The Patriarch and Matriarch Within

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.

Sidra Stone - quoteThe 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

Angelika

Belief Change Coaching & Shadow Work

Tel. 905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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My Mother’s Pearls

Mom & pearls 2

Exactly three years ago today, my mom passed on. She is never far away and continues to live in our memories, in our stories and traditions. The next two generations, her children and grandchildren, carry her legacy as consciously as we can. Some of her pieces of clothing or jewellery remind us of her all the time.

One of those jewellery pieces I inherited was her beautiful pearl necklace. The string of that pearl necklace ripped last year. For her 85th birthday a couple of weeks ago, I decided to have it restrung.

It so happens that I have also had a pearl necklace from my grandmother on my father’s side lying in my jewellery box since 2005. All my grandmother ever wore was pearls. She passed on at the age of 96, ten years ago. I decided to have her necklace combined into one with my mother’s.

 Mutti, Omi, Opi, ich 1970

My grandmother and my mother didn’t have a lot of love for each other at all. My mom’s own mother died when she was still young and, when she got married, she had hoped to find a loving and supportive mother-substitute in her mother-in-law. However, life played out differently, as these two very different women created a relationship of mutual animosity.

Omi & Kinder 1941

My grandmother was a strong, tough and smart woman, who survived the horrors of two world-wars and raised three children during that time. My grandmother always wore dresses, never had idle hands, even when she sat down on the sofa she was productive with some needlework. Outwardly, she was always in control of her emotions, polite and rational. There were clear rules regarding how to behave, and she judged others harshly for not following the rules of proper conduct. Loving kindness was not one of her strengths. Surviving in a patriarchal and fear-based society was. She had learned that the energy of manipulation would give her the power she wasn’t able to openly claim as a woman.

Mutti,  ich 1968

My mother was physically, emotionally and mentally quite the opposite of my grandmother. She was vibrant, energetic and outspoken. She was thin like Twiggy and athletic. She had no interest in being a good housewife, but loved languages, sports, dance and social activities. Just like my grandmother, she wasn’t given any higher education but she had a strong will, decided to learn Spanish and move to Spain in the fifties. She built a life of her own and supported herself. After seven years in Spain, she embarked on her next adventure of moving to Liberia, Africa, where she met my father. She lived loud; she laughed and swore from the bottom of her heart, yet was quite sensitive underneath.

Despite their accomplishments, both my grandmother and my mother were conditioned to believe that men were more important, were superior and deserved to have privileges. Men were put on a pedestal during my grandmother’s generation, yet she had little respect for her own sons. But there was a clear hierarchy in her head and the daughter-in-law was in that hierarchy below the son. So instead of having won somebody who was on her side to support her and lovingly guide her, my mother found a person who used every opportunity to put her down and to mirror her own feelings of unworthiness as a woman to her.

My grandmother used the energy she had learned was her only option: manipulation and gossip. She hurt my mother’s feelings immensely by saying mean things about her to us when my sister and I were children. What she didn’t bargain with was that being unloving and critical like that can easily backfire. Children are smart and will eventually look through the energy of unkindness and manipulation.

Omi, ich 1967

From what I gathered over the years of their long, painful disputes was that my mother often felt unloved, misunderstood and disrespected, and my grandmother felt just as disrespected, offended and rejected. They were the greatest teachers for each other. I am not sure how many of their life lessons they actually learned and if they ever forgave and made peace with each other in their hearts before it was time for them to go.

Yet one thing I am certain of is that wherever they are now, they do not care anymore about silly little human insecurities, sensitivities and hurts. From their higher perspective, it must be so obvious for them now how they choose to teach each other greater kindness and self-love while they were living this life.

I trust that they would not object to being reunited in one necklace in which each pearl represents each tear of anger, sadness, fear and joy which they cried as they learned their lessons as women and grew as souls. And I can do my part to reunite them in one string to acknowledge that in the grant scheme of things we are not all that different as women and even as humans. We are all the same, we are all one energy.

 necklace1

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