Dare to Tell – Day 15
I have been married for 52 years.
It was about 17 years into our marriage. My husband and I were in business together. We are both psychotherapists. He got really excited about promoting a certain workshop. I went along with it reluctantly.
It felt wrong. I was working way too hard. Every time I disagreed or raised a less than positive point, I was made feel that I didn’t belong, that I was not ‘committed’ to the project.
He was having a great time. He ran around with the workshop leaders, enjoyed every minute. I was doing everything else, and looking after the kids more than usual.
One day I woke up and didn’t want to get out of bed. I was depressed. We’d been in business together for years, we were so totally involved. I believed that if I pulled out of the project it would destroy the business and the marriage.
I struggled with it and finally told him that I couldn’t do it anymore.
He took over what I had been doing and soon discovered the extent to which I had been supporting him.
Eventually he also pulled out. It was a big drama; essentially we got nothing for 5 years of work. We went back to psychotherapy and to rebuilding our marriage.
I became aware of this pattern of co-dependency, watching it recur again and again.
I still find myself deferring and it’s the one issue that’s so difficult for women to change.
I believe we are trained explicitly to defer to a man. If we think about what we want, we are being selfish. It’s the one area of women’s lives that has not changed over the years.
It’s the same with everyone, I put my needs secondary. Now it occurs sometimes with my kids and my grandkids. And there’s no difference with the women today than 30 years ago.
I’ve written books about this, I’m an expert. And yet though we’ve learnt to manage it, I still struggle sometimes. We teach what we most need to learn, right?
I know now that if we don’t admit our struggles, we increase the guilt for those who are still struggling.
How did I manage to stay married?
It’s true; a lot of women stay independent or leave relationships instead of figuring it out as a partnership.
We’ve had wonderful mentors.
We learned to recognize behavior patterns, we fight it through.
Sometimes it hasn’t been peaceful but we look at it and sort it out.
– Dr. Laurie Weiss is the author of “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Saying I Do” http://www.laurieweiss.com/ido