Why We Reject & How to Reclaim Our Feminine Nature

In my pre-teens, I had a sign on my bedroom wall that said, “I will never get married. I will never have kids.” 

I never learned to cook or any perceived “feminine” skills. I fled what I perceived as my devouring mother, whom I sensed was jealous of my talents from an early age. I felt her bitterness at her own shattered dreams which would erupt as passive-aggressive fits of rage towards me growing up, the daughter with more opportunities. I didn’t want to even look like my mother. 

But I felt an intense guilt at suppressing my mother. So, while I wanted to be nothing like her, I didn’t pursue my dreams, settling for a mediocre path that denied my soul’s calling. (Which was what I had learned to do from her.)

The rejection of our mothers is deeply embedded into our culture. 

Unfortunately, when the daughter rejects ‘mother’ and what’s perceived as the negative aspects of the feminine, such as erotic connection to the body and nature, and devotion to spirit, there can also be a rejection of the positive aspects of the feminine, such as intuition, creativity and empathy. 

If the daughter feels her mother was powerless, then she feels humiliated. Daughters can feel enraged that their mothers passively accepted a less “driven” path. Until daughters bring this rage into their consciousness and move it through their bodies, they may continue to make reactive choices in their life’s path. (Like I did for a while.) 

This means the mother-daughter split is more than a separation between mother and daughter, it is a split between a woman and herself and the fullness of her feminine nature. It is also a split between a woman and the larger, universal ‘mother’ as embodied by the earth.

What occurs when the mother-daughter split is not healed?

Maureen Murdock, author of The Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness, claims that if a woman feels alienated or rejected by her mother she may first reject the feminine and search for recognition by the father and the patriarchal culture. In other words, we become daughters of the patriarchy and experience the fallout of internalized patriarchy, struggling with symptoms such as depression, anxiety and a disconnection between our sexuality and spirituality.

When the mother-daughter split is healed…

We no longer reject the feminine or ourselves. We no longer feel separate or split off from ourselves or the land or even our ancestors. We come into our wholeness, our essence and embrace and celebrate the union of our sexuality and spirituality, our erotic and creative life force. We reclaim our bodies and our voices and know the power and pleasure that we’re truly capable of.

The path to healing the split is a quest for wholeness in which our feminine nature is reclaimed.

One of the greatest challenges on our path to healing is facing the grief of the separation from the feminine and the rejection of the mother. Yet it is absolutely essential to fully grieve the separation and loss in whatever ways we are led to do so.

I never felt deeply mothered. Grieving my lack of nurturance was necessary for my healing process. Yet if we stay in the grievance and resentment, we don’t allow ourselves to fully grow up and reclaim what was discarded. Thus, it is essential to allow all the feelings that weren’t felt and then move from a place of more wholeness.

Healing the split cannot be done in isolation.

In addition to feeling all the feelings that weren’t felt, we begin the journey of reclaiming all the ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ aspects of our feminine nature. Rather than staying in isolation and longing for deeper connection, we become available for this connection, both with ourselves and others. As we nurture ourselves to wholeness, and allow ourselves to receive that nurturance from others, we embody and express the nurturing qualities of the feminine that have been eradicated from our culture.

My capacity to both nurture and be nurtured continues to be cultivated in nature and community. Seeking female circles of elders, mentors and sisterhood has been an important aspect of healing my feminine wounding. Additionally, we as women are healed by grounding ourselves in ritual and ceremony, so that we might experience the divine in the every day. 

Our quest for wholeness contributes to the healing of our culture. 

As all that was once viewed as weak or wrong about the feminine, including death, nature and the erotic, is embodied, we heal not only ourselves, we also heal our families, our communities, our culture and our planet. 

Comment below: how is the mother-daughter split showing up in your life?

Interested in getting support with healing the mother-daughter split? Click here for details about Melissa’s upcoming program.

This blog includes an excerpt from Melissa’s upcoming book, “Scarlet.” To be notified of its release, and how you can be one of the first readers, join our mailing list here.

Mother Daughter Relationships

Femininity, Healing

What is the

Perhaps you don’t have sex with your partner anymore or you have sex but don’t have the emotional intimacy you crave. You may feel like you can’t have both at the same time.

The truth is: you can.
When you heal the heart-sex split.

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Heart-Sex Split?