Seeking Men For Self-Esteem
For as long as I can remember I looked to men for approval.
Why? Maybe it was my absent father who was only around for dinner and bed. He paid the rent but didn’t show me much interest. And he favored cousin Daniel over me.
So I made it my mission to become his favorite child.
I sought his love and attention by cutting my hair to look more like Daniel, and I wore clothes that looked like my cousin’s. But instead of being invited to join dad and Daniel, I was scorned and left behind.
I couldn’t understand why dad favored his nephew over me until I understood patriarchy. In patriarchies men and masculinity are valued over women and femininity.
In its worst manifestation I watched my drunk father dominate mother. Yet the church told her to devote herself to him, body, mind and soul, until her final breath.
Her own father had inflicted abuse on his family, whether through beatings or insinuating that mother’s thoughts and feelings were worthless.
Traumatized from all of this, she still has trouble trusting men. My father, in particular.
Respect for men was not to be earned, but was simply expected – because they were men.
Meanwhile, society told me that men were so fantastic, so women should — obviously — devote themselves to them.
Always longing for men’s approval I became promiscuous in my teens. I guess I had “daddy issues.”
Luckily, not all men are the same. My other grandfather shares his life experiences with me, and I share mine with him. He told me that I have the potential to be anything. But I must let go of the shame of being “just a girl.”
Now I’m paying more attention to the love that my mother and my sisters unfailingly offer me.
I’ve begun to pay more attention to my own needs. I’m learning to respect myself: my intellect, my body… my flaws.
I have allowed men to dominate me for most of my short life. But I no longer feel incomplete. And now I know that I bring my own happiness.
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Posted on May 21, 2020, in sex and sexuality, women and tagged sex and low self-esteem. Bookmark the permalink. 107 Comments.
I agree that women seek on men for self esteem because I have often seen women in relationships that only get into relationships because they have low self esteem and are seeking for validation and attention from their partners. Women often go through a low state in their lives and it leads to women going into these type of relationships and it leads to women getting hurt for only seeking attention and not for love because of they way they feel.
I’m sincerely sorry to hear of your absent father and to hear that all you did in your attempts at getting his approval did not succeed as a result of such harshly ingrained societal norms of men and masculinity are valued over women and femininity. It also seems, based off of the unfortunate abuse your mother had endured from both her father and significant other, another ingrained gendered, societal norm is expressed and that is; to be tough, aggressive, to show no fear or emotion. All of this emotion bottled up inside mixed with stress and the influence of this gendered, societal norm is a highly likely reason for the constant anger and abuse men express in this society. Furthermore, it aches my heart to hear of your mothers ingrained religious norm in regard to marriage and that she stayed with the love she thought she deserved due to the love she grew up with as well as the ingrained societal belief that respect for men was not to be earned, but was simply expected just as a result of the societal norm that men are the superior sex. All of this deeply aches my heart as to hear of all the ways societal norms have been ingrained in you and your mother as it heavily represents the damage and toll such gendered, societal and religious norms can take on a person. And finally, it brought me deep gratitude to hear of your grandfather and the wise words he expressed to you, similar to what I had learned myself and it fills me with deep gratitude to hear of all the ways you have freed yourself from these norms and finding yourself.
I find this posting intriguing. Instead of seeking validation and building self-esteem from a father, I scouted this from my brothers. My sister fit in with them more than I did. She was always more sporty and scrappy growing up. She was considered one of the boys while I was here playing with my arts & crafts and clarinet. I also did things to fit in with the boys. I tried to convince myself that I wanted to box with them but the truth is, I don’t find it fun or appealing whatsoever. When they had their skateboarding phase, I wanted to learn too so that I can hangout with them too. I wanted them to think I was cool. When I realized I wanted to stay true to myself, they began to push away. I felt excluded. My sister who was labeled as a “tomboy” was completely welcome to hangout with them more than I was because I was too “girly.” All in all, I definitely experienced something similar where gender roles/stereotyping was present and I wanted to conform to the latter for self-esteem and validation.
Thanks for sharing about your experience.
I agree that women seeking men for self-esteem has a lot to do with the patriarchy. Throughout history and currently, a woman’s worth comes from the value men place on her. I believe this is because men’s opinions still hold the most significance, leading to them frequently being internalized. In a patriarchal society, if you have no value to men, you have no value. Women are seen as what they can do for men, often through promiscuity.
“Looking for love in all the wrong places” comes to mind when I read the title of this article.
It’s common for Women to find validation and self esteem through men. I’m not too sure if I believe this is the result of not having a father present in their lives, “Daddy Issues”, as some call it. But what I do believe is that when anybody is having a hard time loving themselves, or are trying to deal with past traumas, they look to be loved. As a Woman, finding love or at least something close enough, can be easily found through Men. We give ourselves as a whole in hopes of receiving affection or attention in return. Of course, this isn’t a healthy way to validate yourself or find love for yourself.
It’s sad to see that men teach young girls that they have to respect men as the default. Then patriarchal society turns around and call it “daddy issues” when women seek attention from the very figures they were taught to adore and venerate. Drawing from my own experience and from friend’s lives, I find that equating men to your worth is extremely common. Single friends often call themselves worthless or ask what’s wrong with them if they can’t get a man. Friend’s who have had cheating or abusive male partners have said that those things are their own fault for not pleasing the man and it’s very sad. More women should see their own worth and see the love the non-men in their lives have to offer.
I think that the tendency of women to seek validation from men, even for those without “daddy issues” might stem from self-comparison to other, seemingly happy women. Trying to be, so to speak, on the same level. Perhaps trying to seek connection, as you have mentioned in your post, is also a major part of it. I think it is simply tragic that so many women view comments from desperate men online or in real life as something of a valuable judgement regarding themselves. I think that it is, to say the least, unreasonable for women to engage in competition between each other for approval and validation in attempts to be the most desirable, or “the coolest”.
When I was a child, I have also been told that friendship between women is usually shallow and filled with jealousy, so for a long time I perceived comments about myself from other women as inauthentic. However, growing up I have encountered way more inauthentic comments from men, as I discovered the real intentions behind their words. Now, I believe that women should invest into developing a strong female network, as opposed to trying to evaluate themselves from a male perspective.
I don’t really recall ever looking to men for approval; in fact, the vast majority of my friends and the people I interact with are females. My father wasn’t estranged, abusive, or drunk, but he did “leave” the family when I was fairly young, leaving my mom to take care of me and my older brother on her own. Still, I don’t believe this caused me to feel any different about the male gender in general–nor do I feel the need to seek approval from them. My brother, who is 7 years older than me, has become somewhat of a father figure to me, but I’ve never really tried to get validation from him. In fact, the older I become, the less I look up to him because he acts like a 3-year-old.
I am glad you escaped this common trap.
I often have discussed this with many of my girl-friends (homies), particularly relating to dating apps. A bunch of my friends have dating apps, but many of them aren’t looking for anything serious, and sometimes aren’t looking for anything at all. Some may turn to dating apps for an ego-boost of sorts, or so that they feel wanted in some manner. But this kind of sucks because a lot of men aren’t on dating apps like tinder because they genuinely want to connect with you on a deeply human level, they just swipe on people they think are attractive and would consider having sex. This is a disservice to the human aspect of meeting people in real life and establishing connections based on chemistry and definitely undervalues the women in our society that are deserving of much more respect.
Why is it that we seek the approval of those that scorn us? I have just read the, “Grooming the Rich and Famous for Abuse” blog and although the topic has a celebrity focus, the cycle exists within all castes of society. When I look back at altercations of my past, most of them were seeking a man’s approval and for what? So he would like me? So he would not humiliate me in public? So I would not have to worry about him speaking ill of me? Yes, yes and yes. I have spoken before about how I changed myself to feel more attractive to a man, via waxing all my bits, watching football, following his favorite college team, etc. Hindsight is 20/20 and I sure wasted a lot of time seeking a man’s approval. If this COVID lockdown has taught me anything, it is to explore what makes me tick. I have realized that forcing relationships can be harmful. If someone, either a man or a woman enjoys my company and appreciates me, it will not be such hard work to have a relationship. We are taught at a young age that relationships take work. This is true but the work must be equal. We cannot program our young girls that all the work for a man’s approval is dependent on how much work SHE is willing to put in. Afterall, the women have the babies and therefore should be Lord and Emperor to all. Just kidding. Not really. The best men are betas.
Thanks for sharing about your experience with this.
Thank you for sharing your perspective on this issue. Unlike you, I had a father who was very dedicated to me throughout my childhood and because of this I have noticed that I have high expectations of men as partners and friends. The part that struck me most about your post was what you said about how your mom followed the word of the church even when she was clearly not happy with certain aspects of her marriage. I think one of the biggest flaws of religions, specifically the church, is its requirement of blind faith and eternal hell if you question that faith. Throughout the history of Christianity it has been intertwined with the patriarchy. Men in places of religious power make decisions that have no effect on themselves, including abstinence, abortion and marriage rights. Until women have control over their own bodies and decisions, situations like yours and your moms will continue to occur.
It is startling to read just how much men are put on a pedestal in society to the point that women, young children especially, automatically seek men for approval. We are often raised to believe that men have power and that they can offer a stable role in our lives. I definitely relate to this because I still sought approval from my birth dad after he reached out to me even though he was largely absent from my life. Although I was the one hesitant in letting him back in, I was also worried if he would still want me in his life after meeting with me. I find it fascinating and yet also ridiculous that I was the one who was scrambling to meet his expectations rather than the other way around.
” I couldn’t understand why dad favored his nephew over me until I understood patriarchy. In patriarchies, men and masculinity are valued over women and femininity.”
The beginning of the article tells that the author’s father liked the author’s cousin more than herself, and the author even tried to use haircuts and dress to attract her father’s attention.“But I must let go of the shame of being “just a girl.”
