Feminine Burnout shows up in numerous ways including the inability to ask for help and difficulty making time for yourself, which I’ve previously written about. Today I want to talk about the woman who can’t be nice to people.
I know this woman. I’ve been this woman. And if you’re experiencing Feminine Burnout, you’ve likely been this woman too.
It’s important to talk about these characteristics of the women I work with because these experiences have become so normalized that women aren’t even seeking help. They believe this is just who they are and that they have to continue living this way.
By normalizing these experiences for women, we are resigning ourselves to lives where we feel isolated, depressed, exhausted, resenftul, with no sex drive, disconnected from our longterm partners, scheduled within an inch of our lives, and picking up everyone else’s slack.
But I want more for myself. For you. And for our daughters.
Now let me introduce you to my client Samantha.
At our Feminine Mentorship retreat this year, Samantha started to work through some of her deeper blocks and it brought up a lot of emotions. When she later went to the front desk, she was rude to the receptionist. She came back after our break feeling embarrassed and told us about the whole encounter saying it was like she “couldn’t stop herself”.
Can you think of a time when something like this has happened to you?
Perhaps you’ve found yourself about to explode and you can’t quite hold it in? Or maybe you’ve snapped at your kids, partner, or coworker and felt bad about it later?
It happens to all of us. But I want you to know you didn’t just end up this way. It is how we were raised. As girls we’re told to smile, be nice even when someone treats us poorly, or that he’s “being mean to you because he likes you”. Superwomen think they have to keep their emotions to themselves because that’s what we’ve been taught all our lives.
At the end of the day, mood swings and emotional dysregulation come when your Feminine Burnout has gotten to the point that it’s impacting your ability to regulate and experience your everyday life.
This is where Samantha found herself.
Samantha works in a male dominated sales industry. She is smart, successful, funny, and she once was described as “scary” on a peer evaluation at work. If you would have asked her a couple months ago about her life she would’ve told you it was “fine”. Her husband’s fine, her kids are fine, her job is fine, it’s all fine.
Unfortunately for Samantha, “fine” is her way of avoiding the fact that there are cracks in the foundation and something is wrong. At face value she has everything she was told she needed in life – the degree, a great salary, a partner that’s better than her ex-husband, the house, the kids. But she still wasn’t happy.
Samantha has spent many years feeling like what we like to call in my Mentorship group: crusty. Let me tell you what we’re referring to.
“Crusty” is when you aren’t in your pleasure. It’s when you’re constantly miserable and all it takes is something small to set you off. It’s what happens after years of your needs not being met and comes from years of self-sacrifice, putting yourself last, and martyrdom. It’s inevitable to be crusty when you don’t connect with your deepest desires and you spend your life living in a world where everything is just “fine”.
You’re not crazy, you’re just not meeting your needs. In fact, you likely don’t even know what your needs or desires are.
The thing about Samantha is that she would feel immense guilt and shame after these episodes where her crustiness spilled over onto someone unsuspecting. In fact, the kids often took the brunt of it. She never learned to deal with and understand her emotions in the moment, so she would carry them around until they erupted in a negative way. But like I mentioned, growing up as girls we’re taught to hide our emotions and Samantha’s parents always told her she was “too emotional” and to be “tough”.
She thought she was crazy. She couldn’t be happy for anyone else’s success and she started to believe that she really was just a heartless b*tch who didn’t deserve friends or love. She believed that “fine” in her life was good enough and all she deserved.
Samantha became so good at hiding the “bad” emotions that she stopped feeling the really good ones too. That’s the thing about our Superwoman conditioning. It all gets turned off. When we constantly suppress our emotions, we become numb to the happy emotions along with the dark ones.
Samantha trusted the feeling inside that was gnawing at her, that there had to be a better way of living and this wasn’t just “who she was”. She opened her eyes to the fact that she could live a life where she is whole and happy with who she is. A life where she can be happy for the successes of others, forgive those that have wronged her, respectfully hold people accountable for treating her with disrespect, feel sad when she needs to, and angry while still being a loveable, whole, deserving human.
Because she is deserving of all of it – the love, the money, the sex, the connection, the happy family.
To begin healing, Samantha realized “crusty” was all she knew. She was raised by crusty women who never validated their own needs and were miserable and resentful all of their lives. She finally realized it was time for her to break the cycle.
Burying our emotions is a classic trait that many Superwomen experience. We have been taught that we were inconveniences and we grew up in a society that expected us to be seen and not heard. We were taught to be “good little girls” who smiled politely and never got our feelings hurt because “how dare we” make someone else feel bad for hurting us.
The problem with that is that it does start to hurt us and our loved ones anyways. This is where Samantha’s healing journey had to begin.
As Superwomen, we get so good at denying ourselves what we need that we eventually wake up one day and don’t even recognize ourselves. All of a sudden we are the “scary lady” at the office and the mom that our kids’ friends watch out for.
But it doesn’t need to be this way. We can all find pleasure, joy and fulfillment again. We can all expect better than “fine” because fine is a lie.
If any of the women I’ve featured in this series sound like you and you are ready to break the pattern too, click here to fill out an application to work with me in my Feminine Burnout Recovery program.
I also recommend listening to episode 65 of The Pleasure Principles podcast where I talk more in depth about Samantha and her healing.