The Three Hidden Blocks That Limit Women’s Success (and how to shift them!)

Anne Whitehouse PhD
7 min readFeb 28, 2022

Does this sound familiar — you work hard and get to a certain point in your career or business, but then things seem to stall. You try to get a promotion, or expand your visibility and client base, and suddenly you find yourself holding back, lacking confidence. Maybe you start to feel anxiety and stress that you never felt before. Perhaps your work life turns into an endless battle. Or maybe you can’t even get started and find yourself unable to speak up when you want to put yourself forwards.

You might think that this is because you have reached the limit of your capabilities, or that this is just the way it is for women trying to succeed in the world.

This could not be further from the truth though.

These reactions are in fact clear signals that you have reached a hidden subconscious block — that means your subconscious conditioning is holding you back.

For women there are three typical blocks that hold us back over and over. I’ve spent twenty years analysing these patterns within hundreds of women. Freeing yourself on that subconscious level is the key to freedom from those pesky limits on our success!


We can use colour psychology to identify which bocks are most dominant. Just ask yourself where you are being held back from embodying your full female power, and then look at the image of the coloured bottles.

Don’t think about it too long, just ask the question, and pick a bottle!

Remember that these blocks are hidden deep within our minds, and we all have them. The key is to recognise, understand and then free yourself! We will hold all of them to a certain extent, but usually we find that one is particularly troublesome for us, and this is where we start.

Now, let’s unravel what’s really blocking your full power.

So look at the image below, ask yourself where your dominant block to power is, and then pick a bottle.


If you chose the first bottle, Gold over Orange, then the dominant blocks on your power are from your disempowering life experiences.

Each time we get put down, or told we aren’t good enough, or bullied, or yelled at, these experiences are registered as traumas in our minds. We take on conditioning that if we are to be safe, we must hold back.

Of course if you experienced any worse trauma or abuse, the effect is even stronger.

When trauma events (big or small) sit in our subconscious minds, they tell us to stay small and invisible. Yes, you can still succeed, and if you are reading this you have doubtless already achieved significant success in your life, but it can be exhausting.


If you chose the Purple and Red bottle, then this means that you are trapped in what I call the ‘patriarchal web of limitation’. Now, I realise that for a high-flying woman such as yourself, to be told that you are being held back by patriarchal limits is not an easy thing to hear!

However, trust me when I say that all women are undermined by these things without us realising it.

So why do we have this when we don’t believe in patriarchal superiority? Well, it’s all about hidden programming, and messaging. We are living in a world full of male defaults, definitions and benchmarks. This is a world made for men, by men, to suit men. Women have had to fit in, adapt, and have never had the freedom to fully be ourselves. Instead we have had to censure ourselves, and fight against gender-biased laws, systems and attitudes.

You don’t need me to tell you this part!

However there is more going on under the surface that you might not be aware of.

All the subconscious programming we are holding is still deeply rooted in that patriarchal past. Patriarchal limiting beliefs, and assumptions are hidden within us all.

Yes, I really mean this. I for one, was appalled when I discovered these blocks within my own subconscious mind — and I had a very equal opportunities upbringing. Since then I have found this patriarchal legacy lurking within every single person I have tested over two decades.

At the same time, we are being bombarded with subliminal messages from that male default world telling us we don’t belong. This is further exacerbated by deeply ingrained inherited conditioning which says the man has the authority, the credibility and makes the decisions, and we are meant to stay in the shadows and provide the support. We certainly aren’t meant to hold more authority and earn more money!

We don’t consciously believe any of these patriarchal things, but the legacy of the past is still actively at work on this hidden level. It’s not conscious, but it whispers away on the deep levels of our subconscious minds, sabotaging us. Either it holds us back, or it creates conflicts between us and the men in our lives.


Don’t be alarmed by the name!

If you were drawn to the blue and green bottle, then this means the dominant block on your power is what I call the ‘witch wound’.

The ‘witch wound’ refers to the history of powerful women being persecuted and executed — including of course the witch trials — hence the name. Basically, where women have threatened the patriarchal status quo (the church, establishment, or equivalent) they have been falsely accused, and often destroyed. Joan of Arc to name one famous example. This has happened many many times, in all cultures, all over the world. We still see this at work today, where the female politician is criticised and attacked in a way that her male equivalent never is.

The result is a powerful group consciousness which tells us women that being seen to be powerful is intrinsically dangerous. It isn’t safe to speak up and be heard with an opinion. It isn’t safe to speak our truth. If you find yourself being unable to speak when it really matters, then this is likely to be your dominant block.

This is the block that rears its ugly head when a woman steps into more visibility. I’ve seen many instances of gifted women getting completely blocked with anxiety and stress when the spotlight beckons. It rears its head for women who are driven to rock the establishment boat, and change the status quo.

We don’t give up, we keep pushing forwards, but it can be at a heavy personal cost in stress.


The first step to freeing yourself is to understand that being undermined in this way is nothing to do with you. There’s nothing wrong with you or your character. You are not inadequate in any way. This is simply the heritage that all women have inherited. No blame, it just is what it is.

In the past, where you might have blamed yourself, and told yourself that you needed to try harder and push yourself more. Now I invite you to let that go.

The truth is that these deep, yet insidious, subconscious blocks have activated. Pure and simple.

Think of them like obsolete software in your computer. They are no longer relevant. No longer valid. Yet, while they are still running in your system, your computer will crash.

Simply knowing this fact, that you are being affected by obsolete software, takes some of the heat out of your reaction.

If this isn’t enough to get you through the blocks to your next level of influence and impact — without the stress — then you need to actually update that subconscious programming, and that is something I can help you with if you wish.

The more you achieve in the world, the higher you go up the ladder, and the more visible you become, the more these blocks will try to pull you back. Why? Because you are pulling further and further away from what your subconscious believes is ‘keeping you safe’.

We live in a world where women have never been truly free to express their full female power. We have adapted, fitted in, pushed through anxiety, dealt with bias and grossly unfair systems, and never given up. Everything you have done has been with you being undermined by these blocks.

When you understand what really blocks women’s power, you realise that there is nothing wrong with you at all. You are infinitely gifted and powerful. It is our histories and heritage which is undermining us. Then of course, you can take action to release these blocks and free yourself.

Just think how much more you could achieve, and how much more impact you could have, if you were free of these, and your full power was being fully expressed in your life. How amazing would you be then?


If you’d like to start clearing your subconscious power blocks here is how I can help you:

1) This free audio mind upgrade is designed to help you overcome visibility blocks. CLICK HERE to get instant access.

2) Download my free ebook ‘5 Steps to More Confidence’ and start the Re-Powering process for yourself. CLICK HERE

3) Or if you’d like to work with me one-to-one, please get in touch through my website

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Anne Whitehouse PhD

Author of 'Pull Back Your Power', Power Alchemist, PhD in Metallurgy, FRSA. Freeing women and men from patriarchy, so we are all free and safe to flourish.