The author’s life began to change because when his grandfather told her that her life was actually infinite, as long as you don’t feel ashamed because your gender is a girl, it is because of this that the author began to pay attention to his needs and love himself.
This was a really touching story, as I know that it happens to a lot of females. My sister went through this tough situation as well when we were younger. Like the author, my father was pretty absent other than at the dinner table and bedtime. He was a heavy drinker and could be verbally abusive toward my mother at times. But society told her to stay with him through thick and thin. I also remember my sister going through a fairly heavy “tomboy” phase to be more like my brother and me. This could have been because of other reasons, but I believe it may be to gain attention from my father, as it seems we had more to bond with him than she did.
However, I am glad that society has shifted its norms from “men and masculinity are valued over women and femininity” toward a more gendered equal society.
I agree with this article 100%, family and generational trauma do affect sexual relationships, hence where the term daddy issues can come in. We have been raised, programmed, and taught to need a man in society, even if you are a male yourself you still need a powerful male figure as your role model. For women, it can either be a father, brother, grandfather or in most cases a husband. A toxic relationship or even an absent relationship with these figures can make you an outcast in society, deem you unworthy to be a woman, and deserve love. Thus this is where women start to crave appeal from these men, crave to be accepted by them. Women see that in order to be respected and loved in this society they need to see it from a man first, if they don’t then they have to spend their whole lives trying to make up for it. It’s a twisted and vicious cycle that women go through and it only has gotten worse as some social media has begun to romanticize daddy issues and seeking an older mostly abusive man.
I believe this is to be true for many women. For as long as we can remember, women were taught to believe a man is needed. Growing up in a Mexican household I remember at such a young age we began to learn how to cook and clean because as a woman, that is our job. I would hear a woman is to do as the man says. The pedestal men were placed on has made many women feel or in need of their approval. This often can come from an absent or unsatisfied fulfillment in previous years, they look into a man for a sense of security.
Males have asserted themselves into the lives of women in a way that makes women feel obligated to serve them or get their approval. For centuries women had little to no rights over their own lives. They were passed down to their fathers to their husbands and sometimes back to their father, but were never able to live for themselves. They were treated as property by men, not as people. Women were left at home, in the kitchen, to take care of their husband’s children, make sure the man had a clean and welcoming space to come home to, and were forced to forego any other dreams that they may have had for themselves. This type of treatment has instilled generational trauma in women, which contributes to why these feelings are still apparent for women in today’s society. There are also heterosexist ideals being pushed onto women to this day. Women are expected to find men attractive, including the marriage, children, and life that comes with that attraction. There is a pressure to alter one’s appearance to be more appealing to men, specifically. It is important to recognize these norms in order to find happiness within oneself and realize that, as a woman, you can be content without male approval.
I applaud you for realizing a pattern you did not like to see, analyzing it, and making a change, seeking men for self-esteem also reminds me of another point that people in society and maybe members of your family emphasize on the importance of having a man and getting married, as if it is the only thing a woman is designed for, to cater to her husband’s needs, or as if an unmarried woman is less than. I believe it also creates low self-esteem for unmarried women, hearing “you need a boyfriend” or “when are you getting married” People need to focus on themselves and come to the realization that women are much more than “someone’s wife.”
In this article, I feel like it’s pretty common in the world where girls don’t get much attention as boys would in a family household from their fathers. Masculinity is very important to men and that’s why it’s seen as more important than being feminine. I also felt like Maria’s cousin Daniel got more attention from her father because they could relate more since they were both males. Maria tried so hard to get her father’s attention that she started to forget who she really was as a person. I believe that lots of women have this mindset, where they would do anything just to get a male’s approval and I believe that women should not have to change their looks for a male’s attention.
More power to you Madam.
Women don’t require anyone’s approval for that matter. Appreciating oneself is the key. Despite facing unfavorable circumstances in your family, you faced the odds and have achieved so much. I like stories of successful women like you who serve as an inspiration to other women to work hard and get rid of any mentality of seeking men’s approvals. Hats off to you..!! ☺️☺️
After reading this article, the girl shouldn’t have to change her appearance to look like her cousin in order to get the attention she wants from her father. Unfortunately, things like this happen to many people and because of this it leads to low self esteem and things like this should be prevent and teach anyone that you should be yourself and you shouldn’t have to change what makes you unique just to please whoever. It’s also not good to have the girl question why her cousin Daniel is favored more than her. It will only cause her to think about other things like if she is enough or what is she doing wrong for him to favor Daniel more.
After reading the article seeking men for self- esteem and reading some of the comments people had posted it saddened me to realize that a lot of people can relate to the article myself being one of those people. I grew up in a family of 3 brothers myself and then much later my little sister came along. My father favored my brothers a lot and it always left me wondering why I was never enough to be his favorite. My brothers got away with a lot of things growing up but it seemed like I always got in trouble for doing the same things. Much later I realized that it had a lot to do with an old fashioned tradition that was passed down for generations. Women were expected to be indoors cooking and cleaning and doing all the house chores. While men were supposed to go to work and provide for the family. The bonding time my father had with my brothers was really him teaching my brothers to be men. I always wanted to be a part of their gatherings to spend time with them but was always told to go with my mother because they were doing men’s things. Sadly this type of tradition is passed down for generations. I did not feel loved by my father which I feel led me to always seek for validation within men when I started dating. Eventually I did learn to prioritize myself and do things that make me happy. I had to learn to love myself first before loving someone else.
Thanks for sharing about your experience with this.
Almost every source imaginable, whether it be history, the bible, or the latest tv sitcom centered around women in their 30’s has told us that we need men. Growing up-and even being raised- with these ideas swimming around us constantly will, of course, make a dent in our self-worth and independence if we don’t see a man that values us in our lives. I’m myself am still quite young, but I remember the genuine worthlessness I felt towards myself every day in high school because I was never sought after by a guy and my friends were, or all my friends were in relationships, and I wasn’t. My father at that point wasn’t a presence in my life and I didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t about me wanting a boyfriend so bad (it was a little bit) but I, for some reason, needed a guy to tell me I meant something to him or else I’d think I wasn’t worth anything. So often my girlfriends and girls in other friend groups around the school would constantly compliment me, and stay the nicest things, but after some point, I didn’t feel it anymore. I was numb to their words. But if some guy in my history class said my outfit was cool and smiled at me, it would replay in my head non-stop for the next week.
After reading the article I feel sorry for the young lady in her situation. She should have not seek validation from someone that didn’t give attention. She should have gone to get validation from someone else that shows her love. Dressing up like her cousin to get attention and affectation from her father was the wrong move. The reason why it was a wrong move is because it will start to damage the new relationship that she will try to build in the future by pretending to be someone else. Also it leads one to have low self-esteem by always being pushed away. I think she should have proved her father wrong by working twice as hard to prove that she does not need a man to make her feel good about herself. It takes only one person to change your views. As a male I didn’t get to experience this but if I would have been in her shoes, I would probably be devastated if this happens to me. The one thing I’ve learned is to love yourself no matter what people think.
I always appreciate the growth people undergo over time and their courage to admit their foibles so that others can learn from their mistakes/experiences.
This is sadly very common for both men and women in relationships. The need in which a person uses a relationship in order to feel complete or to meet a certain need that was never fulfilled in their childhood often leads to an unhealthy relationship and severe codependency. Many people who did not receive the love and attention they needed during their childhood, tend to try and unconsciously fill such void in future relationships. The partners often share similarities with the parent of the person seeking a relationship, whether is be an abusive mother or neglectful dad. Of course, a majority of these couples do not workout. Being in therapy for over a year myself, and having my own experiences with unhealthy relationships, I realize how common it is for one: to have parents who are emotionally unavailable while growing up, and two: engaging in a harmful, unconscious cycle of choosing unhealthy partners stemmed from childhood trauma. Many people are unaware of this pattern, and it can go as so for the rest of someone’s life. People tend to blame themselves for the lack of a successful relationship, but there is no one to blame for a situation like this. I think it’s important to look inward at yourself and how your own childhood impacts your behavioral patterns.
Reading this made me feel so sorry for women/young girls who are currently in this kind of situation. It is sadly very common for women to go through this, they face so many issues with men growing up. They end up being pushed down and made to feel worthless for no reason which leads to depression and low self esteem. I am Mexican, and usually in a Mexican household girls are always told that they need to serve their man. Meaning, they have to cook dinner for them everynight, they have to clean and always look good for them and take any abuse thrown at them. But my dad was different, he always said “respect is earned, not given” and always told me to never tolerate disrespect from men. He taught my sister and me that no man should ever lay hands on a woman. But I have had people like his brothers see him cook or clean and say “Have your daughters do that!” and he would simply say “no”. I was glad to hear that you ended up knowing your worth and realizing that you did not need anyone else’s validation expect yours. I am very proud of you, thank you for sharing your story!
I personally don’t think that any man is entitled to my respect, they have to earn it. I was raised to always speak and stand up for myself and not to take any bull**** from anyone, man or woman. My Abuela, although she can be a bit old fashion sometimes, she constantly reminds my sister and I that there is a right and wrong way to treat women, and if a man ever hits us or calls us bad names then they are not worth our time and to leave them (although I also understand that is easier said than done.) She had three sons at a very young age but still didn’t allow her husband, at the time, to disrespect her in anyway, she’s always had a little bit of an attitude. My Mom and both my Grandmothers always taught my sister and I that we don’t need a man in our lives to be happy, or to feel valued, or to fix things around the house.
