Don’t Ever Lose Your Sense Of Self. Growing up as a female Baby Boomer, many of us were given unsolicited advice about how to be a good wife. In being accommodating one must sacrifice their needs and wants and defer to the man in their life. As much as that may sound like a plan doing so could result in a life of unhappiness, regrets, and discontentment.
As a Marriage Counselor, I work with women who have done just that. Most of their decisions in their primary relationship consisted of ensuring the happiness and well-being of their husbands. Believing men bring in the primary source of income for the family women tend to think less of themselves and secondary in the hierarchy of a patriarchy society where a woman can become a prisoner of an unbalanced and overpowering marriage or relationship. Some cultures say they have a matriarchy society, however, I believe that is code for, “placate the female as the male actually has the final say.”
Because there is no guarantee relationships remain intact, it is imperative for women not to lose and render themselves completely dependent. A woman I am seeing is about to become separated from her husband as he is no longer happy in their marriage. She is so disappointed as she states she sacrificed plenty to be able to move forward with him. She gave up studying at UCLA to attend a college her husband could only get into. Does she have regrets? A resounding yes. Another woman gave up the opportunity to work for Cosmopolitan magazine which she stated was a dream job to follow her husband’s path. And yet another deferred her practicing law to go into a business her husband was not successful in maintaining.
As a Marriage Counselor, one of the most important aspects in working with women is helping them develop and maintain a healthy sense of self. In healthy relationships the individual is of primary importance, where the individual in the relationship is of secondary priority, and the relationship itself being third in line. Again, Baby Boomers, not so much Millennials, tend to believe this hierarchy of order is the reverse. In taking care of others’ needs first is a deterrent for remaining independent in an interdependent relationship/marriage.
As a young woman I bought into that concept and while married to my high school sweetheart and first husband, I concentrated on his well-being and professional career. He went on to become a Certified Public Accountant, Real Estate Broker and had a law degree. Despite our wonderful lifestyle I wasn’t happy. I realized I fulfilled my mother’s dreams, not mine. I realized I wanted something to call my own. So after a divorce, single parenthood, and during my differentiation process at 32 years old, I worked on “ME.”
As a licensed Marriage Counselor, I can relate to many of the issues women and couples want to work on and adjust. Everyone wants to feel significant in their relationships and proud. Developing and maintaining a healthy sense of self is the first step in that process.
For more information on developing and maintaining a sense of self please contact me at (858) 735-1139.