Have you heard statements like “men just don’t know how to be caring and nurturing”, “men are responsible for the mess this world is in” and “if it were up to women, there would be no wars”? Or “men think with their penises and only want one thing”? Or what about, “If men had to give birth, the human race would be extinct”?
When we ask ourselves honestly, in the tradition of Byron Katie, “is this true?” and “can we absolutely know this is true?” we have to admit that these statements reflect the speaker’s opinion and belief system. All these statements are generalizations based on certain beliefs. They are just as untrue and general as saying “women should leave high profile jobs with good salaries to men”, or “women should stay home for the children”, or “a woman’s place is in the kitchen”, or “cleaning is women’s work”, or “women are more emotional and less rational than men”.
The latter statements we might categorize as chauvinistic and patronizing. We can see that they have originated from a patriarchal world view. We fancy ourselves modern enough not to buy into the idea that women are inferior to men. We feel they deserve equal rights and opportunities. Yet, what is going on in our subconscious mind? What beliefs have we been conditioned with in regards to gender?
In the Psychology of Selves, we have a model of the different parts in us which all make up who we are. There is also a part in us who has learned the patriarchal beliefs and has become the voice of the Patriarch inside of us. The Inner Patriarch voice sees women as inferior. While the outer patriarchy is visible and can be called out on its lack of truth or gender equality, the inner voice is sneaky. It is the invisible force that holds women back to be whole human beings and to freely choose the life they want to live.
That Inner Patriarch voice might be saying that the needs of men are more important; or that being a woman, it is not okay to speak up to a man, to say “no” to him, to disagree with him and/or be assertive. Or it might be reflected in a fear that it is not safe to be a woman in this world. The voice may be convinced that a woman is not as good in math and science and not capable of repairing things; that women in important positions cannot be trusted; or that a single woman or divorced women is a spinster who in some way is lacking and unable to catch a man.
When I first came across the concept of the Inner Patriarch, I was convinced that I had none of those beliefs. I had to admit that they existed in my psyche as well and determined certain feelings, decisions or behaviours. They sometimes sit deep in our subconscious mind. We are so used to them that we do not even recognize them anymore, but we might wonder why we feel and act one way and not another.
What about men? Do they have a similar inner voice that holds them back? What happens to a man who grows up without a confident male role model in a household of women who dislike males? A boy who has a strong mother figure who disapproves of or ridicules his feelings and behaviours just because he is male? For example, a controlling, overbearing mother or step-mother who secretly feels threatened by his masculinity and makes sure that all male energy is labelled as unacceptable.
The Inner Matriarch is proud of women. That part has a high respect for women and for traditionally feminine traits. She is a warrior: neither impressed nor intimidated by men. As such, this voice serves women and balances out the Inner Patriarch. The Inner Matriarch thinks women are actually far superior to men. They are stronger—even if not always physically—able to endure pain better, cleverer because they won’t be played by other women like men will; they are more mature and realize what is really important; they are in touch with their feelings; they are more compassionate, caring, loving and much more intuitive; thus they must be the better healers and spiritually much more advanced.
The Inner Matriarch voice can support women not to be ashamed, apologetic or defensive about being a woman. The Inner Matriarch encourages women to be proud of themselves. However, it puts down not only men but traditionally male qualities in men and women.
What happens when a man grows up hearing all the time that men are inferior to women because only women are biologically capable of taking care of what is really important? He feels the judgement of the women raising him and experiences that speaking up, standing up for himself and his needs, and claiming his male power is looked down upon or even smothered in the core.
I believe that this can only go two ways. Either the man grows up over-identifying with the traditional male qualities of power, competition, and being disconnected from his own and other people’s emotions. More often than not, however, the result is a man who is deeply insecure in his own masculinity and is afraid to speak up to strong women. Although intuitive and longing to step into traditionally more feminine qualities while still maintaining his masculinity, he is hesitant to claim his wholeness.
More and more men seem to be lost. They don’t know how to be compassionate, caring, loving, intuitive males who at the same time are strong, confident, self-assured and powerful. If they have learned that there is something wrong with traditionally more masculine qualities and that as males they are just never as good in traditionally feminine roles, they find themselves between a rock and a hard place.
The future of the human race, however, lies in the hands of all of us, men and women. Our planet needs both the Divine Feminine as well as the Divine Masculine. We need whole human beings who are loving, compassionate, caring, nurturing, cooperative, passive, introverted, emotional and at the same time strong, assertive, powerful, active, extroverted and rational—independent of their gender.
If you want to work on separation from the Inner Patriarch and/or the Inner Matriarch, or change other limiting beliefs into more supportive beliefs please contact
Belief Change Coaching & Shadow Work
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