Patriarchy isn't just passed on from men to men; women are at fault, too. Women perpetuate patriarchy, support it, legitimize it, and teach their daughters how to act within a patriarchal framework.
While this particular article is about narcissistic mothers, it wholly applies to enabling mothers, and narcissistic fathers. The "demand for obedience in exchange for love," as the author puts it. That we are only worth anything so much as it reflects light back on the man of the household, the father.
God, I sound....feminist.
Maybe I am the radical liberal feminist my dad made me out to be. Radical in so much as I believe that women belong on the same footing as men. Because it's a radical idea that we're not all built to glorify or reflect light onto one person, or a few people. That the world does not revolve around their needs, that we are not responsible for their emotions.
Growing up, though, my mom tried to teach me her values:
- Obey your father and mother.
- Obey your husband.
- We are responsible for keeping him, the man of the household, happy.
Or, succinctly: that obedience buys love and happiness. That's what we both desperately wanted to believe, because maybe if we behaved just right, we wouldn't set off dad's rage, and then maybe he'd be happy, and therefore we could be happy.
This is also called magical thinking.
It also put dad at the level of God. Or nearly there--which is where he wants to be. It's where men of the patriarchy wants to be, like these men who persisted.
It just doesn't work that way.
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