you can begin to do to help yourself to climb out of that pit.

Competing Commitments:

Competing commitments are often the culprit behind your stuckness. When your values/deeply held beliefs compete with your other deeply held beliefs you will stay stuck in your pit. What you value in your heart of hearts is battling with a host of counterfeit values called “shouldas, oughtas, wouldas and couldas.” These four constructs are often what keep you stuck. They are not your actual values or deeply held beliefs but are constructs that you picked up through your life story. This is why I say you are actually stuck for a very good reason. My role as coach is to challenge the shouldas, oughtas, wouldas, and coudas that are distracting you from being able to identify what it is you truly value. Once you are able to identify what your true values and deeply held beliefs you will be much clearer on which path to take.

No one wants to feel stuck, loop back into old patterns of self destructive behaviours, or suffer the inner turmoil that comes with making a decision that hurts regardless which path you choose. You are in a difficult situation. Indecisiveness is a very sneaky culprit that preys upon the perfectionist & people pleaser in all of us.

Imagine with me that an acquaintance whom you’ve met through mutual friends seems to be increasingly showing up in your circles. At first you don’t pay much attention to them. You don’t notice them all that much. Then suddenly this acquaintance “friend” has seemingly made themselves very comfortable getting all set up in your house. You watch as they raid your refrigerator, take over your comfy chair located directly in front of your big screen tv. This acquaintance is annoying, troublesome, and inconsiderate. Say hello to indecisiveness.

Let’s work together to uncover what has brought you to this level of stuckness. Lets work to support you to discern what values and deeply held beliefs matter most to you. So before we ask indecisiveness to leave we assess your competing commitments in order to get you out from that space between a rock and a hard place. Together we can find out what you really care about so that you can make some hard choices ensuring what you value most is being addressed in the decision that you choose to make. At this point you can ask indecisiveness to leave and open the door to “Quality of Life”.


Thanks for reading,




Manage Conflict Through Coaching and Find Peace: Conflict Series, Work, Home & Play Part 1


A little text book thinking to start. Conflict has been studied and analyzed at various levels in our society and for a variety of reasons. The quest to understand conflict notes that when we seek to resolve disputes and mitigate conflict it truly does enhance our personal and professional lives. Solving conflict in respectful ways actually increases our sense of well-being.  That being said, conflict has been studied to reduce the glut of cases within the court systems, to reduce marital breakdown, as well as workplace discord along with the ensuing unproductively. Another hope to reduce unproductive conflict is to lessen the negative impact on children while fostering a civil and caring society.

No one with any sense of sanity enjoys conflict, but having difficult conversations is an important aspect in moving relationships towards growth, depth & meaning (in both our personal as well as work lives).  Conflict can develop depth, learning and intimacy. In other words, conflict itself is not a problem. It is when conflicts are poorly dealt with that we all suffer painful problems, discord, arguments resulting in relational as well as institutional breakdowns.

Physical Health Crisis

When conflict is not handled properly the results are not only disastrous in our home & work relationships, but also on our health. Family conflicts, neighbourhood disputes, marital breakdown, negative workplace interactions, hurting friendships all have a significant impact on our emotional and physical health. The health care system is overwrought with people whose ailments are the direct result of wear and tear on the body through the impact of relational stress and strain over time. As the science of conflict tells us: if we don’t reduce conflict and the ensuing pain that escalated conflict can bring, we as a society will continue to witness increases in work absenteeism due to factual physical difficulties. Alcoholism, eating disorders, migraine headaches, digestive difficulties, cancer, and difficulties with memory and mental clarity can be a direct result.

So with all this knowledge of how conflict surfaces, escalates and damages our lives then what is stopping us from taking steps to reduce this kind of stress we all endure? Before I try to answer this question let’s look at other aspects where poorly handled conflict rears itself.

