There is a type of woman I see a lot in my practice. She is a woman who doesn’t yet know she is oppressed. She is unaware of just how much she is perpetuating patriarchal ideals. If you asked her directly, she would say she is a feminist and yet her choices don’t always reflect that. We are all influenced in ways we are not always consciously aware of. This woman values relationships. She wants to be “chosen.” She is anxious and so concerned with being whatever her partner needs in effort to secure the relationship, that she abandons herself and forgets to ask if their partner is what she needs.
Often times these women end up in my practice at a breaking point, unsure if they should leave their relationship. They’ve ignored themselves, red flags, and rarely if ever have communicated their needs. Something is telling them they deserve more, but they are paralyzed by questions like:
- Don’t all relationships have problems?
- What if the next relationship is worse?
- What if I have the same problems in the next relationship?
- What if no one else wants me?
Women are conditioned to be apologetic, to be small in all ways, and put everyone else’s needs above our own. Women still believe that their value expires at 30, which causes them to choose a partner for the wrong reasons and transmit these unfortunate values to their children. I wish this wasn’t true, but if the women in my practice are proving anything, it’s that prioritizing our own needs is still a radical idea. The women I see are so concerned with being “the one” for someone else that they forget to assess if they are the one?
By the time these women reach me, it’s often too late for the relationship, but not too late to change the course of the future. Sometimes I walk alongside a woman as she discerns the fate of her relationship, reflecting her own voice back to hear. But no matter the outcome, what I really help women with is understanding where they went wrong so they can enter a relationship knowing and voicing their needs unapologetically, catch the red flags sooner, stop second guessing, and make more conscious choices so they can end up in a more equitable relationship.
The patriarchy wants you to believe there is an expiration date for love, but there simply isn’t. We get hung up on this “barrier” because it’s an easier thing to focus on than making profound shifts in our personal narrative.
You are smart to be thinking about these questions, and if your relationship is one that you cannot speak openly about your needs and feelings, I’m sorry to tell you that is not a relationship at all.
If you’re ready to hear your own voice and live by your own principles, I can help. Reach out and schedule a free consultation.