Why Do Women Keep Bending and Folding Themselves Into Shapes That Are Not Theirs?


Why do women keep trying to bend and fold themselves into shapes that are not theirs? I must say, from years of clinical observation of this problem, that most of the time it is not because of deep-seated masochism or a malignant dedication to self-destruction or anything of that nature. More often it is because the woman simply doesn’t know any better. She is unmothered.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

The first time I learned about this book, I was in high school. I remember my best friend and I watching my principal and a few other teachers, clasp it in their hands as the holy grail. They would gather to discuss it’s magic and once I finally got my hands on it, I understood why.


We know that women are increasingly waking up. They are saying ‘no’ but we are also challenged with our own conditioning from an early age. We were expected to hide our true being; that being raw is unfamiliar. I know I still find myself encouraging myself to speak up when it matters. The voice in my head still reassuring me, that I’m not being too loud or bitchy when I’m asking for what I want.

To compare women’s spirit to being wild would be appropriate if you see women as the book compares it, as a wolf. Wolves only bear their teeth when their family or nature is questioned. Otherwise, they are completely in touch with their natural rhythm and cycles. They are more importantly, unashamed.


A woman in her natural state is fearless. Think Frida Kahlo, Joan of Arc, Maya Angelou. All untamed, shameless and beyond powerful.

The wild woman doesn’t discriminate, is not jealous, hysterical or dangerous. The wild woman represents the unshaken and integral part of us that is a sacred true being and stands in her own merit.

What parts of yourself are you still bending and folding that aren’t yours? Would love to hear from you.

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  • What a profound question? There’s no doubt I’ve been doing this most of my life–bending and conforming to some mold I thought I should be part of. It took years of therapy to discover I was limiting myself to certain confines because that is what I was taught to believe about my environment and how I related to it. Now I know that’s not true because I’ve accomplished things I’ve never thought even remotely possible. Although I feel I have set myself free from tired old patterns that never served me, there’s still a struggle to muffle the inner, negative dialogue that I sometimes allow to stand in my way of progress. However, I forge ahead, as I see women around me doing. It’s very cathartic to know others share simular struggles. It’s inspirational to see how many overcome by reinventing themselves in many special ways; to dare to be their authentic selves. It’s a day to day work in progress, but that’s alright. Just breathe and move forward, no matter what!

    • Agreed! I think we all go through some sort of this…hopefully we have enough courage to shake it off so we can get to the business of living our lives 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

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