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Women's Identity

This was written in response to  a young woman on another site.  She was in distress over the abuse she felt her mother was enduring at the hands of her father.  I felt it might have some value in realizing how far we have come, but how far we still must travel.....


My mind is tired tonight, but I wanted to say something before I went to bed. This is why I've been on my soapbox lately. I want so much for today's girls to grow up with an identity of their own.

I'm 7 years older than your mother, but I think probably things had not changed  much in that period of time. We were raised to marry, have children, and be a servant to our family. We were always..somebody's daughter, somebody's wife, somebody's mother. Our only identity was a label. We put ourselves last in everything, because that's what we were programmed to do.

I, of course, do not presume to know your mother, but my guess is she has no identity of her own that she recognizes. If she was a homemaker without a career outside, it is even worse. Can you imagine how scary that is for her? Then you add the  tirades of an unenlightened priest, the abusive relationship, and knowing you are right but terrified to walk into the unknown. How many directions can someone be pulled ?

Perhaps you could get her to find interests outside the house. Something she could do that would give her an identity and I don't mean the ladies church circle. Wean her away until she can see her value. Show her the value she has as an independent person. Maybe some community college courses. Even just one would help to build her confidence.

You don't overcome a life of subservience overnight. She needs loving support to help her establish a comfortable level of independence. She has  worries about many things in this regard. What do I do if something happens to the car? When do I call a plumber? All the things that you know from being on your own. Once she has a comfort level of confidence and she learns to value herself the rest will fall into place. At that point your dad will not be able to drain her, and probably won't be able to keep her.

In the end she has to come to the wisdom of her own understanding, just as you did. I pray  that will happen and she will have a good life. I suspect it will take awhile. At least she has a loving daughter that cares and can now repay all the things she taught you by teaching her the way out now. My thoughts are with you and I understand your feelings totally.   Cecelia