I was knee deep in the déjà vu. Another friend was telling me how she and volunteered for doormat duty. Volunteered might not be the right word. She had what she thought were some compelling reasons why she was “forced” into being a patsy. She couldn’t stop her brother from taking advantage of her. And as always, she swore she would never, ever, let him use her again. Like I said, knee deep.
Perhaps it is chromosomal. I’m always amazed by how many women are user friendly. Motivated by guilt, a desire to be loved and appreciated, low self-esteem, or all of the above, they are in constant servitude. Sometimes the person pulling the strings and pushing all the right buttons is an elderly parent. Sometimes it is a sibling. It can even be an ex-spouse.
I remember one friend who showed great personal courage and strength in every area of her life but one. Her chronically unemployed ex-husband and her manipulative children completely controlled her. They snapped their fingers and she came running. We all agonized over her self-inflicted imprisonment and wondered how long her second husband would tolerate her weakness. The answer was not long. She now lives alone in a Lakewood apartment where she divides her time between work, visiting her kids, and backbone reconstruction.
Last night I heard another tale of woe. The bottom line is that a thirty-five year old divorced woman with two kids was allowing her single, slightly younger brother to sponge off her. Fifty bucks here. Eighty dollars there. Co-sign for a loan. He is simply financially incompetent. He is not on drugs. But he is as addicted to her money as surely as a crack-head is to coke.
Whether you view addiction as a disease or an illness it is her obligation to cut him off. Tough love is the only cure. Bankruptcy may be part of his treatment. A return of her self-respect would be a positive side effect.
Women should not allow people to take advantage of them. It is hard to respect a doormat.