Episode 45 - Dr. Janae Wienhold Asks Us to Realize Our Unique Power as Women to Affect Change in the World
Bold, provocative and deeply insightful, Dr. Janae Weinhold talks candidly about the important role women play in ushering in a new level of emotionally healthy and conscious babies into the world. By understanding how and why we get stuck in co-dependent tendencies, we can learn how to identify and heal them. We also learn about the power we have as mothers to ensure our growing babies get the bonding and attention they need in the womb to support their proper development into grown human beings.
In this MUST LISTEN to interview for ALL women, Dr. Weinhold illuminates for us the how and why we are susceptible to developing co-dependent behaviors - all the way from the moment of conception through our mid-twenties! Enjoy this fascinating interview, it is a call for us women to learn to break old patterns and unhealthy ways of being to help usher in a new level of consciousness that will serve the recovery of the planet.
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Welcome to Just for Women, dating, relationships and sex. I’m your host, Alissa Kriteman. Back with the deeply insightful Dr. Janae Weinhold who’s going to talk to us today about co-dependency, how it manifests in our lives and what we can do to identify it and heal from it.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: The developing child as a whole person, and that means even the fetus, can have memory of being inside the mother’s womb and of the birth experience and it’s very clear when we look at it as a biological experience that whatever the mother is eating and feeling, the child’s having exactly the same biological experience. There’s this perception that children don’t know, don’t feel, don’t remember, don’t have any real connection to the world that’s going on around them until about the age of two. And the truth is that nothing could be further from the truth. Infants, even those developing inside their mother, are extremely sensitive to sound, to light and because there’s been a lot of research now that’s been conducted using sonographs and ultrasound, they’re able now to see what happens when they, for example, poke a needle inside to do amniocentesis. How can you see yourself as a divine female if you’re living in a patriarchal culture? I mean, that’s almost an oxymoron. It’s not logical to think that that could happen so I think we struggle against that part. What I know is that the more that I healed things with my mother the more that I started to feel more self-love.
Alissa Kriteman: So welcome back to Just for Women. Janae…
Dr. Janae Weinhold: Alissa, thank you so much for inviting me.
Alissa Kriteman: Thank you so much for coming back onto the show. I had such a great time talking to you about counter-dependency, I wanted to go back and revisit co-dependency. So let’s talk about co-dependency and kind of give a little refresher for everybody. What are some of the causes of co-dependency?
Dr. Janae Weinhold: It depends on who you’re talking to. If you talk to people in the recovery field, who focus a lot on addictions, they tend to see it more as a disease, something that you can’t recover from. Something that often leaves people with a stigma, a feeling like there’s something deeply wrong with them and also a kind of a hopelessness, this is like an identity, is “I am co-dependent as I am a alcoholic as I am a drug addict for the rest of my life.” Barry and I don’t agree with that, mostly because it’s not been our experience. There is, I think, an addictive component to co-dependency but the addiction comes more from relationship trauma and from unresolved developmental issues in the first six months of life so rather than judging it we tend to look at what’s right about what people do. I think that gives people a whole different twist on. They’re like “Oh! You mean I’m not mentally ill? You mean I’m not broken forever? I can actually have a long-term relationship? There’s nothing so flawed about me that I can’t have that happen to me? ”
Alissa Kriteman: I’m really glad that we’re bringing this up because mostly when we hear about co-dependency it’s in relationship to Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous, and Al-Anon being families of alcoholics, right? And so that is where I think this whole co-dependent behavior really came to the forefront. But what you’re saying now is, everyone has some co-dependency issues and they actually come from childhood and it’s pervasive. And I think, yes, I love what you’re saying about giving some more wiggle room to what is going on for a lot of people. Because I think, in our society today, how we relate to each other, the sort of ways of behavior that are not healthy and are co-dependent or counter-dependent are starting to get sort of washed over and it’s becoming normal. Like, that’s the way that it is.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: I think it’s being understood more as part of the human condition. That everybody who comes to this planet has certain things to learn and co-dependency and counter-dependency are big relationship issues. And I think that’s mostly what we’re here to figure out. How can we grow and how can we use our relationships in a healthy way to make that growth happen?