It is unfortunate you were seeking validation from someone who wasn’t showing interest in you to be begin with. To go as far as even trying to look like your cousin I couldn’t imagine how your father took it, especially if he had patriarchy views. I had learned society valued men over women because men were usually the warriors and fighters of society and were important to fight for resources. Most resources were funneled toward men as a means of an investment, this investment added “value” and this had women to be viewed as lesser value. It is so important to seek validation and love from within, not from a man or a woman. This I believe is more difficult for women as they live in a man’s world. It is great to hear you valued the love that was given to you from those who truly loved you not from people who did not treat others with respect. Good influences are also important to increase self esteem, but they are not always needed. Overall, it is important to love one’s self, that won’t be obtained from others.
This was like reading my life. Growing up seeing how men were always better than women was normal. Without men women are worthless, and have no future. I never though I had daddy issues until my first ‘real’ relationship. My dad left my sisters and I when I was just 6, and as I was growing up I thought I was just fine, but I wasn’t. I tried to seem tough and in a way heartless to not feel as I needed someone in order to feel accepted, loved, and cared for. This made be defensive and now that I think more about it, it caused me to feel self conscious of what I was able to give to someone else emotionally. Until this day, unfortunately, I still struggle with that feeling. I want to feel wanted, but I seem to neglect affection. It’s hard accepting that I am not capable of giving that emotional side of me to someone, because I can’t accept that I wished my father was in my life growing up, and if things don’t workout I don’t want to feel abandoned and forgotten. Moreover, I need to work on myself in order to be more confident on myself and on what I am capable of giving to my partner. Daddy issues are too real that sometimes we just take it as a joke, and we shouldn’t.
While I grew up in a predominantly female household, there were so many aspects of my extended family that showed me exactly where this behavior – seeking men for self-esteem – stems from. At a young age, there were so many things that were blatantly wrong that I was blind to. My female cousins and I were always berated for our weights and skin tones; we were constantly told whether we were wearing too much makeup or too little makeup, and about how all of these things amounted to one goal: getting a boyfriend. I vividly recall one moment where my aunt told me I needed to “lose weight in order to get a boyfriend.” Not for my health, not for overall body image – but to get a boyfriend. I constantly saw my male cousins be favored, with them getting away with quite literally everything (because “boys will be boys!”). Boys were given the benefit of the doubt while girls had to set the standard. Anything a boy did was more than enough, but if a girl did the same, she could’ve definitely tried harder. This applied to grades, helping around the house, and manners. I think it’s an act of universal interception that my female cousins and I didn’t grow up believing we were destitute and sub-human compared to men.
Hey Maria, I’m honestly glad to hear that your perspective has changed now so that you now cherish the love that’s always been there for you – the love from your mother and sisters and other women in your life – instead of chasing after the love that you weren’t going to get from male figures in your family. Looking back, the solution probably seems so simple. You might be thinking, “Why couldn’t I just look past society’s expectations for me to idolize men and focus on earning respect from my fellow women? There really is no need for me to devote myself to an drunk abuser.” But I get it, it’s really hard to shake off beliefs that have been ingrained in you from birth, and it takes time to unlearn internal misogyny, and you’ve done just that.
Furthermore, I’m proud of you for feeling complete even without a man in your life. I definitely think it’s possible for women to feel complete even while being single. This is not to say that women shouldn’t have male partners, I’m just saying that it’s not a sin against society to not be with a male partner.
As I was reading this blog it really made me think of my friends family as well as my family and how my family was raised. My father was raised by a very controlling dad that believed that whatever he said and wanted to do was what had to be done and my grandmother’s opinion did not matter because she was a woman. In my friends family her father is very controlling as well in a way that you could obviously notice that nowadays sometimes being controlled over men is not seen so openly and sometimes it is.I have noticed that nowadays being controlled by a man looks more like wanting to have joint bank accounts watching what you wear or even checking social media. being dominated by a man comes in many different ways,some in which you may not even think of. I was raised in a home where my dad did work to pay for rent and pay for all the bills for our family but my father was never a dominant man towards my mother. I believe that what you experience really affects how you live your life.My dad has shared with me his experience growing up with a very dominant father and how he raised the way he did because he didn’t want to repeat that same Macho energy with us. My father has daughters and one boy and let me tell you my brother is being raised in the most great way being taught that crying is okay and being taught how to treat women and how we are all equal which is why we all share the same responsibilities in our household.
After reading both this article and all of the comments below it, it truly saddens me how so many women can casually relate to this and understand exactly what this post is about. From a young age we are all taught that it is the men in charge of the households and it is the women that do the domestic duties (cooking, cleaning etc.). However I was raised being treated fairly to my older brother: we would both have the clean the bathroom, we both have to do the dishes, etc. With growing older, being able to learn and understand what being a liberated woman is I quickly started to notice the sexism crawling back into my household as I became an adult. When getting in arguments with my father, he always cuts off my mother and I when speaking, we can’t dare interrupt him when HE’S speaking, and we must not disrespect him because he is “the man of the house”. Being raised by a father who taught me to always speak for my mind and stand up for myself, to never let a man disrespect me, it really makes for a fun time when he does the exact things to me he taught me never to put up with. I remember distinctly one time after a nasty argument I simply turned to my mother and said “For a man who was raised by all women, he sure does hate us”. Unfortunately this has all influenced me not respecting male authority figures in my life…. maybe we all just have “daddy issues” in one way or another.
As much as I resent men with the same attitudes and treat women the same way my own father does, I still find myself desiring some sort of validation from them
I sometimes struggle with finding my worth from within myself, through knowledge of my own greatness. This could be because of the patriarch of white colonizers that has infused itself into what we know as “life on earth”. Or because women have always been portrayed as the damsel in need of a man, not only to rescue her, but to remind her that it is his decision and his strength that makes her worth his time and glory. Whether her worth is decided based on her beauty, her wit, her bravery, or whatever special characteristic she displays, expected and unexpected from a woman, her “rescue” is still yet up to the man. Take sleeping beauty, the choice was not hers to wake up or to remain sleeping, and it definitely was not hers to be kissed by a stranger. If it was my choice, let me sleep!! Nonetheless, rarely is it a woman saving herself, encouraging herself, investing her time into herself, for no other reason other than to self indulge. Nor is it women who are praised for doing so, or glorified for attempting to. In fact, it seems when women are “prasied” it is because she has done something with great effort and hard work, that has only ever been a man’s natural skill. The lack of choices for a woman is evident in what is expected from us, and only further upholds the ideology that it’s a man’s society. So like you, I am learning to escape society’s loud and debilitating expectations of me to believe that men are fantastic and women are here to please them.
Coming from a Mexican household I totally understand what It’s like to have an abusive father. As a child I witnessed my father treat my mother like she was worthless. I’m not justifying him because how he acted was not okay in any way but I feel like a lot of older Mexican men are abusive because of the way they were raised and taught by their father and family. Mexican men are taught to be “machista” in Mexican culture. They are told that they are supposed to provide and protect the woman and their kids while the woman stays home taking care of the children, cooks, and cleans. Back in the day that’s how it was to be in a Mexican household but I feel like now it’s so much different. Nowadays I see men cook and clean for themselves not just the women. I feel like now things are changing because back in the day women would let their husbands treat them like garbage and still stay and now I see how much women have evolved and see strong women leaving when they are in abusive relationships. Thank you for sharing your story and I am so glad everything changed around for you!
This story is something I hear of constantly when it comes to talking to my female friends. I was able to witness my father’s transformation while he was with my mother as she transformed him to treat both me (his female daughter) and my brother the same. Growing up I remember he was tough on me and my mother would always ask for my help to clean around the house while my brother would get to watch T.V. until I spoke up, I sat down and tried to talk to her as calmly as I could and told her “I don’t think it’s fair that I am the only one that has to help around the house” she did says “as women, we have to do the cleaning and the cooking around the house” but those words to me where always B.S. If women can work, cook, and clean, why can’t men do it”. I would only help around the house until my brother was finally told to do the same. I’ve never liked the idea of me having me having to cater to someone, I’ve always wanted to be able to have someone meet me halfway. We can both help around the house, we can both give the same love to our children no matter the gender and we won’t favorite one.
I think it is very saddening that most women could relate to this topic. Whether it is with their own family, friends, boyfriends etc, women are expected to submit to men at all times and most have encountered abuse from men. I believe the idea of submitting to men comes mainly from a religious aspect, but then this idea was turned into an expectation because men liked the feeling of being in control of something.
I grew up in a very religious home, specifically very Christian home. I remember when we would go to church on Sundays the Pastor would always end his sermons with saying something like, “God bless you, love one another, love God, and women love your husbands.” Why does the church emphasize on women loving their husbands but not the other way around? Same reason as to why women can’t be pastors, or the head of the church, or an usher. They are EXPECTED to help in the kitchen, daycare, and support the men in the church and nothing more.
These small stereotypes and expectations also influence how women are treated in the world. You would assume that in church all people are treated equally and respected, but these stereotypical ideas of what women can and cannot do influence how men act in society. Men start to think that they are superior to women. That no matter what they do their wife, girlfriend, or partner is going to stay with them because that is what they were taught. Although some men are not abusive, (my father never was but I experienced some type of mental abuse from an ex), most men take advantage of women because they feel the need to be in control, which is how patriarchy was formed. Men believe they are superior over women, not only in relationships but also in jobs, education, sports and almost anything that both sexes can do. Regardless of men being abusive and demeaning, women are still expected to love them/seek for love and most of the time we do.
As someone who also felt like my dad’s validation was needed to feel like I was good enough. I’ve grown to look for people’s validation because of the lack I had at home. I think that acknowledging that men don’t recognize daughter as much as they do to their son or male family member is important because in some cultures like mine where men are praised and women are just the help. In my Mexican household men are seen as a figure of respect without questioning if the respect is mutual or reciprocated. The result of lack of attention from fathers to daughters can do damage how future relationships are perceived and what to expect because of how their relationship with their dads whereas stated in the blog seen as “daddy issues” and causing low self-esteem. And how the blog ended the patterns of social norms and can uplift the next generation and teach women that they don’t need men’s approval.
