By Dr. Kacie Crisp, Chiropractor, licensed marriage, family, and child counselor and an Access Consciousness Facilitator
Have you lost yourself in your relationship?
Falling in love is one of the best feelings on earth. That overwhelming heady rush of emotion for someone you’ve just met, and the promise that they might be your ‘happily ever after’ is beyond intoxicating. But as the years go on and you spend more time together, it can be tricky to work out where you end and where your partner begins. And whether you might have given up some of what makes you you to become part of a couple.
Dr. Kacie Crisp is a chiropractor, licensed marriage, family, and child counselor and an Access Consciousness Right Voice for You facilitator. She has worked with couples in therapy and individuals in her Right Voice For You Classes for three years (and for 16 years as an Access Facilitator) and has observed a lot about what makes some couples thrive and others fail. She believes having your own voice, thoughts and joys are crucial for any successful relationship.
“If you give yourself up in your relationship, you are basically saying to the universe that you do not exist. If you do not exist in your relationship, where else do you not exist? And if you disappear, how can money, work, career and other great opportunities find you?” says Kacie. “Also, if you consistently do not express yourself in relationships, what message does that give to your children? If the relationship isn’t working and you don’t speak up, you are teaching your children that their voices can’t be heard either.
“Giving yourself up in a relationship makes you smaller and smaller and eventually one of three things will happen: either you will reach a boiling point and leave (which doesn’t always work out well), you will develop stress related health issues which will make your life incredibly difficult or you or your partner could become so bored/resentful/unhappy that you or they find someone else. I’ve seen it countless times in my work.”
So how can you tell if you’ve lost yourself in a relationship? Kacie says asking yourself these questions can be helpful:
- How much of your needs, wants, and desires show up in the relationship – a little, a lot or none at all? For example, whose choice was it to live where you live? Who chose the destination/activity of your last vacation? When there is a choice between two or more options, does your choice prevail a lot of the time, or is it always your partner’s?
- If you wish to do something and your partner has no interest in it, what happens?
- Do you find yourself doing things you have no interest in or actually actively dislike just because your partner is doing it and you want to be together, or because they actually put pressure on you to do them?
- If there’s a choice between major expenditures, does your choice get equal weight I.e. sometimes it’s your choice, sometimes it’s your partner’s, never close to 100% either way.
- How much negative feedback do you get from your partner?
- When something good happens to you, is your partner happy for you?
- Do you feel any sense of relief when your partner is away?
The answers to these questions can be very telling and if you suddenly realise you’ve given up a lot of yourself (including your own voice) it’s not the end of the world. “Recognizing it is huge first step” says Kacie. “From there it’s a matter of committing to doing things differently and expressing yourself no matter how your partner reacts. Use “I” statements like “I would like to have more say in the choices we make” instead of “You never listen to me and don’t let me choose anything.”
How your partner reacts will give you valuable clues about whether the relationship can be saved. “If they say, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize I was doing that, I’m sorry. What would you like to change about this to make it work for you?’ or something along those lines, then there’s hope for the relationship. If they say, ‘You’re wrong, that’s not how it is, I don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re making it all up,” then that’s a good indication that the relationship is their way or the highway. Then you just need to decide if you want to pull the Bandaid off fast or slowly.”
About Dr. Kacie Crisp
Dr. Kacie Crisp is a chiropractor, licensed marriage, family, and child counselor and an Access Consciousness Facilitator. She has worked as a family therapist and now combines these skills with the tools of Access Consciousness to facilitate others in creating relationships that are easy and fun. She has been married to her husband, David, for 30 years and written a book called The Little Black Book on Relationships.