Alissa Kriteman: Awesome. So let’s talk about stages of development and healthy stages of development because I really want my listeners to understand where co-dependent behavior get stuck. It’s almost as though we’re children acting as…or adults acting as children and what’s happening is we’re getting stuck in these stages. Tell us about these stages?
Dr. Janae Weinhold: In our model, we look at four specific stages that all people go through and they’re very age specific. So for example, the co-dependent stage of development in our model begins, for some people who believe in pre- and peri-natal psychology, like Barry and I do, it starts at conception and it goes through about the age of six months. And during this time, the child is bonding with the mother. The second stage of development happens between six months and 36 months and that’s the counter-dependent stage. Then the third stage is between 36 months and about five or six or seven years and that’s the independent stage of development. And during that time the child is becoming autonomous, they’re learning to dress themselves and to become separate human beings with a strong sense of self. And then in the final stage that we look at, we talk about, is the inter-dependent stage, and in that process the child is learning to go back and forth between having a self and being independent and being connected to other people. So this is where we really learn that kind of relationship dance. And that stage, we kept moving the timeline, but it goes from about seven years of age all the way up to we think where people hit their late twenties and there isn’t that kind of need for family support. When we look we look at development over these four stages we look at what doesn’t work in the first two stages because that’s mostly where we build this foundation for our adult psychology and our personality. So if we miss bonding in the first stage, if we don’t have that deep kind of energetic, emotional, spiritual, psychological connection with our mothers, it’s very difficult to separate. So we may try to become independent but we keep getting pulled back into these relationships where we have to complete that task of bonding. That’s really what co-dependency is. It’s a set of behaviors that are left over from this early stage of development.
Alissa Kriteman: Got it. Thank you so much for illuminating that for us. And it’s really interesting that you’re starting at conception. Which I know, women are educated not to drink, not to smoke when you’re pregnant it’s starting to become more well-known that things that you do with your physical body are going to affect your growing child but you’re saying too, that there’s actually emotional stuff going on. So for women who are pregnant and in this, and up to the six months, what are some things they can do to have healthy bonding with their child?
Dr. Janae Well I think the first step is to recognize that even though this child may be very small, in fact I just heard Dr. David Chamberlain who lives in the Bay Area --no, he lives in San Diego -- he was here in Asheville talking about the developing child as a whole person and that means even the fetus can have memory of being inside the mother’s womb and of the birth experience. And even for people who have… that’s a little bit too far out and a little too woo-woo it’s very clear when we look at it as a biological experience that whatever the mother is eating and feeling, the neural transmitters in her blood, if she’s depressed or if she is under a lot of stress and has cortisol in her blood the child’s having exactly the same biological experience. And so babies can come into the world actually depressed from a biological perspective. That they also are low on the serotonin and some of the other transmitters because that’s what’s being circulated, or not circulated, through their mother’s bodies.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow. Why do you think that that sort of education isn’t widely available?
Dr. Janae Weinhold: Well part of it is because… Where do people go to get this kind of but it’s not really part of people’s experience in medicine. If you go into an obstetrician very, very few of them know that. Kids don’t get it when they’re in high school. I mean there’s no like prelude to parenting class. So it still kind of circulates at the periphery of our culture. Because if knew these things, Alissa, if we really understood this, then it would change everything. So women, they would refuse to work 80 hour work weeks during their first pregnancy, trying to accumulate a lot of sick leave and maybe some savings, because they would realize that this high level of stress is impacting their infant. So many things would change and everybody is sort of like “I don’t think we can really handle that much change so let’s just ignore it for a while longer, maybe we will someday but not right now.”
Alissa Kriteman: Exactly. Which is exactly why I wanted to talk about this because I don’t think women are educated. And did you see “The Business of Being Born”? That movie that Ricki Lake made about having a baby in the hospital and then having a home birth?
