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Authors: Beverly Engel

Tags: #Psychology, #Interpersonal Relations, #Self-Help, #Sexual Instruction

Loving Him Without Losing You

BOOK: Loving Him Without Losing You
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B u s i n e s s
C u l i n a r y
A r c h i t e c t u r e

C o m p u t e r
G e n e r a l I n t e r e s t C h i l d r e n
L i f e S c i e n c e s
B i o g r a p h y
A c c o u n t i n g
F i n a n c e
M a t h e m a t i c s
H i s t o r y
S e l f - I m p r o v e m e n t
H e a l t h
E n g i n e e r i n g
G r a p h i c D e s i g n A p p l i e d S c i e n c e s
P s y c h o l o g y I n t e r i o r D e s i g n
B i o l o g y
C h e m i s t r y






Loving Him


Losing You

Also by Beverly Engel:

The Right to Innocence Divorcing a Parent

The Emotionally Abused Woman Encouragements for the Emotionally Abused Woman

Partners in Recovery Families in Recovery

Raising Your Sexual Self-Esteem Beyond the Birds and the Bees Blessings from the Fall

The Parenthood Decision Sensual Sex

Loving Him


Losing You

How to Stop Disappearing and Start Being Yourself

Be ver ly Eng el

& S
, I

New York Chichester Weinheim Brisbane Singapore Toronto

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

Copyright © 2000 by Beverly Engel. All rights reserved Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Published simultaneously in Canada

Excerpt from Frida Kahlo’s diary reproduced with the permission of the Banco de Mexico, Subgerencia Juridica Fiduciaria, Mexico City, and the Instituto National de Bellas Artes, Mexico City.

Design and production by Navta Associates, Inc.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authoriza- tion through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 750-4744. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158-0012, (212) 850-6011, fax

  1. 850-6008, E-Mail: [email protected].

    This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assis- tance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Engel, Beverly.

    Loving him without losing you: how to stop disappearing and start being yourself / Beverly Engel.

    p. cm. Includes index.

    ISBN 0-471-35558-5 (alk. paper)

    1. Relationship addiction. 2. Codependency. 3. Women—Mental health. I. Title. RC552.R44 E53 2000

616.86—dc21 99-052075

Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

This book is dedicated to all the courageous women I’ve worked with through the years

who have transformed themselves

from Disappearing Women to Women of Substance, as well as those who are in the process.


First and foremost I wish to thank my wonderful agent, Stedman Mays, who was enthusiastic about the book from the beginning and who provided impor- tant feedback throughout. I appreciate your hard work, your constant support, and your wonderful sense of humor.

Next I would like to thank Tom Miller, my editor at Wiley. I have never had an editor who took as much interest in one of my books or who worked harder to create the best version of the book possible. Thank you for your dili- gence and your brilliance.

A special thank you to the women I interviewed for the book, as well as those clients whose stories added invaluable insight into the Disappearing Woman syndrome.

Thanks also to everyone who read my manuscript and gave me feedback. The book wouldn’t have been as substantial without the research of Carol Gilligan, Michael Gurian, Ernest Hartmann, J. Kreisman, Paul T. Mason, and Randi Kreger, and it would have lacked depth without the work of Carl Jung. I also owe a debt of gratitude to the Women of Substance who have influ- enced my life and the book: poet May Sarton; Deena Metzger, author of
Writing for Your Life;
Alice Koller, author of
An Unknown Woman: A Jour- ney of Self-Discovery;
Judith Viorst, author of
Necessary Losses;
Linda Schierse Leonard, author of
The Wounded Woman;
and last but not least,

Gloria Steinem.

I would also like to thank Gloria Steinem, Mia Farrow, Claire Bloom, and Drew Barrymore, whose personal stories were used as examples to help other women.

Finally, a heartfelt thank-you to Barbara Stephens, Ph.D., whose brilliant work with me helped me in my quest to become a Woman of Substance.




Part I. Disappearing Women

  1. Are You a Disappearing Woman? 9

  2. How Women Lose Themselves in Relationships:

    The Four Truths You Need to Know 16

  3. Why Women Tend to Lose Themselves in Relationships:

    The Cultural, Biological, and Psychological Influences 25

  4. The Disappearing Woman Continuum 45

    Part II. How to Maintain Your Sense of Self while

    Flourishing in a Relationship: The Seven Commitments

  5. Commitment 1: Learn to Go Slowly 65

  6. Commitment 2: Be Yourself and Tell the Truth about

    Yourself 84

  7. Commitment 3: Maintain a Separate Life 102

  8. Commitment 4: Stay in the Present and in Reality 121

  9. Commitment 5: Don’t Go Changing to Try to Please Him 140

  10. Commitment 6: Cultivate Equal Relationships 151

  11. Commitment 7: Speak Your Mind 159


    Part III. Become a Woman of Substance:

    Developing a Self and a Life That Satisfies You

  12. Find Your Authentic Self 175

  13. Find Your Voice 197

  14. Find Your Shadow 209

  15. Find Your Substance 219

Conclusion: Blending and Balancing 246

Where Do You Go from Here?

Appendix I: Embracing Your Femininity:

Especially for Those on the Mild End of the Continuum 253

Appendix II: Women of Substance Support Groups:

Especially for Those Near the Middle of the Continuum 258

Appendix III: When You Need Professional Help:

For Those Who Fall on the Extreme End of the Continuum 264

References 279

Bibliography and Recommended Reading 281

Index 287


The problem of women losing themselves in relationships is not a new one. For years women have been grappling with the issue. It’s been a major focus of feminism, and therapists often stress the importance of women maintain- ing their sense of self while in a relationship. Many books have addressed the issue, as have articles in women’s magazines. An entire movement was cre- ated by the book
Women Who Love Too Much.

So why address this issue again? Because women are still losing them- selves in their relationships with men and still giving their power to the men they date and become romantically involved with.

There are many reasons for this phenomenon. There is an entire genera- tion of women, those in their late teens and early to late twenties, who seem to have missed the information on codependency in the books written more than ten years ago. And many women in their thirties, forties, and fifties seem to have forgotten what they learned.

But this is only part of the answer. The fact is that understanding co- dependency does not necessarily take away a woman’s tendency to give her power to men. And there are many ways by which women lose themselves in relationships besides being codependent. The problem is far more complex than codependency or low self-esteem and can only be fully understood by exploring the cultural, biological, and psychological influences on men and women, as well as the differences between women and men that these influ- ences create.

In the past ten years we have become educated about many of the differ- ences between women and men—especially in books such as Deborah Tannen’s
You Just Don’t Understand
and John Gray’s
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.
Although these books are helpful, they fail to explain fully why


women tend to lose themselves in relationships and do not offer enough strategies for change.

By reading
Loving Him without Losing You,
women will come to under- stand more fully how their tendency to lose themselves in relationships with men is partly a natural by-product of their cultural conditioning and biologi- cal hardwiring.

Loving Him without Losing You
does not blame men for all the problems women encounter, as so many other books have done. Instead it encourages women to take responsibility for making the kinds of changes that will encourage men to respect them as equals.

And unlike
Women Who Love Too Much, Loving Him without Losing You
does not define the problem by the types of men a woman chooses to be with. A “Disappearing Woman”—a woman who tends to sacrifice her individual- ity, her beliefs, her career, her friends, and sometimes her sanity whenever she is in a romantic relationship—will act primarily the same with a man who is loving and kind as she does with a man who is distant, cruel, or abusive. In fact, she is likely to turn off a healthier man with her insecurities and demands or cause a man who maintains a life outside the relationship to lose respect for her because of her neediness.

BOOK: Loving Him Without Losing You
7.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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