Women Maintain Your Sense Of Self. As little girls, we are socialized to be the “good little girl” in that we’re supposed to follow what our parents and this Patriarchy society tell us to do. This is what I heard while growing up in my family. “You could be anything you want to be when you grow up,” “You are just as good as anyone else.” As a licensed Marriage Counselor and Family Therapist, I know we have our own stories that we take with us into adulthood. I help individuals understand their stories about their upbringing and how it affects their relationships. Women, in particular, come in with symptoms of depression and anxiety as they seem to have happy lives, yet are not happy. Some of these stories include what was once The American Dream where women are “stay at home moms” (SAHM) working in the home while husbands work outside the home bringing in the main source of income. While this may appear ideal the majority of women I treat state it really is not.
Women taking of their sense of self
I work with many women who come into counseling losing their Sense of Self because they live that same dream. I’m not judging or criticizing “stay at home moms.” They are great at what they do. I just don’t think it pays off that well financially, emotionally or psychologically. I don’t think it ever did. When push comes to shove having your own financial resources is empowering. I have come to the conclusion that women who go to college should utilize what they studied and make some kind of financial contribution to the household. Especially those who have received higher education and post-graduate degrees. Why in heavens name invest time and money in becoming a doctor, lawyer, scientist, etc., only to become financially dependent on your husband? Under ideal circumstances, we trust our husbands will always be there for us and never betray us with any kind of infidelity, including financial infidelity. But life isn’t ideal now, is it?!
As a Marriage Counselor, I have seen too many women dependent on their husbands and have regretted it in looking at the big picture. As the Honeymoon Stage ends we all continue to survive the Conflict Resolution Stage, where life gets challenging and isn’t always nice. Having your own financial resources keeps things in perspective. If you are in an abusive relationship having the resources needed to leave can be freeing. Being Co-dependent in a relationship where you don’t have access to your own money can be scary and gives you a feeling of helplessness.
Money isn’t the only thing that is important. Having a support system where you have friends and people you trust keeps you more objective to know what kind of reality you are living. Hobbies and your own personal activities keep you differentiated from your partner and the rest of the family so you foster the “Individual” within the wife, mother, sister, professional, caretaker, etc. and keeps you interesting. When you have a Sense of Self you not only have your husband’s respect you have yours.
As a Couples Counselor, I work with women who have Ph.Ds, Law Degrees, and Medical Degrees. I see entrepreneurs making over a million dollars a year and tolerate infidelity, verbal abuse, and even domestic violence. Why do these women stay in these relationships?
I help these women understand they have lost their sense of self by allowing their partners to “disempower” them. I also help them understand they have come to “disempower themselves” by their tolerance of the maltreatment. “You teach people how to behave around you.” When you continue to sit there and take verbal abuse, you allow your perpetrator to talk to you like that. He, in turn, learns he can continue to yell obscenities at you as you continue to take it. I have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be a perpetrator of verbal abuse to a partner who possessed a law degree, was a CPA, Real Estate Broker, and entrepreneur. My first husband tolerated years of verbal abuse from me as I was an angry person. By his lack of assertiveness, he reinforced my bad behavior toward him until he finally left me one day. I believe an angry abusive person can change if they choose to change. I also know if they choose not to change they will not change. You, however, have to decide what kind of life you want to live.
Whatever your payoff is in staying in a bad situation I hope it makes sense to you. If not please contact me to get some perspective at (858) 735-1139.