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How do you find out who you are?

(17 Posts)
catkin14 Sun 14-Jul-13 18:36:58

After being in a long term marriage which is now ended I dont know who I am anymore. I was a sahm for 15 years, working part time but just stuff to fit in with DC's.

How do you go about finding who you are? Atm I am trying anything that friends suggest, but dont know how to go about stuff anymore.

Ideas wecome! : )

QuintessentialOldDear Sun 14-Jul-13 18:37:52

Why do you need to know?

Can you not just be?

Mynewmoniker Sun 14-Jul-13 18:38:14

Counselling.

RandomMess Sun 14-Jul-13 18:38:41

I'm interested in the responses.

At the moment I just "be" and am pretty miserable.

catkin14 Sun 14-Jul-13 18:43:10

I dont know that I need to know, and I am just being.

Maybe thats all there is to it, but its the being single and not part of a 2 thats the odd bit I suppose when everyone around me seems to be attached.
Im not miserable, a bit lonely sometimes but I have very good friends and family.
Maybe Im just trying to run before I walk..

Change2013 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:18:19

Catkin, I know what you mean by this question. After being in a long term relationship and having children, I felt like I'd pretty much forgotten who I was as well. I suspect it's due to not having time and money for ourselves, putting other people's needs first.

I've really had to think about what interests me, makes me happy, what I want to do with my life. Some things I'd like to do but can't yet because of my circumstances. But I'm gradually putting back into my life things that were missing eg listening to live music.

Maybe starting a journal would help you to take the time to remember what you loved doing.

Hope to see other ideas that I can use too.

Viking1 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:25:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Officershitty Sun 14-Jul-13 19:41:37

Time/ money permitting, try to do as many activities as you can to see what you like. You may find you like birdwatching or line dancing!
What were you interested as a child/ young person and is it something you could pursue now? (eg that dream of being a painter, getting your Physics GCSE, etc). It will help you to build a new life.
I got into dramatic and comedy improvisation and found it great fun. Not for everyone, but it helps you express your emotions!

akaWisey Sun 14-Jul-13 20:29:21

I recognise that dilemma. I think it's more common to not know who you are if you've been in a relationship with someone with narc traits.

Any way I found that doing a lot of stuff I'd never done before as a single woman has really given me a solid sense of myself. I feel 'full' IYSWIM. Consequently I don't get that 'empty' feeling when I look around at couples. So that's my twopence worth. HIH.

Phalenopsis Sun 14-Jul-13 20:40:42

I think the best way is firstly not to think about it in terms of 'finding yourself' because if you're anything like me, you'll see that as a target and will obsessively work towards it without enjoying the journey and secondly, you need to keep an open mind about all things (within reason) and have a look at what goes on in your area with regards to clubs, societies etc. Mumsnet has a local section at the bottom of this page so perhaps you could access that as a start and see if you could meet up with other mumsnetters.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Jul-13 21:03:33

I agree with keeping an open mind. As the man said,'try everything once except incest and country dancing'... smile It's a question of taking opportunities when they present themselves and approaching the rest of your life with 'why not?' rather than 'why?'

Have fun

Shakey1500 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:13:40

I agree that you should not focus so much on "finding yourself". I think it really is a case of just....being.

Time on your own helps (well, it did for me!). When you've only yourself to think of (adult wise) then you sort the wheat from the chaff naturally. I found the older I got, the less faffed I was about pleasing other people as I had been used to just pleasing myself. Then when I did meet someone else, it was easy to carry on being me. Instead of the usual trying to impress bollocks. My stall was set out, no beating around the bush. Good luck!

catkin14 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:24:24

Thanks for such helpful replies!
I am trying everything (apart from country dancing and incest!) and have done more in that last 4 months than in the last 27 years!
ExH was def narc and its almost as if I have to give myself permission to do stuff that I want to.
Youngest DC is nearly 15 and beginning to find his own life, and spends some time with his DF so I do have some time alone.
I have thought about study and may look into OU if it is not scary expensive and I am going to start running again to hopefully run a 10k in my 50th year!
I will look at local mumsnet, maybe there are some locally that have older DCs as Im a bit beyond little DC's!

porridgecarver Sun 14-Jul-13 21:36:07

Really interesting post and replies. I am feeling the same at the moment after 10 years in an EA marriage. I veer from feeling amazed at everything I can now do (although my DCs are small so time and money are big issues for me) to feeling a bit empty and weird not being part of a couple when pretty much everyone I know is.

whitesugar Sun 14-Jul-13 22:47:09

I know exactly what you mean. 15 years ago when I was 32 I became a single parent to 18 month old DD and was pregnant with DS. My life was a total car crash & for some reason when I looked at photos of me before that time I had no idea who that girl was. I had been through the trauma of a violent relationship & was totally isolated hundreds of miles away from family. I second Wiseys view that having a narc partner separates you from yourself because you have to pretend all the time. l vividly remember the feeling of dislocation. I think realisation happened slowly but once it did things got better and slowly but surely I could look at the photos and totally connect with myself again.

In the lost time I felt missing in action action, i put on lots of weight, wore leggings and clothes covered in baby puke and lived between feeds & sleeps. I eventually got a part time job and studied for a degree which forced me to get dressed and leave home. In a surprisingly short but very illuminating time I got back to who I was, not the same but at least awake. I know it sounds pretentious but I knew things were better when I recognised myself in photos again. I think the secret was getting out. Studying helped because it occupied my mind. Very happy to report that it passed I can connect with myself again. You have been through a big shock & believe me time will help you recover. Try your best to slowly engage with people and you will get your confidence back. Best of luck.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 15-Jul-13 08:22:27

"its almost as if I have to give myself permission to do stuff that I want to"

Plus.... that disorientating feeling of there being so many things you'd like to do that you can't settle on any one of them. Or - also common - you feel ever so slightly guilty that you should be out there doing exciting stuff and being amazing but you're actually quite happy sat in your onesie, reading a book.

WaitingForMe Mon 15-Jul-13 08:54:29

Alain de Botton is very accessible if you fancy reading some philosophy. It sounds a highbrow way to go but I really recommend it.

Perhaps google coaching/life coaching/mentoring. I ran a life coaching course a while back and that was an affordable way for my students to make some changes (I ran it via the council and charged £40 for 8 weeks).

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