Discovering Self Identity Prior to Divorce
Some women, in particular, have become so dependent upon and submissive to their husbands they have given up their own identities. I have seen this in long marriages, particularly of thirty or more years.
The situation is aggravated if the woman has given all of herself to running the home and raising the children. When the children are grown, her role evaporates. She may be so insecure without her husband that she will tolerate almost anything before she will consider questioning, much less ending, the relationship.
Counseling can show her that she has worth and is entitled to respect. She should begin to pursue her own interests again and re-establish her identity. With much work, this woman can raise her self-esteem, participate in reshaping the relationship into a more balanced give-and-take partnership and shed her excessive dependency on her husband.
Two clients dealt with losses of identity after thirty-plus years of marriage. Each spent years in the process of finding themselves again after nearly total submission to their spouse.
Helen wasn’t able to fully resurrect herself. However, she did become partially effective in functioning on her own. Gary, her husband, filed for divorce after Helen’s drinking reached intolerable levels. Of course, Helen’s drinking was triggered by problems intolerable to her, but that doesn’t alter the result. She had allowed this bad relationship to exist for too long.
Fran broke free entirely. She developed a certain bravado that helped her during the process of learning to live a full life of her own choosing. She left her husband Gabe behind as she moved onward. While Gabe wanted the divorce, he ended up adrift while Fran chose a healthy course for herself.
You can revalidate yourself after many years of obedient compliance. Obviously, the sooner you attempt the change, the easier it will be.
It’s time to deal with your relationship. The place to start is with marital counseling that examines you and your marriage and validates your individuality.