jeudi, septembre 22, 2005


Some of us hide our insecurites better than others... some of us are so intimidated by what looks like other people who have it all together... but never suspect that the person we are so intimidated by is really as full of insecurities as we are... sigh.

Perhaps in a spark of afflatus or perhaps with some wacko degree of hubris, I'd like to continue...
I recently had it called to my attention that sometimes people argue out of a need to prove themselves. In a way, this shows itself particularly clearly in people who have low self-esteem, because they are reaching for something to add to that internal bin of self-worth and trying to establish something for themselves that feels good about themselves.

Case and point: a really lovely woman (Most of the cases I know of are women, though there are a decent number that are men.) who was in college at the time she met and fell in love with her husband dropped out of college (Most of these cases are not necessarily dropouts, but they are the best examples, because the dropping out sets the tenor for a terrible pattern that will repeat itself in their lives later on.), got pregnant and had children some time later. Her husband often had arguments with her that ended in "you don't have to go to work tomorrow, but I do, so that's the end of that." She became extremely argumentative in her family's bounds and always regretted not being able to do the things that she wanted to do before she was married. Being a mother of two children and doing parent-teacher stuff on the side, she really did have a longer work-day than her husband and she did have to go to work. (In fact, unlike her husband, who if he got fired wouldn't have to work, she could never be fired as a mother.) In so many ways, she was living a life of resentment. Albeit she loved her children and she loved her husband, but the pieces of herself that made up her self-respect were gone ... and really she spent the next 35 years on the road to recovery... and is still trying to recover from that blow. In many ways she is better but it's a tremendous hit, not to mention the deletrious impact that has on her children.

Another woman who quit a graduate program after she became pregnant also had a similar situation. She became a stay-at-home mother, who worked for her husband and his brother like free, unpaid, possibly one could say slave labor, and had it held over her head repeatedly that the men were the ones who "brought home the paycheck" ... understandably she was resentful and had built up a great deal of self-hate. This woman's mental trauma made her teach and believe that women are the suffering sex. They can have full and real lives up until they marry and have children. Her lessons took their toll on her children, of course, too. Her husband was hard-working and almost never at home.

The tales are many and most are along similar lines and themes. In all honesty, we will certainly visit this topic again and again as I try to analyse and sort out what patterns I see and what is going on for these women and for the children who grow up influenced by them. It is particularly important as children need to break away from their mothers and grow independently at some point... and many children ion these circumstances could not do so, because the mothers had nothing else to base their self-esteem on, but the successes of their children. (Contrary to a commonly held nothion, a mother's success is not dependent upon her child's performance in life.)

A few thoughts though... 1) these resentments have affected a generation of women. 2) these women found that their self-respect was linked to their intellectual capabilities and ability of self-sufficiency. 3) These women taught and felt they learned that being a woman was about being subservient, but felt or thought that they were better than that.

thoughts? It's an interesting thread to follow.