Dr. Janae Weinhold: I have and it was shattering to me because it reminded me of my own pregnancies and being hauled into the hospital in a wheelchair and sat lower than other people and having an IV stuck in me and all of a sudden I’m a patient, a woman without power. It’s really, so illuminating. Those kind of educational experiences, from my experience in working with other women and also my own, when we see these things they effect us so deeply that we have this sorrow, this regret, this deep sense of loss about something that could have been that will never be. I’ve done this. “Oh, if I had known this I would never have done this with my own children and look at the effect it’s had on them and now what is that going to do to my grandchildren?” So women go into this big state of overwhelm because they understand the impact that these seemingly small things have had on their whole family, on the existence of the people that come after them.
Alissa Kriteman: Exactly. Which is exactly why I want to talk about this stuff. Women need to know. We need to know about our bodies. We need to know about what’s happening with them. We need to know what’s going on in ourselves and our babies and as women who want to become mothers and women who are mothers. Your books are amazing for any stage, as an adult, as a woman who’s thinking about having children, as a woman who’s pregnant. So this is why I want to talk to you so much. Okay.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: I also think without this kind of information, Alissa, women can’t be empowered and frankly there is nothing more frightening than an empowered woman. I mean, if you look at sort of the patriarchal society that’s hanging out there it’s not nearly as strong as it used to be. But really clear, assertive women who want something and are willing to be direct about asking for it that’s just a terrifying thing.
Alissa Kriteman: God forbid we get angry!
Dr. Janae Weinhold: But then they pull out the five letters words and talk about us, if we were a man they wouldn’t do that. But I really do think that giving women this kind of information has already changed. They didn’t used to have things like flex-time and the ability to have choices about where your baby was born and some women can get extended maternity leave and they do that simply because they realize they’re a valuable employee and if their employer wants to keep them that they’ll do something. They don’t want to go hire somebody else and retrain them and it might be a person who’s not nearly as skilled at doing this and so there’s a lot more wiggle room, as you say, in our culture already simply because women have information. But this whole thing about how these early, early stages of development have so much power and even if there’s some kind of a wrinkle in it, that something doesn’t happen, if you fix it right away it changes a child’s whole life.
Alissa Kriteman: And that’s the important part so we don’t have to continually work out these issues that happened at such a young age as an adult and wonder why is it so hard for me to have a relationship? Why is it so hard for me to be independent and autonomous? Something happened.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: I’d like to talk about, I think one of the cultural issues that women may need more understanding about and that is their power to shape the future of their children and how, if they are able to understand what is going on, that they can really influence, I would say the future of humanity. Most women, for example, don’t understand that our internal working model of reality, it’s about how we perceive the world, how we interact with it and how it interacts with us, is formed by the age of nine months. And people think there’s nothing happening. In fact, Dr. Chamberlain talked about, he’s one of the co-founders of pre- and peri-natal psychology and he said that his whole field, this new field of pre- and peri-natal psychology, has been sort of cursed by this idea that Freud left behind called infant amnesia and that there’s this perception that children don’t know, don’t feel, don’t remember, don’t have any real connection to the world that’s going on around them until about the age of two. And the truth is that nothing could be further from the truth. Infants, even those developing inside their mother, are extremely sensitive. They’re sensitive to sound, to light and because there’s been a lot of research now that’s been conducted using sonographs and ultrasound, they’re able now to see what happens when they, for example, poke a needle inside to do amniocentesis. You can see the baby recoil and Chamberlain even talked about they had ultrasound pictures of, this would be like around three months, this little tiny baby’s making a fist at the needle. There is just so much sensitivity and so much awareness during this period of time. When women are really willing to look at the kind of environment they’re creating, the nutritional environment, the emotional environment, the amount of stress they’re putting their bodies under when their babies are being developed, how they birth the child and how they care for it in that first nine months is all about what that child is going to become as an adult. And when women realize they have so much power to shape a child’s future then it becomes not just an act of motherhood but becomes the most sacred thing that we know in our human experience.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow. And that information -- can’t you see why that would be really important to keep away from women? I’m such a passionate stand for women to be empowered and like you said, learning this information it makes me kind of crazy to think where has this information been? And one of the things that Ricky Lake says in her movie, The Business of Being Born, it echoes all of the things that you’re saying and that women now are starting to become aware of the impact and the effects of all of these tests and the drugs and everything that happens in Western medicine, per se, and in the hospital and so just trying to educate women on the power that we really do wield and the importance of having a baby naturally like the child has to go through the birth canal and it’s first experience of fighting for its life and separation. I mean there’s so much information and, like you said, we’re just starting to unlock that and share that information with the world. So thank you for being one of the pioneers in bringing this information to women and to the world. Let’s talk a little bit about…You have a great quiz in your book, How Co-Dependent Are You? We can’t really change it, we’re in our twenties, we’re in our thirties, and we start to notice, “Wow. I think I have some co-dependent issues here. I have difficulty expressing my feelings. I’m afraid of rejection. I put other people’s needs first.” So what are some tools we can use to get out of co-dependent behavior?
