I don’t resent my mother but she must have watched a lot of June Cleaver and never aspired to much other than spending her time in a dream state where the prince rescues the princess only to subject her to a lifetime of servitude and subjugation. That or she hung out around a lot of abused children who had male chauvinistic fathers and mothers who were “happy” and “willing” doormats! I get this was Spanish Harlem, but it even seems my culture by default is WARPED with the cultural message of what a woman’s role is compared to a man’s. Moreover, none of this was realistic. Most of our parents have heard of Gloria Steinem…note because I am citing her, that does not mean I am a LESBIAN (not that there is anything wrong with being one). But there WAS a woman’s Liberation Movement even if only in ‘theory.’ If the whole goal in life despite this “RevILLUSIONary” movement was to get married, cook, clean, do laundry and darn socks all day, produce a tribe of little ones and get high off the fumes of PAM cooking spray, why was I also molded to get an education? Was that the plan B for the “Just in case?”
I am an educated woman. I elected to secure a bachelor’s degree simply because I am a Latina and early on I saw there were inequalities in the work place, not just based on my ethnicity, but based upon my gender as well. I was smart as a whip and quite capable and competent – in fact, in most cases I found that early on when my first jobs were that of an Administrative Assistant, most of the time, I was doing the boss’ job. I always thrived on a challenge; however, I also observed there was usually a “Blonde” assigned to work for the “Bigger” Whigs and her job consisted mainly of talking on the phone all day in between painting her nails. This ‘blonde’ also usually had the perk of a much longer lunch break that went unnoticed, and earned twice my salary. I wouldn’t say this was something I couldn’t accept if these ‘blondes’ had a little more time under their belts, but most of them only aspired to be Administrative Assistants sometimes younger than I. It was hard to come to terms with the fact how someone so unqualified seemed to effortlessly get all the perks and even feigned incompetence when it came to addressing a paper jam in the copy machine. It didn’t take long before I knew I had better get some ‘credentials’ under my belt unless I wanted to don the “Clean Up Woman” crown for life. Even more of a contradiction, I really didn’t aspire to become head of the Boardroom, rather I lusted for meeting Mr. Right who would someday sweep me off my feet and we’d live happily ever after in our big house with a white picket fence complete with 2.5 children and a dog named Chiggers.
I have to say, my childhood seemed like a setup for failure from the git go. I have an issue with the fact my mother was the first person to BRAINWASH me. I remember it ALWAYS being drilled into my head everything I had to do to “Keep a Man Happy” I’m sorry, 43 years and I have yet to encounter ONE man as obsessed with keeping ME as happy as I’ve been prepared to do for him my whole life. MOLDED to service… Better yet, MOLDED to slavery? WTF were you thinking MOM?
My mother is not the only criminal in this movement…there was a lot of that going around. Some might think that criminal is a harsh term to use, but in this case there is no other way to define such behavior. Slavery is a crime. There are Labor Laws! According to Merriam Webster, Slavery is defined as: One that is completely subservient to a dominating influence. There have been a lot of victims of this underground ‘slave trade.’ There has to be because I continually witness women voluntarily accepting subjugation by their husbands and/or significant others without payment or some other form of restitution. A pat on the head is not considered a fair exchange for services. ESPECIALLY if I have to put in as many hours if not more in the office as you do.
I don’t want to hear “That’s just the way it is.” That is the biggest, the LAMEST cop-out excuse EVER – it’s aiding and abetting everyone who continues to subscribe to these archaic messages and by default it makes such individuals accomplices to the crimes against women in the form of Domestic Violence. Until things change, I see little prospect of hope for society as a whole. Moreover, why even bother educating female children if all they are being molded to aspire to is an ‘educated’ and sophisticated domestic?
As I reflect upon my childhood, it seems clear I was constantly trained to obsess about the possibility of always losing a man because for everything I did it was prefaced with: “Men don’t like women who….” JESUS FREAKING CHRIST…mind you, my mother was NO domestic goddess…and so she provided the perfect environment for my apprenticeship. The panel should not be stumped as to why somehow I always ended up with losers who despite their apparent failures on all fronts they still expected to be treated as royalty. It was what I was molded to attract. “Find somebody ANYbody to serve.”
