Why Those You Love & Trust
Treat YOU Poorly • Part 2

“But what we get back is often far from what we wanted or expected; leaving us discouraged, frustrated, and angry, at everything and everybody…” — Rick Cox

We previously spoke about the way we condition our children to respond to us as well as how we condition them to treat us, but it might come as a shock to learn this works the same with your spouse, friends and coworkers. This especially works the same with your spouse. As a child I watched this happen in the relationship of my Mom and Dad. My Dad was a hard task master, very driven, with a type “A” personality, and always had to be right. He also didn’t like to be challenged so, in an argument he would simply get louder if he felt it was necessary to win. If my Mom challenged him he would bark back harshly to get her to shut up and back off. If he questioned where she had been or what she had been doing she was to humbly answer him with a response to his liking. This was the result of what he saw when he was raised and he followed suit.

Moreover, in our house Mom was as much a maid as a Mom. She had to pick up after Dad as he would leave his clothes wherever; my brothers and me did the same. Mom would walk through the house picking up after us putting our clothes in the hamper or washer to ensure that we always had clean clothes. Dad was in the drywall industry so his clothes reflected it. The drywall mud and the dust he worked in and around would harden on his clothes. Instead of taking them off at the door or in the laundry room, he would wear his pants, shirt and shoes around the house. As he moved and sat here or there the hardened drywall mud would fall off on the floor, on the couch or, on his chair.

As we got older and began to work part time in the industry we did the same. Nothing was ever said to us because Dad had previously laid down the law that drywall was what brought money into the home and therefore, his clothes were fine regardless of where he wore them. (This is the difference between being a redneck and a person of sophistication; for a person of sophistication WOULD NOT CARE to damage his own furniture or dirty up his own home).

Eight months previous to my wife and me getting married, we purchased a home into which I moved while she remained with her parents until we were married. Interestingly enough, I never did laundry as I took it home to Mom. For the eight months of living in the home I did however, wear my dirty pants and shirts around the house leaving the residue wherever I had been.

After we were married, I was still wearing the dirty pants and shirts around the house, but this lasted for only a few weeks before my wife began to share with me how this was damaging to the furniture as well as how it made for a messy home, which required much more cleaning then would have been necessary if I simply took the clothes off in the laundry room. I wish I could tell you that I accepted this and went on about my life and day, but that did not happen. I fought her tooth and nail. I was holding on to the example I saw from my Dad. She explained it wasn’t about my Dad it was about respecting the house and furniture for which we had worked so hard. It was not about her “telling me what to do” rather, it was about being smart enough to minimize the damage and work created by not taking off the clothes in the laundry room. It was about being sophisticated. The dirty clothes were not the only thing to which she applied her logic. She did the same with brushing my teeth, wearing deodorant, and generally cleaning up the way I dressed. The fact was, I didn’t brush my teeth every day and she felt it was necessary in order to have clean and healthy teeth so; she began talk to me about the importance of brushing my teeth.

After a few years of being married, she did the same with deodorant. I had never worn deodorant as it seemed it was never necessary. Unfortunately, as we get older our bodies change so; a few years after we were married I began to get an odor about me after a few hours of hard work. The real issue was I took her comments as cuts to me personally however, this wasn’t the case. She was simply trying to make sure the other people around me didn’t find me offensive; she wanted them to see me the same way she did.

There was another issue we dealt with early in our marriage and that was all of our friends began to get involved with wife swapping. I am not sure what the deal was, but we didn’t see it at first then all of a sudden it became clear what was going on. One evening after returning home we discussed what was going on with the couples we were hanging out with and what we wanted to do one way or the other. My wife was quick to say she was not interested in being involved with such a life style. Further, she said, “I can’t tell you what to do, but I will not participate…if you decide to then I won’t be here when you return.”

What I came to realize was my wife was driving her stake in and setting her boundaries. She was in essence, showing and telling me where her boundaries started and stopped. She was telling me what she was expecting with regard to my treatment of her. Unfortunately, my Mom did not do this. She allowed my Dad to set her boundaries for her, which especially as time went by, she did not like or appreciate. Instead of driving down her stake in every instance of disagreement thereby, setting her boundaries, she allowed her boundaries to be set by someone else. This caused hard feelings, which over the years built up and became an obstacle in her love for him. What she had done was TRAINED HIM BY DEFAULT. Rather than putting up with a little inconvenience and some emotional drama up front, she remained silent and her silence was taken as an acceptance of the boundaries he set for her. Sure, there has been a “few” times during the more than sixty years of marriage that she would get to the end of her rope and snap, ultimately moving out, but each and every time she always came back. It was as if by staying away she was punishing him; the longer she stayed away the more punishment he received. The truth was she was the only one being punished for he was still running her life by default just as she had allowed him to set her boundaries by default. Sadly, by default, she had trained him in how she wanted to be treated and he was doing just that…treating her in the manner in which she had allowed.

If it sounds like I am making excuses for my Dad, please understand I am not. I do not think what he did was appropriate in any way shape or form. I do understand however, how it can happen. I am also not making excuses for what I did, as it was wrong. The difference was my wife set her own boundaries and would not allow me to change them in any way shape or form. On the other hand my Mom allowed someone else to set her boundaries and grew bitter as a result. All these years later, Mom is unhappy and bitter while, my wife is happy and fulfilled. Both are receiving the treatment they established for how they would be treated.

How are you being treated by your loved ones and friends? Who has set your boundaries? What have you conditioned the world around you to give back? Are you happy with this or is it time to do something about it and change?

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox