When Treated with Disrespect…


One of my boys had become extremely bossy, demanding I take him here and there, and one day, when we pulled into the driveway, he commanded, “Be ready in ten minutes, and I’m hungry, make me a sandwich!”

His disrespect had taken a new level. Hmm…I wondered if aliens had abducted him and replaced his brain with someone else’s. Thank you, Father, for this opportunity.

I sensed the Lord’s prompting for a teachable moment, and instead of carrying out his request, I went upstairs, lay down on my bed, and started reading a magazine.

He burst into my room, “We have to leave! We’re going to be late!!! What are you doing? Where’s my sandwich?!”

Oh my. Father, help me be your love to this man/boy.

It was time to push the “reset” button.

“Baby, I love it that you have all these friends and fun things to do. I usually like to take you the places you need to go, and I love to see you spend time with your peeps. I have noticed that you have been increasingly bossy the last few weeks, and though I’ve talked to you about this a few times, you haven’t changed your behavior. As a result, I’m not going to make you a sandwich, nor am I going to drive you over to your friend’s house. You can go, but I won’t be the one getting you there. If you want to walk, that’s fine.”

His mouth fell open, eyes wide. “But…”

Then I got up and left my room, and went out the front door to get the mail.

(Because men need space to “chew” on information, to process.)

When I came back in, he was waiting for me. “You’re right, mom. I’ve been really rude and bossy. I’m sorry. I haven’t been respectful and you don’t deserve to be treated like that. It must make you feel like I take you for granted. I really appreciate your driving me around and stuff. Will you forgive me?”

“Of course, I forgive you. Thank you for understanding how I feel. I do feel taken for granted. I don’t want to feel that way in our relationship, and your apology and how you treat me in the future will impact that. Thank you,” I replied.

“So can we go?” he asked.

“Honey, you can go, but I’m not going to drive you over there. Let’s see how things go and maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll feel like driving you around again,” I said.

“But you forgave me. I’m confused,” he said.

“I do forgive you – but there are consequences,” I said. “I do love you, too, you know.”

He managed to talk his friend’s mom into coming to get him, and when he returned, he was a kinder, more respectful, gentler young man.

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9 thoughts on “When Treated with Disrespect…

  1. Oh… I see that I am not alone .. even though some times it REALLY feels like it ..

  2. Similarly, something happened to me just this week.
    My husband volunteered me to stand in for a major part in a production he is putting on with a friend tonight and tomorrow. He told me on Tuesday night that the student who was supposed to be there had pneumonia, and was too sick to some. I said I was sorry that happened and asked what their plan was, since the show (then) was in 3 days. He let me know he had told the other director that I could probably do it. I felt trapped and so I said if they could find NO ONE ELSE, that I could try to step in.
    Wednesday rolls around, and he calls me 3-4 times during work. The first was about finances, where he said that I was not “wrong” for having faith in God and trusting things to be okay, I was just naive. He called later to “apologize” which turned into another rant about my naive, optimistic viewpoint and how he was more biblical with the “hunker down and brace yourself” attitude. That I was wrong and being foolish, and I had no right to try to dissuade him from being the way he was. ( tried very much to remain calm and straightforward during this conversation.) Later, I let him know that I had too much work on my plate, and didn’t think I was going to be able to do the part, as I would have to cancel Wednesday night plans and Thursday night plans.
    What ensued was a 45 minute bullying and guilt-ing phone call when he told me flat out he wanted me to cancel all my priorities and that I should be willing to drop everything to help him. I tried to remind him that I was volunteered for this position, without consultation, and that it was going to be too hard to learn an entire show in two days. It was too much for me to do, plus we had invited people to come, and I was supposed to host them at our home before hand. Again with the degrading tone and language. He finally had to go into practice, and I was left to my own plans for that evening, which included a prayer night at our church and a ton of housework that has been lax since he has been busy with the play.
    When I got home later, he had already been home. Instead of apologizing for the way he talked to me, he let me know they had it figured out and they were covered. I said OK and went to take a shower. He confronted me in the bathroom about me being “quiet and moody” and I let him know that I was tired from the day and I was just going to go to be. After an hour of him letting me know why my attitude and demeanor was wrong and insulting to his intelligence (I kept telling him I was tired, he kept calling me a liar) I just walked away.
    He doesn’t understand why I was tired, and why I haven’t been “lovey dovey” since he “apologized”
    I let him know that “sorry isn’t a miracle cure that heals all wounds. there are consequences. He still doesn’t understand. It’s hard, but I am still trying! Even today, he has called me many times and tried to play things off as though Everything is Hunky Dorey, Business, as usual…

  3. What a great example for dealing w/ outright disrespect. I especially appreciate your sharing of what you might have said to husby in a similar situation. I so needed that – my own husby was quite short w/ me a few days ago & i decided to keep quiet & “forgive him,” but it was soooo hard, and i had to fight down the resentment. I wasn’t sure my (non)reaction was from the Lord or just cowardice. Anyway, your hypothetical response would have been so much better – for both of us, i think. I’m sure i will have other opportunities in the future to try it out – ha! Thanks so much for your honesty & openness w/ us “on the journey!”

  4. Nina,
    Just wondering how would your response have been different if it had been your husband that treated you that way? I thankfully don’t have a husband that ever treats me that way, but I suspect some women do. Can we have teachable moments like that with our husbands?

    • Honestly, with my husband, if he had acted like this, it would not have been something going on for a while. So, if he had said it, (if God directed me to) I would have walked over to him, put my hand lovingly on his bicep, and with a smile, sweetly said, “It’s not like you to be harsh with me – is everything okay?” At which point he would have said, “Oh, yeah, sorry, I think my blood sugar is low.” And I would have smiled again, kissed him, and said, “Ah. Now I see. Of course I’ll make you a little something to eat.” It is hard to become a man with a bossy habit if his wife gives him a fine reputation to live up to, and “calls him out” when a nasty behavior shows up.

      Sometimes we ignore an insult, but too much of that leads others to habits that are unhealthy. Too much pointing out of mistakes makes others feel like failures – so knowing God is the most important thing. If a woman is married to a man with a habit of being harsh, doing the above here, STILL can impact him – we still give him a fine reputation to live up to and gently confront. If that doesn’t work, Matthew 18 if God leads. Or we suffer with him the way he is, if God leads. I don’t pretend to know what my husband needs from me at any given moment, but my God does, and I trust Him and follow His direction, if that makes sense. 🙂

      • And for what it is worth, I don’t view my role as “teacher” with adults, but rather, “helper” – particularly with my husband. He helps me with some things, I help him. Not better than, just different. 🙂

  5. Chuckle, chuckle! People treat us about as well as we allow them to treat us. It isn’t good for anyone involved to accept that disrespect. Good move, sweet girl.

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