Superwoman Syndrome is contributing to the mental health problems of independent women all over the world.
Women are, without question, the backbone of our society. For most of us, women had a big hand in nurturing, and raising us into well-adjusted adults. For many, women are the only people we recognize as parental figures.
men are, without question, the backbone of our society. For most of us, women had a big hand in nurturing, and raising us into well-adjusted adults. For many, women are the only people we recognize as parental figures.
Women of today wear so many hats that it’s virtually impossible for them not to experience some emotional distress while trying to juggle family life, work, as well as their own interests. In most families, the woman of the house is the glue that holds the family together, as she typically adopts a jack-of-all-trades mentality, tending to all the family’s needs—often neglecting her own.
Many women are celebrated for being that “glue” which holds their family together. While the acknowledgment they receive is usually well-intentioned, this sort of appraisal has proven to be toxic, as countless women have run themselves into the ground trying to live up to the validation as a “strong woman” given from those around them.
Culturally we live in a society where women historically have been socially oppressed and relegated to subservient positions. As if women are not as viable leaders as their male counterparts. As if a man, just for the sake of being a man, is more fit to lead. Women have been deemed inferior as they supposedly are too emotional, too irrational, and too week to obtain and hold leadership positions within corporate America. Yet, women are almost always thrust into the most critical leadership position there is–leader of a family.
Leading is something most women do exceptionally well, but some women do it too well. Many women manage all the different areas of their lives with no help. To me, it has become sort of a taboo for women to not want to take on all the problems of their inner-circle, or accept help from others when it comes to managing their homes, careers, and personal lives–which is a recipe for disaster. Everyone can use help at times, and to deny this fact of life is detrimental to your mental health. Women who pridefully and vehemently refuse to take help or engage in routine self-care, even when it is clearly needed, suffer from what is called “Superwoman Syndrome.”
A Superwoman is a woman who rigidly exudes strength, suppresses her emotions, and is extremely helpful to others (despite it not being in her best interests). Superwomen are resistant to vulnerability and are very independent, yet they lack autonomy and most of the decisions they make are based on the sentiments and welfare of others, with little to no regard of their own needs.
Superwoman Syndrome is not a diagnosable mental illness but is closely related to codependency–a disorder where people enable other’s dysfunctional behavior because they get a sense of satisfaction from being needed or they feel guilty for letting people solve their own problems. Superwomen have also been liked to a host of mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder, several types of anxiety disorders, and even personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder.
erwoman Syndrome is not a diagnosable mental illness but is closely related to codependency–a disorder where people enable other’s dysfunctional behavior because they get a sense of satisfaction from being needed or they feel guilty for letting people solve their own problems. Superwomen have also been liked to a host of mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder, several types of anxiety disorders, and even personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder.
If you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from Superwoman Syndrome:
Perfectionist mentality–anything less than perfect is a failure, or you don’t know when to say “good enough” is good enough.
You always seem to be unhappy.
You put other people’s problems before your own, or you take more responsibility for other people’s issues than they do.
You feel guilty for engaging in self-care (i.e., talking vacation days, going out with friends, buying nice yourself nice things).
You are afraid to ask for help from other’s because you fear it will make you look bad.
Although Superwoman Syndrome is not a diagnosable disorder, meaning it is not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) it’s still a formidable problem that can significantly affect your mental health. Although seeing a qualified mental health professional is the best way to treat Superwoman Syndrome, self-care is a great way to manage some of its symptoms.
Below is a list of strategies to combat Superwoman syndrome:
Treat yo self by Having “me” days--Me days are days that are strictly dedicated to taking care of your own personal needs, whether that be a spa day, an outing with friends, or just a simple lazy day that you binge watch your favorite TV shows.
Understand that you do not have to do everything by yourself— it’s okay to ask for help, especially when you need it.
Stop listening to everyone else— sometimes we do things for other people’s approval. Although outside approval is not always a bad thing, the only approval you should be SEEKING should come from yourself. Don’t let validation from your employer, spouse, friends, or even your children cause you to take on more than you can handle.
Everyone must take care of their mental health. Even Superwomen have to practice self-care and emotional awareness. That said you have to know when “enough” is enough and take the necessary action to preserve your emotional wellness.
You cannot be superwoman to other’s if you don’t take care of yourself. Food for thought: when you’re on a plane, right before takeoff, the flight attendant usually announces to all of the passengers on the flight ” In the event of an emergency landing, secure your own mask before helping others.” This is something Superwomen need to hear because far too often they secure everyone else’s mask first.