I Just Realized I’m the Pig

By Greg Baer M.D.

November 17, 2007

Dear Greg,

“This weekend I visited my parents, and I saw some things I had never noticed. I picked up some trash from the back seat of the car, and when my father saw me on my way into the house to throw it away, he attempted to make it easier for me by opening the garage door so I could just drop it in the trash can in the garage. From my mother’s reaction, you would have thought he had just shot someone. She said, “What are you doing?! You’re letting all of the cool air out of the garage and letting all the hot air in!! How many times have I told you about that?” And this was accompanied by sighs and a tone of voice and a facial expression that screamed, “You are such an idiot! I can't believe how stupid you are.”

“Only six months ago I would have been on my mother’s side. If you had opened the door like that, I would have thought, ‘Use your head. Think. Look at all that electricity you’re wasting when you open the garage door in the middle of a hot afternoon.’ Worse, I would have thought I was being loving in correcting you because I was showing you how to save money.

“As I watched my mother, my jaw hit the floor, because I realized that I have treated other people exactly like that on so many occasions. I realized that that’s why my ex-wife finally left me. And I was humbled to realize that I was well on my way to treating my own son the same way my mother had treated me. Until I studied Real Love I just didn’t know how controlling I’ve been.

“Later that afternoon I was driving somewhere in the truck with my father, and I shared what I had observed my mother do, as well as what I had learned about myself. He said, ‘I have put up with that from your mother for almost fifty years.’ I was speechless. But he didn’t stop there. He said, ‘I’m probably just more laid back than most people, so I let most of it go in one ear and out the other. Your ex-wife, on the other hand, just couldn’t put up with it.’

“All during his marriage, my father alternated between two choices. Sometimes he chose to live with the pig and hate it, and other times he chose to live with the pig and like it. My ex-wife chose to leave the pig. Until this past weekend, I never realized that I was the pig. I’m not beating myself up here, just seeing how much I was the cause of the problems in our marriage. I also see where I learned to behave as I did.

“But the best thing is that I’m still learning, and the more I learn, the more able I become to avoid repeating those old behaviors. I love that.”

This man destroyed his marriage with his criticizing and controlling, and he had no idea what he was doing. His wife tried to explain it to him, but he couldn’t hear it—partly because he genuinely didn’t understand her, partly because it’s all he knew (having been trained to behave that way from birth by his mother), and partly because his wife was telling him while she was angry and therefore screaming I don’t love you at him. Unable to see his behavior, he was absolutely doomed to repeat it. What else could he do? He could only do what he knew.

With an understanding of Real Love—and feeling the love of other people—he is now able to see his unproductive behaviors. He’s able to make wiser, more loving, more productive choices, and it’s making quite a difference in his life. 

The price of the lesson was high, to be sure—he lost his marriage—but that’s nothing compared to losing all the joy in his entire life.

Now he can love his son instead of controlling him, and he can teach his son how to be loving. He might find another relationship, and with what he knows now, it WILL be different. Everything is different under the influence of Real Love.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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