Get Real: 10 Signs That You're Trying Too Hard to Be

Everyone experiences frustrating phases when they feel dissatisfied, trapped in an unfulfilling cycle. But Dr. Gail Saltz says that some people go to great lengths -- unknowingly -- to hold themselves back from a rich, satisfying life. In this excerpt from her book Becoming Real, she explains 10 ways to identify if you're one of those people:

Sydney is a long-legged, striking woman in her early thirties. She has beautiful brown hair, cut so it swings when she talks with great animation -- which is most of the time. She is upbeat and charming and has an infectious laugh. She's curious and sweet and clearly wants to set everyone at ease. These skills have served her well in what has become a very successful marketing career. On top of all that, Sydney has tons of girlfriends and is engaged to a man who is clearly crazy about her.

So, why is she on the brink of blowing everything up? As her wedding day draws near, she's become distant, cold and angry at her fiance, Brian. He keeps asking her if something's wrong, but Sydney denies there's a problem, insisting everything is okay. But he feels like the woman he fell in love with has been replaced by this volatile, erratic stranger who is pushing him away as hard as she can. Now, he's beginning to have real doubts about their future.

Sydney knows something's really wrong and she comes to my office to find out what to do. Clearly upset, she tells me she's tried being her normal self. But her usually accommodating manner is increasingly overrun by an engulfing rage that seems to erupt for no apparent reason. When I ask her if this behavior has occurred before, at first she says no but then remembers that the same inexplicable anger ended her first serious relationship with her college sweetheart. "I was out of control then, and now I feel the same thing happening," she says, anxiously twisting her hands. "Why can't I just get a grip? I'm a basket case. What's the matter with me?"

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