"He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away." | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Palo Alto Online |

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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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"He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away."

Uploaded: Nov 12, 2021
- Raymond Hull

Hull is absolutely correct. Trying to suit your partner is the opposite of living authentically. I should know, because that’s what I did in early relationships.

And I paid the price, in at least two ways.

Let me first tell you the set-up that led to it in my own psychological makeup. My dad had bi-polar disorder and left our family when I was five. Prior to that, I got up early every morning and hung out with him while he shaved. Having three siblings meant there wasn’t much 1:1 time with him.

One morning I got up and went to find him for our morning ritual. He wasn’t in the bathroom and written on the mirror in red lipstick was: “Gone to New York”. When he returned, he came to school once and brought me a Snoopy stuffed animal. After that I only saw him when I was seven, 14, 21, and 28; phone calls were sparse, and only when he went off his medication.

Being abandoned set the foundation for me to be damn sure no one ever abandoned me again.

So, I did what Hull talks about: I tried to be the person my partner wanted so he wouldn’t leave me. (Looking back, how did I even think I knew what my partner wanted?)

I paid the price by 1) abandoning myself; 2) I didn’t show up to be loved; the persona or mask I put on was loved. Of course, that didn't work because my love tank didn’t get filled. And I was the one to leave rather than be abandoned again.

It took a lot of personal work and growth, and some therapy, to realize who I am, what I want and need, and to believe that I am enough, and that I’m lovable. Eventually I learned how to be myself with a partner while maintaining my sense of self.

I’m special and unique (and not better than anyone else). And so are you. Figure yourself out; how you are special and unique. We each bring something to the world that no one else can. Shine your light into your relationship, your family, community, and into the world. Look for other people’s light, and help bring it out, too.

Don’t whittle yourself away for anyone or anything.
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Comments

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Nov 13, 2021 at 7:10 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

I also worked hard to get to the point where I know myself and am comfortable with me. It took a horrible low to make me realize I needed help. I did not know what fruit that help will bear until one day, after several years of therapy, the light bulb was turned on and I saw - Hey, you are ok. Well, it was more like a dimmer that made the light shine brighter and brighter. Perhaps it is not all fully bright yet. But I am good!


Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 15, 2021 at 7:43 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi Kevin, Thanks for telling us about your path. It sure is a process.


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