– “Doctor…I need to consult my husband on everything—I depend on him.”
Paola X. is a successful physician that has settled in South Florida after completing her training in New York a decade ago. We met in an Italian-American social event a few years back and we have been friendly ever since. She is married to a very successful American professional and they have a nice family of four. However, her initial upbringing in a traditional Neapolitan family where the authoritarian figure of her father dominated even the secondary matters at home has marked her.
She has invested all her energies and time availability in the creation of a welcoming hearth for her husband and children, even though she is a very busy professional herself. She plans all their daily activities at home, being the perfect homemaker. However, all that dedication has come at a heavy personal price as she does not have any independent activity, let alone a supportive network of loyal girlfriends.
A rewarding loving relationship entails sharing a lot of time and activities with your partner, but do you have to share everything, all the time? There is a danger that any attempt of decoupling for the most menial task in a banal period by one partner might be construed as a sign of disloyalty by the dependent one. Individuals that have suffered unusual verbal and/or physical abuse as children are more likely to experience what psychologists call “anxiety of separation” in modern practices.
We all strive to love and be loved but the necessity of being always in the company of our partners can lead to great personal anxiety and undue stress in the couple. Moreover, to preserve the close relationship at all costs, the dependent individual can accept and endure various forms of abusive partners’ behavior. One of the sad tenets that we have found in the discovery of abused women is that they usually erroneously feel that “they need their partners”, delaying their rescue. We have witnessed how a few women have refused to press charges against physically abusive partners, even when the physician and/or social worker have helped them.
Sadly, the couple’s children can become hostages of these unhealthy relationships and in a few instances they are passive, suffering witnesses to intolerable levels of abuse.
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.