An issue that hasn't gone away ...
"This book is terrific . . . simple, clear, and helpful. When I need a friendly reminder that I count, too, that what I want to do for myself, whether to pursue a goal that goes counter to what others want me to do or just take time off alone to breathe and think, I still turn to its pages." —Amazon review by Sallie Reynolds
Women and self-sacrifice
How many men would eat food they don't like because their wife likes it? Or wear clothes they don't like because she wants them to look a certain way? Women do these things all the time. I did them with my former husband.
Worse, women give up what we really want in life, getting so enmeshed in taking care of others that we don't care for ourselves.
These are all forms of sacrifice—self-sacrifice, to be specific: of our own needs, desires, literally of our selves.
But—you may ask—isn’t self-sacrifice good and noble? And isn’t it inherent in women’s nature to be givers and caretakers?
My answers: Sometimes... but also NO. Certainly sacrifice can arise from open-hearted, selfless generosity. But the impulse toward excessive self‑sacrifice comes from women's history, not their nature.
Overgiving and the victim mentality
This 7,000-word ebook is an update of Slaying the Mermaid: Women and the Culture of Sacrifice, my original investigation of women and self-sacrifice. That book uses Andersen's Little Mermaid as a symbol of the ultimate self-sacrificing woman. It takes a broad approach. But since our historical training in self-sacrifice still undermines us, I wanted to write something more practically focused on everyday life.
Mermaid No More will help you figure out whether you’re sacrificing more than is good for you (and for everyone around you). It will help you stop doing so. And it will explain how to tell when making a sacrifice is the right thing to do.
This ebook offers pragmatic, specific strategies for figuring out whether you too are a "modern mermaid" and for overcoming your own personal pull toward unhealthy self-sacrifice. You’ll learn:
♦ How Western culture made women into self-sacrificers
♦ What self-sacrifice looks like among modern mermaids
♦ How to tell if you’re making unhealthy sacrifices
♦ How to stop
♦ How to tell when a sacrifice is good—for you and for the people you make it for
Join the conversation
Please leave a comment describing your own experience or responding to any of these questions:
♦ Do you often feel compelled to put others' needs ahead of your own?
♦ If you made a sacrifice that you regret, why do you feel that way? What exactly were you sacrificing?
♦ What kind of sacrifice do you feel good about? Why?
♦ In your experience, is there a connection between self-sacrifice and guilt?