Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Women: How We Want to be Loved and How We Resist It

I have a wonderful male friend who's been in an abusive relationship the past few years. He's one of the kindest and most gentle men I know. The woman he was dating was not a happy person and he'd made it his role to try to fix her.

Obviously, it didn't work and he broke up with her a few weeks ago.

When we met for lunch last week to talk about it, we both realized that his history is to be attracted to seemingly "strong", "independent" women who end up being controlling and unhappy.

Funny that, huh?

What I pointed out to him is that most "strong and independent" women don't really want to be that way. They feel like they have to be.

Speaking from my own experience, I come from a family history of a passive aggressive mother and an aggressive father. As the first born, my natural tendency was to come to the aid of my mother. I didn't realize that she wasn't a victim. I'd placed her in that role, as well as myself, against my father. She reinforced this idea giving me nearly daily messages of how my father wasn't providing for, and was in fact denying, her needs.

In fact, it was my needs that were not being met. I had a young mother who allowed me more freedom than most... probably under the guise of my being her best friend. She partied with my friends and me during my teenage days. Boundaries weren't set. There was no model relationship between my parents who eventually divorced when I was in my early 20's. She rebelled against my father and so did I.

My male friend and Gentleman Jack are the type of men who want to provide, cherish, protect and honor the women in their lives. However I wasn't raised to allow that. I was raised to rebel and provide for my own needs, all while trying to "fix" those who aren't living what I'd call "a happy life", as I'd done for my mother.

Ironically enough, those who are actually happy, I shy away from, feeling like they're better than me. What does that tell you?

After my last post about how burnt out I am, I received an email from a reader. She too feels burnt out, as did many of you who left comments. One of the things she pointed out, however, sticks in my mind:

"In fact, my friends describe me the same way your commenters (friends?) have described you: an amazing person and mother. However, if you are like me, your mind is plagued with negative self-talk and a constant fear of disappointing someone."

She hit the nail on the head.

Sure, from the outside, it appears that I am strong, independent and have my life running under some poised control with a few chaotic moments here and there. Underneath it all, I am toxic to myself.

I don't want to be strong. I want someone to provide, cherish, protect and honor me. I think most women want that. The happiest women I know HAVE that already. The challenge comes in that I was not modeled that behavior in a relationship.

My mother and I were each vying for the attention of my father. She in passive aggressive ways and I....I just wanted him to notice me, be proud of me, pay attention to me. My father loved us both the best way he knew how.

Which brings me to my next post: Men - how they want to love us and what we expect from them.

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