First off, I'm not an anthropologist.
I'm just a woman sitting in my bedroom fuming about one of my roommates and considering the concept that maybe women are responsible for the world's alcoholism.
Bare with me.
I live with a few other women and there has been no greater obstacle than the patience, fear and discomfort I have had to sit with in dealing with them. I can only imagine how men feel. And I know there are women out there nodding in agreement. It has truly been a legit obstacle. Here are a couple reason's why and some of these are common in dealing with the "every" woman and some are particular to women specifically in recovery.
1) JEALOUSY/ENVY AND HATERISM - Unfortunately, I am starting to think women generally don't want what is best for other women. Oh, they do if that woman is beneath them and will never even get close to even, in that case women love being hero's to raise their own score. But in my observation most women become threatened by another woman who is thinner, stronger, more beautiful, more intelligent and a plethera of other things and want to even the score. This is an attitude I do not understand myself perhaps because I am always the Cinderella. I strive to gain and when I do, it is quickly torn apart by the nearest step sister archetypal manifestation. I, like Cinderella, am somewhat oblivious to the intentions and continue to serve others which I innately standby as one of my true purposes. I like friends in higher places, I want to learn from them or be seen with them admittedly. I'm one of those women that truly is happy when something good happens for another. These concepts of the Hater woman are ones that have continuously had to be explained to me, but enough times that I am beginning to recognize them. Why are all of these women continuously "coming at me"? It's crazy.
2) PARANOIA - More in recovery than not I see the questioning of true intention. And it is true that in the world of addiction people had to manipulate to get what they want. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. The alcoholic who drank someone else's vodka than filled it back up with water so they wouldn't notice, the drug addict who slept with someone for a fix, anyone who has stolen anything so they could have money to feed the addiction. There were also psychological manipulations of others...verbal and emotional abuse to get our boyfriends to behave how we wanted, acting out behaviors to get our parents to behave how we wanted, all kinds of control tactics to get the world to succumb to what we felt were our needs. The addict is also victim to manipulation by the disease as they justify that everything is manageable when it is clearly not, that it is no one else's business cause they are not hurting anyone, that they don't have a problem because they are able to maintain a job and on and on and on. Another way that women manipulate is by being passive aggressive. They may loudly proclaim a general disliking for cake-makers while another woman who is a pastry chef IS IN THE ROOM. Taking passive jabs is a way to try and manipulate others into feeling inferior while putting oneself in a higher position. This is a very common thing I have observed with women in recovery or not.
Women, I feel, are particularly the more talented sex when it comes to manipulation and that in part may be due to our power dynamic with men. From a young age we are shown that we have power over men when it comes to flaunting our sexuality. We are able to manipulate men into getting what we want by the implication they will receive sex in return. Whereas men, I feel, customarily have learned to extract things they want in more forceful or aggressive ways.
Unfortunately, when it comes to getting sober these lingering manipulations exist even though, if you are working a program, these are the exact flaws you are trying to bleach out of your every day existence. It can create an air of personality confusion and paranoia not knowing if you are crazy and stuck in old thought patterns or if others are engaging in their addictive behaviors and gas lighting you to distract from their own garbage. And women, like I said, are relentlessly engaging in such manipulations daily. God, I need more men in my life.
Luckily, these are things you can take to a "sponsor" or an objective person and untangle. But it's all extra work! And in the end you discover that none of this is your business in the first place! All that work for nothing?! Women, ugh.
3) HORMONES - Women are biologically disposed to conflict (this is hyperbole and me just being an ass as I'm currently on a "time of the month" schedule). But seriously, when spending loads of time with other women there are otherwise unexplainable feuds that arise simply from our body chemistry. I'm not just talking about periods either. There are other hormones like Cortisol which determine how we respond to stressful situations. In a weird study women who were shown angry faces began to produce more of the hormone whereas men just checked out. So you can imagine two women going at it is a stress snowball, collecting cortisol as it continues to grow in intensity. Also, if you happen to be a female that generally has higher levels of estrogen or progesterone you are more prone to mood swings, sleeplessness, anxiety and other agitation. These are phantom issues that one may not blame or even be able to identify that cause outward conflict leaving others to wonder "what's her problem?" or "what's wrong with me that this person keeps targeting me?"