I know my mother meant well, but she overdosed on Disney. The problem is that Cinderella eventually DID marry a prince, a very wealthy prince and I believe she exchanged her raggedy wardrobe for a beautiful evening gown and tiara…we can infer although it was not made explicitly clear, that once she took off with Prince CHARMing despite his covert existence as a Narc (Charm is one of the first red flags of a narcissist), she at least had a cushy set up with ‘help’ to tend to all of the palace’s domestic requirements. Granted, she probably was reduced to the trophy wife and required to meet all his sexual perversions at the drop of a hat, he may have even been a closet bisexual. Nonetheless, I will take a risk and conclude that in the sequel, all she was required to do was wear a shit eating grin to keep up the appearance of wedded bliss. I doubt VERY HIGHLY that she was in that palace cooking, cleaning and scrubbing floors, if only because her being required to do that would tarnish Prince CHARMing’s image.
So how in the hell was it considered logical that I’d be groomed to be a ‘princess’ yet spend my entire lifetime at the service of others? Where is my TIARA dammit!?
Enter the NARC with his cardboard Burger King crown and his 1992 beat up Plymouth Voyager prepared to take me to NEVER NEVER land…where he got to play the lead in Peter Pan.
The Narc, was the epitome of the knight in shining tin foil that I was molded to aspire to. He was charming, spun fairy tales better than Walt Disney and really got you to believe them. He had a knack for subjugation too! This was a man who was always at the ‘cusp’ of something great. Despite the chaos known as his life, he was skilled at creating the illusion that it was a temporary glitch in the ‘game’ of life. All he needed as the ‘cliché’ goes is: The ‘right woman’ to make him successful…yes, remember that old adage: “Behind every successful man is a good woman” BARF! I bought this shit hook line and sinker. Maybe he’s not personality disordered, maybe he was brought up by really primitive parents who subscribed to the annals of male chauvinism, complete with a mother who was a willing doormat and this was what he was molded to expect, a queen who enjoyed scrubbing floors in between serial cheating, dominance, projection and abuse. Had I been a willing participant in this horror flick, perhaps we’d still be unhappily together. There was a lot of pathology gone wrong in our relationship; however, now that things are clearer, I can see how in a sense, I was molded for this, set up to be attracted to this.
Victims of NPD abuse are frequently misunderstood, invalidated and sometimes scolded for not knowing any better. I believe that even in the midst of circumstances where one reports a fairly uncomplicated childhood, there were messages one was exposed to. Messages about the roles we are expected to play, the parts we are expected to perform if we want to be happy. I think those messages are bullshit and are the first sign of pathology.
Recently, I read something somewhere, can’t for the life of me remember where…it might have been a comment somewhere, a Facebook status or a blog, where a woman said she was molded NEVER to do housework but instead to expect that her future intended would have enough money to hire ‘help.’ I know in my childhood I would have been scolded for having the audacity to even expect that. Looking back, it is how we should mold our daughters whether they come from single parent households or not.
I think our daughters do need to be taught how to value themselves, and we first do that by setting the example and not accepting shoddy behavior but demanding respect. Certainly, they should learn how to be self-sufficient, cook a meal, clean do things that make for an orderly home, but not in an effort to secure a man. They should learn to do this for themselves and not be trained to wait for the fairy tale rescue. I think we need to stop doing our sons laundry and treating them like mini-kings. I think in general we need to stop indulging our children and teach them the importance of EARNING whatever privileges they get. Society as a whole is very much based on instant gratification and it is this very mindset that is contributing to a lot of the pathology we are witnessing today.
If we’ve been caught up in an abusive relationship, it is imperative, especially if children are involved that we get out of that immediately. Lallygagging only sends the message to our children that it is acceptable and they will follow in our footsteps. We need to pick our asses up no matter how much it hurts and instead project an image of strength and self-respect. Where will our children get this from if we don’t set the tone?
Will there be mistakes along the way? Certainly…but rather than wallow in self-pity and blame, we need to allow ourselves time to mourn and lick our wounds, then we need to start having some serious talks with our children about what is and is not acceptable behavior.
I believe a lot of the pathology that exists today, has a lot to do with poor parenting. I personally believe bad seeds are made, not born. Are there brain changes in the personality disordered? Yes. Science proves that; however, I believe these changes take place as a result of constant subjecting to abuse which in turn causes a physical and biochemical change to the body and the brain. If we want to see a decline in pathology we need to ensure that our next generation is raised properly.
We can’t leave the job to the television, video games, teachers, or the streets…we need to stand up and take responsibility. This includes preventing teen pregnancy, as there are a lot of babies having babies, ill prepared for the responsibility. As one person coined it: “Chicken heads having chicken heads.”
More than that, we need to take a real long hard look at ourselves, and figure out what are realistic expectations and if there have been any skewed messages in our blueprint, we need to begin the work of re-brainwashing ourselves that we too are deserving of certain perks in a relationship and that it isn’t necessarily our calling and duty to always have to sleep on the wet spot and change the sheets in the morning.