A lot of this post resonated with me. I had the fortune of being raised in a more open-minded, less traditional Asian American family that viewed its female members as being just as valuable as their male counterparts. That being said, I could still see some traces of the patriarchy within the way they operated and the history of my older female relatives. I’ve grandmothers and great aunts who wanted to pursue professional careers in their younger age, but were pressured into not doing so (or at least full time) in favor of raising their children and caring for the home. Even the Generation X subset of women in my family who did have the opportunity to be career women were still under the impression that domesticity, child rearing, and other activities that could be labeled as stereotypical “feminine responsibilities” were of the utmost importance in life. As someone who does not desire to settle down or raise children, I often find myself feeling isolated due to their mindset, but ultimately have no desire to follow the norm dictated by the patriarchy.
I think this idea can be passed down from mother to daughter. Marriages can develop tensions. At a certain point a couple may cease to communicate regularly. This is problematic for children in the household. Some children may for what they think is wrong attempt to ‘repair’ the bridge. This can cause a child to question the strength of a mother in this case, and can make the child feel helpless. The mother on the other-hand may choose to opt out of discussion her own relationship issues with the child to keep her(even him) protected.
I think what is happening here is that the mother is remaining committed in the relationship because she is preoccupied in providing for the household without causing arguments so the child does not grow up emotionally unstable. Perhaps without a husband in her life, she thinks she will be looked down upon, or rather that her children will be frowned upon. I think this is problematic for women who need out on an abusive relationship. Education is probably what would empower women in this scenario for them to be self-sufficient, even before entering such an abusive relationship.
Aside from the story having a great ending, I think I can definitely identify with this in a secondary point of view, not so much a first-person’s.
I thankfully have grown up in a loving traditional Mexican household where I was never laid a hand on unless it was absolutely necessary (even then my mother limited to spanking, slaps across the face and other forms of severe discipline were rare to come by), but I know quite a few people who follow such a traditionalist statistic, or that’s how I like to see it.
In Mexican culture, I observe that society in itself is taught to follow a patriarch-dominant upbringing, meaning that the man dominates the house, a woman’s place is in the home to serve upon her husband, marriage can both be arranged and forced with or without pay, or it can be in the ideal fashion with the condition that the future husband must have a respectable income, if not be of a wealthy family. The woman from an early age is taught the lessons a “good wife” should be taught, which implies pretty much everything that isn’t involving working or showing any sign of independence. Infidelities and abuse are taught to be silenced and to get used to and move on. The husband isn’t at all questioned, he is the main authority, he is above the law under his roof. How is it his roof if he doesn’t maintain it in any way other than economically? Just because the deed is under his name he thinks he’s entitled to say “its my house”? Well what a convenience, sir. I thought I was your wife to love, honor, and cherish, not your rag to pick up or your slave to your convenience.
In a contemporary movie called Charm School, I remember seeing Adela, the daughter of a politician, being sent off to a ladies’ academy after being arrested for a street fight. Adela was known to be very outspoken, rebellious, and scandalous, the complete opposite of a proper lady, more so the daughter of a politician. One of the girls she meets in the academy, Heidi, states that she was given the opportunity to go to the program because she was to marry the son of the politician that sponsored Adela’s father’s campaign, Mr. Van Der Linde. So Heidi is solely determined that nothing will get in the way of her marriage to her fiancée, not even Adela’s rebellious antics on a daily basis, because her main goal in life is marriage. What I believe that Heidi saw as a goal in life to me sounds like a cry for help, personally. Sadly, because women are not taught independence, their biggest life aspiration is to be a wife and mother, bar none. No schooling whatsoever, and the kids follow the same path, sadly. Yet, cultures like this get questioned when it comes to educational levels and dropout rates, to say the least.
I might have been raised under traditional values, but I think I also was given the privilege to question a lot of those values, something that many generations before or even up to mine couldn’t probably do. I think a huge factor that gave me that privilege was my mother’s desire for independence at a young age, since she was raised in a convent with nuns herself. There is a cliché saying that goes “if you tie up a dog it will be calm and restrained, but once you let it go the first thing it wants to do is run wild. To train a good dog, teach it to come back to you while allowing it to roam free”. Thankfully, both my parents have taught me to come back to them, and it has served me well, if I do say so myself. I hope that when I become a mother I could teach my kids the same as I was taught. I was explained everything that I never understood, never hit unless I really deserved it, and to just be taught about the world in general.
This post resonates so much! When I was young, I too relied on romantic relationships to bolster my self-esteem and make me feel worthy as a woman. I did this because my dad and I didn’t have a good relationship for many years. I become pregnant with my first child (deliberately) and while in high school so that I could get married and leave the home. Later, after the divorce from my first husband, I become a serial dater. Thankfully, I began to do some inner work during my mid thirties, after mustering up the courage to leave a very abusive relationship. I finally realized I didn’t need a man in my life to feel whole and began to enjoy being single! I went back to school, got a college degree, made some wonderful friends, and life got so much better. I eventually met the man I’m married to now and he’s very good to me. Life has taught me that you must fall in love with your life before you can fall in love with someone else. Thank you so much for posting! I know so many more women who need to read your story!
Thank you for sharing about your experience with this.
You’re very welcome. I know others who struggle with this too and it doesn’t make for a happy life.
Yes, hopefully we can learn from each other.
I share similar experiences with men that have altered my state of mind when it came to men. My father was always present in my life however he has always been distant. Coming from a culture that does not focus on dealing with emotional problems as they arise my father has always been cold if not angry. I grew up with 2 older sisters and culturally the oldest is favored. It always seemed as if most of the attention that my father had to give onto his daughters rarely trickled down to me This left me with a dull ache to feel love and a acceptance from men, but didn’t understand it was centered around the need to be accepted by father. I never felt completely whole because my father wasn’t an emotional presence in my life. I never understood how harmful my attitude towards love was until I left my family home for school. When I went to school the reins were unleashed and I felt free to chase the love I never knew I was after. This feeling of being accepted I soon learned could never com from a man because the truest form of love that I needed was self love. I realized that attention from men would never replace that feeling of lack within me that caused me to chase after men in the first place. This is a hard lesson that young woman have to learn when a father isn’t present throughout their life teaching them that a mans’ love isn’t all they need to feel good inside myself. I believe that if we teach young girls from a young age that self love is needed to feel whole and not the acceptance of men, women can grow up in this society strong enough to face the scrutiny that the world thrusts upon them.
Seeking men for self-esteem is something I have usually done since I was younger because my dad was very absent in my life so I sought the attention of others. As I grew up I realized that that wasn’t the way to go I shouldn’t be needing the attention of other men/boys I am an independent woman and that was that. From then on I worked on myself and did what made me happy not anyone man. Don’t get me wrong I would love to have a nice stable relationship but I would never change who I am for one.
In many cultures it has been the norm to attend to the man of the house since they are viewed as more powerful, and providers. In a Hispanic household this is very much the case. Women are taught to adhere to the orders of the father figure, and not to retaliate. It’s the expectation that the father will arrive after work to a house that is cleaned, and food that is ready to be served to him. As mentioned in this posting it may be that those around us influence the tolerance of such practices, or it may be the desire to be accepted. In a patriarchy that values masculinity over femininity, a woman will always need to learn to value and respect herself as others around her may not. Thank you for sharing, I really enjoyed reading this post.
And interestingly equality seems to have been the norm between women and men for most of the human experience, when humans lived as foragers. See articles:
A World Before Male Dominance https://broadblogs.com/2015/04/17/a-world-before-male-dominance/
What Created Patriarchy? Many Possibilities https://broadblogs.com/2017/01/27/what-created-patriarchy-many-possibilities/
It is unfortunate that since early America, the stereotype of the women as the “household slave” persisted. You would think that by now, with the progress that society has made to arrive at this modern age, that stereotype would be gone. Sadly, it is still quietly ingrained in American culture and manifests itself in various ways, especially through domestic abuse. The idea of women being less capable than men is nonsense but still exists due to undying traditions and religious beliefs. Some women don’t even realize that they are living under the grip of this cultural expectation since they grew up with it; they saw it as a norm since it is how family members and the media portrayed women. Thankfully, awareness of women’s rights is ever-increasing and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. It is important to consider women as functional members of society, capable of pursuing the same opportunities as men, if we want to continue advancing. This requires that from the beginning, children be taught than men and women are equals, which begins in the household. The more people are educated about women’s rights, the better each successive generation will be.
What I found most interesting about this article is the part where the author indicated that she was desperately seeking her father’s acceptance and went as far as changing her physical appearance to look more like a boy in order to achieve it. It was fascinating for me to learn that the author, being a very young age at the time, understood that what was needed wasn’t a simple change in interest (like going fishing, or sports) but rather the understanding that she needed to transform into a boy in order to be treated better by her father. She struggled with the need to be felt as someone who is important, and valued, yet at the same time knew that this could not be achieved by being herself (a girl).This reasoning and thinking may seem silly, however, to me this displays just how powerful the influence of patriarchy really is and how much it actually affects girls and women, leading into their adulthood. It puts into perspective for me, how and why certain gender traditions still, and continue to exist.
I have noticed that in various cultures, males are preferred over females in a family. For example, in more traditional Chinese families, sometimes parents try to have a male child instead of a female child in order to carry on the family name. Ideas such as these are horribly damaging and unjust. Reading the part about “the church told her to devote herself to him, body, mind and soul, until her final breath” reminded me that it is essential to devote energy and care towards oneself, and find support and to support other women around you. As society often teaches girls to respect and devote themselves to men, it is important to dismantle this idea and empower girls to achieve their own aspirations. I have surrounded myself with women who are genuinely accepting and supportive, and kindly push me to reach my goals. The fact that they are genuinely accepting means we can converse about various topics freely and authentically, and this support system often keeps me going.
