Das Huhn
A farmer brought his brother to see the psychiatrist. “My brother,” he explained, “thinks he’s a hen.”

“Really,” said the psychiatrist, “and how long has he been thinking on those lines?”

“For about four months,” replied the farmer.

“And you did nothing about it?”

“No, Doctor.”

“That’s too bad. Why in the name of all that’s reasonable, didn’t you bring him to see me sooner?”

‘Well, to tell you the truth, Doctor, we needed the eggs.”

~ Reader’s Digest

While this is a hilarious story, I wonder if you can think of another way of looking at it?

Doesn’t this happen often in relationships where we tolerate the behavior of another, even if it is wrong, because in some perverse way it meets our needs.

I’ve been guilty of letting it happen in my own life some years back. I see it time and again in the lives of other people. The mother who lets her son be abusive to his wife, because it makes her feel that she’s the most important person in his life. A father who silently applauds his young child who talks back to her mother, because he doesn’t have the courage to confront his wife. An employee who sees her boss being unjust to a co-worker, but doesn’t speak up because if the co-worker quits, she’ll get that promotion. The ‘eggs’ in these examples are obvious.

But what happens in the case where the bad behavior of the other causes us pain. Why do people tolerate it? Why can’t they stand up and tell that person to stop? And when the person doesn’t pay heed and continues to hurt them, why do they still stay in that relationship?

What do you think the reason for this is? Have you had an experience of tolerating ‘hens’ in your life? What did you do about it? 

I’d love to hear from you.