This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Want a lesson on what you're not worth?

Then let me clue you in on what happened this morning on "Divorce Court."

Judge Lynn Toler presides over this one, and I watched it only briefly, while eating my breakfast, but this particular show was a doosey.

I couldn't stand to watch the entire thing but here's what happened in the beginning, and I think you'll get the picture:

A man and wife are getting divorced, so they appear in front of the judge. The woman is explaining a chart she's made for her case that he be required to pay her $400 a month in support. Included on the chart are the following items:

Do the dishes three times a day: $25
Mop the floors three times a day: $25
Cook three HOMEMADE meals daily: $45
Take care of the kids (They have six.): $30

Now, understand that she's saying she wants her soon-to-be ex to pay her, and that these numbers represent a MONTHLY figure that would total only $400. With numbers so low, you can imagine the length of this list.

The kicker for me was this one: She mows the lawn once a week and asked for a whopping $40. The judge asked her why so much for that job when she's only asking for about half that to do the dishes and mop the floors, both three-times-DAILY chores. "It's a man's job," she told the judge, matter-of-factly.

I literally gasped out loud when I heard that reply.

It's sad to see what messages she's been given...that her own skills and contributions are worth so little, and that a man's job should pay more.

But there is so much more that is wrong with this scenario, and the way the judge responded to her--just with voice inflection alone--you could tell Judge Toler wanted to teach this woman a better way to rate herself. But this woman's perspective is just so skewed it's scary.

This list of chores, we find out, when the husband speaks, comes from a list he gave her prior to their marriage. So, had her Killer instincts been turned on, this woman might have turned around and run the other way before marrying the man. But it's clear that she wasn't in tune with her real worth, not at all. Clearly, this woman has learned to accept very little and to not know her true value as a human being, let alone as a wife and a mother of six. It just makes you want to shake some sense into her head. It makes you wonder what her own mother put up with in her homelife. And you can probably imagine.

And then we learn a little more about the husband. He makes $1800 a month. He wants to have 12 kids. And he'll take his wife out, alright, "when I know she's being good." This is what he actually tells the judge and the whole viewing audience. You can tell he's absolutely serious.

Um, thanks, but no thanks.

He then goes on a tirade about the time she had the nerve to serve him a Hot Pocket for dinner. "I expect homecooked meals when I get home from work," he says. Not only that, but he expects her to run his bath, too!

Omigod! 'Nuff said.

Before I turned the TV off, I heard the judge ask the woman, "Now, he wants all of this, but what does he do for you?"

"Besides get on my nerves?" she quipped, "Well, we're both the same sign. We're both Gemini."

They're the same sign. That's it. That's what she gets out of the marriage. No dates. No haircuts. No flowers. No nothing. Because they're the same sign? What's that phrase, "like attracts like"?


Of course, this is an extreme example of what happens when you low ball your value. You really do get what you ask for--in your personal and professional life--and you really are worth only what you think you are. That means you gotta think highly of yourself. Work hard at NOT letting the messages from the past get in the way of your success today. And remember that the numbers you attach to yourself mean something. Make sure you are in control of the definition....

AND if like is going to attract like in your life, ignite a positive match. Don't you agree?

All my best,


Carole Moore said...


This post should be required reading for all women.

As a police officer I saw so many instances where women simply accepted their partner's assessment of their value. Many times this led to physical violence, towards both women and their children. Instilling self-worth goes a long way in breaking that cycle.

Good job.

Carole Moore
Missing Persons Blogger

The BIKE Lady said...


Thanks. I think you're right; required reading. Maybe people should be required to watch that episode, too. It was an eye-opener.

And I was just so stunned watching it. I mean, during the marriage--and before--she accepted his behavior. In doing so, she gave him permission to treat her this way. And while it's great to see her standing up for herself, and that's what she was doing, she was still undervaluing herself.

I know what that's like; I've been there--on a different level, but still. SO I know she's got a long road ahead of her, and I'm hoping someone out there who knows her and watched this show will help her see the light of day. We know not what we don't know, right?


Bad Apple Polisher said...

As Eleanor Roosevelt stated, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." As you suggested her consent comes from the programming she inherited. On the other side, consider the husband's programming-basically, to be a bully.

This is a terrible situation, but not unusual.

Jean McFarland

The BIKE Lady said...

Would that we could rid the world of bullies. My boyfriend sees them every day. He's a court commissioner, a county judge, and sees at least--what did he tell me?--seven cases a day that involve orders of protection.

Very sad.

Marijke Durning said...

Wow. Just wow. It's sad that this still happens in this day and age. Not only did we teach our daughter that she is worth as much as anyone else, we've taught our sons that both men and women rate equally and that we don't judge on sex but on the actual job that is being done.

Really sad that not everyone is learning this.

The BIKE Lady said...

I know, Marijke. I know. It just makes you wanna cry. She was his slave. She wasn't his wife. So sad.


Babette said...

That was heartbreaking to read, Jackie. I am always telling colleagues to value their skills more highly. I think I will be very aware when talking to friends--and when giving my own self some self-talk--that we all need to value ourselves, in our daily lives, much more highly, as well.


The BIKE Lady said...


Definitely. And what Carole at the top said.

If we have to constantly remind ourselves, that's a good thing.

Heartbreaking is a good description. Even for women of other parts of the world, Kenya, for instance, where I toured the slums last summer, the message is a good one. The dollar amounts might be different, and in a different currency, but the message is still the same. Women deserve to value themselves highly, relative to their culture, but HIGHLY nonetheless.

Now, how do we go about helping to make that happen? I think it's a group effort to help change that mindset. So keep spreading the word.

Thanks for visiting,

Beth Terry said...

This is so much deeper than 'what you are worth.' This man has the very very very odd and old notion that women are property. If any man gave me a list of my 'chores' before he would marry me... well, after he got out of the hospital, he'd find me long long gone. Slavery was outlawed in this country almost 200 years ago. Ever heard of Lincoln? The court should tell the guy he owes the woman $1,800 a month, AND order that he get a vasectomy to boot! Just what we need, twelve kids who grow up thinking this is normal behavior!

The BIKE Lady said...

Tell us how you REALLY feel, Beth.

Right on!