Women receiving welfare benefits often ‘host’ a boyfriend to have companionship and ‘maybe’ provide additional financial support. Unfortunately, the man is often more needy than the woman and he often needs the woman to support him!
He usually has mental issues that significantly contribute to his diminished self-esteem. Some have criminal backgrounds and are often newly released from prison. The women rarely ask the critical questions about their ‘lovers’ past. Perhaps they fear hearing something negative and just decide to ignore his ‘life’s travels’. After all, he is there to care for her loneliness. Whatever happened in the past stays in the past. But does it?
She has a man who can father her children and give them the love and guidance they crave. He is so desperately needed to add normalcy to the family structure that whatever happened in the past is irrelevant. So for a few weeks things are great. Then slowly things start to unravel. The welfare check arrives and he needs to make ‘a purchase’ (drugs). She reluctantly gives him the money and the relationship because to deteriorate. She now lives with a drug addicted man who is abusive, angry and worse, a deadbeat. He threatens her if she mentions leaving using her children as the pawn. A few friends (who are no longer welcome at her home) warned her about him. Her family was aspirated the moment they met him. He is the epitome of a violent conceited junkie who cares only for himself.
Why would a woman repeatedly entangle herself in a toxic relationship? Often it’s because she grew up in a toxic family environment and no one has ever challenge her to seek something better for herself. This vicious cycle is the only life show knows and understands. Deep within she knows there is something better. But she doesn’t feel worthy of pursuing a ‘better’ lifestyle.
If Government officials really want to end ‘welfare as we know it’, they must address the complexity of generational poverty. Cutting women’s welfare benefits without providing remedial psychological intervention (not community work) only exacerbates the problem. Counseling must be implemented as a necessary methodology added to the welfare exit strategy. Otherwise, we the taxpayers will continue to dole out large tax revenues with no hope of ever discontinuing a failed system.
We cannot continue to tell these women to simply ‘go get a job!’ They lack upward mobility employment skills and often suffer from mental or emotional dysfunction. They can’t envision a better life for themselves because no one has ever helped them see a brighter tomorrow. Throughout their lives all they have ever known is poverty and welfare entitlements. They need professional help to reinvent their lives and create positive outcomes for their family.
Understandably counseling this sector is expensive. But the basic question is do we continue to hand out entitlements or do we become proactive and take the long road in creating sustainable futures for the ‘least of these’? We must construct a new paradigm or the frustration will continue to escalate.