Don't Abandon Your Identity

July 15, 2016
▪ 6 mins read

AttractionHQ Podcast: Identity compromised!

Thanks for joining me in this love revolution where we're looking at love from a way that empowers you as a woman and that doesn't do anything nasty to the guys. In fact, hopefully, will set them free as well. So this is the dating gospel that you can get behind which isn't going to be a load of fluffy advice about how to get the guy or how to keep a man.And this is for the woman who listened to statements and think I'd rather jump off a cliff.

Or at least she says, let's have life on our own terms instead. I think only if we do ourselves correctly we honour who we are- our own identity and we choose the people to be in our life who are worthy of being in. This is how we get to happiness. Not by not texting him for a week so that he likes us more. Stop that. Joining me today is one of my really good friends and amazing speaker and coach Harriet Waley-Cohen.



Hello, it's fantastic to be back again.


You are actually my most used guest on the podcast. And that's only because Harrit is so fabulous and so wise. And we keep having these late-night discussions chatting to each other over the phone that we think really deserve to be put out into podcast format.

What I want to talk to you about today, and we're going to go a bit literary again. So just bear with me, this is a metaphor here and it's an important one because if you can get it, it's going to help you to rationalise things better. If you've had a relationship break down or you feel like you've lost out on a guy or anything like that. It's going to give you an amazing new perspective on this. Okay, so brace rate for it.


There's this book that I read recently when I was travelling around by myself through Romania, like a gothic heroine. Flirting with guys shamelessly through the Carpathian Mountains, getting a mosquito-related infection, going to a wedding and dancing by myself. It was all good. It was all fun. And I was reading this book called Rebecca which is written in 1938 by Daphne du Maurier.

Daphne wrote this book and everyone at the time thought it just a conventional love story. They were quite dismissive of it. But over the past century, it's become this amazing cult classic. Now the reason for that is the story of Rebecca goes as follows. I won't ruin the end entirely, just to get the metaphor.

The plot

This young girl is working as an Au Pair in Monte Carlo. She's got no money. She's like 21 years old. No one really likes her. She feels very plain and very dowdy. Coincidentally, she meets this awesome bachelor called Maximillian de Winter. He's twice her age, he is a millionaire who owns this awesome country estate called Mandalay in Cornwall, and they have a bit of a whirlwind romance and quite a surprise, he wants to get married to her.

Initially, she says, I thought you should be with a woman who's 36 and wearing a string of pearls and he says it's exactly because you're not 36 and wearing a string of pearls that I like you to see where we're going with this. You think it's great. It's like she's living the dream here. She was working as an au pair and now with this wealthy awesome successful dude sweeps her off to a country mentioned. And she's now the lady of the house.

Slight technical issue- he has a deceased first wife called Rebecca who haunts them both psychologically. It's her spirit and her feeling and how the houses run, and the servants' loyalties and how she was remembered. And in fact, Rebecca was a bit of a wild woman, who took no rubbish from Maximillian. Interestingly, wife number two is only ever called Mrs. de Winter. The book is called Rebecca after the first wife who died in mysterious circumstances.

Identity message

The whole point that Daphne du Maurier is getting out here is contrasting two forms of womanhood. And two forms of stories on women around love. It's like, do you want to be wife number two? Who's only ever known in association to your husband and as Mrs. de Winter? And sure you've got the guys love and you've got all his wealth. But what sacrifice did you have to make to your own identity and your own personhood to achieve that?

We should ask who is more dead? Is it the woman who sacrificed everything, bent over backwards, compromise a whole value system, just so that the guy is happy? Or the woman who's physically dead, but you know what? Her memory lives on, and you literally can't escape her because she was that strong and that powerful. And I think it's a strong warning message about compromising your values to keep a guy and the slow death that actually involves?


And I'm sure most of your listeners will identify with that to one extent or another. Almost everyone I know, has compromised something important to them on one degree or another. The big question, and the important question here is, is about figuring out what your deal breakers are. What doesn't matter so much, because when you know what your absolute core values are the things that matter to you more than anything else, if you start compromising on them early on in a relationship, it sets your stall out that you're someone whose needs and thoughts and wishes and desires aren't important. That you do not value yourself much.

And although you can think: I just shouldn't say anything, I should just go along with this. The long term implications are this massive domino effect, that will lead to really false relationship where you just end up really unhappy. And with a completely lost sense of who you are. And that that's not good for either of you. To be honest, that's not what the guy wants, either.


No, because that's not an equal or healthy partnership. That's one person controlling and domineering over the other and the other person also being equally accountable in the cycle by going along with it. And the thing is, you can start to give a little bit. Usually, the first time you give something and you let that little value crumble, it's something small, it's so small, you can dismiss it as insignificant. Even though deep down in your gut, you know, it wasn't right.

I often think about relationships that have really gone bad, right? The first warning sign was something really like: Did he just phrase that like that to me?Or What? Whoa, he just, he hung up on me.[...] By going along with it, and actually swallowing down that flinch, eventually, you start to lose so much ground that then the big thing starts coming in.


And by not questioning it, when something like that is said, you're permitting them to keep doing it. You're sending out a really clear message that they can make a dig at you. And you'll swallow it and you won't stand on yourself. It starts small, and it can end as big and as awful as you like. And actually, it's really, really straightforward in those situations. Because sometimes they may not mean it like that. Right?

And when something comes up and you get that slightly hurt [...] if you throw it back to them, it allows them to pull themselves up. It lets them know that you're not going to take things lying down and that you're prepared to question in an open and curious and non-aggressive, non-judgmental way. But it's also just a very open dialogue where you go, I'm just standing up for myself and questioning what the hell is going on for you there because that didn't feel right.

What compromises will you make to your identity?

The whole podcast episode can be listened below!

I want to challenge you today to think hard about all the times you made sacrifices to your own identity, your own self. About every time you made a compromise and kept quiet in situations that made you question what was going on.

Share these stories with me and join my amazing group of Rebel Women at Hayley Quinn Club!

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About the author

Hayley Quinn is a leading dating and relationship coach, with 3 million views of her TEDx talk and 18 million YouTube views. She is spokesperson for Match, a columnist for Cosmopolitan, a regular contributor to international media, and has been published by Harper Collins (“The Last First Date”, 2022) and Simon & Schuster (“Do This, Not That: Dating”, 2023).

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