Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Superwoman Syndrome


Everyone's image of a superhero is something that takes care of everyone else's problems...

Mom, I need a costume for tomorrow, I'm a turnip in the nutrition play.


Mom, I need $10 for a field trip to the Zoo.


Hey, why hasn't this bill been paid?


What are you thinking about making for dinner?
(as she gets home, an hour after everyone else did)


When is it time for...

Mom, I made you lunch.


Let's go away for the weekend. I've already arranged for your sister to watch the kids.


Why don't you take a long,
hot bath and I'll keep the kids at our house for a few hours.


When is it time for Superwomen to take care of themselves
or be taken care of?

According to Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis, co-author of Overcoming the Superman Syndrome, some women don the proverbial cape because they:
  • Want to be the good, little girl
  • Have a tendency towards people-pleasing
  • Seek attention
  • Want to feel like they can do it all
  • They cannot say no to others
  • Want to feel accomplished
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Strive for perfection


The Superwoman is a good person, duty oriented, very responsible and truly desires to do what is right.


Those who have Superwoman Syndrome are Mom's, professionals, community organizers, activists, volunteers and socialites. Young girls and college-aged women are also susceptible if they are under pressure to excel in school, sports, looks and relationships. Some reports show that girls as young as 13 suffer from Superwoman Syndrome.

Unfortunately, the stress from The Superwoman Syndrome can lead to a variety of physical and emotional illnesses.

Superwomen, there is a way out. It is possible to overcome Superwoman Syndrome. Some women have used the following tactics when trying to heal from their "I have to do everything and do it well" attitudes:

Assertiveness Training: Learn to express yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, your beliefs, all while respecting the rights of others. Assertive behavior can prevent problems that have the potential to create stress.

Support System: Build your own support system and form effective relationships. These people can give help and comfort during times of potential stress.

Have A Relationship with God: Take time out of your day for prayer and studying the Word. God is also a good One to talk to in times of trouble or despair.

Learn To Delegate and Ask For Help: You really don't have to do everything. If your kids are old enough, ask them for help with housework. Ask your husband to lend a helping hand at home. It really is okay to ask for help.

Let Go Of Perfectionism: Realize that the house does not have to be clean 24/7. Dinner does not have to be just right every evening. It really is impossible to be perfect all of the time.

Make The Sacrifice: Is it time for a sacrifice? Maybe sacrificing work to stay at home? Maybe downsizing your home? Ask yourself what things you can live without. Try to focus on your needs instead of your wants.

Take Time Out For You: Get your hair done, a massage, a pedicure. Go shopping for a new outfit. Go off somewhere on your own and read a good book. Have coffee with a good friend. The world really will go on while you take a break.

Maybe the best advice is to learn to let go and learn to say no.


Sometimes saying No for the first time is the breakthrough you need. I really strapped for time with a lot of things going on and the PTA hospitality chairman called asking for baked goods for an event. My mind was whirring away trying to figure out how I could fit this additional chore into my already packed schedule. I don't mind baking. I actually enjoy it, but I couldn't handle another thing. I took a deep breath, apologized and said, "I'm sorry, I really don't have the time for this event" and do you know what happened? NOTHING! The caller totally understood, thanked me and said she'd call me the next time we needed baked goods. That's it. I declined a request for assistance and the world didn't end.

Just line on an airplane when they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first before tending to your children...you're no good to anyone if you don't take care of yourself...It's not selfish, it's reality.

There is hope in overcoming your Superwoman Syndrome!


~Darci

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