Life Coaching Tip: If you are a woman who struggles with an irrational fear of being seen and taking up space, then you may be experiencing inherited, collective trauma from our female ancestors. You can learn more about the “witch wound” here and with new awareness, begin to release its grip on you, Sister, the world needs you to speak up and be seen! It’s time to step into your power!
I will spare you most of the details, but what I will say is that I can remember feeling terror throughout my body…
It was a wintery day in January 2014, and the roads were snow covered and treacherous. But that wasn’t what was scaring me.
Instead, I was trembling because I was on my way to Panera to meet with board members from the agency where I was newly employed.
I was preparing to talk with them about some serious issues regarding our director, including her being MIA for more than a month and shutting down my colleague’s (the mental health ombudsman) report to the ADAMHS Board regarding problems within the mental health system that desperately needed to be addressed. My mission was bigger than my fear though because I felt the health and well-being of the people living in the county with mental illness was at risk.
My heart felt like it was beating right out of my chest during the meeting that lasted for more than two-hours that day. But the board seemed receptive to my concerns, and the president accepted the detailed report I handed her and vowed to investigate each of the issues that were brought to light.
But, that’s not what happened.
Instead, the director fired me the next day. Without reason or explanation, she just walked me out the door.
And this is when big fear set in. Illogical fear, like I was going to die… and shame, frustration, and grief. I had built a stellar reputation for myself as a person of integrity, knowledge, and compassion during my many years of working in the community mental health system. Yet, because I spoke up, it felt like all was lost, and I was ostracized.
My phone didn’t ring, few former colleagues checked in with me, and no one offered me a job.
My confidence was shaken, and I was so fearful that I rarely left my house. My own emotions perplexed me. I knew that if I had to do it all over again, I would do it the same way, yet there was a part of me that felt guilty for going against the status quo.
Today, I don’t look back at that time of my life with regret, because it turned out to be one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. It was the catalyst that inspired me to pursue my life coaching career, and I know this is my true calling.
However, when I remember that feeling of terror I felt during those days, I wonder what in the heck I was so afraid of? Why were the feelings so intense? I felt tremendous anxiety to my core.
I couldn’t understand it, until I read about the Witch Wound in Denise Duffield Thomas’ book, “Chill and Prosper”. Have you heard of this term? I hadn’t until recently, and this is what I learned…
The Witch Wound is an inherited trauma that manifests as a fear of being seen, speaking up, and embodying your power. It is rooted in the dark history of the witch hunts and trials, when millions of women were killed in gruesome, torturous ways, as a means to devalue and rob them of their influence in society.
Author and spiritual teacher, Kimberly Jones, defines the Witch Wound as “the psychic scar in the collective consciousness that (mostly) women start to awaken to and feel deeply in their bodies as soon as they consider stepping into their power.”
And if it sounds a little too woo-woo to believe that the fear, shame, and grief of our ancestors can be passed down through the ages on a DNA level, know that the idea of inherited trauma is research based. It makes sense. Storing information about potential dangers from one generation to the next is necessary to help a species survive.
And let’s face it, we don’t even have to go back in history to find examples of women being shamed, blamed, and persecuted for speaking up and claiming their power. In the western world, successful female leaders and activists are often targeted, threatened, and called “bitches” and “witches” by their adversaries.
And on the other side of the world, women are still being tortured and killed systematically on a regular basis. In the news of today, the courageous women of Iran are fighting back against the Islamic regime that oppresses them. And the response has been brutal, with thousands of protestors arrested and murdered, all to keep them controlled, quiet, and hidden underneath their hijabs.
This is all very heavy, I know. But understanding the collective experiences of the Witch Wound can help you heal.
I have coached so many women over the years who experience agonizing fear and go into fight-flight-freeze mode the moment it’s time to take their first few steps towards their dreams. And these steps can be as basic as filing their LLC for their business or setting a boundary with someone who is demanding too much of their time.
Does speaking your truth feel deeply unsafe to you?
Have you ever felt an irrational fear of repercussions when life requires you to be seen? (Like I mean, true terror about something as simple as posting what might be perceived as controversial on social media?)
Are you ever afraid to be the center of attention and have the spotlight on you?
Do you sometimes feel like you are both “too much” and “not enough” for the world?
If so, then you may be struggling with the inherited trauma of our ancestors too.
And now that you know about the Witch Wound, you can begin to release its grip on you. You can give it appreciation for protecting you, and then lean into courage and step into your power.
As women, we must stop dimming our light so others can shine.
Although it takes bravery to live in your fullness, the alternative is soul-sucking. You are not here to be small and quiet and blend in.
The world needs you to take up space, be seen, speak up and activate your gifts and talents.
I mean it sister, it’s time to reclaim your power!
PS – If this topic hit home with you and the idea of fully stepping into your power makes your stomach queasy, then know I currently have space in my private coaching program for YOU! The support of professional coaching can make all the difference in the world! Not only will I provide you with the compassionate support and encouragement you need to move forward, but I will hold you accountable to keep your goals and dreams front-and-center in your life.
Sister, you have only one life. Do this for yourself! Schedule your free consultation and apply today!