Since I’ve started this Ask Judge Lynn thing I have gotten a lot of questions from women who, though their circumstances may be different, are feeling the same way. It’s something I often saw on Divorce Court and I call it The Whittled Away Woman.
Because I received so many posts about this and have so much to say about it I thought I would do a general reply that is longer – as a part of my Self Esteem Series for women.
Lets me make this clear: This is not an anti man thing …. I firmly believe that if you root for any one side of the gender divide both sides lose. I also believe that women and men are different. We have different ways of feeling, different societal expectations and different types of pressures. Sometimes you have to address that. That’s what I am doing here.
Here’s what I’m hearing from Women I call Whittled Away:
They tell me that they are in a relationship (usually for a number of years) and as the years go by they feel less and less loved and valuable. They feel like they are working on a relationship all by themselves, that their partner seems to have little respect for their wants and needs and anything she does or says that is not what he wants, at best, goes Unheard or worse yet, results in anger.
They love the other person but they feel no love in return. They are trying hard, making compromises but it still doesn’t get them anywhere.
Dismissed, too, is what I often hear. Almost all of them have said something to their husbands or significant other about how they feel. They tell me their husband did not understand and instead of asking or considering what they said, their need was labeled as crazy, hysterical, over emotional, something she needs to get over. Needs not his are not only ignored but belittled.
Many of them expressed and ever growing doubt in their own value. Having gotten streams of negative input they start to question their own worth. They’ve lost their confidence. “How could I be any good if the guy I love more than life itself does nothing but criticize me?”
If this is you let me say this:
A. You are not alone, nor are you crazy or foolish.
B. More often than not the guy you’re with loves you more than he shows … but he’s gotten stuck. People do what works for them and sometimes when someone (anyone) starts to get their way by being persistently negative, quick to anger or by ignoring others wants, it becomes a habit.
C. The GOOD NEWS: There are things you can do other than taking it or leaving the relationship. There are changes you can try in an effort to take the edges off the hurt and slowly work your way back to a more reasonable relationship ….. most of the time … not all of the time. Nothing works for everyone.
D. This is a place where you can come to share ideas and get encouragement.
E. But NONE OF THIS APPLIES TO ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS!!! go to GoPuple.org or any domestic violence site and learn about what an abusive relationship is.
This is for women caught in the washing machine of a lopsided marriage who want to feel better about themselves and feel like they matter in their own home.
I hope the fact that you have read this and know you are not alone helps a little. It’s a complicated thing and there are a whole lot of different ways to approach it… Some will work for you some will work for others.
Share your stories. Share your ideas on how to make it better and I will share mine.