I think that wanting a healthy relationship or connection with your father is of human nature. It might be important to distinguish between wanting just any male’s attention for self-esteem to getting this self-esteem from your father in particular. As a daughter myself, I find myself with the same feeling. I have always felt obligated to be the best I can be in order to make my father proud and have always wanted to be likable. To me, this applies to my mother as well so this is where I would say there’s a line between seeking self-esteem from any male rather than a parental figure. I think that when you are related to someone your actions and wants are completely different compared to just any stranger or friend of that gender. Do you think your attitude would be different if it applied to say a boyfriend? What about even to a close male friend of yours?
I also had issues growing up, not sure if it’s mommy issues or daddy issues, but I did have issues. When I was younger, my dad called the cops on my mom, he was a heavy drinker, cheater, and an abuser to her. He went to jail and was never part of my sister and mine lives. Since my teen years, I always felt that I needed a boyfriend or something was wrong with me if I didn’t. And whenever a boyfriend and I would break up, usually I would think it was because of me either I was ugly or I did something and I needed to find someone else to prove that it wasn’t me and I was pretty enough to get someone else. It wasn’t till, I started to surround myself with women that were pretty and single and they showed me that I can be single too and doesn’t mean I have something wrong if I’m single.
I struggle with knowing my worth so I always end up seeking guys to build up my self-esteem. while you have “daddy issues,” I have “mommy issues” and my mom has never given me approval in anything and she puts me down by comparing me to my sister. On the other hand, my dad saw this and started to listen to me more, which is all that I really ask. I ended up becoming a “tomboy” and mostly friends with guys and when my mom told me I had to look a certain way and act a certain way, I changed my ways and became a “girly girl.” Eventually, though, as I got older, I started to get lots of attention from guys because of my body and I guess since I seek for approval all the time, I took the attention and started to act in certain ways I wouldn’t before. Through this, I feel like my self-esteem was brought up because I was constantly told that my body was amazing and perfect but I was never complimented on my personality or face. I am starting to realize this is wrong and I should know my worth and develop my self-esteem through God and through myself. It is still a work in progress.
I am glad that you are growing thoughtful and gaining wisdom. It will serve you well in life.
As I read this article, I was forced to face the fact that family and religion, which are supposed sources of wisdom and guidance, often do great harm to the people who depend on them—especially women.
“Maybe it was my absent father who was only around for dinner and bed.”
So much of who I am and so many of the decisions I make are influenced by the opinions of my parents. Fortunately, I was born into a loving home, but as I grow older, it is shocking to see just how much the opinion of my parents matters to me. Additionally, growing up in a patriarchal household sets a precedent for the same structure in future generations.
“Yet the church told her to devote herself to him, body, mind and soul, until her final breath.”
Growing up in the church, I have definitely witnessed this mentality and expectation imposed on women through biblical precedent and toxic leadership. My friend’s mother, who divorced his father when he was young, struggled with being accepted by the other women in the church.
Additionally, women are not allowed to be pastors or hold high leadership positions in some churches, preventing strong female examples and influence to combat the patriarchy. There is a strong expectation for women to be modest and pure, as their sexuality is seen as threatening to the men in charge. In the Bible, this is seen when Eve is tempted by the serpent and convinces Adam to eat the fruit, and when Bathsheba leads David to sin. Perhaps if churches moved away from a patriarchal structure, there could be more emphasis placed on strong women in the Bible—Esther, who saved the Jews from genocide; Rahab, a prostitute who helped the Israelites defeat Jericho; the story of Ruth, which could be viewed as one of female strength; and so much more.
I had a similar experience. It’s interesting that so many things can be helpful or hurtful, depending on how it is used. Like religion, sex… even fire and water.
I enjoyed this post because it’s genuinely very relatable. I have been in a similar position before when I was a kid and I would always do everything to please my father. When my parents got a divorce it broke my heart because I thought my dad was such a hero. After all, we were so alike in my eyes. As I grew older I realized I wasn’t at all like him but I was indeed better. Although I still think to this day I try to please men if I find an interest in them and I always worry about what they will think of me. It’s not right and my mindset shouldn’t be like that but I believe it all stems from my problems with my dad when I was younger.
Reading this made me reflect at my own experiences with my own family dynamic. Understanding the patriarchy that sits within a household is something we don’t learn until much later in our lives. This human experience is part of the other side of a coin where I stand. I grew up in a single parent household, my mother sick of my father and letting him leave without fighting for him to stay. Whether it was her narcissism or self respect, she determined that she would not fulfill a role she was not happy with. My grandmother too, she divorced a man who would lock her in a house with all three children for days, neighbors unlocking it and feeding them within the timeframe of my grandfather’s absence. Even my aunt, my mother’s sister and my grandmother’s daughter, two children to raise by herself. I learned obedience and loyalty to these women, and so did my younger male cousins, our lives meant nothing if they were not the ones who held us.
Even now, as adults, my cousins and I hold an interesting bond that most might not expect, especially in our culture. They listen to the women far more than they do the men. Whether because it was the lack of presence of their father, or because all we’ve known is utmost respect towards women, who knows, we’ve never had a conversation such as this. Even the societal structure that usually exists outside of our household never managed to break in our home. I am a woman who is placed on a pedestal, not just an object, and especially not someone who desires the approval of a man. This has been instilled in me, hammered over the years where any form of dependence of a man is strangely odd to me. Even though I understand much more clearly that maybe the manner in which my family approached my own upbringing, I can’t help but notice my reactions towards relationships where it seems like women are at their partner’s whim. My perspective is skewed, a twisted reality where I feel an odd sense of disgust even though I understand that it isn’t a bad thing to rely emotionally on a partner in times of vulnerability, in particularly a male.
Yet because of this upbringing, I take pride in my intelligence, whatever that may be to be quite honest. My self-esteem is determined by my current knowledge, but also my ability to evolve and adapt to situations. The way I perceive my physical appearance is interesting as well. I don’t like how I look, but maybe not for the same reasons maybe a majority feel. If I don’t look healthy, then I am unsatisfied. If there is a blemish on my skin, then I must drink more water. For me my appearance matters because it’s a reflection of how I take care of my health, a contrast to Maria’s own personal reasons as to her own changes.
Of course all this is part of the human experience, even though it should not happen in terms of this manner. Despite being part of two different sides of a coin, ultimately this is still the same coin. There are deep rooted understandings of how our society currently exists, we have all experienced behaviors that break self esteem and leave women powerless. Yet, just like Maria says in her story, not all men are the same. It’s something each side of the coin need to learn, that men are human who are also learning, and some learn quite better than others. It’s experiences with these men that might allow us all the freedom from this strange desire to be accepted by them.
I really enjoyed reading this post because it’s always a good reminder that you should care for the ones who take the time to care for you. I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in such a toxic environment, but I can imagine how awful it had been. I have had close friendships with similar issues and they would constantly joke around about having “daddy issues”, but I never realized until now what that concept really meant. I feel as if I was lucky to grow up with the love that my dad gave me. I think I would have reacted in the same manner as a teenager. I have also noticed that with religion in mind it seems like as women we are almost supposed to devote our entire lives to men, but that isn’t the case at all. Thank you so much for sharing, it’s amazing to hear that you’ve found your happiness.
This is far to a familiar story on the female upbringing. Growing up in a Latino family, there is defiantly a sense of the patriarchy. My grandfather is the highest-ranking member of our family, and anything he says goes. We are all required to do what he says, no questions asked. Being the oldest granddaughter, I have had very high expectations placed on me to keep the other grandchildren in line, but also to be the model grandchild. I have had to work hard in academics and my personal life. Often I am under the microscope of the rest of my family; they often question whether my career choices will make money for our family.
In contrast, my male cousins have been given by my grandfather everything. When they were born, they got the house and the money to be sent to a private school. They got everything they wanted growing up and never had to worry about affording a place to live or food.
I can say this up till thus far has worked to their detriment. They never learned what it meant to work hard for what they want. Because my sister and I worked hard, we gained respect from my grandfather. Because my grandfather has the most money in our family, he gave us many gifts as we got older as rewards for our hard work. Our cousins did not get the same rewards and became frustrated when they no longer received the lavish things they got when they were younger.
I can say it is frustrating that it took hard work to gain our grandfather’s respect and support. The fact that the same support wasn’t given to my sister and me at birth is entirely reflective of the effects of the patriarchy in our family.
Thanks for sharing about your experience with this.
“But because of that women who seek out sex often don’t care about the sex so much as the suggestion that it means they are wanted by someone, and therefore valuable.”
I wonder if that seeking for sex is not even about feeling desired, but like substituting sex so that the woman make believe to herself that the men are having sex with her, because they care about her or find her intriguing. Often it seems like women with low self esteem who sleep around, do it because they want love but don’t value themselves so they try to find love in all the wrong place. But the differences both revolve around sex for both men and women, but just different value placed on it to their self esteem. Women want to feel valuable in the overall aspect but try to use sex to feel appreciated. But men would like to feel valuable overall, but feel like they can’t be picky when they are starved of intimacy so just seek surface level desire because of the strong sex drive men have and lack of desire they may feel. Women don’t need sex to feel sexually desirable, because women are sex objects in society and men are more visual.
So women whether they like the attention or not, probably unless they are hideous, know they can get sex any time they want if they wanted it. And men’s attention means more because less steps are needed to where a man would have sex right away. Whereas a woman can find a guy hot, but that doesn’t mean she would sleep with him. She’d need to talk to him for a bit on the phone or text and see in person, and a connection and then see how that goes. If a man finds a woman attractive, if a woman wanted sex right then and there, he’d more often be ready and willing ha. So women are important to men’s self esteem, because men who aren’t getting laid or having long spells of not getting sex. I’m telling you, they probably will feel depressed and not so valuable, because how can one feel valuable if they aren’t getting the physical feedback of being sexually desired? Being sexually desirable is important to most people I think except asexual people. So men are depended on women for a man’s self worth also, so men seeking sex, to feel validated that they are sexual desirable, which boosts the self esteem for sure.
