“Being with you means disappearing into you.” A woman in counseling with her husband made that statement. Can you relate? Does it feel like you are becoming invisible in your relationship? If so, you are not alone in this personal crisis. Others have had similar experiences.
When we begin to sense that we are not being seen or heard in a relationship, an internal alarm may go off as a warning, signaling a need to pay attention. Most likely, something that is not right is requiring our attention. We can choose to ignore this alarm, but at a cost. You see, when our thoughts, opinions, and preferences are not acknowledged or are discounted, we get the message that we don’t really matter in the relationship. When our role becomes narrowed to the point that we simply accommodate to another, we begin to lose track of our hopes and dreams in a way that is detrimental and painful. We are on a slippery slope that can result in the loss of voice and even the loss of self.
To lose ourselves—to become invisible in a relationship—is frightening as it signals that we are no longer necessary or important in the relationship. When we are diminished in a relationship, we are in danger of becoming invisible and are on the verge of no longer existing in the way we were created to exist. A protest may arise from somewhere deep within as we experience a significant personal loss that was never intended—the loss of ourselves.
Certainly when we enter into committed relationships such as marriage, we know that it is important to agree about general goals and direction for the future as well as similar ideas about lifestyle choices. Yet this “we-ness” needs to be balanced with appropriate “me-ness”. The goal is to maintain a close connection while holding onto our individuality. This can be a tough balance to strike sometimes, as compromises are a given for any relationship. But when it happens, both parties are enhanced while neither is diminished.
Two people—in undiminished form—are needed for a relationship to thrive. We were not made to be appendages of another, to be dominated by another, to not have our perspectives or preferences acknowledged. Bringing a voice to a relationship is critical. While we realize that we will not always get our way, we need to know that our voice can be brought to the table and will be heard. In this way, we are able to know that we really do matter and that we are visible to the other. When this happens, the odds increase that we will feel enhanced rather than diminished by the relationship.
Is your relationship feeling out of balance in the “we-ness” versus “me-ness” department? Are you feeling suffocated by too much “we-ness”? Lonely because of too much “me-ness”? I understand how this can happen.
Please contact me if you would like to talk more about this in order to make some needed adjustments.
DISCLAIMER: The information included in this article does not apply to relationships where abuse or violence in any form is present.