My novel The Kanzas which I wrote in 2014 was initially entitled Entangled. In the novel, Margaret tries to release herself from a conventional patriarchal society by bringing in new ideas but it backfires terribly on her. She also fails to get rid of the toxic people around her until a brutal attempt on her life serves as a wake up call!
The process of disentanglement here is twofold: releasing oneself from a society that oppresses women in obvious (and sometimes not so obvious) ways and removing toxic people from one’s life.
I am the fruit of a patriarchal world! A girl, a woman, a female born, raised and living in a world where it is okay for a man to be full of himself, to work to advance himself and to spend all day and all night in the office to make sure he gets that promotion and/or achieves his dreams while his wife takes care of the domestic work and kids and gives him all the support he needs BUT when a woman does the same, she is called selfish, self centered and society frowns at her! When she insists on spending extended hours in the office, she is still expected to go home and do all the domestic duties and if she can’t then she better hire a maid! It may sound like an exaggeration but it isn’t. It still happens today – a lot!
I studied Psychology and one of the vital lessons I got out of the four years of my life as a psychology student was just how important it is to disentangle myself from toxic people and surround myself with the right people. And for a long time, I tried and tried and I kept failing miserably at this seemingly easy task. I couldn’t understand why I continuously offered unconditional support to people who in return stabbed me in the back and at times right in the face. I gave unconditional love to people who in return sabotaged my plans, stole and used my ideas to benefit themselves, and used information I had given to them in confidence to advance themselves by using me as a stepping stone. I was surrounded by people who were there for me when I had plenty but who were quick to turn their backs on me and abandon me when I needed them.
Now I realize that the main reason why I kept failing to disentangle myself from the toxic people around me is because I was wired to function as a ‘normal woman’ in a patriarchal world. I just couldn’t bring myself to say NO because women are expected to give, and give, and give some more until there’s nothing left in their tanks and their reserves are empty as well. Women are taught to give until they’re completely depleted and often feel guilty about saying no! Like the “normal woman” I was wired to please, I was plagued with a terrible illness called “the disease to please” and I incurred heavy personal, financial, physical and emotional losses that landed me helplessly on my knees without anyone to turn to but GOD before I underwent the much needed paradigm shift.
Since then I have been working not just to disentangle myself from dogmas, ideas and systems of a male-centred world that have caused blockages to my advancement and stopped me from thriving, but also to disentangle myself and cut off toxic people from my life and my living environment. Trust me – it is easier said than done but this is a one way journey that I am embarking on that involves burning old bridges and building new and healthier ones.
Have a blessed day.
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