Growing up in my family under the tutoring of my mother and father, it was a dynamic structure that I lived under. This structure was by design made to foster my total obedience and understanding that I would stay in line or else.
Mom was a dictator! Plain and simply said she was a dictator! The only rule more oppressive was Hitler's or Stalin's, that was because I was more cooperative than the German or Russian people were.
There was a psychological component to Mom's methods, obey or fear the consequences based on my own behavior. Whatever I did wrong and intentional, would be based on my decision or forethought and was subject to what loomed in perhaps a very limited future.
There was backup to Mom's rule, a wooden spoon and another psychological component she used: "WAIT ‘til your Father comes home!" This was to say that there is always a two-part plan to keep me in line: 1) The wooden spoon, 2) Dad. When Dad was advised: "Did you know what YOUR son did today?" Dad would listen and maybe shake his head. At the tender age of 5 or 6, I was known as a ‘rip'. What's a rip I don't know, but I was one.
In her psychological war using words only, she often used: "WAIT, Just Wait to you have children like yourself" or "Someday, I HOPE you have children just like yourself!" a rather mean thing to wish on me. "The way you make your bed is how you will sleep in it!" This statement was made to confuse me, I had NO idea what she was talking about! "WHAT YOU DO TO ME, I HOPE YOUR CHILDREN DO TO YOU, NO, TWICE THEY SHOULD DO IT!"
Most of the trouble I got into was simple things like teasing my younger sister who was always on the verge of "Poor me Mamma"! A situation might materialize like this:
"Ma! He's looking at me!"
"JOSEPH, stop looking at your sister!"
"Ma! He's still looking at me!"
"Then don't look back!"
Guilt was an effective tool to use on me, as often Mom would yell, ‘STOP, YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE ME BUST!" I, of course, would stand back in fear of the explosion. Her usual declaration before corporal punishment as she reached for the wooden spoon was: "OK, I've had it UP TO HERE!" This was the trigger for lightning fast foot movement!
Mom was very skillful as a negotiator.
"Ma, can I have a bike?"
"Because I said so!"
But Gerry's father got him a bike."
"Good! Go ask Gerry's father for one."
Control of me outside of Mom's line of sight went like this: as I stood in front of her, ready for my first grade class, she would look down at me, and wave her index finger to yell: "IF I FIND OUT THE TEACHER HAD TO DISCIPLINE YOU TODAY, WHEN YOU GET HOME, I WILL GIVE YOU THE REST!
Ah! The house of discipline designed with me in mind.
I love my mother, without that love I could have turned out worse, thanks, Ma.