Do You Tit-For-Tat?

 A good reminder of the importance of the Golden Rule is shown in this week’s post by staff writer, Rigby Rat. Do you treat others as you would want to be treated or do you choose to make matters worse when something doesn’t go exactly as you want them to? Tell us your story of when you might have had your own: “I’ll do this if you do that” moment.

I know this young couple who give back what they receive. He was late for their dinner date, so she flirted with the waiter.  When they returned to her place, he feigned exhaustion.  Insulted, she gave him a peck on the cheek and said, “Call me.”  He didn’t.  Sound familiar?

Fast forward 30 years.  Nothing’s changed, except the couple are married and a lot older.  She constantly puts him down in front of friends and family.  He watches sports all weekend.  When she asks him to pick up cat food at the supermarket, he doesn’t come back for hours.  She won’t cook for him.  He turns the thermostat down without telling her.

Here’s one of the worst tit-for-tat stories I’ve ever heard: this guy fell out of love with his wife. He divorced her and married the best thing that ever happened to him.  The ex-wife was pissed.  She was so pissed that she got her two twenty-something-year-old daughters to give him this ultimatum: “Divorce your new wife or we won’t have anything to do with you.”  He hasn’t spoken to the brats for over 12 years.

Children tit-for-tat.  Good parenting teaches egocentric tots to outgrow revenge tactics by instilling appropriate ways to express anger and insecurity.  Children who don’t outgrow  “I’ll get you back” games become grownups hell-bent on retaliation at every little infraction.

Grownups who retaliate feel no love in their hearts. Instead, their hearts are hardened from punishing others.  What can you do?  Not a damn thing. You can’t change them.

Tit-for-tatters enjoy getting revenge.  It feeds their egocentricity.  And when they have a sparring partner – you – all the better.  So, the sane thing to do when you recognize a revenge-seeking Rosie and she says “Call me,” don’t.  Then, change your phone number.

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