Over the years, I’ve worked with countless women who have centered their entire lives around taking care of others. If their husbands wanted to take a job that involved excessive traveling, crazy work hours and almost no time with family—no problem. The women would, in essence, become a single parent and pick up the slack for their husbands’ absences. If the children wanted to be involved in countless activities, have their mother’s constant, undivided attention and limitless nurturance—by all means the women would become super moms and make that happen. If their friends needed their help at the drop of the hat, again and again and again—no problem. After all what are friends for, right?
The funny thing about working with all these women is they are often some of the kindest, most giving people you will ever meet. They are also some of the most taken–advantage-of people I’ve met.
• The women with the traveling, workaholic husbands often come in heart-broken that their husbands have been having an on-going affair with a co-worker—while their wives keep the home life together so the husband can travel.
• The “nurtured” children often boss “mom” around, talk disrespectfully and expect her to do what they want when they want.
• Many of the women’s “friends” have a history of being very good at asking for help, yet not at all skilled at offering help. The end result: the care-taking women end up giving and giving and giving, but receive very little in return (not only from friends, but from most people in their lives).