22 October 1956
For several weeks now, something has been disturbing me. What it is I have [not] been able to pinpoint. It has something to do with a pattern in me – emotional and unreasonable – that has been stirred up by Blanche. She has predecessors. She is not the first who has brought this emotional reaction from me. Marge is an example.
Kurt asked me, in discussing the matter – what is it that stirs a resentment in me toward Blanche. I had to tell him I really didn’t know. Even Theresa Treer brings it out. As long as Theresa is the feminine symbol and I visit her and let her entertain me in her home – all right. But when she is weary and wants relief from her duties and comes here with her family, letting me take over – I begin to resent even Theresa Treer. With Blanche – she is the most non-feminine person. My mother was non-feminine – yet she tried to force me into a pattern of pliable femininity – which I resented deeply, blindly and violently.
There is a peculiar contradiction within me. I admire on one hand the “career” role but on the other hand, I realize it is an incomplete role, and I am torn asunder here lately trying to strike a balance in my own personal self, regarding this conflict.
Just as I write this the thought strikes me that career women are some kind of partial personality. They were unable to breach the gap through the force of circumstance in their lives to any femininity in their existence.
In Blanche’s case – the father role was forced upon her by a clinging woman who when she lost her husband during her youngest child’s infancy, used that child as a husband substitute. My mother had three boys to turn to, so she felt mine should be a feminine pliable role.
I hope this fuzzy thinking on this subject clarifies itself. I have told Kurt that although I may not handle this problem alone, my previous method of handling such a situation (avoidance of the person stirring or aggravating this pattern), it would be well for me to tackle it head on, even if I have to go to Streeter with it. If I cannot solve it alone I will in the future constantly end up closing the door shut to such people in my life, or break the pattern up by consulting with Streeter in attempting to destroy the partial key trigger mechanism that sets this pattern often me
The underscored line in these notes seems to me a partial key. When I try to analyze it, the thought strikes me [that] my mother tried to force upon me a role she rejected herself. She was anything but womanly – human – (supposedly a feminine trait). She in effect tried to sell me on the idea that I should do not as she did – but as she told me to do. Perhaps that is why I have that quotation mark taken advantage quotation mark of feeling whenever this particular situation arises.
Somehow since the Blanche deal came up, I have been chafing under the thought of going into Blanche’s business. The thinking has gone something like this. If I worked for Blanche, I will be taking time away from what I have considered to be the primary job I have: raising my children – properly – guiding them through their troubles. That is why I referred to Dr. Fetterman’s offer of a job – also refused Dean Barden’s offer of a job. Why eventually gave up the [directorship of the Memorial School Community] Center (partially – although there were other reasons to – including the fear I could not sustain my brilliant record at the center).
Perhaps I am beginning to see the light a little: these contrary feelings are the pull and hug first condition by my mother. Her “masculine protest”. Her lack of “femininity”, or the more you’re ‘humane” feeling aspects of life – lack of understanding versus the desire to achieve.
My mother preferred the achievement role – supposedly masculine. She gained no satisfaction, resented and hated her supposedly feminine role – complain bitterly against it. And I guess I still measure values, unconsciously by her values.
Now with this Blanche’s business deal situation. On the one hand I want to shut out my children and concentrate on the export business a al “The Private Secretary” TV version of the “She-wolf of Wall Street”. Only in my case it would be the “Suave Manipulator of World Trade.”
Kurt’s fears of several years ago were correct when he worried about the possibility that I would dump my family for a “career”. There is a strong tendency, a strong potential of just such a possibility with in me.
Now – here is what Streeter said: There is nothing wrong with my interests. And I don’t know how he said it but he intimated it was the degree of intensity with which I approach the idea. The “I just can’t fail” in this endeavor! Whichever endeavor it might be. In this area evidently, I compete with the masculine concepts of our society. I have to be better than my competitor and the fear of failure haunts me.
It could easily be, even though I comprehend the satisfactions of the maternal role better than my mother, understand the wife role better than my mother, I’m still trying to be two different people: a tycoon and a woman. I have an idea the tycoon role, stripped of some of the false conditioning I inherited from my mother, could perhaps become an actual fact and interesting hobby – a sideline, recognized by me consciously as such. If I can feel it that way, there will be no more resentments and emotional wrangles troublingly.
There is something wrong with a woman when she is not proud of being a woman. And the something wrong is a lot of crazy God damn conditioning that goes back into the ages of our civilization called: “The woman is the inferior human.” It is not strange, therefore, that women think the only way they can lift themselves out of this nonentity class is by competing with men and turning their backs upon themselves as a “minority” segment in society. It is like a colored person trying to align himself with the more powerful white groups and turning his back on his own race.
People like Blanche and Mary Anderson are the real failures in life – just as my mother in a whole segment of her life was a failure.
People like Mrs. Murzon are failures too because although they know better, they submit to male supremacy and lend no dignity to womanhood – not in the sense of competing with the male but using their God-given intelligence and sense of dignity and self-respect. She lets her husband treat her as an inferior because she does not do what he does – “bring home the bacon”.
You have to take before you can give. When there isn’t enough to take, instead of learning to give, you need to become selfish, you can’t give. You haven’t had your full share. If you are going to give something do it from the fullness of your heart or not at all. No one is happy in your gift if they are made to feel your sacrifice for them.