A Letter to Gutsy Goddesses
By Rosjke Hasseldine
Hello Gutsy Goddesses, I want to share with you what I write in the Afterword in my newly published book The Mother-Daughter Puzzle.
The need for women to dig deep into what they have learned to believe is true, and to understand how the women in their family have been emotionally silenced and emotionally neglected is vital. This understanding is essential for the #MeToo campaign. We cannot learn from and challenge the pervasive, misogynistic, systemic belief in male power that has allowed every 3rd or 4th woman to experience some form of unwanted sexual attention without an understanding of how patriarchy and sexism has emotionally affected us, our mother and grandmother, and what we need in order to feel fully heard. We need to map our Mother-Daughter History (see instructions in The Mother-Daughter Puzzle) and uncover the sexism our generational family has normalized, and the sexism we have internalized because no one has taught us to think that anything different is possible.
“The time has never been more right for women to learn how emotional silence limits their voice and power. Equal rights laws have brought women a long way, but they have not and cannot change women’s generational experience of emotional silence and emotional neglect. It is time women uncovered these themes in their lives, and their mother’s and grandmother’s lives. It is time for women to recognize the dire emotional consequences women face when they surrender their needs in their relationships, families, and workplaces.
I want to emphasize how vital it is that women learn how to listen to themselves and each other. This simple, yet difficult task of listening to what we think, feel, and need is central to healing today’s epidemic in mother-daughter conflict, the aggression that is all too common in female relationships, and the rifts in the women’s movement. When women fight over who gets to be heard, and whose experience is more valid, women are not standing in their power. They are acting out patriarchy’s drama that deflects women’s attention away from the sexism that silences them and sets women up for invisibility and conflict.
The truth is all women deserve to have their reality honored, and there is plenty of space for all women to be heard. I guarantee you that when we listen to all women’s truths, women will discover that underneath the obvious differences in our age, race, economic and cultural background, and religious beliefs, we all come from a generational family where women have not been heard enough and not received enough emotional support. We share this common legacy of emotional silence and emotional neglect that is screaming to be understood, healed, and changed. And when we connect with this understanding, divisions and differences melt away. Women gain the emotional entitlement to speak and be heard, and together, women become a powerful force that can no longer be ignored or dismissed.”
© 2017 Rosjke Hasseldine
Wishing you a strong voice and an emotionally connected mother-daughter relationship!
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To read more about Rosjke’s book, The Mother-Daughter Puzzle please click here.
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What a fantastic piece! She talks so much sense – I’ll have to look out for this book. 🙂
Kim, thanks so much for joining the conversation! I hope you are able to look out for it. I personally had a challenging/puzzling relationship with my mother and Rosjke’s insight has helped me to find compassion and understanding both for her and myself. I think this is also a very timely piece.
I always enjoy reading about Rosjke’s perspective. Understanding our own history of our attachments to significant others and our current relationships are both important for many reasons. Rosjke’s work focusing on mother’s and daughters is very valuable. Thanks for sharing here Rosjke!
Susan I am thrilled to have your comment especially given your expertise in psychology and health. I’m glad you brought up the idea of “attachments” as for me it intertwines what I’ve learned through my personal counseling work and through Buddhist teaching. Learning about my attachments and where they come from has brought not only a deep understanding of myself but also compassion. Rosjke’s perspective on this, and the insight I have gained from you has brought greater compassion for my mother, myself, and beyond. Heartfelt Thanks.
Such interesting thoughts on emotional silence and the mother-daughter relationship. I’m glad to say that my daughter and I have a much better relationship than I did with my mother, and it’s all because we don’t keep hidden that which needs to be talked about. Painful or therapeutic, it reminds us that we’re not alone, and we’re deserving of being heard.
I desire the closeness with my daughter so much and I know she does as well. We are in counseling now ! I pray the silence stops and that she knows she is the most important person to me ! my daughter knows how much she matters to me! I desire nearness and understanding with her and to be able to talk about what has been hidden… I just started this book the mother daughter puzzle!
I just want to know I matter in her life and that I am not an obligation!
Hi Suzie, Welcome to our community and thanks for your comment. I’m pleased to read that you’re getting counseling help to do what you can to improve your relationship. My own counseling work was quite difficult yet so rewarding in the end. I’m also happy that you’ve started reading Rosjke’s book; I’m just finishing my second read through and have found additional insight that I missed the first time. We can’t change how our loved ones feel but we can work to offer support for better relationships, and of course love. It sounds like you’ve taken some great steps forward. I wish you and your daughter the best of luck.