Yeah maybe. Women’s self-esteem is so focused on looks that I suspect it often goes:
He desires me so I must be alluring so I must be valuable.
I think straight women often think men think the way they do: I won’t have sex with someone unless I’m very attracted to him.
But girls who come from emotionally cold families are often seeking love.
How would you describe possible male experiences with this: She desires me so… ? (and is there more than one possible answer?)
– She desires me so I’m sexually desired and thus, valuable
– … I’m an alpha? I’m wealthy or powerful…
But men are more commonly in touch with their sexual desire and sexual pleasure whereas women are more cut off from both due to constantly repressing desire and failing to get to know their bodies because sex for single women is so often seen as shameful.
Maria brings up a great point about the overlap between patriarchal social constructs and religious organizations: “Yet the church told her to devote herself to him, body, mind and soul, until her final breath.” While I understand and empathize with the desire to connect with people on an emotional and religious level, I find that too often religious beliefs are used in lieu of critical thinking or of self-reflection. It is easy to say ‘things have always been this way’ or ‘that’s how I was taught’ when society begins to push back against firmly held beliefs and religious indoctrination and organizations play into this concept. Loving thy neighbor is great, sure. But is being homophobic OK because the Bible says that gay people are subversions of God’s will?
I think that the steps that Maria – and others – are taking to find their inner respect and strength are immensely difficult and it is extremely brave and important to do so. I just wish that society as a whole was more understanding and accepting of the fact that men and women are simply not being treated on equal terms, especially in the formative years of their lives.
Thanks for your thoughts on this.
That’s funny, I thought my desire for female approval was clear irrefutable proof of matriarchy.
Nope. Patriarchy means men rule. No female President of US yet, Mostly male Congress, Most CEOs are male, most religious leaders are male, most media heads are male.
We’re moving more toward partnership, as women have made many gains in above examples, but still live in patriarchy.
This was a great topic that needs to be talked about more. Our society expects women to be trained and prepared for men. We are expected to tend for men and our lives are centered around being a “wife” which makes us subconsciously crave male approval to feel like we are enough. We are told to close our legs and wear baggy clothes in the presence of men even in the comfort of our own homes so that they don’t stare at us innapropriately when its should be men who are taught to not be such sexual predators. There are men and WOMEN who argue that it’s a man’s basic nature to feel that way so we need to be the ones to cover up. Everything we are taught to do is to make us compatible for men.
I didn’t have a good relationship with my dad, he wasn’t abusive but we simply just weren’t close. I’m a naturally dominant woman who was raised by a strong and dominant mother so I did not like authority. Every time my dad would try and control me, our relationship would worsen. I did not like having a man telling me what to do. Because I had such a close bond with my mother I never sought after my dad’s approval but growing up I peeked approval and validating from boys that I would talk to. I would observe them and try and morph my personality into something they liked just to gain their approval. I got it every time and it made me feel good and confident and I realized my power. Eventually I started to gain pleasure from making men feel unwanted and small but I still needed to feel acceptance from them. To this day I still enjoy the feeling and I feel like if I don’t have men fawning over me, I feel empty.
Interesting to read this topic and learn about the environment around our teens as a girl or boy and how girls were looking for some approval from their counter sex. I grew up in Iran and of course after the 1978 revolution when everything became so radical to even not have mixed classrooms until you get into college. But I can tell you that most women in Iran were looking into some kind of approval from their men, if they wanted to do something. If it was not her dad or husband, then it was her brother or cousins. It obviously makes sense if the radicalism wants to diminish a country and its culture, they better to limit the women and mothers of that country like exactly what happened in Iran and tell them you are under control of your men and should obey your men like what happened with catholic church centuries ago.
Thanks for sharing your experience with this. It’s interesting to hear the experiences of people from a variety of cultures.
I grew up in a house where my father ruled and he had control over money, vacations, family gatherings, dress code and house rules. My mom was the bread winner, she had a double MBA, she was the one who worked while my father had failed business after failed business. When my mom died, she was young, he was left with a healthy chunk of money. She was a VP for a major tech company and when she was not at work, her life was devoted to her girls. To make things easier on her my sister and I cleaned, cooked, took care of the house and each other. My dad, did nothing. He wanted to finish his AA, wasn’t working and was taking 2 classes a quarter. But when my mom came home he would take credit for the house and dinner. Because I had one swift hand across the face too many, I remained quiet, my little sister was in fear of ever getting her first slap. Because I saw how hard my mom worked, I never said anything. When my parents moved out of state when I graduated, she was tired of waiting for him to help contribute, so she completed his BA for him on line. But once my sister was away in college and I was out here in California, the days he worked from home, the house didn’t get clean and dinner wasn’t made. I know she figured most of the truth out before she died, that her girls helped her get through her long days and took care of her as well as she took care of them. And she learned that she would always have to carry my father. Once she died, both my sister and I are not close by and he at first wasn’t bothered by it. He had her money and after a 40 year marriage, he began dating a few months after her death. Now after ten years he has realized that he doesn’t have a partner in life, he can’t get the quality he had from my mom and unlike our mom, we won’t take care of him. We know he is lonely and he doesn’t care about the money anymore. I often wonder how often, if at all, how many times he may have slapped my mom, degraded her, made her feel worthless or under his control. If he did she did not let on. But the joke is on him. He may have her money, but he isn’t happy spending it, he doesn’t have his kids, or his grand kids. When I was little I was a daddy’s girl and something changed and he wasn’t the same with his family. My mom used to say it was because of all the horrible jobs he had, which is why she completed his degree. She felt he could have a good job, he was a smart man, she lifted him up and she supported him always. Yet, he wouldn’t let her take her grand kids on a vacation with the money she made and supported him with for the majority of their marriage.
Our eyes were open, my sister and I were taking notes, we saw the lesson growing up. I have been called a feminist, I have been told I have a bad attitude against men because I don’t ask for help, I have been told that men wouldn’t want me because I am too strong, confident and independent. I am ok with all of that. I actually don’t think most men are bad, I know a lot of great men in my life. But every once in a while I see one like my father. My good male friend told me that I challenge the masculinity and control of men because I am independent and resourceful. And this good man told me to never apologize or change that. I never have, and I have never looked back, nor have I regretted any of it. My children will know the lessons I learned, regardless of their genders, and they will know that it is ok to be strong and independent. A strong woman will work with my son and together they will support and lift each other up, and a secure man will work with my daughter and not feel threatened by her abilities and self worth- she will know what those qualities will look like in him.
“In “Plato’s Republic” Plato talks about how I desire to be well regarded can lead to good things (of course it won’t necessarily!). But it’s true that you can get great music and art and great sports and great products and sometimes even great leaders Because people aspire to get their ego fed. Of course, it can go the other way. I think when people aren’t actually talented and one through ego fed they can end up putting other people down to lift themselves up. Or trying to trick people into thinking they’re really great when they really aren’t. Then it can be distructive.”
I don’t understand tearing people down or bullying that can come from this like you said. But the problem with this like you said, is very few people are of that caliber, but yet still aspire to it. And only the top people will get that praise, so if you’re a person who feels they are skilled or talented, but feel you’re overlooked. That can cause a problem, as it could cause a chip on one’s shoulder, which often can make a person feeling like they have something to prove. Some can get defensive easily as a result or more confrontational from the bruised ego from that. It can be a problem even when someone is atop of their craft though, as the perfectionism and burning fire is not what most have and it’s hard for that person to work with teammates or co workers who don’t have the same crazy competitive motivation.
When I watched the Last dance, Michael jordan talked about things or watched clips of people talking about him and he didn’t even know people felt that way. I think hyper motivated people can get tunnel vision where they are so consumed, that they don’t really notice if how they are acting really bothers their co workers. It’s not so much of not caring, but being so consumer in it that they got lost in their efforts. Jordan didn’t feel he was a tyrant, but that was the story by reports and he saw clips with his teammates feeling that way and it got him emotional when seeing that they felt that way. It bothered him a lot. He said he just wanted to get his guys ready for the playoffs and bring the intensity, he did it to make them better. And if they didn’t want to do it they didn’t have to.
When you are in the spotlight you get a lot of feedback but you might not get otherwise. And I guess you particularly need this when you are so nearly focused and unaware of yourself and your behavior and how it affects other people.
It’s also interesting how often people puff themselves up because they actually feel so insecure deep inside that they have to put a lot of work into convincing themselves, and trying to convince others, that they are as great as they wish they were.
At first, I was not sure whether or not I could relate to this topic, as I had grown up only surrounded by women. However, I realized that in school, I strived to do my best when surrounded by my male peers, as if I was looking to them for gratification. I think this topic is really important because it is so engrained into society that many forget or ignore the effects that it has on young girls, even women themselves.
“But because of that women who seek out sex often don’t care about the sex so much as the suggestion that it means they are wanted by someone, and therefore valuable.
Another gender differences that men gain value from other men by having sex with women whereas women lose value by having sex with men. You would think this would be changing more but recent research is still finding that double standard.”
Well even though men seek out sex more than women, like I said, men seem to tie their self esteem to women if not more, it’s just different. The seeking of sex is for the pleasure of it and ego stroke, but just as much a feel for a man to be wanted by someone too. I mean it’s not as meaningful compared to someone loving you and the value of that. But feeling desired feels good to and wanting to know and feel you are sexually desirable to the opposite sex right? Well it’s not obvious or apparent to men unless the woman wants and has sex with the man. So it’s hard for a man to have validation of worth when sex is so craved and important to men and to their happiness and since men are attracted to women.
