Between selfishness and martyrdom, the middle kingdom of matriarchy

Many in the sphere write that women are incapable of loving. I understand why they make this claim but cannot endorse it. Yet I’d claim that even with all of my self derived terminology tied to the word empathy, I cannot say that women are the empathetic champions they are made out to be.

We celebrate the empathy of women when we herald them at Mother’s Day. Men’s groups, pastors, counselors, even pedestrians we encounter daily are fast with a remark about the sensitivity and emotional availability of women.

Then we hear that love is an action, not a feeling. We hear that spoken to men, while we see lack of it in practice overlooked in women. The veneer, the facade, it is well crafted. The materials of construction are not dissimilar to those same materials that are used to construct elaborate passive aggressive ruses that are deployed to exert soft control of men and of children by women.

Indeed, soft control…the female leadership strategy of preference, is at the center of the amalgam of her actions. This stretches across all races, ages, socioeconomic groups and the religious as well as the irreligious.

For now the religious.

I’ve written before about the matriarchy that is the rural southern Baptist home that is at once held forth as the pinnacle of patriarchy while being in truth a den of overlapping matriarchies. Ive written about my own in-laws who are wonderful people and good citizens. Good Baptists after all make good citizens.

The mother softly controls all things through a combination of hints and offers, compliments and complaints, and just quiet muttering as if to self but aimed like a laser for the target ear. Over the 26 years Ive been around them it hasn’t gotten worse as they reached elderly status. Rather it has shown keen versatility in that she leverages age related nuances brilliantly to evoke -the appropriate response-, that being the response she designed into the strategy.

The simple example. We were to attend the opening of a new venue for tourists in the city where we live. The in-laws have been here for wife’s and son’s graduations…her from nursing school and him from high school. Its raining cats and dogs and lemurs and we are postponing this outing. My father in law suffers Parkinson disease and the resulting shuffling feet. He must use a walker. So we are delaying and I said I would go get the brake light fixed on their car. They cannot drive but they have a big old Lincoln Town Car that my wife drove them here in, back from Texas, so they would be comfortable.

I sat to read and or write on the PC. MIL came past asking had I seen her car keys. I indicated where they were and she said, “I was just making sure you had no trouble finding them”. Men reading here know the translation of the passive aggressive language is, “Are you gonna sit there or go fix the car like you said you would?”

That’s the easy stuff. Wives do that daily. Why be direct when you can make yourself feel better by being polite? Like the expression “me gustaria” or “quisiera” in Spanish. At least those are words that are designed for passive politeness. They are not obfuscations, though I’m guessing a Spanish speaking woman could deploy them as such.

Worse are the manifestations of selfishness and or martyr complexes, used individually or in combination. The selfless matriarch will say, “oh why’d you not ask me, sit down and relax I will do that” when she sees you dealing with the ox that’s obviously been laying in the ditch all day for days. Its like inviting someone to go somewhere knowing all along they cannot attend  due to a conflict. Credit for the selfless generous act but no doing. Or, doing the act, grunting in the effort (again, not an arisen with age thing) and accepting the resulting sympathy and gratitude.

My oldest and more kindred of my two excellent sons is red pill aware and perceptive of nuance. He said to me Thursday while we played tennis that what he sees now in the in-law marriage dynamic and what he thought he saw as a kid are vastly different. That MIL is plainly mean to FIL. He’d heard her call him “idiot”.

When he was a child the kingdom appeared to have a king, the queen seemed deserving of her crown. The kingdom seemed a patriarchy because the daughters…my wife and sisters…hovered around their father doting and repeating his legendary tales. He was an affable king beloved by all in his sphere. Loved so much that even the queen occasionally joined in the quoting of significant histories.

I’d entered the kingdom as an adult and found some unidentifiable discomfort each time we passed through the outer lands and entered the kingdoms. The queen was the moral authority of all, of even the king. The queen had the harried countenance of a bond servant, rarely taking meals at the main table, choosing to instead stay amongst the things of work, of meal preparation and clean up. She was lauded. She would respond when the king called, “bring me a goblet of milk”. But she could not tolerate the kings physical presence if the king showed human affection. If the king made comments, as he did when 50 years of marriage were celebrated, that he’d been blessed with the best wife in the history of the lands, she’d not demure, she’d not express gratitude or hint at mutuality. She’d address him dismissively in response.

Now the king is old and infirm. He is in many ways helpless. And the queen has been able to more openly usurp. She is more openly verbally derisive and now that she has established herself in her home as the able and capable one she brings her authority into the kingdoms of her children but in the old passive ways.

We had an ER situation with my youngest son this past week. Stroke like symptoms, garbled speech, forgetful, etc. Urgent CT scan, all manner of blood and urine tests, no diagnosis…symptoms persist, answers forthcoming. And the queen seemed out of sorts that this emergency was drawing attention and sympathy away from her. She overtly downplayed the situation. She reminded everyone of every emergency past and present existing amidst her immediate sphere. One person’s dog was killed by a truck, another grand child was just recovering from Lyme disease, news that if on paper was old enough that it would be yellowed, another was unemployed, one daughter had suffered leukemia as a child (untrue, an exaggeration, the girl had some other condition prefixed with leuk,  and don’t worry, my son was just a growing 18 year old…tired because of growing, nothing to see here despite his childhood history of seizures and the pending EEGs and MRI to come next week. .

