The “desperate housewife” in all of us

DH

With Sunday’s grand finale we all bid farewell to Desperate Housewives. Over the last 8 years we’ve all laughed, cried, and been entertained by the women of Wisteria lane. But what can we learn from these women we have come to love and adore? What can these characters and their lives tell us about our own?

Bree reminds us that Perfect Patty’s are often marred with imperfection. The most prim and proper of the bunch, Bree had her own set of struggles. Alcohol abuse, promiscuity, the death of her husband, betrayal by Orson, estranged from her family and friends, Bree’s life was far from perfect. The final season showed viewers the power of learned behavior as a young Bree was taught by her mother to never show her emotions. Forced to constantly put on a happy face in the midst of feeling everything but, Bree’s façade was a source of much internal dissonance. On the outside many of us often fake as though everything is okay, when inside we are really dying. Instead of shielding our emotions, it becomes important for us to seek support from those we love and trust. But first, we must be able to admit that everything is not okay.

 

Lynette-the superwoman was a powerhouse in the business world but her desire to constantly be in control was a major sourse of contention in her personal life. Although she usually meant well, her forceful ways sometimes alienated her from her loved ones including her husband who often felt demeaned and unneeded. Some of us have similar struggles. We have big dreams and work hard to get there. Unfortunately some of the leadership qualities necessary in business are at odds with the way “women are socialized to be.” I am not suggesting that we become docile and not speak our mind, but we must strike a balance between being leaders and being supportive partners. Lynette showed us that we can’t do it all by ourselves, even superwoman needs help.

Gaby – the self-absorbed fashionista. Gaby’s beauty and lifestyle were so important to her. She wanted the finer things in life and sometimes she came off as selfish and self-centered. But let’s not forget a few seasons ago when Gaby was humbled by her family’s “date” with poverty. She had to be the primary caregiver and breadwinner, and life was hard. But once she got her money back somehow Gaby went back to her old ways. This season, however, we got a glimpse into her meager beginnings and childhood trauma she had to endure. Her backstory made her more human, and her character more understandable and relatable. Gaby reminds us that sometimes we try to cover up painful memories with makeup, the finest clothes and jewelry, only to find that once we take them off, the pain is still there.

Susan – Come on there’s a little Susan in all of us, and if not I’m sure we know someone. She’s such a sweetheart but also has a lot of anxiety. Susan is the feeler of the girls. She thinks a lot about her actions, the actions of others, and how they impact people. She likes to fix things, at times manipulating people to get her way; but always in the name of the greater good. This season with her daughter’s pregnancy she learned that although you may believe an action is the right thing to do, you can’t force someone to do it. Additionally, with the death of her husband her whole world was turned upside down leading to permissive parenting of her son. Susan’s emotional responses mirror that of many, teaching us that sometimes, we just need to stop and take a deep breadth instead of reacting quickly to a situation.

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