Gender roles give us different kinds of problems.
Dana Jack did some research on this. She says women are often depressed because they try too hard to be compliant, to be self-sacrificing, and to avoid conflict with important others by suppressing their needs and feelings.
Women interviewed for her study reveal compliant exteriors and internal selves boiling with rage and frustration.
I didn’t grow up with those gender roles.
I grew up with a mother visibly, loudly, dangerously enraged–not in a quiet, passive, suppressed way, but in a way that was physically assaultive.
And a father who never, ever lost his cool.
My father understood that old adage about revenge. He served everything cold. He planned. He waited. And in the end he always gave you exactly what he thought you deserved in a way that he knew would hurt you most.
I am still more comfortable with someone who will tell me exactly what has pissed them off about me and why. That I feel I can deal with. What I can’t stand is the person who keeps it in, uses the silent treatment, or just doesn’t speak up.
That person feels dangerous to me.
What you learn in a house with a psychopath is not just to suppress unfeminine expressions of anger and resentment, but to suppress everything. Rage, in fact, may be the only acceptable emotion to express.
But anything that suggests a way to get at you–that needs to be hidden. So you keep quiet about what you love, what has meaning for you, what brings you pleasure and joy. These things need to be kept secret, because later they will be used against you.