The Inner Patriarch:
The Missing Piece of Women's Empowerment
What is the Inner Patriarch?
One particular self, the Inner Patriarch, has been of great interest to me for many years, in both my personal and professional life.
Many women have worked long and hard to free themselves from the patriarchal values that have dominated most cultures in the world. But they still hit a “glass
“I have been teaching about
the Inner Patriarch since
1995, and it always provides
an essential key for women
to unlock the door to their
Individual sessions with your own Inner Patriarch will show you how it uniquely impacts your life -- and what you can do to regain your power in your family, relationships, profession, finances, and more.
ceiling,” even when receiving solid support from the men who stand by them. When a woman feels stopped by some unknown force that she can’t name, the “Inner Patriarch” may be at work.
The Inner Patriarch is an inner voice that is deeply embedded within many women’s psyches, and it echoes the voice of the outer patriarchy. This interior voice tells women that they are second-class citizens, that they are not as smart as men, that they exist solely to provide sex and maintain the home. It says a woman’s natural roles are those of wife, mother, and homemaker. Anything else women attempt to do makes them “freaks of nature.”
The Inner Patriarch is one of the most influential and unknown forces in the female psyche. The Inner Patriarch says that women are not capable of being strong or successful, and they indulge in frivolous activities that have no value in a masculine world. If a woman wants to walk in the halls of power at all, if she does so as a woman, says the Inner Patriarch, she will not be taken seriously.
When a woman is first facing her own Inner Patriarch, she often tends to focus on the outer patriarchy and the wrongs that have been committed against women. But the Inner Patriarch is a voice, not of the outer patriarchy, but emanating from within a woman herself.
What you will learn about the Inner Patriarch,
in individual sessions or in a workshop:
Identify your Inner Patriarch.
Dialogue with your own Inner Patriarch and begin to hear what it says within you.
Observe demonstrations that vividly show the energy of the Inner Patriarch.
Choose a specific situation in your life in which your Inner Patriarch is active, and work on this to reclaim your power and authority in this real-life situation.
Recognize that patriarchal lessons were passed down not only from men but from your female lineage—mother, grandmothers, aunts, teachers.
Address particular themes relevant to the Inner Patriarch, such as women’s relationship to money and to religion.
Become familiar with “personal” and “impersonal” energies, and learn to retain warmth while claiming boundaries and the ability to say Yes or No.
Vary the size of your own energy field from contracted and subservient (as the Inner Patriarch wants it to be) to expansive and authoritative.
Experience the containment of your own sensual energy (as the Inner Patriarch wants it to be) versus the freedom of expressive sensuality.
Examine how the Inner Patriarch surfaces in dreams.
Face the patriarchal collective within your own psyche in a powerful movement exercise.
Discover opposite energies to the Inner Patriarch, including the Positive Inner Masculine that feels entitled in the world, and the Positive Patriarch that reveres women and all that they do.
Experience the radiance of embodying the rich qualities of the Inner Feminine.
Claim the authority of the Inner Masculine, as well as the deep feminine, to make their combined power your own.
Judith Hendin has a deep understanding of the Inner Patriarch! I enthusiastically
recommend her work with this extremely important subject that affects women all over the world.
Her intense interest in this 'Shadow King' began well over 25 years ago, and in the decades since then, she has steadily added to her knowledge and expertise in this field.
Her wide-ranging explorations (both inner and outer) have yielded a broad range of rich material that she presents with the excellence of a true master teacher!
Sidra Stone, PhD
Author of The Shadow King and
Co-creator of Voice Dialogue
Ways for groups to learn about the Inner Patriarch, with Judith Hendin:
Lecture – 1-3 hours
Workshop – 1, 2, or 7 days
On-going Group – 6 weeks, meeting in person or online. Each meeting is 3 hours.
Online groups offer revelatory teaching, exercises, and sharing about the role of the Inner Patriarch in your life, the lives of others, and how to reclaim your power. To see our current offerings, go to the Calendar.
Movement: Consciousness in Motion
Movement is a fantastic way to access issues related to the Inner Patriarch. Movement takes something as amorphous as the Inner Patriarch and physicalizes it. For example, we can dance the difference between contracting our energy (as the Inner Patriarch wants it to be) and expanding our energy to feel authoritative in the world. Or we can dance the containment of our sensual energy (as the Inner Patriarch wants it to be) versus the freedom of expressive sensuality. Movement brings the promise of new consciousness home to roost in the body, at a visceral level.
Facing the Collective: A Personal Recollection
One night during a women’s Inner Patriarch group, we danced the collective Inner Patriarch within a woman’s psyche. All the women, except one, stood together, representing in physical form the collective voice of the Inner Patriarch. As each woman took her turn to face the scornful stares of this voice within her, each found her own reactions—crying, angry, rebellious, frozen.
For myself, even after having worked with my Inner Patriarch for many years, when I faced the Inner Patriarch collective during this exercise, at first I ran away. Then I chose to walk toward the collective, to see what it would be like to face them directly. I moved in a zigzag pattern. As I approached the collective Inner Patriarch, my body got cold, then hot, then nauseous. When I finally reached the collective, I surprised myself by asking the “men” to give me their blessing. The collective instinctively encircled me and slowly twirled me around in one giant, rotating clump. Someone in the group later said it felt like we were tunneling into the earth. After this night, I had a sense of being a very different human being—strong, together, and united within myself.