Follow-up to Berman Article

 

Well, the discussion on the Berman article is very interesting! It didn’t hit me until 2amsomewhere’s comment that this was becoming a bit of a rehash of an earlier theme I hit. But since it has been a couple of years, I’ll gladly do it again all fresh-like.

 

Cat pointed out that she sees lots of men who shift themselves out of the courting phase of the marriage about as quickly as many women dive into mommyhood. They quit wining and dining, they let themselves go and still expect their wives to look like Jack Bauer.

 

Or something like that.

 

I’ll readily admit to having been a guy like that. Seriously, I did engage in blatant and rampant neglect for at least the first 2 years of my marriage, and possibly another year or so of simply blind ignorance. I suppose a body can build up a very big head of resentment in that amount of time. I shifted my attention from courting to providing. It was all about the job, and getting a house and trying to get a fledgling career off the ground. When I came home (late) she was dying to talk to me. I didn’t feel like talking because I’d been at it all day. I was totally out of synch with her needs. Sex became very much a chore for her, at least until we decided we wanted kids. Then it was still a chore but at least it was for a cause she could support! And after that came the postpartum depression and then…

 

Well that’s when my story really begins. I became aware that there was a bit of a problem. It was a growing problem, and I began working harder and harder to resolve it. And perhaps it was too little too late. Perhaps she’s totally checked out, emotionally.

 

Having said all that, and having spent the past 5+ years attempting to atone for my previous shortcomings, there is a reason why Berman’s article provokes and resonates. It’s the same reason Dr. Laura had to write her book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. It’s this simple fact: when it comes to how men really feel about things, there’s large number of women who simply don’t care. I didn’t read the Craigslist article (blocked by IT censors) but can guess the gist of it. Sure women let themselves go physically the same as men in favor of motherhood, but for the most part men have much lower expectations that women might think. It doesn’t always have to be about putting on all kinds of make-up. NAKED is good! Leave the pony tail in!

 

But as 2amsomewhere pointed out, most mothers are putting their children #1. Period. The husbands are lucky if they make the list at all. Dr. Berman is simply pointing out that in the long-term it is not in the best interest of the children to be so doting and hovering. The children become brattish, spoiled and imprinted with a massive sense of entitlement that simply does not exist in the real world. It reminds of that Pink Floyd song :

 





Mother, do you think they’ll drop the bomb? 
Mother, do you think they’ll like this song? 
Mother, do you think they’ll try to break my balls? 
Ooooowaa Mother, should I build a wall? 


Mother, should I run for President? 
Mother, should I trust the government? 
Mother, will they put me in the firing line? 
Ooooowaa Is it just a waste of time? 


Hush, my baby. Baby, don’t you cry. 
Momma’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true. 
Momma’s gonna put all of her fears into you. 
Momma’s gonna keep you right here under her wing. 
She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing. 
Momma’s gonna keep Baby cozy and warm. 
Oooo Babe. 
Oooo Babe. 
Ooo Babe, of course Momma’s gonna help build a wall. 


Mother, do you think she’s good enough, 
For me? 
Mother, do you think she’s dangerous, 
To me? 
Mother will she tear your little boy apart? 
Ooooowaa Mother, will she break my heart? 


Hush, my baby. Baby, don’t you cry. 
Momma’s gonna check out all your girlfriends for you. 
Momma won’t let anyone dirty get through. 
Momma’s gonna wait up until you get in. 
Momma will always find out where you’ve been. 
Momma’s gonna keep Baby healthy and clean. 
Oooo Babe. 
Oooo Babe. 
Ooo Babe, you’ll always be Baby to me. 


Mother, did it need to be so high?
 

Ironically, perhaps so much of this hovering is driven by guilt or fear of some sort, but it is misplaced. By building the wall around their children, it ends up harming them. How many of us know parents who are living vicariously through their children? How many of us know parents who are over protective? How many of us know parents who anticipate the needs of their children and are giving to them before they even ask?

 

By trying to give our children an easier life than we had, we are creating a weaker sort of person. But I’ll follow-up more on that theme later.

 

I’m lucky to even be able to post, let alone follow-up on comments with work being busy as it is! hopefully I can shed a bit morre light on that next time.

 

D.

 

Advertisements

11 Responses to Follow-up to Berman Article

  1. aphron says:

    That’s why men get into golf, fishing, etc?

    For me Sybil (and me to a point) has managed to schedule our lives in such a way that we’re too exhausted to do anything. Working all day and running with kids’ activities until ~9:00pm makes for Jack being a dull boy. It’s amazing how it snowballs.

    I guess most of the women in our peer group are shallow and self-centered. They work VERY hard on their appearance. Unfortunately, they tend to become harpy’s. To me that is the real danger to marriages. It’s like the song by the Police about every girlfriend becoming my mother in the end. That’s very true with wives. They really believe that we would starve, be dirty, etc. without them there to nag us along. I was single from 18 to 23. I, somehow, managed to survive. Personally, I think it’s about control.

    Oops, I got off topic in my rant. Some women get hung up in being depressed about their appearance. I think it is more about laziness in taking care of their husband. They have the ring, the house, the kids. What else do they need?

