‘After a lifetime as a pushover, I finally learned to stand up for myself’

Dec 30, 2020
Adrienne recalls the lessons learned from relationships past. Source: Getty

When I look back on my life, there are thousands of things I know now that I wish I’d known when I was younger. As there isn’t time to pour over all of them, I’ll just focus on one: men.

I could call this blog ‘life’s disasters’ as that pretty much sums up my relationship with men. The first man I knew was my father. He stole my sister and I away from our mother when I was six and I had no contact with her until I was in my 20s. No wonder I have psychological issues around the opposite sex. Despite being the person who took us away, I didn’t have much contact with my father either as we were sent to live with our grandparents in Gladstone. Dad died when I was 45, and I was still obeying him even then.

So, it’s natural for me to obey a man and acquiesce to their every whim. I know that this is what men expect, and in some cases, demand – a slave – someone to do as they are told and not have an opinion (at least the men I’ve been with).

I have recently learned the word ‘narcissist’ and wish I’d known about it back then. I know now that men want sex when they want it and not when I want it, they want to make all the decisions about finances, holidays, meals, everything actually. I remember once when my second husband and I visited Movie World with the kids. I was walking slightly ahead and chose a bench in the shade to sit down and have our picnic lunch expecting he and the kids to join me, but no, he chose another bench and I felt compelled to move less I piss him off and unleash the raging bull. I couldn’t even make a decision about a bloody bench on my own!

Looking back on my relationships, I realise I’ve always been a pushover. I liked to think I was easy to get along with, but in actual fact, you can use me as a doormat and walk all over me and I’ll just try to make you love me by carrying out your every wish exactly as you want it done. Exactly! Hang my shirts with the front facing this way! Yes sir! Make sure you leave a little tail on the toilet paper because my big fat fingers can’t grab it. Of course, sir, that will be no trouble for me to do every single time I use the toilet.

I’ve never been a TV watcher as I’m more into reading, but I became the biggest, fattest couch potato in the world in my last relationship. I would watch every talent show imaginable and then have to listen to his recordings of them in the car. Did he ever watch a show that I perchance wanted to watch? Did he ever listen to any of my music? You know the answer! What did we eat almost every night? Pasta of course. His favourite food, not mine.

So what have I learned when it comes to men? Don’t fawn over them. Don’t compliment them because they will never compliment you in return. Don’t stroke their egos with praise – they think they’re God’s gift to women anyway. And definitely learn to say no and mean it!

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