Marlene Kelly is a senior producer at Oprah.com. She has lost herself in love before.
- If the people you love and trust are telling you they think you're a disappearing woman, then it may be time to take the blindfold off and listen to what they have say. If you know you're the kind of woman who has fallen for the wrong kind of man every time, and you are ready to stop the pattern, find a trusted friend or family member to help you out. A therapist can help you identify your patterns of behavior, but it's really more important to have the support of family and friends, because they're the ones who are going to be with you.
- Give yourself some space away from your partner. Most women who've lost themselves have disconnected from their friends and family. Isolation can be an enemy because it makes you more dependent on your partner. And if there's any abuse, that will make it easier for your partner to manipulate and control you. Stop the behavior of dependence. Reconnect with your family and friends—be with people who will help empower you.
- Take some time to be alone. Some women get so focused on their partner in their minds—what he's doing and what he's feeling—that even when they're by themselves they cannot find solitude. Disconnect your phone. Turn off the television. Find a quiet activity like journaling or meditation—whatever will give you time to connect with how you're feeling and what's important to you right now. This is the way to rediscover what you really want out of life.
- Don't be afraid to get angry. Most women who've lost themselves have lost the ability to connect with their feelings, especially anger. In order to find your voice again, you might need to work on overcoming your fear of expressing your emotions, even the ones that seem negative. Anger will empower and help you separate from your feelings of dependency.
- Look for healthy relationships that encourage you to have your own life. If you meet a new man and he wants to be with you every night and drops his friends in order to be with you—that's not a good sign. It may feel really good as your brain starts to put on the rose-colored glasses, but if he seems needy now, he may become controlling in the end. You don't want needy, even if you feel like you do!
When It Comes to Love...
Published on August 13, 2009