I just finished watching episode 18 of season 2 of GrownIsh, wherein several of the young ladies came to realize that they are compromising in their relationships. Word?! Oddly this was super refreshing to me. As a 51 year old woman, I honestly felt as if this was something specific to my generation. Apparently not. This show is focused on millennials…. shoot, maybe even younger than millennials! Anyway ~ I love it.
Looking back, I’m not quite sure where this began for me… the inclination to choose the needs/desires of others over myself, but I am knee deep in it. I’m actually was made aware of it roughly a year ago in therapy. And honestly, it’s still something I’m struggling with and working on. In fact, I was doing pretty ok for a while but amid life changes had begun to regress. Clearly there is a lot of work still to be done. This show (which originally aired months ago) was a reminder of that work.
And then episode 19 began. Kind of a continuation of 18. And I’m a bit floored that women, regardless of age, are quite plagued by this need to cater to their other half, be it boyfriend, husband or girlfriend, often putting our own desires aside and catering to theirs.
Coincidentally, I am listening to the book “The Dance of Intimacy“. I first learned of it while listening to the podcast Therapy for Black Girls w/Dr. Joy. Episode 125 “Maintaining Freedom While In Relationships” is right on topic. (Perhaps this is not of coincidence at all! I hear you Lord.) Dr. Joy’s guest was Dr. Maria Dominguez, LMFT who recommended the book. I listened to the book sample and was sold!
Now off the bat, I was like ‘was this book written in 1966?!’. But this just added to my shocking revelation that this situation is not just one of my age category, nor the one just prior, nor the one right after. In the sample, the author Harriet Lerner mentioned something about how ‘tending to relationships’ is ‘women’s work’. Say word?! She went on to explore it a bit in the sample, but one line stuck out to me: ‘Men must BE somebody, women must FIND somebody’… this is what we are taught. And this seemingly is what we embody when doing for others at the expense of ourselves. Because once we find that somebody, we often hold on to them!
I’m still listening to the book and will probably have more to say about it in blogs to come. But for now I’m gonna just trip on this uncanny connection between generations.