I notice that Margery (the “doormat”) has commented on Matt Forney’s post How to Crush a Girl’s Self-Esteem. (I love Margery’s blog title, which reminds me of a woman who used to write a blog called “Barefoot and Pregnant”.)
I wanted to make a couple of brief comments on three of Matt’s precepts, because I think I can help Margery and other women with some perspective from an older married bloke.
“1. Constantly make her feel inadequate … nothing she does can ever be good enough for you.”
The truth of this is that women seem to like to strive to please. If you find fault occasionally, it stimulates her desire to please; it puts you in the powerful role of critic; and it shows her you are paying attention to her and her efforts. As Julie Cooper the novelist once wrote, “most women like a firm hand”.
Some of my points here seem relevant too. Set the bar high, and keep raising it.
“3. Isolate her from her friends and family.”
The truth of this is that friends and family can have a very baleful influence on your relationship. Inevitably they will criticise you and she will start to mentally concur to some extent. Groups of female friends are notorious, as are interfering in-laws. I have certainly had problems with the former, although not with the latter. Very few in-laws realise that the best way they can contribute is by benign neglect.
“4. Reward her at random intervals”.
The truth of this is rather like my remarks on Point 1. It stops the woman getting complacent. Women mostly like a bit of emotional up and down. It also gives her that feeling we all get from authority: how very arbitrary it can be. Sometimes bosses notice and reward; sometimes they, unaccountably, do not. She will be intrigued and wonder why.