Some of us as women struggle to relax, be vulnerable and let a partner lead in an intimate relationship.
We resist letting go of our masculine (doing) energy to simply be feminine and receive and trust. We struggle to be lovingly interdependent rather than fiercely independent.
Outwardly and consciously we think this is because today’s culture has created strong, smart, capable, successful, career-oriented women who men can barely match. While that may be partly true, it’s not the whole story.
In fact, we see the problem in women and their relationships across the whole socioeconomic spectrum, all levels of intelligence, among both career women and stay-at-home moms.
I believe much of this resistance to surrendering to the feminine really seems to be rooted in early childhood, some of it coming from two possible extremes:
In the first scenario, we are still little two-year-old girls saying “Do by self” because when it came right down to it, we had no one to rely on to help us and protect us and uplift us. Our families made it clear that they couldn’t (or didn’t want to) handle our feelings, desires and needs. We learned to be strong for ourselves, and possibly even loving toward ourselves, at least in some ways that helped us grow up and function in the world.
We learned that if we were to survive (either physically or emotionally), we had to do it by ourselves.
So, we enter adulthood unable and unwilling to trust and relax into our feminine energy. We believe that no one is strong enough or tender enough to catch us if we fall—and we conveniently keep creating relationships to prove our point.
In the second scenario, we are still little two-year-old girls saying “Do by self” because no one ever gave us the chance to prove to ourselves and the world that we were competent and capable. Our families coddled us or continually bailed us out. They straightened up our toys, did our homework, found our shoes. We learned that those who loved and cared for us would intervene and do it all for us – and as innocent and unsuspecting children, we let them.
So we enter adulthood with a nagging need to prove to ourselves and others that we can make it on our own and we don’t need any help, thank you very much. We believe that no one thinks we can do it—and we conveniently keep creating relationships to prove our point.
We date or marry untrustworthy men.
We date men who don’t trust us.
We date good, strong men, but we question their every move.
We date men who question our every move.
We marry men who walk away when the going gets tough.
We marry men we walk all over.
We date men who feel threatened by our strength.
We date men who threaten us.
We attract men who try to control us.
We attract men we try to control.
We date men who treat us like helpless babies.
We act like babies and then blame men for treating us like babies.
What is the solution to our predicament?
As mother and father to ourselves in the first scenario, it is our role to say to that girl who is all grown up but still saying “Do by self” like a two-year-old: “You made it. You’re an adult now. It’s not life or death anymore. Let him lead you and love you and join with you. Let him in.”
As mother and father to ourselves in the second scenario, it is our role to say to that girl who is all grown up but still saying “Do by self” like a two-year-old: “You can do it. You have proven that enough already. Let him help you and love you and join with you. Let him in.”
Until you attend to the internal cry of the wounded feminine, you will continue to manifest relationships that incarnate that cry and reinforce and justify “Do by self.” You are the grown-up now and can hold and comfort and encourage that wounded little girl for as long as it takes until she can let go of the past and enter the present with joy and trust and arms open wide.
Even then, it will take some practice to change old habits. As long as a man’s choices are not blatantly destructive, trust and accept them even if they are different from the ones you would make. Let him plan, decide, fumble, stumble, make mistakes, give, and do for you.
No one is perfect, not even you. We are all messy mortals. He needs to “do by self” just as much as you need to. Honor his competence as well as your own. Be his soft place to land when he falls. Believe in him the way you want him to believe in you.
Interdependence is the dance of the vibrant masculine and the vibrant feminine within and between each of us: doing and being, giving and receiving, leading and following.
As independent women who resist unguarded interdependence in our relationships, we are called to embrace our wounded feminine and heal her.
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Assistant Ed: Andie Britton-Foster/Ed: Bryonie Wise