Getting Married? Don’t Say I Do to Your Girly Thoughts

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD
Author of

The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power (publication date 10.28.14)
The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (2013)
Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting—The Codependency Connection (2012)

Your wedding should be a joyful day for you and for your guests. This is the day you invite those you love the most to join with you in celebrating a major change in your life. As the day gets closer, so should the joy of anticipation. But that is not how it often plays out.

Your Girly Thoughts Cause Major Stress—Yes, Even on Your Wedding Day

So often as you see your wedding day approach, you feel the stress mount. Why? Your girly thoughts, that toxic inner dialogue that keeps pointing out where you are lacking, where you are to blame, is there telling you what to do . . . and they rob you of the pleasure you deserve to be feeling on your special day.

Girly Thoughts Wedding Stressors

Here are some of the girly thoughts that have the potential to ruin your special day:

    1. 1. I’m fat —Interesting that this is the first girly thought I list in my book The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan. This is a girly thought that follows us wherever we go. But why let it take up space on this, your special day?
      Tell this less-than-helpful, energy-draining thought to get lost. Your weight, whatever it is, is perfect for today. With all of the other stressors heaped on you, you don’t need to stress about losing another five pounds.
    2. 2. Your wedding day has to be perfect for everyone—Your girly thoughts say you have to consider everyone else’s feelings when you make your choices for your wedding and reception—the seating, the songs you’ve chosen, the color arrangement, even the flowers you’ve picked. With all the personal decisions you’ve made, there are sure to be some decisions that those close to you won’t like.

Claudia’s sister was upset because she choose a song that her sister claimed as her own. . Her mother thought daisies looked cheap. She put her two aunts—who hadn’t spoken to each other in fifteen years—at the family table. One bridesmaid didn’t like the color of her dress.

Invite your family members to be the adults they claim to be. Push back with resolve, albeit graciously and with a smile and a squeeze of their hand to let them know you understand their pain but you deserve their support.

    1. 3. You are responsible for everyone having a good time—Recognize this for what it is, another girly thought telling you to put your needs second, even on your wedding day. This girly thought tells you that you need to earn love by figuring out first how to make everyone else feel loved and honored before you can expect him or her to show you love and support.
      Actually, your wedding is an opportunity for those closest to you to celebrate you and your new spouse, not for you to magically solve all the long-simmering issues in your family or between your friends. Treating those you invite to your wedding as honored guests—who you expect to know how to take care of themselves—is a gift you are giving to them.

How to Enjoy Your Wedding

Don’t base your happiness on what others think of you. Make this the day you want, and invite others to join in to the best of their ability. After all, you’ve done your part . . . so let loose from those girly thoughts and enjoy what you have created!

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Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, is a psychologist and resiliency coach, and an international speaker known for her warm and funny presentations. She has worked extensively with women and children of alcoholics in private practice with an emphasis on trauma. She also serves on the Board of the NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault, previously directed a rape crises center as well as the Division of Prevention for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. She founded the Department of Prevention and Education for the National Office of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), national office, worked extensively in senior management in child welfare, and is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. The Girly Thought 10 Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power is her ninth book; others include The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting, The Lowdown on Families Who Get High, Dancing Backwards in High Heels, and 12 Steps To Self-Parenting.  She invites you to visit her website:

Being Sexy Where It Counts: Resiliency in Action

By Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D.

Author of The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (HCI, 2013)

Order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

It is a painful fact that women who have challenged and overcome their girly thoughts in the boardroom are stymied by them in the bedroom.

As a psychologist, I am privy to many secrets. Most secrets are wrapped in shame, shared in a low, often choked, voice that indicates the great emotional and physical discomfort of the woman sharing them. But there is one secret I’ve heard for many years that is shared only in hushed tones, the woman’s head down and her face strewn with tears. One woman told me she had other friends who struggled with “this”; they even had a private club so they could talk about it without others knowing. Another shared that she knew her marriage could not last because of this secret. More recently, women are just angry. The secret?

These women were more successful in their careers and were making more money than their husbands, and the power imbalance they felt in their marriages were unbearable. So unbearable, in fact, that they felt the need to divorce.

Crazy?  Who said our girly thoughts make sense when examined in the clear light of day?

Over the years, the number of women making more than their husbands has steadily risen; it is currently 40 percent, and that is a substantial number. The idea that a woman could be the primary wage earner was almost unheard of a generation ago.

So if 40 percent is such a good number, why don’t women feel empowered by their earning capacity? Why would a woman feel shame that her man is not making more money than she is? Why is she embarrassed, and why does this non-traditional situation create such discord in an intimate partnership that the only solution appears to be a divorce?

For some of us, the answer lies in our girly thoughts, the unconsciously accepted set of rules by which we live our lives. These girly thoughts tell us that we deserve to be taken care of, that we are only desirable if we are dependent on our husbands. When girly thoughts run the show, we believe there is something shameful in earning more than our husbands earn.

And we believe our girly thoughts, those nasty, sometimes unconscious, standards that we can never meet, even when doing so means we may divorce a man we love, The painful fact is that women who have challenged and overcome their girly thoughts in the boardroom are often stymied by them in the bedroom. The same women who push to be their best at work, who are willing to risk not being liked because they put their ideas and an important part of who they are “out there” feel unable to do the same in their most intimate relationship.

In my book, The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, I discuss this particular resilience style, which I term paradoxical resilience. Women who have a paradoxical resilience style function like two different people: they use their resilience clearly in work but not at home. The career woman whose words and actions say “This is who I am; deal with it,” often finds it much more difficult at home to assert the same confidence. “I am a successful woman, and I love you” just doesn’t get shared in the same way.

The results? Poor communication that leads to resentment, and divorce becomes a painful but clear way out.

Change is confusing, particularly when we are altering what we expect from an intimate partner. Change is painful and scary when it occurs within a committed relationship and we are moving and wanting different things. Some of us cover our fear with anger, others with developing a new goal—divorce. But some of us step into the void that change creates and use our resilience to navigate our wants and needs to develop a new and vastly improved model of what we rejected. Rather than a woman’s success being a game ender, this can be a new beginning for a marriage.

The first step toward any change that occurs in our intimate relationships lies within. So dig deep and ask yourself what it is that you want, knowing that you can use your resilience to help you get there. If it is to end your marriage through divorce, or to create a new relationship with your husband, one that bucks current norms — then your resilience is there to support you, and to help you do this. The world is changing, and women are responsible for many of these changes. It is now time for each of us to change the unhelpful parts of our thinking—our girly thoughts—so they do not keep limiting us in any part of our lives.

Here is Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” — A beautiful song and appropriate to our conversation. Enjoy.

Continue reading “Being Sexy Where It Counts: Resiliency in Action”