We know that we live in a patriarchy, but what does that mean and how does it affect us?
Well… it turns out that living in a patriarchy is actually traumatic.
In fact, there’s an actual condition called Patriarchy Stress Disorder that most of us don’t even realize we’ve been living with our entire lives.
Women in today’s patriarchy have exponentially more rights and opportunities than our mothers and our mothers’ mothers and our mothers’ mothers’ mothers had before us. So life for our female ancestors was terrifying in ways that are hard for us to imagine in today’s world.
But what we don’t realize is that we carry their terror inside of us in our DNA. Because studies have shown that trauma literally gets passed along in our genes, from generation to generation.
So we inherited the trauma our female ancestors experienced.
The reason this matters is because we, as women, are susceptible to getting triggered by “trauma responses” even though we don’t realize we have trauma.
When our trauma responses are triggered we either “fight”, “flight” or “freeze.” (Those are the tools our subconscious uses to keep us safe from danger.)
So there are times in our lives when we might be inexplicably pissed off or afraid or stuck.
And we don’t realize, as it’s happening, that we’re actually having a trauma response. And since we don’t realize it’s a trauma response, we just blame ourselves. We can see ourselves pissed off or afraid or stuck and think we have some kind of personal problem (or that there’s something wrong with us).
We don’t know, in these situations, that we’re having a trauma response, so we blame ourselves and feel bad about ourselves, which only undermines our power even further, bolstering the patriarchy that keeps us down.
It’s a vicious cycle.
In this episode of Women Wanting Women I interview Dr. Valerie Rein, the woman who discovered this condition and named it Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
During the interview she teach all about what Patriarchy Stress Disorder is, how it affects us, and what we can do to overcome all the ways it holds us back.
Dr. Valerie Rein, the founder of Her Genius, Inc., is on a mission to advance women’s healing and liberation, so they may know their true beauty and true power.
She is a psychologist and author of the forthcoming book Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Missing Link to Liberation for High-Achieving Women.
Dr. Valerie Rein holds an EdM in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University and a PhD from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
She is a sought-after speaker at conferences and companies committed to unlocking women’s full potential and supporting their success and wellbeing.
Find Dr. Valerie Rein online and follow her on social media: