Is it healthy to love someone so much that you lose your identity in the process? Is this sacrificing for them out of love or is this unhealthy?
It’s unhealthy to lose yourself in order to be loved by someone else. If someone truly loves you and you love them, then the relationship should compliment and celebrate who each person is individually. No person should expect you to change and transform into who they need or want you to be in a way that causes a person to sacrifice the things that make them unique. Each person has gifts, talents, strengths and hobbies that define them and their individuality. A healthy relationship shares a common bond of things that make them a couple, yet each person maintains those things individually as a person.
It’s important to understand that if someone becomes angry if they are unable to change you as a person, it could indicate some significant underlying issues on their part. An example of this would be someone who is abusive and expects their partner to do, say and be everything that they want. Another example would be someone who deals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. These individuals put the primary focus on themselves while neglecting the other person’s needs, desires and wants. These individuals have a lack of empathy for their partners and tend to brain wash their partners into thinking they are the one with the issues and are expecting too much from the narcissist.
A healthy and loving relationship should never leave you feeling like you have lost your identity but should enhance who you are as a person. Each person should build each other up and encourage growth in each other as individuals as well as a couple. A supportive relationship is not demanding or selfish. It does not demean or take away from the beautiful parts of a person. In psychology, they call unhealthy relationships in which you cannot see where one person begins and the other ends enmeshment.
Enmeshment indicates co-dependency, which is never healthy in a relationship. A book individuals can read that goes further into the concept of not giving up yourself to be loved by another person in unhealthy ways is called, “Do I Have to Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?” by Jordan and Margaret Paul. In this book, they talk about the delicate balance of being true to oneself and being loved by another.
If you are finding yourself in a relationship where you are experiencing a loss of yourself, counseling can help sort out the healthy versus unhealthy expectations of the relationship and positive ways to regain your individuality. This may be a mixture of individual sessions and even some couples sessions if your partner is willing to attend.
If you have a question that you would like to submit anonymously, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to offer some therapeutic advice to help you through your difficulty.