Why is it that we women tend to sacrifice our individuality on the altar of our relationship? Why do we feel that our own well-being is not as important as the well-being of our partner/our children?
In my previous post we talked about the two forces at play in any relationship. The drive for emotional togetherness versus the drive for individuality (self-regulation). So what happens when a woman tends to give up her 'me' for the benefit of the 'we'?
She is starting or continues the de-selfing process. In her book The Dance Of Anger Harriet Lerner describes de-selfing as follows: 'De-Selfing means that too much of one's self (including one's thoughts, wants, beliefs, and ambitions) is 'negotiable' under pressures from the relationship.
What happens when we continue to give and give and give? After all we are raised to be caring, compromising and supportive, right? Well, sooner or later (and sometimes much much later) we will have had enough. We will reach a limit. We can no longer compromise in the relationship without harming our integrity. Without harming ourselves. This is when we say enough is enough and separate (physically or emotionally).
We might still express our frustrations one way or another but these ways (headaches, low self-esteem, chronic bitterness, depression, to name just a few) are usually ineffective in achieving a real solution and regaining connection with our partner.
So what is the solution then? David Schnarch's approach of Differentiation. More on this in my next blog.
To your happiness,