Dr. Janae Weinhold: I think if we understand what caused it, then we know how to fix it. If you don’t know how it’s broken you can’t fix it. so what is the broken part of co-dependency? From my perspective it’s really that there was no need for communion, for -- it’s called emotional synchronicity, also known as resonance, but it’s this deep empathic spiritual fusion with our mothers and there is really not a lot of support in our culture for getting that. We don’t even sometimes know what that is but if you’re ever around a woman who’s just had a baby, in that first month it’s like that child still is kind of in the nether world, between the world of spirit and the material world and there really is this aura of the divine. That’s why we have all these pictures, you know, of the Madonna and the child because it represents some archetypal experience of being human. But I think …I don’t know exactly what’s happened—maybe in other countries, but here there isn’t an emphasis on that relationship, it’s not really valued and so most of us are kind of mothered the way I mothered my children, in a rather hurried, maybe kind of distracted way, as soon as the child gets mobile we tend to push it off into being separate, we give them a different room, we don’t practice the family bed like a lot of cultures do. And so we’re still yearning for that deep fusion and it’s interesting that it really developmentally doesn’t happen until around six months of age. There’s that whole period of time where there’s this love relationship building between the mother and child and then that child eventually can do a deep sea dive right down into the core of the self, of the mother and they bring out parts of that mother inside themselves to build a self with. So if we don’t get that kind of experience completed, it leaves us yearning for it.
Alissa Kriteman: Exactly. So if we’ve missed that step, for whatever reason, in our development, we’re still yearning for this deep fusion. So we have to work that out with ourselves. How do we do that? Do we go to therapy? Do we work that out in our relationships? Are there some ways that we can start to notice “Wow! I’m co-dependent here’s how I can start to change that?” Do we get vocal? Create contracts with friends? Can you tell I’ve read your book?
Dr. Janae Weinhold: It’s always happening all the time, anyway. We’re always seeking that deep connection with other people. The thing is that we’re not really conscious of it. Once we get conscious of it then we can make contracts with the people that we’re close to. We can actually, if our mothers are still alive, talk about all this. I have some friends, and one friend in particular, who just turned 60 and her mother’s now having her 80th birthday and they’re still talking about this loss of connection that happened in my 60 year old friend’s life. If we have mothers, we can start there. If we have sisters we can start there. Therapy is a really good place. I’m in a women’s support group and we do that. Reading books and going to workshops, talking with other people, getting into groups is a really great way for women to work on it. And then if there is a person who’s willing to be in a committed love relationship we can work on that there and I think actually that’s where most women try to go with it. And I have watched this over and over again: they’re not in a women’s group, they’re not in therapy, they’re not really working with their mothers or their relatives or other trusted friends, they want primary relationship and they want that man to be the mother that they didn’t have. Well, if that’s not a recipe for trouble I don’t know what is.
