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Nov 30, 2016

Doubling Up

Albert Ellis had an incredible view on women. Apparently, we act a lot different than we did a few centuries ago. We used to be a lot kinder to ourselves. We used to make others be kinder to us too. It seems we are now what is called “double-burdened.” Ellis was a huge feminist and believed women needed to carve out a better place for themselves in the world. But as we work toward this even now, especially now, Ellis felt that those “musts” and “shoulds” we place upon ourselves really screwed this idea up.

I don’t think I have to explain to any women their dual, triple, sometimes quadruple or more roles. Ellis had no problem acknowledging this. In fact, he was better at it than most women.

The double burden is not the roles we add to the mix, my friends. Those are inevitable in these times. And yes, men, you are in there, too. This is the modern world, after all.

We double burden because we add in our own negative two cents onto every single solitary thing we do. We clean the kitchen. Yeah, but we didn’t pull out the fridge and clean underneath. We remembered to take cookies to the bake sale at our son’s school. Yeah, but they weren’t homemade. We wrote that speech for the work presentation on Monday. Yeah, but we’re probably going to screw it up cuz we’re so nervous.

Why do we keep “Yeah, butting” ourselves? There’s your double burden, folks.

Ellis explained that as women, we must refuse to escalate ourselves into a “must be the best at all things” mentality. Because if we don’t, Ellis feared our levels of frustration would elevate to massive levels. Someone is bound to pay. When momma’s happy, everybody’s happy? When she’s not, well, look out. Fill that in with male or female figures, it still works. When someone in the family ain’t happy, most likely it’s not pretty for anyone.

Yep, that’s Ellis.

Ellis’ biggest gripe was the fact that most therapies focus on “feeling” better versus “getting” better. He felt that psychotherapy needed to take that next step to help clients not only to feel better, but to get better and to stay better. He felt that psychotherapy could lean more toward teaching people to have a more fulfilled and happier everyday life, instead of just feeling better for the short term.  Thus, that is why being your best self is a work in progress.

So, I challenge you. What’s your “better”?

Remove the negativity. Do not double burden.

Now try again. What’s your better?

You got the cookies to the event.


That’s your better.

You cleaned the kitchen even though what you really wanted to do was lie in bed and stare at the ceiling fan.

That’s your better.

You wrote the speech. And it’s going to rock because you know about this topic. And no one feels the butterflies or the tremor in your voice but you. That means your body’s working like it should – ready for flight it you need it. But you won’t, because you are prepared.

That’s your better.

Lay the double burden down, people. You got this.

Ellis, A.., Shaughnessy, M.F., Mahan, V. (2002). An interview with Albert Ellis about rational emotive behavior therapy. North American Journal of Psychology. 4(3), 355-366. Retrieved on October 2, 2005 from Academic Search Premier. 
Dr. Melissa Lee-Tammeus is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice in Jacksonville, Florida. She specializes in LGB couples, anger, and grief and trauma. To learn more about Melissa, check out her webpage at 

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1 Comment

  1. 1 Wendy Everson 05 Dec
    Awesome blog on double burden! I hear from my clients creating more anxiety for themselves. REBT is very helpful to make this change and to stick with the change.  So empowering! Thank you


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