Tag Archives: social relationships

Unsupportive Female Force

A few weeks ago I was in a lovely and powerful zoom discussion with the members of the Prayer Ladies Supper Club in which we spoke of why women are not supportive of each other.

The discussion yielded a lot of personal experiences detailing women’s interaction with other women in the work place, in service industries and even women with whom they are friends.

Some of the findings revealed:

  • that women are not welcoming to each other
  • women will show support to friends but not to those they do not know
  • there is a competitive nature amongst women
  • some women do not want to share their tricks and trade
  • some women do not believe there is enough to share in regards to wealth and power so they cling on to their power in order to stay ahead
  • first time interaction with women sometimes always include negative attitude and reluctance to help.

All these findings were meted with a nod from all if not most of us in the meeting as we could relate or had encountered similar experiences.

However, I wanted to see if there has been any research on why women are not always supportive of each other. Because although we shared our experiences, I could not quite find a specific underlying reason for our selfishness as women.

I really wanted to know why we are so reluctant to share information with our friends and acquaintances. Why is it so hard to tell a friend some data that may improve their health, wealth, physical appearance, businesses and so on.

Upon doing some research, I found an article written by Dr.Shawn Andrews that gave some very important points. In his article, he, like my concerns about the selfishness of women, highlighted that there was not one main answer when topics involving gender interactions were being discussed or researched.

He, however, noted that there was a “power dead-even rule” amongst women- one of the reasons that would explain why women are not always supportive of each other.

The “power dead-even rule” stipulates that interaction with women on a power structure basis must be equal at all times to that of the other women. The disruption of the power heirarchy, which happens when one woman may have been promoted or has increased her wealth, leads to exclusion, gossips and denigration.

Another important point that Dr. Andrews spoke of was the appropriation of the masculine emotional intelligence by those women who were in charge- the powerful and wealthy women. He described this situation as “The Queen Bee Syndrome,” where powerful women adapted emotional traits that are more associated with males in an attempt to assert their dominance over those women they are in charge of. In other words, women bosses and powerful women are oftentimes aloof in an attempt to stay dominant in a man’s domain.

All these points are pivotal in helping us understand the power structuce, selfishness and unwillingness to share that prevail amongst women. But I can never understand fully why people choose to be extremely selfish.

Despite the positions we hold, try to keep and the level of power and wealth we try to maintain, it will cost nothing to help a friend by sharing and be kind.

However it may seem, I’m not obligated

Kindness and assistance can be rare commodities because the world is never always amiable to us. Hence, it is of utmost importance to let others know that we are grateful and express gratitude whenever someone offer us assistance in any form.

The thing, however, is that sometimes dependency on others, can give rise to relations based on obligation.

I know for some people, obligation and help do not have any correlation. On the contrary, there are situations in which people allow those who they have helped to feel as though they are forever indebted to them- this is the type of obligation I speak of.

Being raised in the Caribbean, obligation is sometimes evident within some parental relations.

It is the norm for mothers and fathers to take care of their children. However, when you have reached a certain age and start to earn income there may be certain indicators, which suggest that it is the children’s turn to start taking care of their parents.

The obligated riddled parental relationship is usually expressed through reverse psychology, guilt trips and blatantly telling the child/ children how many sacrifices were made so that they could be in the position they are today.

There is also another form of obligation that comes with being helped in our social relationships.

Yes! Our friends may very well be there for us in our times of need. But not every friend will let your thank you be enough. You may get a reminder in the form of jokes, in private whispers behind your back or even blatantly to your face.

However, there is a deeper issue that comes with the whole notion of obligation and help.

The person who feels obligated is oftentimes overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and even depressed. There is a heavy burden as one person is trapped in the idea that he/she always has to say yes or be there because he/she was given help.

As such, the onus is upon the obligated person to channel his/her captive emotions to freedom. There has to be a point in which you, as the obligated person, realize that you are grateful (hopefully) for whatever was offered to you or for whatever was done on your behalf.

This will be your first step towards breaking the ties of your parasitic relationships.

You have to know that it is acceptable to say no or not to show up if it is literally not possible. Do not inconvenient yourself solely because you feel as though you have no choice.

There is always a choice.

And the best part is, the moment you detach yourself from the feelings of obligation begotten through help, you will have your peace of mind. The burden you once feel will be irrevocably removed from your life.

I also know that sometimes when you make the decision to stop feeling and acting obligated it may start an inner fight. But always remember that:

“Detachment, sometimes it’s necessary in order to restore your sanity. [And] Your peace of mind.” – Anonymous