Alissa Kriteman: Definitely. Definitely. We’ll talk more about that when we come back from the break. Let’s take a short break to thank support our sponsors. I’m Alissa Kriteman, your host of Just for Women, dating, relationships and sex. We’re speaking to Dr. Janae Weinhold, learning to break free from all the co-dependent behaviors, starting to understand where they come from so we can live the lives that we truly love and be really educated and empowered women, not only for ourselves but for future generations. We will be right back.
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Alissa Kriteman: Welcome back to Just for Women. I’m your host Alissa Kriteman. We’re speaking with Dr. Janae Weinhold, professional counselor and co-author of “Breaking Free from the Co-Dependency Trap”. And before the break, wow, we’ve just gotten a serious download of information from Dr. Weinhold on the importance of understanding the stages of development in our lives, for ourselves but also for our babies and ladies, if you’re not pregnant, if you’re thinking about having children, really, get this book “Breaking Free from the Co-Dependency Trap” and start to understand how babies develop, what happens, the importance of having a nurturing environment for our children. But now we need to talk about also how we, as adults, if we have co-dependent behaviors how we can heal from them and how we can use therapy, women’s support groups in our love relationships to heal ourselves. So Dr. Weinhold, talk to us a little bit about -- you, in your book talk about new forms of relationships and some of the characteristics of actually having a conscious committed partnership. Say more about that.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: It’s something that I really wanted when I met Barry and he had been divorced and widowed when I met him and I was recently divorced and so we wanted to have a relationship where we could bring all of these things and that it would be safe to talk about our wounds and also to process a lot of the trauma that we had had prior to coming into our relationship. So we closed the exits and we redefined intimacy because we found out that we often had conflicts that were related to our issues in the first three years of our lives. So we just made everything that comes up is intimate. Sometimes it’s the transcendent intimate and other times it’s the depth intimacy where we’re sharing some of these woundings that we have and once we were able to redefine intimacy as being both the comfortable and the uncomfortable parts of our life then we were able to say “Okay. We’re just going to stay through this and we’re going to work towards becoming inter-dependent people. That we want to know who we are, we want to have a strong sense of self and we want to figure out how to stay with the conflicts until we figure out where they came from and then rewrite the script around it.” So our relationship has always had sort of a healing component to it and during that healing we found that it actually brought us closer. But we didn’t know that when we started because it was a big risk. Gosh, we could just open up this can of worms and then the whole thing would just fall apart, the other person won’t be able to see all my brokenness and will they really like me and is this really love or is this unconditional love? But somehow, because we decided that there was actually less suffering in staying and working on it than going through another break-up and I think that’s a point that a lot of couples get to. It’s like, “Well either way I’m going to suffer. So I’m going to just choose the suffering that will bring me a different kind of future.”
Alissa Kriteman: Isn’t that sad? I know. It’s true though, because this is why I have my show. I mean it’s an age-old struggle: understanding men, how to have the relationships that we want, staying in the love with ourselves. Yeah. I love that. And it’s true. I think a lot of women get to that point where it’s like, okay. I’m either going to batten down the hatches here and go through life working these things out with this partner or we’re both going to suffer. So are there particular exercises that you do with Barry to move yourself through hiccups that come up?
Dr. Janae Weinhold: The first thing that I do is I notice that one of us, and this is how I know that there’s something coming up, that one of us is acting disconnected. Either I don’t feel connected to him, that I’ve done something to push him away or I am feeling pushed away by him. And that says “Uh oh. There’s something here that I need to pay attention to.” So then I will say, just like a perception check, “Boy. It feels like something’s happened. I think I pushed away from you or maybe did you push away from me? Is there something going on?” And so we do these little perception tricks that kind of catch the wrinkle before it becomes some great big, full blown “I’m out of here and it’s all your fault” kind of thing. Trying to catch them early on I found has been a really important part of it. I also look at things that bug him, bug me about Barry. If there’re certain things that he does, certain behaviors, mannerisms, things that seem like little idiosyncrasies. You know people have their own little ways of being in the world but if there’s one of them that’s just starting to feel like fingernails on a blackboard…
Alissa Kriteman: Like what? No. I’m just kidding.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: No, I can give you a really good example. Barry has a really strong ability to focus his attention and he can dial his laser in until it’s about an inch wide. Me, I run with a wide laser. Mine’s about three feet wide and I think women tend to do that more because we have learned how to be multi-functional people. We can track on about five or six things at one time. But men can only track on about maybe three at once but when he decides to focus on one thing I can’t get inside his laser and when he narrows his laser down and I can’t reach him, he often has this kind of unblinking look in his eyes, like he is so focused and so concentrated and that reminds me of my mother. She had this kind of dissociative, she wasn’t in this world, she was walking around the house, she was doing what she was supposed to do but her consciousness, her attention was somewhere else. And so when he withdraws like that – and I think it’s a great tool, I wish I could do it -- but sometimes when he gets into a football game I’ll say something really bizarre like “Well, I was looking at that but they said it was probably going to cost around $50,000.” And that’ll get his attention. He’ll look over at me.
