“I don’t understand why my wife insists on being passive aggressive in her texts to me. She never just ASKS me nicely to do something… she always has to be vague and seems to bark orders.”
Because you trained her to be that way.
“I don’t get why my boss always drops a ton of work on me, but not my coworker. My coworker has made a living by sitting on his ass doing half of what I do. It’s not fair.”
Because you trained your boss to do that.
“My friend is never there for me when I need him. I helped him move, gave him a place to stay when his girlfriend threw him out, loaned him $100, let him use my car… but when I ask something of him, he’s nowhere to be found.”
Because you trained him to be that way.
“Not sure why my wife makes a point of belittling me in front of her friends. It’s obvious she’s being a bitch, but she just does it anyway. She doesn’t care.”
Because you trained her to be that way.
Don’t get me wrong… this isn’t another “everything is your fault” type of article. No, this is just the recognition that A LOT of your problems centered around the behavior of other people are there simply because you have literally trained/taught them to act in that manner.
Let’s break down each of the above VERY realistic scenarios and how this “training” theory applies.
“Wife is passive aggressive and bossy in texts.” – This is most likely the result of several years of text conversations between the two of you. She has probably always acted this way… and got results! Repeatedly. In essence, you trained her that ‘talking to me in that tone gets the job done’… so of course she keeps doing it! How do you stop her from doing that? Train her! ‘If you’re asking me to do this for you, then try something like ‘Sweety… would you have time to do this for me right now? I’m kind of swamped.’ See how easy that is? When you just tell me something like, ‘The car needs new tires’ and you just give me the number to the tire place with no further explanation… that’s not being a nice girl. That make sense? Assuming that’s what you’re asking me, the answer is yes… I can handle it, but it will have to wait until later. Really busy at the moment.”
“Boss gives you me unfair amount of work” – Why does he do this? Because you take on all that work and do it really well with no complaints … and have done so repeatedly. You’re a “for sure” thing! You’re going to need to stand up for yourself. “Okay… I get why you’re giving me all this stuff to do. I do good work and I always get it done… but I’m going to have to insist you start throwing more stuff over at Rob over there. By my calculations, you’re paying him a good salary to do roughly half of what I do… and from where I’m sitting, that’s not really fair to me. Wouldn’t you agree?” The retraining process begins. Boss has been informed that you have a backbone, you know your worth, and yes… he does have another employee that he can take advantage of and spread the work around.
“My friend is never there for me” – The friendship you have with him is lopsided. You give, he takes… and done. He’s not in the giving business. He has told you this repeatedly with his actions. It’s time to call him out on it and deny his next request for help. He needs a smack upside his head. Yes, it’s like being a parent… but sometimes that’s what it takes. You need to be the adult and tell people when they are doing you wrong, and you may need to make the hard decision to cut them out of your life completely.
“My wife belittles me in front of others” – This is a tough one that guys have a hard time wrapping their head around. “My wife sometimes acts shitty unless I train her to do otherwise? Dude, I’m not her freaking parent!” Yes, she’s a human. She’s just like the boss…friend… coworker and other people you have to “train”. She’s not an infallible angel of love and kindness. She’s a woman who sometimes gets a little too comfortable and does something stupid like, “Here… let me show my friends that I’m the boss in our relationship by putting you down in front of them.” That’s where you step up, smack her on the proverbial butt and tell her “Bad girl!” If you don’t… somebody else will… and they will earn her respect. You don’t want that.
Don’t be afraid to overty TRAIN people when it comes to what behavior you will accept in life. Another word for this? Boundaries. Create them. Enforce them. If not, people in your life will walk all over you.