Petty of me to spread these rumors through the outer kingdoms. They are low rumors and will settle with no resulting upheavals.

We’ve managed to resist and must maintain only another week. Soon she will return to the newly established middle kingdom of Matriarchy and the royal female influence in the outer lands will wane. .

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10 thoughts on “Between selfishness and martyrdom, the middle kingdom of matriarchy

  1. Women are capable of love, but are educated against it. Obviously misandry and love can’t co-exist. That’s why love also is rooted in feeling, otherwise the actions are meaningless.

    The overlapping matriarchies you described was actually a source of feminine social power until the femihags destroyed it. Now they compete with men the larger social sphere, and being incapable, are slaves to the state instead of managers of homes.

  2. Offering prayers of answers, insight, and healing for your son.

    I’ll not touch the rest of this with a ten foot pole, 😉 .

  3. Now the king is old and infirm. He is in many ways helpless. And the queen has been able to more openly usurp. She is more openly verbally derisive and now that she has established herself in her home as the able and capable one she brings her authority into the kingdoms of her children but in the old passive ways.

    A perfect illustration of the fact that hypergamy never dies. Even after more than half a century of marriage, now that the king is showing signs of infirmity and incapacity and cannot protect and provide as he once did, the queen increasingly loses her respect for him, for he is no longer a useful tool/beast of burden (I saw this same phenomenon manifest itself in my mother as my father slowly died of cancer after 53 years of marriage – and they had one of the longest and strongest Christian marriages of any couple I’ve ever known.)

    Pay heed, my married brethren, for odds are that a similar fate awaits you in your final years should your marriage endure for so long.

  4. I think it’s important to recognize that the issue here is not that women are worse than men; ti’s rather that women’s sins need to simply be recognized as sins. Not as ‘women suck’ (which is oddly how many women who are of the Beth Moore follower type seem to think of themselves) but rather simply as fallible beings who need to develop their conscience.

    It was probably, in the old days, harmful sometimes that women were seen as the font of evil, that they were seen as being more sexually passionate. Yet there is often a grain of truth in stereotypes and memes and traditional views. There is this weird approach on the part of women in the Church where they seem to either think that they totally suck or that they’ve got to be wonderful Jesus’ girlfriends. But neither position is genuine humility. Genuine humility tries to learn from mistakes, tries to figure out what wisdom is. The Church needs to get away from this idea that women are inherently good and accept that the truthful approach is not the opposite, and then maybe we can have some good conversations about relationships that aren’t full of maddeningly unreal tropes.

  5. Typo, persist. But meaning yes, not giving in to anger, not snapping, Maintain may have been a better term, maintain decorum even better.

    I did not totally resist saying anything. What would one say? Well that would depend on the minutia in the specific exchange wouldn’t it?

    If an example is sought I’ll give one.

    My FIL was pontificating their massive family tree, down to great grand children, and he expressed some dismay in the fact some were living out of wedlock with men or women, and raising children from the out of wedlock unions. he was not aggressive nor seething with condemnation yet the MIL rebuked hims strongly for being “judgmental”. The irony is greater than I can convey. So my mouth flew open calmly saying that her non judgmental attitude should be applied it consistently. I said no more because its pointless and serves no good purpose to disrespect her. Within the hour she was on about some gay person and how someone on a movie was buying wine and “must be an alcoholic”

  6. E,

    You’ve written before about the MIL. I vascillate between anger and pity in these retellings. Anger for her, pity for him. Her lack of self-awareness is world-class, but deception and religious spirits take many forms. Seems the story of Mary and Martha has been lost on her, as has a significant portion of the rest of the NT. FIL seems like a good man. Perhaps an “it’s all about me” bit of embossed apparel as a gift for her would drive the point home, and is something I might do if it became blatant enough, but you seem to have more decorum than that, for which I applaud you. She would likely be clueless anyway, as it is easier to blame the mirror than the object it reflects.

  7. ”The queen was the moral authority of all, of even the king. The queen had the harried countenance of a bond servant, rarely taking meals at the main table, choosing to instead stay amongst the things of work, of meal preparation and clean up. She was lauded. She would respond when the king called, “bring me a goblet of milk”. But she could not tolerate the kings physical presence if the king showed human affection. If the king made comments, as he did when 50 years of marriage were celebrated, that he’d been blessed with the best wife in the history of the lands, she’d not demure, she’d not express gratitude or hint at mutuality. She’d address him dismissively in response.”

    The fact that the queen is a Moral Authority at all is a travesty and an inversion of the image of Christ and his Church.

    He fronts while she subverts and usurps Authority over the rightful King.

  8. My kids asked me to listen to this song, which is apparently pretty hot right now. Being a sap and sort of in an atypically romantic head space of late, I, thought, “How sweet and romantic is that?” Then I thought about these posts of yours. Well…

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