Alissa Kriteman: So you’ve learned how to break the laser but is that something that you do because clearly that behavior in him is just him being him but it activated a wound in you. So what do you do? Do you meditate? How do you work yourself out of it? Because I think that’s the ultimate in being responsible: us taking responsibility for where we get triggered.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: Right. So what I am able to do and it took me a while because I couldn’t figure out where this came from, but then I remembered looking back in the photo albums of my mother when I was growing up, seeing these very large, vacant eyes. So first I connected the dots. Okay. He’s triggering memories of my mother being unavailable. Then then when I could I realize I’m being triggered by your ability to concentrate and so he could say back to me “Oh, gosh, that must have been really difficult for you as a child. So what did that feel like?” Sometimes he doesn’t say that. I used to get so aggravated, I would do all kinds of things trying to get her attention and finally what I found that got her attention was I would talk back to her. I got my mouth washed out with Lava soap so many times as a child and I knew finally my effort to get her out of her little trance state. So when I can share these deep emotions, and I can just feel them; sometimes just experiencing of them, transform inside of me and when I can get in touch with my grief and my sadness and I know that I’m responsible for them and it’s something about the past then Barry becomes my partner because he then can say something like “Is there anything you need form me about and then if there is, there have been times when I’ve said “Would you just say something to me, like things I wished my mother had said to me”. And he’ll say “I don’t know what to say. You’ll have to tell me. I’ve given up mind reading.” And so when I can say “Well, would you say to me: Janae, I’ve got so much going on in my life and it’s not that I don’t see you it’s just that I’m in a state of overwhelm and it doesn’t mean I don’t love you it just means I’m having a lot of difficulty coping with life.” So having him just say those words and for like five minutes to agree to be my mother it’s just something clicks inside, like a little re-parenting way experience but it’s done in a conscious way. He’s not my mother. I know he’s not my mother but when he’s willing to say the words or to give me a hug, or to stroke my face or just to give me that comforting smile that says I love you unconditionally, even though you’ve got all this old stuff with your mother and I know that it gets in our way. Those kinds of things they just shift my whole experience of feeling like I couldn’t connect with my mother.
Alissa Kriteman: Now what you just described seems like very high level conscious relating in relationship. You know, feeling the disconnection, asking about what’s going on, identifying what’s bugging you, asking for what you need, letting the person know you need something. Because I’m assuming that most people who are listening to this show hear that and they’re like “how could I ever have that in my relationship” and yet, it’s the biggest piece that would heal the relationship. So we would actually have to start, as empowered women, creating the environment in our relationship where we’re not afraid to approach the sensitive subjects about sharing our triggers with the other person and asking for what we need.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: Right. And if people don’t feel skilled enough or even safe enough to do that then I suggest they use their best friend. Women are having women’s groups all the time, they just aren’t necessarily formal women’s groups. So to be able to talk to our friends about this and have our friends understand us and reflect back what they hear – not just say “Oh yeah. He’s a real jerk.” Or “Yeah, I’ve got a jerk like that that I’m with.” Not to go there but to use our friends and our support systems as a way of helping us get more clear. So that we can say “Alright, I think I’m clear enough now and I understand what it is I need. Now I can go and ask for it. Now I can go and share. This is what’s really going on with me.” In fact we just had my women’s group on Monday night and that’s what all the women were talking about. It’s like “Oh gosh. Oh, I feel so stupid. Now I think I’m glad I didn’t have to work this out with my partner. That I could do all my unskilled behavior and kind of struggle around here and not be clear with people that I trust because now I think I can go and do this in a much more authentic and maybe more effective way.” Therapists can also do that kind of thing. They are the clarifiers.
