From the time women are little girls society teaches them that they need a man in order to be happy.
I was recently watching a Hallmark movie, which, as all women know; are sappy romance movies where the female heroine is searching for a man to love. In this movie the woman’s sister is playing match maker and is angry with her own boyfriend for not helping her, because her sister “deserves to find happiness”. Why does society feel a woman can’t be happy without a man, we don’t think a man needs a woman to be happy, in fact we subliminally send the message that men are somehow the losers in a relationship.
Women grow up preparing to “catch” a man and men grow up having all their fun, screwing random women, “sowing their wild oats” before they get “caught”. It’s basically a free for all for men until they get married to the ball and chain.
For generations we have fought for and won; equal rights for women to earn as much as a man for equal work, to do “man’s work”, and to be treated as equal human beings deserving of equal respect and autonomy. But we haven’t changed how we raise little girls, we tell them they can succeed at anything they want to do, except be happy. She can run a business, have children, be president!, But they can only find elusive happiness with a man.
After years of listening to heart broken women coming into this blog, it makes me sad that their top concern is, “how will I ever, find another man , trust another man”, and that they are going to spend the rest of their lives alone, instead of healing themselves.
Women sacrifice everything, even their children, in the name of “love” and having a man in their life. Ironically, they forfeit true happiness in pursuit of happiness. They profess to love their children, and yet continue to live with an abusive man that is causing life long damage to their children’s self esteem and ultimately setting them up to repeat history.
In my own family, going back to my grandmother, who married an abusive asshole who belittled her, beat her, raped her and used her as slave labor. I can understand why she felt she had no choice but to stay because there were no resources for abused women. She had something like a grade 3 education, didn’t drive, had never held a job, but she was good looking and willing to use her looks to catch a man who would pay her way, whatever the cost. While her husband, my mother’s father; was away during the war, she had a love affair with a man. He came back after 6 years, raped her, and the marriage picked up where it had left off. She had a nervous breakdown, her brothers came and took her away but she went back. She eventually met another single man who was willing to take her in and she left my grandfather. I suppose life with him was better than it had been, he was a drunk and womanizer but he wasn’t physically abusive and a good provider. My mother remembers being left in a vehicle while grandma went to the bar for hours. I remember my cousin and I being left in a car for hours while she and her 2nd husband went to the bar. It wouldn’t happen today, child services would be called and the kids taken away, but back then it was acceptable to sacrifice the safety of the children to keep the man “happy”.
Is it any wonder my mother was willing to sacrifice the safety and well-being of her children in order to keep the man?
My whole life was a mixed message of infidelity, my father controlling everyone, either you complied or be rejected, conditional love at its best, secrets behind my dad’s back in order to avoid his wrath. My mother had an affair, my dad had multiple affairs, but appearances were everything and to the outside world, we were the “happy” well adjusted family. The effects of being raised in a home based on lies, secrets, and appearances ended up with my brother being a drug addict, never able to find happiness because he never found inner peace. Me? 3 failed marriages and an abusive common-in-law relationship. My biggest regret in life is how much time I wasted trying to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be, what men wanted me to be, and not living true to myself. I shake my head when I look back at years of having an eating disorder, cooking, cleaning, contorting myself into the perfect woman in order to have a man in my life. I wish I would have listened to my gut, followed my dreams, developed my natural talents, believed in myself sooner. Mind you, we all do the best we can with what we’ve got and when we know better, we do better.
My dream for the future would be for society to raise girls to believe in themselves and their ability to create their own happiness.