4) ENERGY - When I think of energy, I use the concept interchangeably with spirituality. When someone's energy is out of balance or poorly maintained they lack the ability to transcend the world, their problems and every little thing in their life appears huge and important. Some day we are going to die and most of this shit isn't going to matter. The things that will matter are our relationships with each other and how we treat our fellow human beings. Unfortunately, existing on different spiritual energy planes can pose an obstacle to connection and it can be frustrating as all heck. I'd never say that to another woman though, she will find a way to "appear" spiritual so as to manipulate the situation to get what she wants. I'm joking...kind of. I'm not saying I'm the most spiritually enlightened person ever or that I'd even be one to teach on this topic. I'm certainly still in pupil status and studying, working diligently and struggling to apply what I learn. Application is the most difficult part. I had a Buddhist monk for a therapist and he once told me "It's easy to smile when every one is smiling back, but what if they are frowning?" (See also cortisol response to frowning in 3) HORMONE'S....IT AIN'T EVEN UNDER MY CONTROL MR. MIYAGI!)
5) CULTURES AND BACKGROUNDS - Not just women, but obviously this is just another fucking barrier to understanding each other. I had a Vietnamese roommate that wouldn't say anything if something was bothering her and she'd slowly shut down more and more then it was my job to identify there was a problem and seek out to remedy it. Women being the great manipulators they are will use culture to one up or alienate another woman. This isn't just women, this is a product of mob effect or Group think that happens in many cultures where people are unable to think for themselves and base judgement on personal interaction instead of prejudices that have been passed down or constructed by their society. It is a widespread problem that exists in many societies, America and it's many colors included. See also nationalism or jingoism. As it pertains to women, like I said, anything they can and will use against you.
6) MENTAL CHALLENGES AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS - Just because somebody is sober does not mean they are not on some kind of mind altering substance. Many people take SSRI'S, Anti-psychotics, meds for depression, anxiety and a number of other psychological ailments. I'm not saying it's bad, the reality is though that there are side effects to most medications which can sometimes present interpersonal challenges. Some side effects may be: Irritability, suicidal tendencies, mood swings, lethargy, lack of passion. My mother-in-law was on Zoloft and admitted to me that she felt like harming others which is not a common side effect, but you can see how that could pose some problems! Then there are people who have mental challenges that are under diagnosed, untreated (by either therapy or drugs) and can be underlying issues that cause mental goose chases for everyone else trying to understand what the problem is when everything else looks fine. Women manifest these differently then men do, but quite frequently scapegoat other females for the discomfort they feel within inside their own mind.
Now I'll bring drinking into the equation. It's not hard to see the allure of numbing oneself in regards to interactions with women. In sobriety women are some of my least favorite people (God, did I just say that out loud?). But in my drinking life when we were reduced to our lowest common denominator without all the other pretensions, energetic barriers, mind control and need for total domination women were my favorite pals always down to dine and ditch, run into a bush to pee and drip dry and dance our asses off until morning. We had each others backs when guys were the enemy and I could go and snuggle next to my girlfriend in bed while she wipes off my drunken tears. Now the only women I feel comfortable doing this around are actually gay men.
Please tell me your thoughts on this. I'm just going to keep on writing whether people answer or not with hopes that this catharsis keeps me from manifesting the many colors of madness within my own being. Also, I am only nine months into sobriety so my support roots don't go that deep. I have heard that relationships among women who are in active recovery together are more deep and fulfilling as time goes on. Thank you for your supportatage!
A writer living in Portland, OR looking to meet Chuck Palahniuk. Single mom to 2 boys, sales agent and lawyer-in-training.