Are you Disappearing Into Your Relationship?

woman stands eyes closed sadly thinking in cloudy sky
by Sandy Hounsell

Relationships offer a wonderful gift for growth and learning to love our self and our significant other without condition. However, too often we forget about our self, our needs, wants and desires. We can get up wrapped up in love.

No matter how successful, or powerful some women are, they give up parts of themselves. Like their social life, their time alone, even their beliefs and values, or spiritual development.  They don’t tend to voice their needs, or desires and wants easily. So, they end up on hold or forgotten.

Reasons why we hide knowingly but largely unknowingly is a reflection on what we learnt about inter-personal relationships when growing up. Trauma experienced in childhood greatly impacts on our ability to maintain a sense of self awareness and feeling empowered in relationships.

Come out, come out, wherever you are

Did we learn to be independent and to value who we are? Was our voice heard? Were we treated as equally important as our siblings, especially with the males in the family? Were we taught to speak up and to voice our needs and wants and not made to feel selfish in doing so?

Did mum and dad treat each other as equals? Or did mum play the peace keeper role to avoid conflict at any cost?

Meet Sophie…

Sophie 38, explained to me that she was raised to believe that the only way to obtain any significance was to marry a wealthy man.  That she would grow her own sense of self through supporting his accomplishments. In other words, Sophie’s needs would be met by satisfying her partner’s wants. Her needs as a woman, were not so important.

And that’s exactly what happened. She met and married a very successful businessman. At first it seemed it just what Sophie had wanted. People paid her respect. She felt important. She felt significant for the first time in her life.

However, after some years, she began to realise just how empty and lonely her life really was. Her entire world had been centered around pleasing her husband. Always looking good so as not to let him down. Maintaining their beautiful home for him to come home to.

Sophie over the years had disappeared. She did not know who she was. The real shock though came after the divorce in not knowing how to simply live her life for herself. She was so conditioned to ignoring her own needs as a matter of course, it was difficult for Sophie to literally start thinking for herself. She really had no idea of how to connect to Sophie. It took some time to bring out the real Sophie and for her to feel good about taking care of her own needs and feeling empowered in doing so.

sitting on a chair, depressed

For those of us that find ourselves disappearing into a relationship, our biggest challenge is learning to put our self-first in a self-loving way. This is not a selfish act. It is the most important change you can make. To love oneself is a precious gift that we should all fully embrace.

When you reflect on your relationships past and present– who showed up? Who is showing up?

10 signs you may be hiding in your relationship are:

  1. Being a people pleaser
  2. Forgoing your own needs and interests, putting your partner’s first
  3. Finding comfort in food or alcohol
  4. Waking up in the morning tired, restless, anxious or insecure
  5. Feeling unappreciated
  6. Always trying to fit in
  7. Prefer to be at work than at home, or a workaholic
  8. Make excuses by ignoring your feelings
  9. Feeling trapped
  10. Feeling resentful

How much of your relationship is a reflection of your true self? Do you make a point of being fully present?

In other words, is your relationship filled with your presence each day? Does the real you tend to show up? Or are you hiding parts of yourself in there somewhere?

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