Many women lack confidence. No matter how beautiful, intelligent or talented they are, criticism cuts them to the core and a little voice in their head that always tells them they are not good enough makes them react to things in a way that makes it appear that they are not up to the task, whether it be on the job, in school or raising children.
Men do not have this voice in their heads. They can be insecure like women, but they still appear confident. As little boys, men are taught that they should not appear weak. Boys aren’t supposed to cry and all of that kind of nonsense. This is a good reason why men don’t go to the doctor as much as women do; they do not want to appear weak.
I once had a class with a professor who said that he was sexist. He said that he had been all of his life, but that some feminists had sat him down to have a conversation and he did improve. Even though he was an admitted sexist, when he spoke about his wife, you could tell that he admired, respected and loved her deeply. He told the class how his wide was the most intelligent person he knew. She had two PhDs. TWO! Still, she never felt good enough. He explained to the guys in class that women have a little voice in their head and it is always making them feel unimportant, unintelligent and incompetent, even when that is the farthest thing from the truth. The men in class were fascinated. It appeared that none of them knew about the little voice. The women, on the other hand, nodded as the professor spoke. Yes, it is true, they affirmed.
Why this happens for women, I don’t know. What I do know is that over the years, I have had conversations with beautiful, intelligent, talented women who suffer from great self doubt. If they want a better life, a more exciting career, a better man or anything they wish for, when it comes down to working with them on how to get there, they use the word, “can’t” quite frequently. They don’t believe in themselves or their ability to accomplish great things.
When it comes to the family court arena and a hostile coparenting situation, the self doubt will do them in. Women want to be nice. They want to be generous and share the children. They think that by being a doormat, they will get the children’s father to change or to pay attention to them. They think that he might finally realize their worth as a woman and a mother. This focusing on the Dad, instead of focusing on moving their life forward and embracing their hopes and dreams is what gets them into trouble in family court. It’s not that they want their ex back, generally they see that as a nightmare, but they are hoping that this man who they share children with and invested many years with, will finally value them. That may happen and it may not happen, but what is important is how this mindset works against them in a custody battle or when working with court authorities. The court documents or complaints against each other are very hurtful to a Mom. When a Mom is attacked as a bad parent, she has trouble fighting allegation because of that voice in her head that makes her doubt herself.
With men, women who haven’t been able to shut down that voice, will often choose men who are not worthy of such a great woman, but the voice in her head tells her that she cannot get a better man because she doesn’t deserve it.
Some men will use the voice in a woman’s head against her, purposely inflicting pain, knowing that it cuts at her core. Some men do it just because of the battle. They see a he said, she said situation as a competition he wants to win. If the court authority believes him, he wins. That is not true. If you are undermining the mother of your children, you will not win. Not in the long run and not with your children. If you are a man involved in a hostile coparenting situation, you might be able to help change the relationship. I would urge you to criticize your ex less and compliment her more. If she truly is a great mom, tell her that. Don’t threaten to take the children away from her and don’t stand in the way of her success on the job or with a new man in her life. Her success equals success for the kids, too.
If you are a woman with a voice of self doubt, work on building confidence. You are a great mom and deep down you know it. Compliments go a long way for a dad, too. If you admire something he does for the kids, tell him so. If he is a great dad, tell him so. Also, think about you and the children more than you think about the dad or court authorities. Don’t put yourself last. If you feel like you are the last priority everywhere you turn, why would you make yourself a last priority? Your life is hear and now. Don’t put it off.
The voice in your head will probably never really go away, but you can change it from saying all negative things to you and start paying more attention to the positive things it tells you.
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