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 the office in order to get her work done.
When she gets home, she immediately immerses herself in cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, etc. Although the 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 the role of the 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 the opportunity to feel those needs because she has always taken care of everything before they could feel any lack.
KatherineΥs 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 the 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 the messages they received as children. Peter, the 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 the 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 fatherΥs eyes and have his attention and love. Thus she became super-woman.
Now Peter and the children have become even more lazy and rebellious. They subconsciously feel the need to do even less. They frequently subconsciously ignore agreements that they have made with her. These are subconscious reactions to the pressure and rejection they are feeling from Katherine.
Now everyone is feeling victimized. Katherine is the victim of their laziness and irresponsibility, and they are victims of her bitterness, rejection and anger.
As a result, Katherine is now ill. She is exhausted, in poor health, and in need of support from her family both in dealing with her illness and in getting things done around the home. She asks for help, but no one can hear her. There is no space in their minds for an “ill super-woman”.
They love her and care for her, but they can not hear her needs. She had never expressed weakness, fear or inability before, and this is just so foreign that they feel so uncomfortable, and cannot respond.
Katherine feels doubly hurt and abused. For so many years, she had taken care of all their needs, and now that she needs them, no one is responding.
What could they have all done to avoid this situation? What lessons do they need to learn?
Katherine: Does she need to learn that she is worthy of love and respect even if she is not a super woman? Or that she does not help others when she does their work for them or does not let them carry their own responsibilities? Perhaps she needs to learn to have faith in the othersΥ abilities or to allow others to grow through their mistakes. Does she need to learn to express her needs without complaining or accusing, and believe that it is natural that the others will want to support her in fulfilling her needs? Perhaps she needs to learn how to rest when she is tired, even when everything in not perfect around her.
Peter: Is his lesson to believe in himself and his intelligence and abilities? Or could it be that his self-worth is not measured by his achievements but rather by his heart and his character? Does he need to learn to motivate himself and offer more? Does he need to work on his childhood years and free himself from false programming?
The others: Perhaps they need to learn to be more responsible and energetic in their responsibilities and work. Perhaps they ought to look at KatherineΥs needs, ignore her complaints and accusations, and help her out even when she does not have faith in how they will do it. They might also need to learn to hear and respond to her needs even when she cannot express them.
What do you think?