Are You An ‘Emotional Underearner’?

09 Jan 2010

Having been laid up for the last few days with a virus, I’ve
used the time to devour a few of the books in my Must Read pile.  One of them is “The Secrets Of Six Figure Women”.  It is a book what really differentiates high
earning women from women who barely get by.  

Barbara Stanny’s argument is an interesting one: the
different groups’ results, she argues, have nothing to do with either effort
or education
.  Underearners, she
observes, can work as hard as Six Figure Women, and yet have no money, or
success, to show for it.  

She suggests that what sets the two groups apart is simply
this: Six Figure Women share certain winning strategies and beliefs, while “Underearners”
share  beliefs, values, attitudes, and
strategies that consistently undermine all their efforts.

Even more interesting is her discovery that there is no
uncrossable divide between the two groups. 
Underearners can move into the Six Figure group, simply by adopting more
productive strategies and beliefs.

You see, Emotional Underearners work far harder at relationships
than do their successful sisters
.  Yet
the results they achieve are dismal. 

This got me thinking that, quite possibly, abused women
are simply Emotional Underearners.  

All the effort  that abused women put into their relationships never
gets translated into being treated with consistent love, care and respect.  They are left with nothing to show
for all that they do for their abusive partner (and sometimes, also, for other people
in their life.)


If you accept that this is true – and how could you do
otherwise? – this is where it gets interesting. 


In the same way that Underearners can – and do – transform
themselves into Six Figure Women, so, too, can Emotional Underearners cross
that gulf and move from bad relationships to good ones.  Once they discover how to adopt the strategies
and beliefs etc. of their much more emotionally successful sisters.


don’t take my word for it.  You be the
judge.  What follows is a modified
version of Stanny’s Underearner quiz. 
See for yourself whether it resonates with you.


 1)  I often give away my time,
energy, services (doing more for people than they ever acknowledge).

2)  It’s so hard to ask for what I
need that I just don’t do it.

3)  I have negative feelings about
myself, and my value in a relationship.

4)  I am proud of my ability to make
do with little.  

5)  Someone or something else is
responsible for my unhappiness.

6)  I find ways to avoid confronting
the problems in my abusive relationship.

7)  I sometimes sabotage myself.

8)  I work very, very hard at the
relationship, often to the point of exhaustion.

9)  My free time is all consumed
with putting other people, chiefly my partner, first.

10) I have no boundaries and very
few reserves of emotional energy.

11) I have a family history of not
mattering very much.

12) I am vague about what I want
from my partner.  I want the
relationship to be better; but I don’t know exactly what it will take to make
it better, what I need to do, or what my partner needs to do.

13) I continually put my partner’s
needs and demands before my own.

14) I am frequently stressed, and in
emotional pain.

15)  Even
crumbs of affection are more important to me than respect, consideration, and

How many of these would you need to agree with to
be an Emotional Underearner?  Three would already provide you with a clear indication. 

How many of these do you actually agree with?  Five or more, and you need to acknowledge the seriousness
of this damaging condition.  

Now that you know that you are an Emotional Underearner,
what will you choose to do about it?




Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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