NOTE: I wrote this before the ravaging of the nation’s Capital 😡 It is ever so much more important now that the insurrectionists get prosecuted, and that goes double for their co-conspirators in Congress.
The Democrats in Congress are in an abusive relationship with a large group of their governing partners, but they may not realize the precise nature of that relationship. We’re here to help with a tale about running a “business” with toxic partners, and how to respond to them.
Girlfriend, I know this is a hard conversation to have, but I think we have to have it. I hope you listen, for your own good and the good of the kids, and for the business you’re trying to run.
I just want to say, you need to dump those guys!
You know what I’m talking about. You have been a little clueless; you have been denying the obvious. So I’m here to tell you two things. One, you’re in an abusive relationship with those partners of yours and their foul leader, and two, you are the one getting abused. Everyone else sees it. The neighbors see it and they feel bad for you. Your kids see it for sure. You don’t see it, but now is the time for you to open your eyes, name it for what it is, and figure out how to deal with it.
I know it’s tough when a relationship ends. It sneaks up on you. One day you’re cruising along having a great time, making plans, getting great things done. Then the next thing you know, they’re not talking to you the way they used to. In fact, they’re not talking at all. And nothing you say seems to get through. They’re not willing to discuss anything or even have an honest argument.
All their leader can do is criticize and blame and call you names and invent the most egregious lies. They don’t even bother to do the work; the business is circling the drain and they don’t really care. The leader’s craven underlings are just as bad; all they do is scream about the corporate debt. You see, don’t you, that this is a textbook case of abuse?
Think about the nastiness! That’s not normal. They were never this bad, but boy are they now, especially with the kids. They pick the best and the brightest of them and heap it on, and you’re so muddled and confused you don’t even defend them, even though they will soon be inheriting the place. The kids always suffer: another classic abuse situation.
And the lies. So many lies! The underlings are even worse since they know better. They pretend to believe in what they say so convincingly that you almost doubt the evidence of your own senses. Talk about a reality distortion field, making all their disgraceful behavior seem normal! It’s crazy-making and it’s compromising the health of the business. Yet another sign of abuse.
This has been going on for years, and you know it will continue to go on for as long as you let it go on: the lies, the blaming, the name-calling, the yelling, the withholding, the threats, the false accusations, the denying of reality. It never stops on its own. This will be your future and the future of the business unless you acknowledge the abuse and call it out for what it is.
The old days are gone. I know you want to hang onto that old thing you once had together. But there comes a time when you have to accept that you no longer have any real partners in running the business, especially not in the underlings, who are equally corrupt but a lot smarter, especially those two, and you know who I mean. You have to understand that they are not in it to do the work — they are in it solely for the money and the power and the glory and the future money, and that’s it. It’s greed, baby, all the way. All else is artifice. They cheat in board meetings to maintain control of the purse, and screw with corporate regulations to line their pockets and give away the hard-earned profits of the business to their rich friends, who in turn keep them on the board.
So now, for your own welfare and that of the kids and for the health of the business, please accept the reality that instead of partners you have toxic adversaries, and dangerous ones at that. It is a bitter pill to swallow but you must swallow it. They almost burned the entire house down, for God’s sake. You barely made it out alive. You and the entire corporate leadership team were at serious risk and it’s a miracle nothing worse happened. The time has come. You need to hold him and all of his underlings accountable to the fullest extent possible, through all means available.
How to do that, you ask?
You can’t control them, but you can control yourself. Change your response to their abusive behavior. Call it out, firmly, publicly, clearly, and in detail, every single time it happens. Frame it as the radical, extremist conduct that it is. Describe over and over again how pathetically far short such conduct falls from their own stated ideals and the stated ideals of the business. Use all the levers you have; use the law when you need it.
Call out their lies. Specify in concrete terms the harm those lies do, and keep calling them out. Any time an underling floats a lie, frame it for what it is, a cynical attempt to enhance their own power and glory. Hold them accountable. Do it every single time, no matter how tired of it you get. It’s worth the effort. If lies sink in with repetition, so will the truth.
Pick apart the falsehoods they use to beggar the good work the business should be doing for its people and show it for what it really is — a way to keep more money in the pot for themselves and their rich friends.
Then widen the frame and paint a picture of what a business would look like that values truth over falsehood, that rewards competence rather than punishing it, that supports the common good, and that works to deliver real services to its people. These are the reasons you got into the business in the first place, so communicate that loudly and clearly.
And last but not least, always remember that the leader and his underlings are dangerous adversaries. They have made themselves known to you, so you know exactly who they are. Name them. Remember them. Do not try to reason with them. They are not to be trusted; they are destroyers. No unifying, no healing, no letting bygones be bygones, no reconciliation, until the full truth is uncovered, responsibility is accepted, and justice is done. Truth is what they hate, so truth is what you use to beat them. Hold that line, and hold it strong.
And for God’s sake, listen to the kids!
Good luck, girlfriend, you’ll need it. But we are with you.