Conditioning. It’s that simple, and at the same time, it’s that complex.
It's those behaviours and patterns that we have come to live by, that we do day after day after day, without being consciously aware of them.
And for men and women, we have massive amounts of conditioning imprinted on our psyche as a consequence of the patriarchal paradigm.
Let’s examine some of them…
First of all, what is patriarchal paradigm all about? Put simply, it suggests that men are considered superior to women in all contexts – social, family and institutional. Some people believe that it is the consequence of our physical makeup and so it can never change. Others believe it’s a man-made construct and therefore it can change. You decide for yourself.
Let’s look at social conditioning related to the patriarchal paradigm through the lens of what matters most.
Remember that it’s not just women who have conditioned ideas, (i.e. reactions and responses on auto-run), of what is expected of us. Men do too. However here I’m speaking to women.
Stability and Security
Because men were considered the superior gender since around 400AD, women had to learn to depend on them for their stability and security.
Societal infrastructure such as governments, corporate and education institutions were systemically shaped to support men in their desires and aspirations. Men would then provide for the women in their care. This ensured that women were dependent on men, (because said societal systems were not shaped to support nor admit women, they were shaped to support men).
So when women needed something (stability and security for example), they could only ever get that something from men.
If you look at the career structures in our modern times, you can see that they are have been grand-parented as 2-person careers. The one person, usually the man of the house, climbing the demanding corporate ladder needed the other person, usually his wife, supporting him by making sure there were nutritious meals, clean clothes and a comforting home to support his health and well-being. A useful role for women was created in the home of which there was little recognition and no pay…because the men where there to provide stability and security.
Women, without men to support them and care for them were extremely vulnerable, for centuries! We learned, at the very level of our DNA, to do what we had to do for our stability and security, no matter what.
Non-conforming women sustained brutal punishment, mostly physical. You only have to google “torture of women” to see some examples that I won’t go into here. Nancy Spero is one writer you might like to explore.
Over dozens of generations of women ancestors, the need for stability and security meant that women had to be extremely careful not to upset the men they depended on.
This leads them to learn to play small, to stay out of sight, to understate their gifts and talents and to make sure they didn’t attract undue attention. Because this was necessary for their very survival, they passed these gifts onto you.
This type of wounding is usually called Slavery.
This inbuilt reflex may be the very thing that is affecting your ability to build your online business and provide stability and security for yourself and your family. Even if your partner is onboard with you, they too will have their impressions of this wound active in them.
Your need for stability and security will always call you. It will call you through the memories of your ancestors’ traumas and wounds, and the conditioning that you have absorbed from your own parents and grandparents.
For this reason it will be a tentative call. And it will limit your progress.
Even if you are self-sufficient you will still experience the caution of stepping into your power as these wounds remind you of what your ancestral line of women have suffered before you.
We call this wound Imposter Syndrome.
Closeness and Caring
Traditionally, closeness and caring were qualities that women shared with each other. When women work together and when they lean on each other, they feel their strength.
Historically this posed a threat to the menfolk.
At the times when relationships with other women served us most, think of the healing women, the witches and herbalists, those connections were torn apart by rewards and promises if women betrayed each other to the authorities. And they did.
This wound is called Betrayal, and has created suspicion amongst women.
It’s really only been in the last 60 – 80 years that women and men began to look for love in intimate relationships.
Prior to that marriage relationships were mainly transactional and for the purposes of procreation. They had very little to do with love.
Your need for closeness and caring will always seek to be fulfilled. Rebuild connections with your women friends too.
Betrayal and abandonment are the wounds associated with the unmet need for closeness and caring, for love.
Acknowledgement and Recognition
If you’ve ever wondered why you haven’t seen a lot of women in our history books, it has to do with “stability and security”.
There are tons of examples of women who were never recognized for their achievements or their contributions.
There is one reason that these women didn’t insist on the credit that they so rightly deserved. They needed to protect the stability and security they had achieved in institutions that were shaped by, and for men.
Explore some of these amazing women:
Rachel Carson - environmentalist. She achieved a Bachelors Degree in Zoology in 1932 from John Hopkins University and published "Silent Spring" in 1962, warning of the dangers of introducing chemicals into the environment. She is credited with initiating the contemporary environmental movement.
Alice Coachman – first woman of colour to be awarded a gold medal, track and field athlete at the London Olympics 1948.
Margaret Hamilton - software designer for the Apollo 11 mission, landing Armstrong and his team on the moon, and coined the term "software engineer".
Henrietta Lacks – a women of colour, in 1951 her cervical cancer cells taken without her consent to a lab at John Hopkins Hospital, never died. They became immortal, and were the original cells used for development of the polio vaccine, cell cloning, gene mapping and invitro fertilization.
So if you are wondering why you struggle and why you get stuck and why you can’t make any progress, think it through. Allow yourself to explore your conditioning.
HERE and NOW
As a species, like any other, we learn what is safe and what isn’t. We pass those learned impulses down through our family line to ensure the safety of those who come after us. Even though they are no longer useful, we need to be aware that those reflexes are still operational, and catch them as they surface.
When we make the unconscious, conscious, we can evolve.
Explore the effects that these wounds are having in the here and now. Be curious about your reactions and responses and review those that no longer serve you. This is the one most important action you can take to change course and accelerate your progress, personally and professionally.
And don’t be too hard on your menfolk. They too have learned behaviours on auto-run, and they too have the responsibility to make the unconscious, conscious, in exactly the same way.
Access to the right words, the right actions at the right time and the right place. The NEW best version of YOU is about SELF-MASTERY.
I’m a Well-being and Self-Mastery Mentor and Certified BodyTalk Practitioner. You are welcome to seek more information here. If you're ready to learn to live fully with ease and grace, let's talk. Make a time here to discuss your immediate concerns. If I can help you I'll let you know.