Robert Elias Najemy
Situations & Lessons Series
Katherine is very conscientious, a hard worker and reliable in all cases.
At work and at home, she can be depended on to get things done. She often stays overtime, usually alone at office in order to get her work done.
When she gets home, she immediately immerses herself in cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, etc. Although others are home even before she is, they do not even think of helping out. Katherine will do all this.
She is a perfectionist, and although sometimes complains that no one helps, she in fact cannot relax when they do something. First of all, they may not do it right. Secondly, she depends on role of super-responsible and super-capable person to establish her self-worth. She has been programmed that in this way she will ensure respect and love from others. (The truth, however, is that only her boss is happy about it because his work gets done correctly and quickly. Most of her coworkers and family members are annoyed by tension she creates in her super-woman role.)
Even when she does manage to allocate responsibilities to others, her anxiety for it to get done and be perfect forces her to do it before others gets a chance. She is attached to both speed and perfection. She cannot relax when tasks are not completed or when something is not in its place.
Except for putting up with her regular complaining and an occasional outburst of anger, her family members and coworkers have actually got a good thing going. They have very little work to do and depend on Katherine to get it done. Her occasional anger is a small price to pay for not having to do much work.
They sometimes feel sorry for her and want to help her, but they do not know how. They cannot share her standards for order, cleanliness and speed of execution. These are not as important to them as they are to Katherine, and they have never had opportunity to feel those needs because she has always taken care of everything before they could feel any lack.
Katherine?s husband Peter is gradually losing his self-respect and depending more and more on Katherine for things to be done. She even has to take car to get fixed because he leaves it for months. Her super-woman role is gradually sapping him of all his self-worth and he is becoming ever more lazy and irresponsible. He agrees to do things, but literally takes months to do them.
He is spending more and more time with his friends, playing cards and killing time. He avoids contact with Katherine, who is for him is a continuous reminder of his inadequacy. She makes more money than he does, which is a blow to his manhood.
All this could have been predicted by anyone who was aware of messages they received as children. Peter, son of two very active and successful parents, was put off by their hyperactivity and simultaneously very doubtful that he could ever succeed in their eyes and by their measure. He was very fearful of failing. This fear of failure created in him blockages to learning or doing, and he spent most of his time playing games, something he felt he could succeed at.
He heard from his parents on daily basis that he was lazy, incapable and would do nothing with his life. He is now making their words come true.
Katherine understood at a young age that her father wanted a son and not a daughter, and although she was much more intelligent and industrious than her younger brother, he got all attention. Katherine then decided to prove her worth to her father in masculine terms. She decided that she must succeed professionally and economically so as to be a "man" in her father?s eyes and have his attention and love. Thus she became super-woman.