When the Shadow Feminine Comes Out to Play

As a woman, have you ever had an experience of feeling betrayed, deceived, or manipulated by another woman? How do you feel when that happens?

I want to explore this, because while it’s easy to cast blame and be the righteous victim, there’s likely some potent information underneath the initial reaction. Women have been competing with each other for various things, including men, for a very long time. What’s been building up is a collective experience filled with the razor sharp memories and tattered remnants of the unresolved deception, betrayal, and mistrust.

Sister, it’s time to heal our collective experience. It begins within each of us. Pointing fingers at each other is not the answer anymore… we’ve all done it, and it’s all forgiven. But have you forgiven yourself?

The invitation here is to ask inside yourself when you feel you’ve been harmed by another woman.

♥ When have I harmed other women in exactly the same way?

♥ How does the experience reflect what’s unhealed inside of me?

You might be quite surprised by what arises. You can work this one backwards in your history for some rich veins of shadow material as well.

I had an opportunity to do some of this work myself, recently. I was really grateful to be able to excavate some very old, unforgiven, and mostly forgotten ways in which I had been the perpetrator of exactly what I thought I was the victim of. It led me to a powerful ceremony of Ho’oponopono. I got to make it right. Including forgiving myself. Now, I get to hold that sister that supposedly harmed me in compassion, acceptance, and accountability. (Yes, accountability.)

When the shadow feminine comes out to play, we all benefit. When we cast light on our shadow, acknowledge it, accept it, forgive it, and embrace it, it can no longer run us from its subterranean hiding place. And we have an opportunity to create something new in the sisterhood. Cooperation, collaboration, acceptance, trust, love, friendship, support, and the sharing of resources. It’s time to weave a new story of the feminine.

Please share your experiences of working with the shadow feminine within yourself. How are you weaving the new story?

Blessed be, Amrita

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14 Responses to When the Shadow Feminine Comes Out to Play

  1. priya says:

    I am so glad that you are writing about this! The war between women is insidious and painful and unfortunately not over. Even though many of us act kindly towards one another, this war can exist in the secret recesses of our minds and hearts because we are conditioned so in the U.S. culture.

    Loving connection between women is so important to every aspect of our lives. It is so important for us to recognize how we separate ourselves from other women, so that we can heal ourselves of the disease of separation and come together in love. Unfortunately we are conditioned to cut off our love from other women besides our imediate family. (Some of us do not even know how to lovingly connect with the women in our families.) We are conditioned to compare, judge, put down, compete and close our hearts to other women for fear of “loosing what we have” or “not getting what we want”. We are also conditioned to not get too close with other women, to not share our true love with other women, unless we are romantically entwined with them.

    One way that I have found to heal the secret war with other women (that I wage through comparison and competition) is to get really honest with myself about how I judge, compare, and put myself down and then turn it around in a competitive attitude so that I do not have to feel the pain within myself of my own insecurities and fears. I then take the time to feel my insecurities and fears as a way of connecting with my vulnerability. Vulnerability helps me to soften my mind and open my heart.

    Another practice that I find helpful is to appreciate and celebrate other women and express this to them openly and unabashedly. I share with other women how they contribute to my life, and I celebrate our relatedness.

    I also practice awareness of my attitude towards other women and willingness to shift it. I watch what goes on in my thinking mind and earnestly practice (when I can) catching myself when I am being negative towards other women in the privacy of my mind, and immediately find a place of empathy and what I call shared humanity with the other women. I ask myself “how do I experience and know what I am perceiving this other women is going through?” and then I drop into myself and feel this shared humanity of what it is to be a woman in our culture. All of it.

    A fourth practice that I embody is that I am willing to share myself with honesty and vulnerability in the face of disagreements and conflicts, letting go of any enemy image (believing that she is my enemy) that I might be carrying of another woman.

    These four practice help me to soften my mind and bring it into alignment with what my heart knows is truly beneficial to us all….loving each other. Thanks for asking!

    • Amrita says:

      Thank you, Dear Priya, for sharing your practices and deepening this conversation. I love and appreciate you very much!

    • Garnetta says:

      My heart speaks this language! Thank you for your authenticity and eloquent response! Much love!

  2. Debbie says:

    Aloha Amrita, What a great topic! This has actually came up for me recently and I was taken by surprise as rarely have I been hurt by other women that I considered a friend. I am really glad it doesn’t happen often as it was very painful. I do have to take responsibility for creating the situation in which this could occur. I learned a valuable lesson and I don’t think I will repeat this mistake. However, sometimes you can’t know that someone will treat you in a certain way until you have interaction with them. Blessing them and moving on, grateful for the lesson. Blessed be, Debbie

    • Amrita says:

      Indeed, Dear Debbie… all good lessons. I’m happy to hear you have minimal experience of painful situations with other women, and yes, they are quite painful. Blessings on the healing you’ve received from it!

  3. Rensina says:

    beautiful words and so true. Thank you xx

  4. Sara says:

    Addressing issues with women, has for me, resulted in volcanic reactions.
    Only by delving into my own shadows have I been able to heal and understand my soul sisters.
    Yes, it’s been painful at times. I’ve cried a few rivers.
    Yes, it’s been scary facing my destructive monsters. I’ve tamed most of them.
    Still a few to deal with.
    The paralysing fear does fade and release you when you shine some light.
    The anger repressed, by so many of us, holds so much potential if harnessed and used more positively.
    This hidden power within our feminine psyche is enormous. Why we have been taught to deny it is a mystery.
    Our acceptance of self, the seeds of our creativity, our joy of being alive, our ability to feel and express true love all starts within. By listening to the voices in the shadow realm, I have learned what it is that I as an individual need. I need to get dirty in the garden and grow stuff, make a noise singing, dance, hug my friends and family etc….
    I am much more able to share of myself these days, the things I value, rather than jumping to the demands of endlessly needy vampire like women.
    Existing in this crazy world is challenging. Perfection is unlikely.
    Self awareness is a must.
    Then we become more accepting, more forgiving, more supportive of each other.
    We’re all individuals trying to get through the ups and downs. Surrounded by friends is the best way. I know it can be very lonely when women turn on each other.
    Thank you for your article Amrita.
    Very thought provoking and refreshing.
    I think I am going to reconnect and try again with a few wonderful women, I lost when the going got tough.
    Love and blessings.

    • Amrita says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Sara, and that it has inspired you to try again. Love and blessings to you as well!

  5. Garnetta says:

    Beautifully written…
    I really appreciate how honest this is. These truths are expressed with so much love it makes the challenge of coping with our shadow side not seem so overwhelming.

  6. Lis says:

    Inspiring article:
    I have recently had this experience with manipulations from an elder woman and it has taught me a lot about my unhealed parts and the shadows I myself still harbour in sismterhood.
    But now for this question.. So that I have seen; how do I go onto love , heal this relationship and at the same time close the door to being manipulated again ? For it is one thing to heal my shadow , but I cannot change this woman I am dealing with ..

    • Lis says:

      Happy to hear what you think!

    • Amrita says:

      You can only be manipulated if you, on some level, agree to it. Do your best to see the best in her, and otherwise walk away from the behaviors of hers that don’t serve you to the best of your abilities. Keep looking inside. Blessings to you, Sister.

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