Alissa Kriteman: Do you think this would work online? If I hosted an online women’s group where we came to the call once a week and we worked out this stuff, do you think that would suffice or do women need to be in the presence of each other?
Dr. Janae Weinhold: A lot of women have learned how to be in the presence of each other in online groups. I’ve seen that. In fact I have a really long-term relationship with a woman I met online who is from Australia and she’s younger than I am, has five children but we just clicked. We were on a forum for a group that had read a book and we just started talking to each other off line and now, we have shared so much and she’s so empathic. So I’m with you Alissa, I think if you wanted to do this it would be a great way for women who are busy, women who don’t know how do you find somebody who really knows how to help you? Who understands this kind of stuff? They don’t have three hours a week to go someplace and it’s an hour to get there, or a half an hour to get there, and I think people are just feeling like they want it, they want it really now to get there people just want it now but the biggest thing is finding the right people who can help. So I’m really going to support your idea.
Alissa Kriteman: Maybe you’ll be a part of my tele-seminar series. I have a lot of ideas so…
Dr. Janae Weinhold: That would be fun. That would be a lot of fun.
Alissa Kriteman: We’re going to wrap up soon but there’s so many questions I want to ask you and one big question I want to ask you before we go. And you have a whole chapter dedicated to this subject in your book, Breaking Free from the Co-Dependency Trap. And it’s dedicating to eliminating self-hatred. Whole chapter. Let’s talk about that.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: Well what do you know about self-hatred? I would be really interested as to why you wanted to focus on that chapter?
Alissa Kriteman: Sometimes I’m just in a bad mood. Or I think women tend to be really hard on ourselves and I think the biggest thing for me is struggling with how to be a radiant women in my relationship and what I’ve found is that you’ve got to be a radiant woman for yourself in your own life And you know women have so many issues – I’m sure men have them too – but bulimia, anorexia all of these things that sprout from lack of self-love and it’s definitely been an issue I’ve grappled with in my life, so, yeah. I want to focus on that for women because I think it’s an issue that most women deal with.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: Well I certainly have dealt with it and I have looked at “where does this come from” and I think it’s partly personal and partly cultural. How can you see yourself as a divine female if you’re living in a patriarchal culture? I mean, that’s almost an oxymoron. It’s not logical to think that that could happen so I think we struggle against that part. What I know is that the more that I healed things with my mother the more that I started to feel more self-love. And the other things is that that a person got, self-esteem is directly correlated or didn’t get, from their mother. So when we are loved conditionally -- I love you if you look this way, if you don’t say certain things so there’s something wrong with us if we can’t do what we instinctively want to do or say what we really authentically feel.
Alissa Kriteman: we so if we didn’t get this unconditional love form do have these residual behaviors and if our mothers have passed on or just not emotionally available, how do we heal that love for ourselves?
Dr. Janae Weinhold: Well, my mother died when I was 13 so I’ve had to work on all these issues without a real mother and what I found is that I actually did some really effective, what I would call baby therapy, healing a lot of trauma that I had around my birth and during the first year of my life. The therapist asked me to go back in my baby book and find the earliest picture of my mother holding me that I could find. So I found one when I was about six weeks old. And my mother was so happy and she was standing with her sister who also had a baby like two weeks later and these two sisters with their two baby girls, they were just radiant. And I copied that photo and blew it up and in that I was able to go back through all the struggle I had with my mother around my birth and around her death when I was thirteen and to know that there was a point in our relationship when she truly loved me. But I couldn’t get to it because I had all this anger and all this resentment and all this hurt and just all this stuff that said “I had a bad mother who didn’t love me.” But I knew somewhere underneath all that that there was something different. Trying to find that point, maybe it only lasted a short time like it did with me, just for a few months, but I had it, and through that I was really able to connect to the divine feminine, through my mother. And in that connection with the divine, I felt this flood of real, pure, cosmic mother love flowing into me. It was like connection to the great mother thing happened.
