What brought you to this moment?
What was she afraid of?
“You have never been on your own before.”
True enough. She had married young and moved from the shelter of her parents to the shelter of her husband. Times were different then. She had worked a full time job, bought a car with her father as co-signer, and paid every payment. The car was in her father’s name until she married, then it was transferred to her husband’s name. Because she was a minor. Because she was female.
She recalled something. She was a newlywed driving somewhere. She was alone for once, a sort of miracle since she was discouraged from going anywhere alone, even the grocery store. She thought about her mother-in-law. She wore her wedding ring like a purple heart of marriage stating that she had never taken it off her finger since her husband had put it there. She had not had an easy life.
Her thoughts jumped to her own. There were no shelters for battered persons back then and most families seemed to adhere to ‘You made your bed, now you can lay in it.’ So there was no support system for women in toxic relationships.
The new wife realized all of these things. She thought about how different life was. Everything was in transition and the first battered persons shelters would be coming along soon. She had vowed to herself that she would never stay with a man who didn’t love her. A man who battered his woman didn’t love her because “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs … it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails …”
Years later, however, when she had a great deal of experience behind her, she realized the truth about the martyrdom of women. It occurs unnoticed because she is so busy taking care of the people she loves, rushing from one to another of the responsibilities that have come to belong to her. She often works outside the home and works when she gets home from her job, grocery shopping, or the myriad of events belonging to adults and children, aging parents. She actually becomes what is called “the Sandwich generation.” If she isn’t mindful of herself and her own needs, she becomes lost in the shuffle, taken for granted, unappreciated and neglected.
There is something called “cognitive dissonance,” which is related to taking the path of least resistance. We rationalize, deny, or distract ourselves from the issue(s). But as Caroline Beaton writes in ‘We’re Wired to Take the Path of Least Resistance,’ “Awareness is realizing when something is challenging and deciding not to take the easy way out.”
Also at psychologytoday.com, “Six Habits of People Who Know How to Bring Out the Best in Others” urges self care. Self care is seeing that your needs are met, too. You take time for yourself – at least 15 minutes each day, and you don’t give that time to anyone else.
During those 15 minutes – or however long you decide you are taking for you – be aware of you: the things you do and the way you do them, be aware of your choices and using self control, not being manipulated by someone else, Be mindful of the moments of your life because you matter, too.
Those things that you think you are responsible for may belong to someone else. Delegate them back. Don’t deplete your reserves. Nurture yourself so you will have the energy, the strength, the knowledge and wisdom to be enough and to know you are enough, even when you feel pressured to do more.
Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.