  2. Cat says:

    I am not even going to go there with Aphron my fight has been elsewhere today. But I do like your point Digger about raising weaker people by hovering and providing our children’s every whim. I do worry about the cotton we seem to wrap our children in these days. I wonder if they will be capable. When I was 10 I went home and had chores to finish before my mom got home from work. My 10 year old is in after school and I don’t think I would be able to trust him with the same responsibilities I had. And I wonder if I do him a deservice by allowing that to remain true.

  3. FTN says:

    Digger, the Pink Floyd lyrics did some crazy formatting stuff in IE6. Unless I’m the only one seeing that.

    I see this “babying your kids” problem a lot in society. But I think this is one case where I’ve been fairly lucky. My wife has no problem with us leaving the kids for a few days. She doesn’t give them everything they ask for. In fact, a lot of her time is spent being frustrated at our kids!

    On the other hand, I am more strict with them, and I’m often the disciplinarian. Add to that the fact that she’s home with the kids all day while I work, and you get kids that tend to really seem to like her more than me.

    Which is kind of depressing.

  4. 2amsomewhere says:

    But I do like your point Digger about raising weaker people by hovering and providing our children’s every whim. I do worry about the cotton we seem to wrap our children in these days. I wonder if they will be capable.

    Cat brings up a good point. On a related note, Psychology Today published an article a couple years ago that covered this concern rather well.

    http://psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-20041112-000010.html


    2amsomewhere

  5. Oblivion says:

    I can’t really add anything.

    I can completely agree with cat though.

    And Aphron… I could reverse everything you said and make it to where it mirrors that of a husband.

    We have a ring … a house … kids what more do we need? In my case how about a little care and concern? Affection? Respect?

    Those two rings can come off just as fast as they were put on 🙂

    Just my opinion. Of course I’m in no place to give advice given the state of my marriage!

  6. Emily says:

    Sometimes there can be a lot going on.

    Either sex can get complacent, apathetic or just preoccupied with other things. You’re talking about wives, Aphron, but I often have the same issue with my Big Dude.

    And sometimes the kids just suck all the energy out of people, especially the one who has the main responsibility for caring for them. If they have disabilities, the problem is usually a lot worse.

    I have wondered for quite some time, Digger, if an awful lot of your issue is that having kids on the spectrum is just totally preoccupying Arwyn.

    Sometimes I have also wondered if those early years of neglect, well, if you are still paying for them now.

    Sometimes its not just a matter of resentment that takes a while to go away. If Arwyn was a fairly emotionally independent person, well, she may have let her guard down in those early years and have regretted it intensely when you didn’t respond. She may have vowed to herself never to need anyone ever again. Or perhaps she felt betrayed when she had PND and you didn’t immediately respond. Maybe she still has PND. It’s hard to know when we never hear from Arwyn herself.

    I can say that feeling like your partner gives everything to the child and has nothing left over for you can happen to a woman as well as a man.

  7. 2amsomewhere says:

    Emily writes:

    If Arwyn was a fairly emotionally independent person, well, she may have let her guard down in those early years and have regretted it intensely when you didn’t respond. She may have vowed to herself never to need anyone ever again. Or perhaps she felt betrayed when she had PND and you didn’t immediately respond.

    The above paragraph is one of the reasons why I think that Schnarch simply blows all of the other sex/marital therapies out of the water. They don’t deal with the core of what Emily is describing above. In Passionate Marriage, he refers to it as not wanting to want.

    Not wanting to want is a common response when we are hurting. There are two problems with it, though:

    It stunts your own personal growth.
    You wind up being hurtful to both the person who hurt you and others, like your children.

    For some, that involves withholding sex. Others may act in much more subtle ways, such as forgetfulness, saying things that make your partner feel inadequate, sending sexual vibes to your partner’s best friend, or maybe intentionally doing little things to annoy your partner. He even has a name for it… normal marital sadism.

    Because this can happen in relationships where there is little out-and-out conflict, Schnarch will tell his clients that they’re basically fighting an undeclared war, and if they deny that, he’ll stop the therapy session and refuse to go on.

    Until the person who is on the receiving end of the sadistic act stands up and says, “no more,” it’s likely to go on.


    2amsomewhere

  8. Cat says:

    I agree 2am Emily brings up a very good point. I am sure even if my husband did a complete 180 at this point I wouldn’t be able to forgive him. And I don’t think it would be 100% because of what he did or didn’t do. It would also be because I am angry with myself for letting my guard down for being the fool for him. It may be immature but I do think a lot can be said for the anger we have at ourselves when someone hurts us.

  9. Recovering Soul says:

    The day Therese starts looking like Jack Bauer is the day I slit my own wrists.

  10. 2amsomewhere says:

    The day Therese starts looking like Jack Bauer is the day I slit my own wrists.

    That brought to mind this line:

    If you wake up in the morning, it’s because Jack Bauer spared your life.

    Somehow, that’s funny on too many levels for comfort.

    Source: http://boortz.com/more/funny/jack_bauer_truths.html

  11. Recovering Soul says:

    2am, that was awesome, thanks for that list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: