Chapter 3: The Game Is Rigged
You’re Not the Problem
In the third chapter of this book, the author suggests that the game has long been rigged: “Our patriarchal society has saddled women with the mental load- the cognitive and emotional burden that comes with running a household- and a series of paradoxical expectations.” We don’t need fixing- the culture does. The reason you feel burned out, hopeless, or full of rage is not your fault. Dr. Laskhmin says that throughout the rest of the book she is going to show us how our own internal changes, through self-care, have the power to impact racism, capitalism, colonialism etc, that have existed for a while now… Ok- I don’t want to go into all of society’s awful bits. Suffice it to say that women bear the brunt of the family unit’s cognitive load (anticipating needs, identifying options for fulfilling them, making decisions, monitoring progress). Women with higher levels of mental load express greater levels of emotional emptiness. In other words, they look around and say, “Is that all there is?” But we live within the contradiction that says women should be selfless and accommodating to the needs of other while simultaneously excelling professionally and personally.
The author suggests that in order for women to be able to survive well in this system they must:
- Embrace internal change
- Cultivate dialectical thinking
Dialectical thinking is the ability to acknowledge that two opposites can be true at the same time…
As it relates to having partners and children with SUDs it is right in line- we know that in order to address a difficult situation we have to hold that we may love our person, but we have to take care of ourselves from the inside out- Real Self-Care is less about adding something to your list and more about seeing your place in the world, your family, and your relationships differently. Audre Lorde said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it’s self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
In the next section of the book the author will be sharing the 4 principles of Real Self-Care. I hope that her suggestions are on the smaller scale than systematic failure and worldwide oppression. I want to believe that real self-care is achievable by me for me, and by proxy, achievable for anyone who has been hijacked by drugs and their lure.
Question: How does taking care of yourself help your loved one with a substance use disorder?
In my case, placing my needs as on par with other peoples’ competing needs helps me to show up for my person with a SUD. I am not so resentful of their difficult situation needing my time. I am able to come into the relationship with that person in a calmer state- less needy myself, and more honest with my statements- When I am overwhelmed by the difficulty of caring for a person with these troubles I do better when I can clearly differentiate between me and them, their essential self and their using behavior, and it gives me a little space to consider the future optimistically.