Alissa Kriteman: It’s interesting because I’ve heard that when women heal those issues because “we’re all one and all connected” that it actually heals things for other women and really for people in general. And so I think that’s one of the important reasons also, not only for ourselves to have a lot more clarity, calmness, self-love in our lives but it’s almost in service of other people as well.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: The important thing though, and we’ve touched on it before and you’ve kind of emphasized it, but I wanted to put an exclamation point behind it. And that is that I don’t think women can really heal this hurt with men. Even though we want to and even if women could find a really loving man who’s got a highly developed feminine like Barry, I mean astrologically he’s Cancer with Cancer rising and so you’re probably not going to find a man more in touch with his feminine, and so I perseverated. I’m going to heal this with him! And at some point I realized I was just making him miserable because I’m never going to get that pure female divine feminine energy through him in the way that I need. So I kind of threw up my hands and said, it’s going to have to happen with a woman or with women and when I turned my attention in that direction it just took so much pressure off our relationship and it forced me to really look at the issues with my mother.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow! I just got this major connection that I didn’t even realize before. Because I’m in a women’s group and we support each other but I didn’t really get that we were healing things that only can be really deeply healed with other women. I mean that’s an important point to bring up. And it sounds like the baby therapist was a woman as well.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: Yes. And she never had any children of her own but she helped birth, re-birth, helped re-pattern people’s experiences with their mothers and she never, ever took on the role of “I am your mother”. She said somewhere in here you have your own connection to your mother and you have to find it and when you can find it, you will open the door that you have locked from the inside to heal this.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow. I have to go. It just reminds me -- I live in San Francisco, it’s a big crazy city and one time I saw some gang girls beating up another girl and I was so upset. It was just like a flash in the car as we were driving by. But when I see women fighting and fighting other women, there’s something that gets so hurt in me. Because what you’re saying is women have to help each other heal and so to see women fighting it’s the most upsetting thing. And now I’m starting to understand why. Because really, innately deep inside is that natural desire to heal each other, connect and clearly when women are fighting it’s just a lot of confusion.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: It may also be people’s anger at their own mothers. It may be a projection.
Alissa Kriteman: Right. And so, we’re really here to help each other heal that. Okay…thank you so much Janae for bringing all this amazing insight and wisdom to us. Women in our lives, and for our men too because I know men listen to this show and so if there’s any men out there listening to the show, encourage your women friends to listen to the show and this interview in particular and also listen to the other interview Janae and I did on counter-dependency and how that gets manifested in our lives and how we can heal from that as well. So listeners, remember that you can email me, I’d love to hear from you, at [email protected]. I’d love to hear your comments, any questions you have for me, for Janae, anything you want to hear covered on the show and also texts and transcripts of the show and other shows in the personal life network are available. Just come to personallifemedia.com. And also don’t forget to check out my book, Alissa’s Cornerstones to Living Your Dreams, available on amazon.com. So Janae, thanks again so much for coming on the show. Thank you so much. I’ll follow up. I’m creating a tele-seminar series and maybe we can work together on having some kind of online forum for women to have access to this amazing information and get support and heal the traumas and the things we need to be the most empowered women we can be.
Dr. Janae Weinhold: I really admire your visionary mind Alissa and I think you’re opening doors to help women in ways that not very many other people are.
Alissa Kriteman: Thank you so much. I think I’ve found my calling. I’m you’re host Alissa Kriteman, always expanding your capacity to make better choices, Just for Women dating, relationships and sex. Tune in next week for more juicy news you can use.
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