Backstory to this post:  In my GPYP class, the majority of students seemed to be women in their late 30s, early 40s who were divorcing after spending many years supporting a spouse’s career and raising children. Their identities had been completed subsumed by their roles as wives and mothers.

When the marriage came to an end, they were rocked with the cold, hard truth that they had no idea who they were. However, when they spoke about this, men who were the breadwinners, and many times the sole support of their families, identified with the identity crisis. They saw themselves as being only a paycheck to those they worked hard for. When their wife ended the relationship, they saw themselves as someone who – aside from his career – had no idea who he was.

So I found that both women and men had reasons to identify with the lack of identity, but for very different reasons.  This would later inform my decision to write GPYB in a gender-neutral way so that both men and women could benefit from its teachings. 

ON IDENTITY 11/30/2006

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed. Copyright © 2006-2019 

Identity is the antidote for enmeshment.  – Terry Kellogg

I read this quote a long time ago when I was overly enmeshed with an unhealthy, abusive person and had no identity of my own. The quote has always stayed with me because I realized it was true as I forged my own identity.

When we become overly involved in someone else’s life, usually trying to save them from themselves, we often have our own hidden agenda, which is to ignore what is missing or hurting in ourselves.

Therefore, as we pull away from unhealthy enmeshments we often feel a void or feel very scared and shaky because we begin to realize how much is wrong in our own lives.

The path to freedom is in carving out our own identities, finding out what makes us tick, healing our wounded places and becoming whole. When we are whole we have no more hidden agendas and do not need to merge with unhealthy people who make us miserable.

Becoming ourselves, becoming who we are meant to be, is the FIRST step to finding the right person who will enhance our life, not BE our life. It is possible to have true love and a healthy intimate relationship ONLY when we know ourselves first.

Find your identity and find freedom.

Take care and be good to you. You can do this!


Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed. 11/06

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