Reclaiming Your True Self
Start by reclaiming those elements of yourself that you were willing to sacrifice to make your marriage work. For example, you may have given up being or acting proficient around household maintenance, or you may have denied your intellectual capacity by not finishing school. In an effort to be available to your spouse, you may have given up your "free time" and creative pursuits. Thinking the relationship should be completely symbiotic, you abandoned personal friends of long standing or failed to develop friendships of your own outside the marriage. Whatever it was, it was detrimental to your personal growth and self-esteem.
I am not talking about compromise here. Compromise is an important and necessary part of living with another human being. This discussion is about the tendency to completely deny and let go of important elements of your true self, how this affects your self-esteem, and how to reclaim your essential self.
Karin asked, "How do I recover my self-esteem when I'm in the middle of an identity crisis? Who am I now if I'm not a wife?" Mary had completely forgotten about some of her other defining qualities and achievements, such as: college graduate, school teacher, painter, ice skater. She was always much more than "just a wife," but she had forgotten