Lies Our Mother Told Us

Today, these are stories of women who accepted the lies their mothers told them and as a result, are bitter, alone, or dead.

This weekend, a respected and beloved Director of a department of Art at a small college was served with divorce papers. The man she served those papers to is a kind and sweet soul, patient, generous, and thoughtful. His character wasn’t the issue. The real problem in the marriage from her perspective was that he didn’t earn enough money. For the seven years they were married, this able bodied woman took short term jobs when he was able to secure one for her through his connections, but she was never satisfied, so for those 7 years, she keeps returning to school…..and now this woman who’s contributed nothing to the marriage, is asking for spousal maintenance!

Last week one of my patients overdosed on her medications. They were discontinued antidepressants used for sleeping, and the last script I even wrote for her was 6 months old. The coroner said she had multiple bottles. There was no evidence she had done this. In fact, she likely took them the day before when she “had had it” she had posted to Facebook. Concerned, her adult daughter called her and told her the good news, that she had another grandchild on the way. That mood seemed to have passed, but the next day, while drinking heavily with her boyfriend in the home she still shared with her husband of 11 years and her elderly mother, she suddenly laid down on the floor and died. She had 10 times the therapeutic dose of that pill in her bloodstream. It is very possible, she had taken it the day before. When I had seen her last a month ago, she was very happy. She was happy to be planning to divorce her husband, and be with this man she had met bartending at a neighborhood lodge three months earlier, because he had his own business so she’d “never have to worry about money again.” That was always her biggest complaint about her husband, that he didn’t earn enough, so she had to work.

I know a few women who were quite beautiful when they were younger. Men lavished expensive gifts on them and they got used to it. That kind of attention doesn’t really hold up long term, because it’s just one way. That’s not really love. It’s almost closer to prostitution, because in this society, women’s looks are their currency. But in this day and age, why are women still expecting men to provide for them? We want to think we’ve changed as a society, but doesn’t Mr T and Melani-yuch espouse this exact situation? A man with money can attract and maintain much younger women who would ordinarily find them repulsive. Money is for men what looks are for a woman. For many, and it’s shallow and sad. But ultimately, some women give their souls to be taken care of, and they expect that. They don’t understand really what marriage or a real relationship are. I guess they just choose not to think about it, a man is their means to an end. Who told them this was the way to live? Maybe 70 years ago, it was the only way. Maybe their mothers told them you deserve this because they were beautiful. Maybe men taught them that by fawning over them because of their looks.

I know another kind sweet man. He works hard and makes an honest living and is not rich. Because he works so hard, and wants his children to have good lives, it’s important to him to save and he continues in his 60s to save as much for them and their families, while he also continues to do things for his wife and children. They live in an old house, and things are often broken. Much of the furniture in this house is from resale stores, the things at Estate sales usually are far too expensive. Her sister looks at her and says she’s happy to be single, she could never live this way. But his wife is very happy. She knows what she has in this man, kindness, compassion, caring and warmth. And she’s willing to work for those special things she wants for herself and others. So she does. And she’s very grateful for the first wife who discarded him because he was “cheap” and didn’t earn enough, and she couldn’t live in beautiful houses with beautiful things like other women in the neighborhood. She still says divorcing him was the best thing she ever did for herself. Somehow I doubt it. We all make our choices. If you want something, go out and earn it yourself. It will have much more meaning to you when it’s you who gives it to you.

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Lies Our Mother Told Us

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