Women in the workplace have long been forced to compete with men for jobs, promotions, and especially executive positions. While competing for these positions, women often end up in situations where they behave more like men, dress more like men, and even think more like men to achieve their goals. In doing so, they lose themselves, and they lose their femininity. They also often turn to substances to cope, ending up with an addiction. The good news is that through addiction treatment, women can find their power and embrace their femininity in healing.
Keeping Up With Mr. Jones
An old adage says you need to “keep up with the Joneses to maintain your social and economic status.” Regarding employment specifically, the only status you need to be concerned about is Mr. Jones’ status. Despite making great strides in many areas in society, most business hierarchies are still built for male leadership models, requiring women to conform to male leadership styles and traits to receive promotions or obtain leadership roles.
While there are merits to both leadership styles, and each individual has character traits that they bring to the table, men in the workplace tend to be very dominant, assertive, authoritative, and thus viewed as strong and decisive. Women tend to be more collaborative, inclusive, and goal-driven and may be seen as weak and indecisive. Even when research and data suggest that the more collaborative approach is more successful, women are still overlooked for leadership positions, often preferred by less experienced or qualified male peers.
What It Takes to Be Competitive
Women often put in longer hours or take on more responsibilities in an effort to be noticed amongst their male colleagues. They face demeaning comments, sexual harassment, and other forms of discrimination but continue to take the abuse, believing that if they quit, the men win. The competition is hardly ever fair.
Trying to break that glass ceiling requires being innovative, working extremely hard, being willing to tolerate whatever you have to to stay in the game, changing your ways, and some luck. Even with all of those factors, after doing everything in your power, you may not be able to achieve your career goals, limited by discriminatory practices rather than your own merits or abilities.
Losing Your Identity as a Woman
As you struggle to climb the corporate ladder while wearing a skirt, you may have to change your methods and beliefs to succeed. For example, suppose you usually would use a team leadership style but find that you are unsuccessful at gaining promotions. In that case, you may need to become more authoritative and dictatorial, even if it does not come naturally to you.
Women in the workplace often become more harsh, competitive, and less compassionate and understanding, as they lose their feminine identity trying to keep up in a male-dominated population. They may begin to behave more like men as a natural consequence of emulating their working style, and they may dress more masculinely to be less visually intrusive. Rather than use their female strengths to succeed, they mask their femininity and hope that it does not hinder their progress.
Turning to Substances as a Coping Mechanism
With all of the additional stressors of trying to succeed in a man’s world, women in the business world often turn to substances as a coping mechanism. Drugs or alcohol help them stay alert to work longer hours, mask the emotional pain, escape the stress, or any above combination. Unfortunately, using substances for any of these reasons tends to lead to addiction, which only compounds a woman’s problems.
Finding Your Feminine Power in Healing
Seeking addiction treatment allows you to heal from your addiction and the underlying pain that contributed to the substance abuse. As you address your pain through individual and group therapy, you can look at your identity and what you want in life.
As you learn more about yourself, you can find your femininity again. You can rediscover all of those traits like compassion, empathy, intuition, and nurturing that make you who you really are. While those traits do not sound powerful in the corporate world as you know it, they are truly empowering. Using those and other powerful feminine characteristics can help you to inspire and motivate others in ways that masculine leadership styles usually do not. As you are healing from your addiction, you can find your feminine power and become the influential leader you want to be.
Being a woman in the male-dominated corporate world can be very discouraging, even to the point of using substances as a coping mechanism. Facing discrimination, you may have lost your femininity as you competed in a man’s world. Still, as you heal from addiction, you can rediscover your feminine power and find out who you really are and what you want in life. At The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women, we understand the challenges women face in the workplace and how they can impact substance use. Our detox and residential treatment program for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders help women to rediscover themselves and their femininity as they heal. Our facility is a peaceful refuge located between the beautiful, sunny beaches and the calm mountains of Southern California. We use the principles of Ho Tai of Prosperity, Wealth, Joy, and Abundance as they apply to recovery. Contact us at (714) 581-3974 to learn more.