Unfortunately, women’s reactions to men can have a huge dependence on a man’s self worth, ego and happiness. Other men gaining value from sex with other women and getting other men’s praise has some to do with it and the difference with how women are treated differently. But you have to take into account, there’s varying levels of insecurity. I think that comes from insecurity of boys internalizing societal views of how boys should view sex and peer based stuff.
But don’t forget a man can want to do well with women that has nothing to do with praise from other men. Like me, I’d be annoyed if guys praised me or I don’t understand it. It’s like selling yourself short. Like If I want to sleep with many hot women, it would be because of lust but just being a person who wants to do well in many aspects I desire. Sports, music, career. If you do well in sports, it means your a good athlete right? If you do well in music it means you’re a talented musician right? If you’re a good comedian, it means you’re really funny right? If you’re very successful, it means you’re a talented, ambitious person, more accomplished and better than other men at right? So much to be proud about right? If you’re attracting many attractive women because of your looks and charm, it means you have better qualities that are above average to other guys right? But this is all internal. The self satisfaction of doing well in one’s pursuits but not something to do to be praised or even want that. It’s not needed. The results give the satisfaction and if anything, it would mean a person must not be actually good if they feel it’s a big deal to get other men’s praise. It’s the average basketball players who make a good play, that just to show off and brag about their sports accomplishment right? Do good basketball players do that? I don’t believe they do, because they know they are good and talented and like making a big 3 pointer would not be something they’d brag to friends about, because it’s not something that’s a big deal to them because of their strong skill set in that aspect. They are more likely to be frustrated when failing at shots because of high expectations backed by skill set.
Thanks for the clarification. It’s interesting to understand ways of seeing from different places in society.
I do appreciate how you seem pretty fair and not generally judgmental. Everyone can be judgmental, but just different degrees, just like I can depending on what it is even though I try not to be. It’s human nature to some extent. But I was expecting to be shamed for my honesty. I mean I’ll admit it. I do have a big ego and am a proud person. But I also have a big heart too, so it is quite the contradiction almost. The ego is not out of a bad place meaning to put others down. It’s just there idk.
Some people it’s just wired in them. I’m and like most people aren’t to his degree. But I was watching the last dance which was good, a sport documentary on ESPN. And it featured the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan being the main person of course. The guy has his flaws of course, but I don;t believe he;s a bad person. He;s just very competitive. But the compeitiveness drove him for his career goals and all the things he’s aspired to. And he apparently but that effort in the business realm. Hes;s a billionaire and one of the wealthiest black people in America. He;s no OPrah of course, but still. I mean he makes more than Beyonce and Jayz combined, and they are one of the most wealthy celebrities in US.
In “Plato’s Republic” Plato talks about how I desire to be well regarded can lead to good things (of course it won’t necessarily!). But it’s true that you can get great music and art and great sports and great products and sometimes even great leaders Because people aspire to get their ego fed. Of course, it can go the other way. I think when people aren’t actually talented and one through ego fed they can end up putting other people down to lift themselves up. Or trying to trick people into thinking they’re really great when they really aren’t. Then it can be distructive.
As I briefly read through some of the comments about this post, I couldn’t help but notice how many people felt compassion towards this girl who had conformed and learned to get out of the norm of letting men essentially run her life, have power over it. It truly is sad how she had to grow up the way she did, but she is one of so many women who’ve been victims of the toxicity that is patriarchy. I myself have realized that I’ve been conformed to live in this way and not by choice. It is more because of the fact that many families pass on these ideals to their children because that is all they’ve ever known sometimes. This is the very same reason why education is so important and why it’s been something society for many years has tried to keep out of women’s reach. With the power of knowledge, women are able to accomplish just as much as men are able to and ultimately abolish the nonsense that is patriarchy.
Thanks for bringing up the point of how socialization within a patriarchal culture can bring about this sort of behavior, too. Thanks for sharing about your experience with this.
I grew up in a family with an abusive father and a very loving mother, so I completely understand where she is coming from. As an individual who experienced such trauma, it’s very easy to get sucked into the idea that what they are/were doing was appropriate and right. A father is supposed to love and protect their children no matter what. Instead in these situations they use their status as a “father” to gain your trust and then use this power to abuse someone. This is why abused women have trouble trusting men later in life. I was programmed at a young age by my father to please him at all costs and to lie about it and so that trickled into my relationships with men as I started to date. The survivor response of seeking men for self-esteem is a very common thread among victims and trying to reprogram your brain into believing you don’t need a man’s approval to know that you are worth a lot is hard to accomplish.
Thank you for sharing about your struggle with this.
This hits close to home, for me. It is in no way an excuse for how I control my life decisions, but I completely empathize on how this person feels and I do feel that the lack of my father’s presence and the discouragement that my mother dealt with has affected me.
My father became very distant and stopped engaging attention towards me before I was 8 years old. I thought that I had done something wrong and felt responsible for trying to mend whatever it was that caused for his absentee. He loved American football and baseball and I would pretend to be engaged in the games with him, but he almost always shunned me away and told me that I was a distraction. During family gatherings, his side of the family, the men of the family would always gather in the living room and watch sports while the women gathered in the kitchen. I wanted to play with my one and only cousin, who was several years older, but he behaved the same way the rest of the men in the family did and told me to go away and hang out with my mom and grandmother.
My mother moved to America to leave tradition and seek freedom from having to feel obliged to a set standard within a marriage, only to find herself in that exact situation that she ran away from. My grandmothers would always bring up the discussion of an ideal marriage for me, since I can remember, and my mother would later tell me, marriage is a prison…and divorce is hell.
As I grew older, I found that my dysfunctional family dynamic has had an impact on my behavior towards male figures and the type of men I surround myself with. I also found that seeking female companionship was difficult in my youth and often felt threatened by those who imposed power. I think that is likely because I was surrounded by submissive females.
For nearly twenty years now, my mother has been single. She tells me that she has no interest in another marriage and has become a very self-assured individual with priorities of self-care. She has been my biggest support of the recent couple of years. As for my father…my last memory of him is that he is a drug addict, an alcoholic and getting in trouble with the law.
I’m glad you have your mother for such a great role model and support.
When I read this article, Seeking Men for Self-Esteem, I thought of myself. I haven’t had my parents since I was a child, and I have no experience of how to get along with men. Of course, I’m talking about adult men. Every time I see my classmates’ parents, I will try to show my good side. Hopefully, my friend ’s parents will recognize me as a good friend of his daughter. Sometimes I often ask my friends, did your parents say anything about me? I think these are my introspections and inferiority. I came to the United States a few years ago, and I live with my uncle and aunt’s family. My uncle likes to tell stories and life experiences with me. I love him very much because I never know how it is feeling to have a father or a parent like this, so I work hard to prove myself to my uncle that I am doing very well. But sometimes it is tiring to show yourself. I don’t know why I did this. Maybe it’s nature. Men and women are attracted to each other, and one side always wants to express themselves. Soon after, I decided to go out alone, and I didn’t want to prove myself to others. I started living outside myself and also have a boyfriend. Then I found it important to be yourself, and have someone who can let you be yourself. Only if you respect yourself, others will naturally respect you.
Thank you for sharing about your journey with this problem.
Self-Esteem relates to how one feels about one-self in terms of likes, dislikes, your abilities,what makes you proud as a person overall and other related areas. No one is perfect – we all have our strengths and weaknesses but having weaknesses doesn’t generally correlate to having low self-esteem. Self-esteem is a core identity issue and both men and women struggle in some sense with this respect. Women don’t and shouldn’t need men to showcase their self-esteem.
The women of today in the workplace have slowly started to stand up for themselves, be more confident rather than earlier on in most cases where they took a back seat and in most cases never got a chance to display their true potential. Anyone be it man or woman with low self-esteem eventually doesn’t have control or direction of their own lives and destiny. Their lower confidence forces them to seek dependency and advice from others all the time, unable to make decisions of their own and this vicious cycle makes sure those individuals will never come out of this mold.
Based on research in this area, it predominantly shows that self-esteem typically tends to increase as we grow older and that in general men tend to have higher self-esteem (some say blatant ego in some respect for some individuals) than women worldwide. Interestingly enough this gap seems to be much more in Western civilized countries than under-developing countries with gender inequality tending to relate the various culture-specific influences on the overall development of their self-esteem.
There are various ways to increase self-esteem starting with learning to understand everyone is different, stop comparing yourself with others, working on honing your weaknesses, do what makes you happy and confident, learn to make decisions and learn that it’s ok to fail but fail faster, that you can only change things which are in your control and stop worrying about things not in your direct span of control, it’s ok to make mistakes but learn from it and finally be positive about oneself.
For women, dependency on men is what they can try to avoid as best possible as part of the above recommendations and doing this over time will certainly eliminate that dependency overall and realize what took so long for them to realize their true potential.
Thanks for your thoughts on this.
It’s sad she went through this and other women through harmful messages sent to them about them being inferior to men or internalize that. I know why this was pointed out because of this blogpost and realize it probably is more harmful with how this effects women, though maybe not. But I think it goes both ways, though for different reasons. However, I think just as many men seek women for self esteem too. A woman can make bad decisions because she has daddy issues. But boys can put such unwanted stress on themselves too and lose peace of mind, because their self esteem is set based on women’s response and attraction to them. Validation. I don’t mean boys bragging about how they are having sex with or dating, but it can be all purely internal. Maybe boys aren’t around other boys who brag about banging hot girls, but they see what’s going on and everyone has egos. And see boys doing what they desire and other boys who maybe are even less attractive than they are or d bags but getting laid. So the feeling of missing out, and so feeling of failure or undesirable because on how they feel they compare to other boys and just salt to the wound.