When Conflict Equals War

At a macro level conflict has been studied in order to understand politics, persuasion and ultimately to study war to learn how to negotiate differences while maintaining national interests in peaceful and productive ways. Let’s face it, conflict not handled properly has devastating physical, emotional and financial consequences. Certainly at a macro level the results are devastating to societies and populations all over the world. We know that regional conflict has been documented from the the earliest of times. We are witness to conflict at work today. All we have to do is turn on the news.

Workplace Conflict Resolution

Workplace conflicts are flooding the use of EAPs (Employment Assistance Programs) as well as group insurance providers. Some insurance companies cover psychological and psychiatric services that often take years to assist employees dealing with toxic workplace conflict. Money, time and productivity are lost when workplaces lack the skill set necessary to resolve differences that lead to disputes.

In larger institutions such as the medical profession (hospitals, clinics etc) as well the Educational sector (schools, school divisions and learning centres)  you would think that professionals in the helping professions would have a handle on how to resolve differences that lead to disputes. Actually the opposite is true. These helping professions are riddled with massive destructive & dysfunctional styles of conflict from the top down. CEOs, superintendents, managers, and the leaders in these institutions are more often than not completely unfit to deal with conflict in the workplace. As a matter of fact they are the number one cause of workplace dissension. I will write about the impact of leadership on workplace health in another blog. Suffice to say leadership is responsible for the tone, rapport, and expectations on how conflict is handled within the workplace. They must be the role model of workplace conflict resolution, but unfortunately if you show me a workplace that suffers from toxic discord you must look to the leaders as they will be found to be the culprits exhibiting the worst of human destruction within their own walls. Remember the notable reference to the ancient scribes? A city divided against itself will not stand.

But wait! How can you promote peace if you are a reasonable peace-loving person yet the people in your circle seem to thrive on keeping conflict alive? Yes, many people actually enjoy and thrive on creating and maintaining conflict. You know who they are. They just seem to speak without thinking, blurt out nasty comments while you and those you care about feel the sting. They turn tables, that is, they might say you are too sensitive or they didn’t mean it that way. Or they flat out lie, manipulate and do “end arounds” to establish workplace territory. In other words, they don’t take responsibility for their role in conflict or the tactical warfare they engage in. You know how it goes. What we at Waypoint focus on is your role in the conflict. Even if you are being targeted or bullied we can help you find your way through this quagmire. We help you look at the situation objectively while reducing the emotional distress. We help you discover and practice using your voice in ways that pull you out of the position of “nobody” and into the position of self confidence. Once you discover your inner voice, personhood, and options we walk you through a strategic process to discover all of your options while taking back your power in ways that emit the kind of respect you may have lost. Let’s be real here. Interactions with aggressive, self serving, manipulative people & systems can weaken your view of your options in stressful situations.

At Waypoint we don’t blame or shame. We walk you through a system where you keep your integrity (or maybe even find it) while maintaining your boundaries. At Waypoint the focus is on YOU where we hold space for you to ascertain what it is you need, want and support you as you execute the plan that gives you back your God given right to self respect. We support you as you learn to “unhook” from the bait of those who merely view you as the competition they want to remove. We work through the circle of respect where you live your life from a place of dignity and self respect while giving the same to others regardless of their deceitful and dysfunctional ways.

Waypoint offers coaching to support you wherever you find yourself dealing with painful and tiresome conflict. We know that conflict drains us, reduces creativity, minimizes energy and quality of life.

Please feel free to read my next blog where you will find Conflict at Work, Home & Play Part 2 in order to find out how to  eliminate the things that block us from taking steps to reduce conflict in our lives at home and work. Obstacles are not the problem, but the lack of skill in this area often is the culprit. With skills and strategies you can and will get around the obstacles to obtaining peace and success.


Weekly Word to the Wise:

You are a gift to the world. When you become entrenched in warfare with those who thrive on it you are not where you are supposed to be. You were created for more.- Lesley Corbett-

Thanks for reading.