People act in really unappealing ways when they lose themselves in their relationships.
I know this intimately because I see it every day in my work, but also because it’s happened to me. I’ve been going through a rocky time in my own relationship. And after a LOT of rational self examination, I’ve come to the depressing conclusion that I’ve done exactly the opposite of what I teach, and that thing is…
I’ve totally and completely lost myself.
Now, “losing oneself in a relationship” is a trite phrase thrown around ALL THE TIME by relationship coaches— myself included. But I’ve noticed that while people might talk about it, they don’t deal with it as it’s happening very often.
I can look back on many failed relationships of my own and nearly pinpoint the exact time it happened, but this time, the terrifying realization has dawned on me in real time that I’m screwing up.
That’s why I had to write about this— both to help you lovely readers and to make myself a rough guide– a roadmap– so that this never, ever happens again.
Here Are the 9 Most Pervasive Signs You Have Lost Yourself in Your Relationship:
1. You’ve Lost Touch With Your Own Goals, Passions and Life Purpose
2. Instead of Speaking Up About Your Wants and Desires, Do You Consistently Let Them Fall by the Wayside?
3. You’re Going Through the Motions
4. You’re Living a Worried, Hand-Wringing, Fear-Based Life
You’ve allowed the creepy “what ifs” to lurk around and rule your life. “What if”you die in that fiery crash? Better not buy that motorcycle. “What if” you never get famous and make doing your art? Better not even bother to sketch anything. “What if your spouse doesn’t take the right exit on the freeway? You could be LATE!” The horror.“What if…” “What if…” “What if…”
It’s exhausting, and it’s a trap. Fear and worry tell us that we have control, when we really have zero control. That groundlessness is both terrifying and freeing, depending on the amount of joy you’re allowing into your life. Right now, it’s downright overwhelming.
5. You’re Controlling and Perfectionist With the People Around You
Even though the reality of your daily life is that you’re bored to tears and working at half the level of joy you could be, you’re weirdly attached to it all, so it’s vitally important that EVERYONE ELSE act how you expect. Perhaps because you don’t even know who you are anymore, but you’re pretty convinced you’re right about how everyone else is.
If someone else were to be happy or follow their own bliss, it would force you to consider your own lack of the same. Ouch.
6. You Attend to Everyone Else’s Needs First, Which Is Silently Eating Away at You
7. Your Emotional Range Is Blunted— You Sort of Live in That Limbo Territory Between Neutral, Angry and Resentful
Joy and true happiness are fleeting. You might not be anxious and depressed (many are), but you’re flirting with them at least. Unfortunately, your ability to experience anger is probably bubbling there right below the surface at any time, ready to jump out and hurt someone in it’s path.
8. Anything to Fill the Void
9. The Hopeless Feeling That You’ve Sold Yourself Out Weaves Itself Into Your Inner Dialogue
You know how on planes, when they do the safety demonstration, they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first? You know, because you’ll die if you try to help everyone else before yourself? Losing yourself is like throwing your own oxygen mask out the window and then trying to share your partner’s mask.
Letting yourself get lost in your relationship is claustrophobic, toxic for both of you and impossible long term.
If you see yourself in this, it’s time to make a change.