This can be especially true if a boy has more dating potential than other guys, but let anxiety or social anxiety get in the way. It’s weird how much joy, pride, anger, for boys is actually based on the female sex’s desires or lack of desires to them. It’s just amazing how boy’s happiness and self esteem is put based on all this and why I feel boys actually seek more from women as far as a boy being happy or depressed. The big thing I think is because of ego validation. Seeing other guys egos stroked while others none. You know how in society with rich and poor, we talk of the have and have nots. It seems like that as far as dating for guys. There’s a few who get the plethora of it all and the pleasure and ego strokes for days, while other guys are like paupers just getting crumbs and instead of ego strokes its the reverse ha. I think the problem is women are blamed when that’s wrong as more often it’s the guy’s faults, but it’s very difficult for, not just a guy but anybody to have to swallow their pride and admit their faults. It’s weird too because imo dudes are selling themselves short. Why are you selling yourself short? When they blame women too. Just speaking as a man and observing how, god, men do and have done so much for female approval. The middle aged guy with the porsche? You think it’s just because he likes flashy cars? Hmm, it most likely it “peacocking” and to show off to women. Now think about the work and moving up the chains to have that $ and then spending that money in effort to look better than other men and desiring to impress women?
It sucks for women because they are often the losers in this, being the pawns of men’s egos competing vs each other, but men are unhappy too, because that’s fucking stressful. There’s so much to be thankful for and to be happy about, but it will lead to unhappiness. It’s hard though as our society, not just men, but society shapes people to be so competitive with each other and compare. When you compare yourself to others, you’re bound to be unhappy, because someone is always more talented, better looking, smarter and more successful. So it’s just a set up to being unhappy. I’m saying that as a man who struggles with that, because I’m such a competitive person in just about every way.
Yes, a couple of you men have mentioned how guys can also seek out women for self-esteem. And I have seen men right on my blog bout that before. Like huggy bear, whom I haven’t heard from in a while.
She talks about a number of ways in which she did this, one being sexual. And it’s sad that the men seem to refer to. Men seeking sex for self-esteem. I think it’s harmful but for both men and women but it shows up in different ways, right?
Women may seek out sex with men for self-esteem and then end up suffering by being shamed as a slut. It’s also more dangerous for women. One of my students wrote about her experience getting raped because of situations she ended up in while trying to seek approval.
While men who seek out sex for self-esteem get high-fives it’s harder for men to get sex than women – specifically because we shame women and celebrate men. So men are more likely to feel bad that they aren’t able to get any sex, or not near as much as they would like. Plus a lot of men make stuff up and exaggerate, leaving the men who believe it feeling even worse off.
And then a lot of these men get mad at women, when the real root problem is the punishment that women get from having sex. And then when men get mad at women they are hostile and women since the hostility and avoid them.
You have a lot of interesting insights. I’m curious about your thoughts here.
I think most guys do things where women’s approval or lack of approval has a big indicator of a man’s self esteem. Basically the stuff men do kind of revolves around women. I seen a quote before where men would live in a cardboard box if that’s all they needed for women to sleep with them ha. Well obviously that’s an exaggeration, as Idc if I’m never getting laid, I sure as hell would not feel comfortable living in a cardboard box. But it just shows like, a lot of the things men do, fancy stuff, is not to simply impress women but incentive of attracting women. A lot of extra stuff is done to get a woman’s appreciative approval. It’s hard to see how a man’s self esteem is completely independent of women. Seems like the most confident man, a rich successful, good looking millionaire could end up feeling a hit on a his ego if for some reason he was on a long dry spell and women didn’t seen interest in him and his not as funny, charming friends, less good looking successful friends were doing fine in dating.
Like so much can go right, but success in dating and sex can be such a difference on a man who was owning the world, but now feeling in the dumps because he hasn’t gotten laid in a long time. To a guy guy who could be mediocre in everyway, but for a moment has a swag during a month where he’s attracting hot women left and right and the ego stroke of feeling he’s got looks or charm that’s better than other guys and it’s based on women’s attractions or lack of attractions to guys. Men’;s egos, therefore, self esteem can be so reliant on women, because of how competitive men are with each other but also because it’s the only source of validation men have of being sexually wanted. And also since women are sexualized and men are just generally hornier than women or craving sex more often as well so visual. Lack of sex can be tough for women, but I think it’s just to another level for men generally because it’s harder to come by for men so a bigger deal to get it as well as men involuntarily starved of it more.
As a result men just seemingly in a constant state of like arousal, so it hits harder from the physical craving but like ego bruising too. It doesn’t have to do with like bragging though, but can just be internal and feeling a man is missing out on carnal physical pleasure other guys are having and then if a man feels he’s better than said guys. That only adds dump truck full of salt to his metaphorical wound and magnifies as great failure on his part. It’s easy to rate your abilities in general and have a general consensus or what your expectations are and how you should do. If you’re failing at it and then people who you feeling you have more talent or potential than, are doing better too. Then it only adds to the feeling of failure which was already felt and then seeing that.
I’ve noticed tho but it’s just such a hard thing to not do. I believe the biggest source of unhappiness people have in their lives, the insecurity, the anger, the anxiety, depression and sadness. As big of the external adversities that hit people are. More often I believe it’s comparing themselves to other peoples lives that leads to it. You could have a great life abc yet feel you don’t or not realize it when comparing to others because it makes you feel you’ve missed out. I remember you said how unhappy women can be because they compare their bodies to other women’s bodies who are models.
But it doesn’t just end there, it can be simply damaging to, man or woman, compare your traits, skills etc to others and especially life. I think the biggest issue is comparing ones life as it will make a person feel depressed and unfulfilled and lose being grateful which provides a big source of happiness. It’s sucks but it can be easy to get caught up in almost competing to having the most successful and exciting life or want one as exciting as others have. But in the end it just seems to lead to a lot of unnecessary stress to life, when I think one of the more precious things in life is to have peace of mind.
Thanks for expanding on this.
One difference between women and men, I think, is that women’s sexuality is more commonly dampened by constant slut shaming — women damping down their desire until it drops off or goes away, Helping to explain why nearly half of American women have a little to no interest in sex. But men don’t have a similar dampening of desire, partly because they are not shamed for wanting sex, and partly because they do have a different biology that is less likely to be sexually dampened. But because of that women who seek out sex often don’t care about the sex so much as the suggestion that it means they are wanted by someone, and therefore valuable.
Another gender differences that men gain value from other men by having sex with women whereas women lose value by having sex with men. You would think this would be changing more but recent research is still finding that double standard.
I have to believe that you realize men look to women for approval, which is a powerful motivational force.
I really appreciate where she ends up, expanding her vision and this: now I know that I bring my own happiness.
When I saw the title of this post, I had a plan for what I was going to say in the comment I intended to leave hereand my question was whether seeking to work towards a potential relationship is what I want to do and that I could potentially be doing it to try and fill a loneliness void so to speak? You don’t seek out a relationship just to fill a void such as isolation and loneliness. I suppose i’m probably seeking approval in some way and that being blind there are opportunities I’ve missed out on that I should never have missed out on. Maybe that’s not really what this post is about but it’s the idea going through my mind and whether it fits or not loneliness is never an excuse for anything but I’ve seen people that go from relationship to relationship and I think we are all seeking perfection in some way knowing full well there isn’t such a thing as perfection. My grandmother has 6 grandsons and I myself am one of those. This has nothing to do with perfection or anything like that out of the 6 grandsons 2 of the 6 it is said are her favourites but we are all loved by her.
Well it is human nature to need connection. So your loneliness is telling you something real and something valuable, that you do need connection. One of my best friends is in a relationship with a blind man right now and she is super happy. They are perfect for each other! We may seek connection for other reasons like to feel valuable. And that isn’t all bad in that we are social animals and it could be that we evolved to want approval because that aids better behavior and social cohesion. But it’s helpful to be aware of what our motives are. And it’s best to find relationships that are healthy for us and not hang onto unhealthy relationships out of desperation, of course.
I was reading this a while ago and thought I would send it along to you (it was written by a New York Times columnist who is going blind in one eye and might become totally blind in the future, so he is interested in these issues):
The young lieutenant governor of the state of Washington, Cyrus Habib, who went blind at 8, graduated from Columbia University, won a Rhodes scholarship, got a Yale law degree and made a big splash in politics, then decided that his ambition was consuming him. He recently announced that he would leave office later this year to begin the roughly 10-year process to become a full-fledged Jesuit priest.
Because of space constraints, there was much about Habib that I didn’t get to share in the column. For instance, I mentioned his trek last year to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro but not his revelatory, gorgeous explanation of what a blind climber experiences in lieu of a conventionally defined view.
“You feel it,” Habib told me. “You feel the whole world dropping away. I have a sense of spatiality, based on acoustics and maybe even other types of senses that I can’t scientifically describe. I can feel when I’m in a huge cathedral. I can feel when I’m in a small bedroom.” At the top of Kilimanjaro, he said, “It felt to me like I was on the moon, because of the thinness of the air. You’re kind of high — lightheaded — and you feel this sense of vastness that’s not just around you but also below you. You can feel it in your body.”
Sometimes we tend to turn to God to help us with what is going on in our lives. To pray and ask for some kind of miracle that will change the way things make them better for us to be able to be happy. I have always thought that to believe in God; you don’t necessarily have to go to church for the simple reason that church has so many ideas that maybe God does not. For instance, your mom was told by the church that she must devote her life to him until the day of her death, but what if she is not happy, does that not matter to church? Sometimes we believe that we have to do certain things to keep the men in our lives comfortable. We change the way we are sometimes so drastically for them to accept us. We are not taught just to be ourselves; instead, we are thought to be what they want us to be.
Thank you for sharing your perspective on this.