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Last week, Monday February 26, I was diagnosed with Strong Woman Syndrome. My face remained expressionless and then I blinked my eyes as I stared in to the eyes of my diagnoser. I thought to myself, "Is that even a real thing? I have to Google that and see what that is exactly." And then I smugly thought to myself, "I’ll take that as a compliment.” I hope he didn’t mistake me blinking my eyes as batting my eyelashes, eww.
You see, my diagnosis came from a man. A man that owns the company I, and my husband, work for. The company that we are taking a chance on. Many chances on. Chances with our careers, our money, and our time.
I really put the comment out of my head until a week later I received this text from another of the female coaches…"Did you know that our bosses are qualified to diagnose us with Strong Woman Syndrome?! Who knew we had psychiatrists for bosses!” To which I responded “Oh Man! You too!???!! I received my diagnosis last week. I spent all weekend trying to fix myself” Insert eye roll emoji.
Then I texted my best friend and told her. Then I texted my sister and told her. They both laughed at first, we had a few funny texts back and forth, but then it got serious. “Has your boss not read the paper lately?” They were both appalled that he would say such a thing, but quite honestly not surprised as they’ve heard a few stories about this guy before.
You see, he is intimidated by strong women. Actually, he is intimidated by anyone that seems to think for and speak for themselves. He so much needs to feel in control that he has been known to throw markers across the room in anger, circle around a question, speaking very intelligently about nothing that actually answers the original question as well as blaming others for wanting change but not actually being willing to change themselves. Umm, turn the mirror around.
Actually, if I’m being honest, I have said before that I’m pretty sure he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I was reading an article one day and thought for sure it was written about him. However, as much as I’ve wanted to diagnose him to his face, I don’t have the credentials for that, yet. So, when he’s having an episode, I just remind myself of the article, put on my face shield and make sure I don’t get caught in the cross fire. Most of the time.
So, back to fixing myself. What should one do if they have Strong Woman Syndrome? Here is what I’ve done:
- Surround yourself with other strong women. Women who you can go to as a confidant, to cry on their shoulder, to laugh with, to talk about sensitive subjects with. Women who support you, who aren’t trying to be your guru or fix your problems. Women who are real, authentic, supportive and who, along side you, do the hard work.
- Partner up with someone who loves you for who you are. As I mentioned, I have a husband. He has seen the best and the worst of me. And he still supports and loves me, even when he wants to smother me with the pillow at night. Hands down the best compliment he has ever given me is, “The sexiest thing about you is your spirit.” Sad that to others my spirit is turned in to a syndrome.
- Surround yourself with men who are not intimidated by strong women. Men who are driven and caring in their own special way. Men who have goals, dreams, fears and who put in the work and play the game fairly in order to get ahead.
- Feel the Emotions. If you found yourself cringing or speed reading over the part about crying on someone's shoulder or speaking to someone about your sensitive subjects, go back to it. It is important that you realize emotions provide you with indispensable information that you need to evolve as a person. They hold the key to you understanding yourself and being able to overcome the adversity you will be faced with.
- Act out of Love. Don’t fuel yourself with anger or resentment or fear. It would be really easy for me to lash back out at him and accuse him of “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” and attack him, but I won’t. Because that is not what I believe in. I will take action with Love. Most importantly, Love for myself.
- Create a career (or join a company) that allows you to challenge yourself and that doesn’t pigeon hole you. I call it Diversifying your Professional Footprint. We don’t live in a time where people have “one” career anymore! What interests you? What do you do in your life that brings it value? Value to the lives of others? Find a company that is in alignment with that and/or create a career out of that thing!
I really aim to look at life as an adventure. (I LOVE adventure!) Nothing is good nor bad, all is part of the experience. I’m at the point now in my journey that I can take a diagnosis of Strong Woman Syndrome, recognize who it’s coming from, not take it personally, and in turn ensure that I am maximizing its potential.