The Chink in the Alpha Femaleâ€™s Armor
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Burn.
Why canâ€™t we be ourselves with our mates?
I never really thought about it until a Yule party I at- tended in Â December 2003. My ex was being nice for a few weeks Â of Â thatÂ Â monthâ€”no Â yelling, Â no Â put-downs, Â no Â fire- breathing comments under his breathâ€”and just to be hopeful that weâ€™d work out our problems and he might one day accept my spirituality, Iâ€™d invited him to come along to a holiday party and Winter Solstice Circle that Iâ€™d been looking forward to all year.
Always before, Iâ€™d gone alone with his disapproval be- cause he Â wasnâ€™t interested in my spirituality or didnâ€™t like my friends or just didnâ€™t want to leave the house. And because he didnâ€™t want to go, he didnâ€™t like that I went alone. But I would assert my independence and go alone, have Â a great time, and then dread the ride home to face him.
So that year, it surprised me when he readily accepted my invitation, saying he wanted to get to know my friends bet- ter. Heâ€™d snarled at these friends before, so I didnâ€™t believe him. We were getting along well for a few weeks and I didnâ€™t want him to be uncomfortable there, and I knew he would be. I was explicit in what would happenâ€”a huge potluck dinner by candlelight, one or two people with obvious piercings and tattoos he wouldnâ€™t appreciate but most up to his Â â€œnormal-lookingâ€ standards, maybe some Tarot readings, and a lighthearted circle- casting that would include a humorous chocolate theme. He insisted Â he was interested and that he could be sociable at any event, and that he really wanted to participate.
When we arrived, my friends greeted him warmly. He stood against the wallâ€”looking probably like I did at most of his gala black-tie eventsâ€”and sent shockwaves of I-donâ€™t-want- to-be-here through a room Â full of empaths. He was ready to leave almost instantly, but I pressed to stay for the whole evening, especially since I was to lead the evening ritual as a High Priestess. He did eventually relax a little and hold some intellectual conversations with some of the engineers and psychologists wearing Polo shirts and festive ties and drinking something non- alcoholic. He even admitted that my friends werenâ€™t the multi- pierced, overtly tattooed, blue-haired, half-naked, Â pot-smoking freaks heâ€™d been expecting (though I have those, too!), but still he refused to stand in the circle I led. For as long as we were there, no one at the party was comfortable.
Many of the people at that party lost respect for me as a High Priestess deep in her Second Degree, and some who had asked me to teach them changed their minds and openly questioned those who still wanted my spiritual guidance. Because of the way I behaved with my mate present, they didnâ€™t see me as a worthy leader. I was hurt by the comments Â I heard after the party, but it made me question their observation: that I wasnâ€™t the same person when I was with my mate.
After thinking about it, I realized it was true. I would lead a spiritual event, then on the way home to him, my energy would withdraw deep into my shell, as I would dread his reaction to my being gone, regardless of how heâ€™d spent his time in my absence or with which Â Internet Â cutie. For as much as I wanted to share myself with him, he didnâ€™t like all my facets and tried to obscure them. I could say that it didnâ€™t matter if he liked it and that he just had to tolerate it, but that wasnâ€™t Â what I wanted. I wanted him to accept these sides of me and not try to change them or hide them from the world or give me dirty looks when I insisted they were part of me. No, really, I didnâ€™t want him to just accept themâ€”I wanted him to nurture themâ€” but acceptance would have been more than I could realistically hope for. The best he could do was Â tolerance, and even that lessened the more I tried to keep my own identity.
Looking back now, now from this vantage point of having Â separated myself from my ex and being independent and doing the things Â I want to do and really coming out into the world as my own personâ€”something that I squelched back in my Â college Â days Â to Â keep Â the Â peace Â with Â the Â man Â I Â was Â to marryâ€”IÂ Â now know that it was true Â when Â my friends said I wasnâ€™t the same person when he was around. I wasnâ€™t. I pulled in my energy and my being and changed myself into something I wasnâ€™t so he would be happy, or at least, less angry with me and the rest of the world.
So itâ€™s easy to see now with my friends and co-workers, and even with people I donâ€™t know that well. Most of them are different with their Â mates around or when they start to think about their matesâ€™ opinions of Â their activities. Most of them canâ€™t really open up and be themselves like they do when itâ€™s just us. Iâ€™d like to think itâ€™s just Beta females, but it isnâ€™t. Â I donâ€™t hang with that many Beta females, and I probably wouldnâ€™t notice so much with them. I see it all around me.
Itâ€™s the new acquaintance, whoâ€™s the most hyperactive and independent woman Iâ€™ve ever met, but she canâ€™t come to a Gathering at my house because her husband will be home that evening and he wonâ€™t want to come along and wonâ€™t want her to go with her girlfriends. DÃ©jÃ vu!
Itâ€™s the strong-willed and charismatic friend who brings her mate to a Gathering at my house and becomes uncharacteristically passive in his presence, carefully translating for him any terminology that he might not like and constantly checking his body language to see if heâ€™s comfortable. DÃ©jÃ vu!
Itâ€™s the colleague I havenâ€™t seen in yearsâ€”not since we set fire to the world with a project that garnered many awards for both of us. Weâ€™re Â three minutes into a deep conversation when she gives the clock on the wall a pained look and jumps to her feet, telling me she gets off work in five minutes and has to be out the door in five-and-a-half because her husband expects her to be home at a certain time every day and she canâ€™t be five minutes late, not even for me. DÃ©jÃ vu!
Itâ€™s the Supermom Circle-mate whoâ€™s aghast because her husband Â has just scraped off her funny and moderately anti- social bumper sticker that was on a vehicle he never drives, just in case someone sees it on her car and connects her to him and thinks heâ€™s that way, too. DÃ©jÃ vu!
These Â are Â all Â strong Â women, Â strong Â Alpha Â females whoâ€”most of the timeâ€”donâ€™t take no for an answer and take no prisoners in their dealings with the business world. And yet, it pains me to see them kowtow to their mates. DÃ©jÃ vu, yes. For as open and honest and strong as they are in the rest of the world, none of them can truly be themselves with their mates.
And I think thereâ€™s something wrong with that. Iâ€™ve corrected it for myself, but I have to make sure it doesnâ€™t happen to me again.
And that means that I stay open and honest about who I am, what I think, and what I feel, and that I donâ€™t get involved with any man who doesnâ€™t fundamentally like me just the way I am. We have to like each other for ourselves, accept each other as we are, and nurture each other as much as we can by concentrating on treating each other well.
No matter how much I open up to the rest of the world, I Â have Â to Â be Â myself Â with Â my Â mate. Â The Â energyâ€™s Â the Â same, whether I put it on shielding from his venom and pretending to be something Iâ€™m not or I focus that energy on blessing our relationship to its highest potential. Â From now on, I choose the latter.