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Healing the Sister Wound

by Andrea Spacek

As a general rule, if someone is teaching something or leading something, it's not because it comes easily to them. It's because they are on a quest to understand how it works, what it is, and on a deeper level, how to have it in their life.

For the past 20 years, I have been seeking to unravel the mystery of Divine Feminine - first in books, then in trainings, then by leading women's circles, then women's retreats, and currently, women's group coaching and 1:1 coaching containers.

I'll let you in on a little secret: I've been terrified of women my whole life.

Sure, I've always had female friends who I absolutely adore, lots of women all around me, and have two big sisters of my own who I feel loved by, but I've always kept them all at a certain safe distance away from my heart. A part of me is always worried that I did something wrong, or that they secretly judging me or despise me just for existing.

The thing about cultural mythology is that it is insidious. It seeps into the bedrock of the soul when you aren't looking. It sneaks in under the auspices of religion or fairy tales, or comments from your mother or aunties, or in television shows.

And somewhere around middle school, when hormones start bubbling, and our identities start to shape, the poison becomes known - "women can't be trusted."

And then the inherent double-bind: since I AM a women, I also can't trust myself. And it muddies the natural feminine flow of love that wants to circulate among us, and infests it with jealousy, vitriol, shame, and even hatred.

Perhaps you don't resonate - perhaps you escaped the inescapable grip of Catholic guilt and body shame, and that whole Eve as being responsible for the downfall of humanity and Sin itself (small side note) thing. But most of us were raised to see other women as a threat, especially when it comes to matters of the opposite sex.

The thing about poison is that it often is without taste, odor, or color. In other words, you can't "prove" it's presence, you can only experience the harmful effects.

One of our super powers as women is our power of attraction and manipulation through our cleverness and intuitive nature. This is another aspect of women that has been demonized, and yet, when wielded with care, can be used as a sharp tool and a gift. In fact, all of nature uses this "gift" to create more life and diversity. In nature, it isn't made "wrong" or lascivious, it just IS how nature works.

While it is no secret that women are able to use these gifts to manipulate or enchant men, what is not as popular to name is how we use it to "trick" and silently cutdown each other. I hear mothers talk about how their daughters are dealing with "mean girls", or how it's an issue of adolescence, but the truth is, it is alive and well among "mature" women, only more insidious because it is not named, just felt.

Which is why it is so easy for women to gaslight each other - "I NEVER meant any harm. I didn't DO anything wrong. She is CRAZY. " Sound familiar? And on and on we go. The truth is that we have all been burned, choked, and stabbed in the back by this poison throughout our lives, and we have also wielded it. We are the perpetrated and the perpetrator.

Which is why I'm writing about it today. Because poisonous gremlins can only live in the darkness. Once they are called out and named directly, they lose their power. To name the game is to give it up.

Carl Jung reminds us that what we see in another as repulsive and unacceptable is just a projection of how we feel toward the parts of our self that we have denied.

In other words, that beautiful, talented, powerful woman who you want nothing to do with bothers you to no end because you are denying the beautiful, talented, powerful woman that lives inside of you. Just like the meek, too afraid to speak up woman irks you with her refusal to take up space, because you are still refusing to let yourself be as big as you are capable of.

That's right, you are looking out at reflections of YOU. The parts that you relate to easily in others, are parts that you have accepted into the fold of yourself, and deemed "valuable". The parts that you are still rejecting show up as "teachers" out there, in the faces of women (and men) who you do not like or feel triggered by.

So how do we heal the split? You begin by collecting, accepting, and loving the rejected aspects of yourself that you have thrown into the gutter. You begin by taking courageous actions of connection and love toward your sisters - especially the ones that trigger you or that you are convinced don't like you. You join forces with them rather than compete. You recognize yourself in them.

It's not about having to like and be liked by everyone. It IS about self-love and integration. And when you can hold space and even love for the most challenging woman in your life, you know that you are walking a path of Self Love and Acceptance.

It is important to do our own inner work, to dance with our inner demons, and break bread with our exiled parts, to ask for help from a coach or a friend, who can hold a space of unconditional love for your process of unraveling.

AND the surest way to truly love yourself is to embrace each of the reflections of you that you find "out there", to sit in the circle with them, to look in their eyes, and welcome them home.

Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to re-member all of who you are inside of a group container. Details coming soon! This is the way forward. Welcome to the Age of Aquarius, friends. Welcome home.

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