I hope you have had a good weekend.
What did you get up to?
I spent most of my time doing chores and watching Netflix. I was transfixed by the show ‘Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story.
It had me thinking about why I created the Independent mum’s Handbook and how your life can do a 180-degree turn without any notice.
For those who don’t know the story, here’s the background info:
What’s the show about?
Dirty John: the Betty Broderick Story is set in California, San Diego, in the 1980s. The story is about housewife Betty Broderick who shot her ex-husband Dan Broderick and his new wife, Linda.
What’s the story?
Betty was married to lawyer Dan Broderick for 16 years. They had four children out of nine pregnancies (he didn’t allow her to use birth control).
The story starts with the love story of how the pair first met. Throughout the series, we slowly see the relationship decline. The couple is very much in love in the early days, but as Dan’s status climbs, he becomes less and less enchanted with Betty.
Early on in the show, we see that Dan is more concerned with his work than his family. Betty is portrayed as a loving wife who has devoted her life to her family.
She gave up her dream of becoming a teacher to raise her family and support Dan’s dreams.
Once Dan reaches the peak of his career, he begins to disengage with Betty and Betty’s mental health declines. Her behaviour becomes erratic, and she starts leaving threatening voicemails on Dan’s phone. She even drives her car into the front of his house.
Although Betty does some pretty crazy things, Dan is not innocent. He played a lot of mind games with Betty, and his gaslighting is highlighted in the show.
Dan did many things which added to Betty’s mental decline. For example, he married his secretary, questioned Bett’s parenting and applied for full custody (even though she was a stay-at-home mum when they were together). He also recorded private phone calls between her and her child (which he used against her in court) and fiddled with his accounts, leaving her with fewer assets.
Although I haven’t been in Betty’s situation, I felt a lot of empathy for her. Still, I also felt that her denial of the relationship breakdown and her anger towards Dan caused a lot more damage than Dan could have caused alone.
I feel like she was her own worst enemy. Betty had very supportive friends who tried to coach and help her through the breakup. Still, Betty was too stubborn to listen, and I think this is what eventually led to the fatal shooting.
What does this have to do with the Independent mum’s Handbook?
Watching the show made me think a lot about why I started the business and wrote the book. I don’t want anyone else to feel so lost that they spiral into a depression or out of control.
How could the book have helped Betty?
Reflecting on the show and the book’s contents, I think that it would have been beneficial for Betty to have kept a little more of her own identity when she married Dan. Once she became married, Betty had to give up all her life goals and become a mother and the primary earner whilst Dan studied at medical school and then law school. Her body wasn’t even her own, and she had multiple miscarriages and a stillbirth even though she wanted to go on birth control.
Although Betty provided for the family whilst Dan was in school, she had to take menial jobs that fit around childcare. She was unable to follow her dream of being a teacher.
Betty also lived solely off Dan once he began working. I can see why this happened as she had provided for the family whilst he was training. However, it may have been a good idea for Betty to have a source of income for herself – so that she always kept a piece of her independence.
Also, Betty’ life revolved around her family. She had a group of close friends, but she didn’t use them in her time of need. I think this escalated her decline. At the Independent Mum’s Handbook, we have a strong community of like-minded women who help each other through life’s struggles. I suppose you have to be willing to take the help and advice, though.
Well, that’s my synopsis of the show.
I highly recommend you watch it.
If you want to find out about other women’s experiences of parenthood, check out this week Podcast – Dedication, Devotion and DramEd :
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