on July 26, 2000
Having had two failed marriages, I have read numerous books on relationships looking for answers. _Loving_Him_without_Losing_You_ has given me not only a much greater insight into why I have had such problems with men, but has also given me hope that the future can be very different.
Engel speaks to almost every woman, for almost no one has managed to escape the usual relationship "wisdom" in our culture of women "adapting" to meet their men's needs (by hiding accomplishments, giving up interests and friends if "he" doesn't like them, etc.). Engels gives us another, healthier way to build relationships, by staying true to our authentic selves. Ironically, this advice which is so contrary to what most of us learned is the *only* way to have a truly satisfying relationship--more satisfying for the man as well as the woman--as Engel convincingly argues.
Numerous exercises throughout the book help the reader discover her patterns, uncover issues from the past and work through them, and discover her authentic self. Engel also gives valuable information on creating a women's circle or support group, and finding a therapist if necessary.
A compassionate, intelligent, inspiring book. Read it! Buy it! Live it!
on March 30, 2003
For once, a book that is not about keeping him, but about KEEPING YOU!
Have you lost friends because all you talk about is your relationship and you neglect them for him? Do you ever feel empty and lonely when he's not around? Do you suppress or change your personality, your habits, your clothing or appearance, or feign interest in his hobbies? Do you neglect your own career, your own needs, your own goals, things you enjoy when in a relationship? Does your relationship become your life? If you answered yes, or "yes, but..." to any of these questions, you might be a disappearing woman. Through this book, I found out that I was, and how disappearing had pervaded and destroyed my relationship, and how I can put that to an end, starting today.
For a year and a half, I have been in love with a wonderful man. As I started to love him more and more, I tried harder to make myself into someone he wouldn't leave. Problems from this snowballed, and finally, he wanted to make the insanity stop. I was devastated. I thought I could get him to tell me what to do to get him back - *who to be*. I began looking at the hundreds of books on relationships, hoping to find one that would tell me what I could do to fix everything - I even considered re-reading that horrible book of games "The Rules". I am so thankful that I found "Loving Him Without Losing You."
This book was like the sun breaking through the clouds for me! I saw, for the first time, a clear picture of a behavior that I've had through every relationship, since childhood, because of childhood. I never realized the full picture of what I was doing to myself, my relationship, and the man I love. I was still looking for ways to sacrifice myself to keep him. That is, until I read this book.
What you will find:
Part One: Disappearing Women
Through information and stories of real women (and celebrities), find out if you disappear, and WHY Women disappear (cultural and psychological truths). Most importantly, Beverly describes the problem as a continuum, from mild to severe cases, and no matter where you fall on that continuum, this book can help. The problem is laid out simply, accurately, and completely - extensively reinforced by respected works of other people. This book doesn't purport to be a quick fix and isn't some silly parable about planets or ridiculous rules or rigid gender roles.
Part Two: The Seven Commitments.
Through facts, real women's stories, and the author's own self discovery, each of the seven chapters in this section talks about the benefits of the committment, ways that it shows love and respect to your partner, probing questions that will really get you thinking, signs and symptoms to look for, and steps to take to get yourself back. Some steps are large and take dedication, but others are things you can do NOW, TODAY, to get yourself back on track. Extremely detailed steps (with extensive references) every woman can take, regardless of age or relationship status, to begin to find herself as an individual.
Part Three: Becoming a Woman of Substance
Further exercises for women with an extreme form of the problem, but also great for exploring yourself by finding your authentic self, your voice, your shadow, and your substance.
Where Do you Go From Here?
More steps, hints, and helps, as well as an extensive book list.
1. As you are in an emotionally vulnerable state while reading this book, you may be affected by the horror stories and lack of success stories. She talks about one woman who married someone who molested her daughter, one that married someone who trying to hide his homosexuality. Her "success" story was about Frieda Kahlo, who remarried Diego Rivera but would not sleep or live with him - that doesn't sound successful to me! I think this book would have benefited from some encouraging examples of women both in and out of relationships who had found themselves, and found a healthy relationship or revised their current one.
2. Because you're looking at yourself in a new way, you may feel more negative than necessary. As you read, it is easy to get caught up with all of the examples that trigger memories of what you've done or do, and forget about the times you have been yourself, causing you to feel a little *more* depressed about yourself after reading it.
3. There are not a lot of positive viewpoints from or about men. Although there are some times that she does talk about good men, most of the men in this book are bad men. However, it is very true that good men can fall into playing along with their partner's disappearing act because of their love for her, and that he would be extremely happy and supportive for the changes this book can bring about.
4. Unfortunately, for Women only. I wish that this book was entitled "Loving *Your Partner* Without Losing Yourself" because although Beverly pontificates in detail all of the ways women are socially programmed to disappear in relationships, I believe it happens to men, too.
Beyond the caveats, though, lies a powerful, wonderful, compassionate book. When I saw that the answer was not in becoming someone else, but finding me, and that I could begin to heal my relationship by *being me* instead of playing games, a burden lifted from my shoulders. I talked to the man that I love, and he said that he saw me fading away, and wanted to end to our relationship because he was tired of me faking, and his own playing to it. He believes I have become self aware, and has committed to helping me become "A Woman of Substance." With the simple, yet deeply reverberating steps in this book, I have begun to do just that. YOU CAN TOO!
on January 18, 2001
I'm the webowner of Borderline Personality Disorder Today. Beverly says "In the book I describe BPD extensively, offer questionnaires to help a person determine whether she has borderline traits, recommend treatment modalities and offer resources. The book is being very highly reviewed by lay people and professionals." I highly recommend this book. In fact in my biography you will see that I write very clearly that when a man abandons me it is extremely frightening because I become invisible. That man is my mirror and without him, I cease to be. I wonder if perhaps borderline woman are also "disappearing women." I highly recommend this book for borderline women and any woman for that matter. She discusses treatment for people with the BPD and at first I was skeptical thinking what would she know about borderline treatment but she did her homework in this area. The book discusses exactly what a disappearing woman is. Learning how to maintain your sense of self while flourishing in a relationship, maintaining a separate life, how not to change to please him, speaking your mind, how to create an equal relationship, finding your authentic self, embracing your femininity, support groups, and when you need professional help.