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Nov/Dec Mom & Me & Mom (2016) > How much should a person have to change or suppress themselves for a person they think they love?

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message 1: by Celia (new)

Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 10 comments One thing that really got to me was how much Angelou had to hide about her life to be with Tosh. Is there ever a point when this is okay?

I want to say that this is never okay, but it was really interesting how much Angelou thought she had to change and force herself to live under his control. Interested to see what you all think.


message 2: by Agustin (new)

Agustin | 223 comments Love makes people blind, sometimes. If someone trully loves you, he/she shouldn't force you to change but accept you the way you are. That person has to love you in spite of your flaws. And also, if you love someone, you should not let him/her tell you what to do and what not to do.


message 3: by Mariah (new)

Mariah | 1 comments I think that people give up aspects of themselves because they question if they are right in the belief. Abusers can be good at manipulating the world and making it seem reasonable to isolate yourself and give up your former beliefs.


message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert Smart | 354 comments I have been dealing with that myself for a few years now. Losing bits and pieces of myself by not doing the things that I like to do because the person I am with either does not like those activities or hobbies or isn't into them as much as I. I agree it is wrong to change yourself into something your not in order to keep something or a facade of it, in the process you lose all aspects of yourself and who you truly are as a person.


message 5: by Emily (new)

Emily Kirby | 11 comments I think it do with agency. If someone tells you to change and guilt you with love then that is not a good relationship. However, if you're the one in control of the change that is still keeping with your agency.

There is also the question how much are you changing someone. A relationship is built on compromise. If you give and the other never does then that is unfair to you.


message 6: by Jeff (new)

Jeff S | 4 comments It's definitely a give and take. It also depends on how much you like/love something.

Maybe there is something you did when you were single that you still enjoy but your SO doesn't. You need to balance your time and how much happiness you derive from that activity vs how much you would get doing something you both derive happiness from.

Being in a relationship means sacrificing some individuality/freedom for both parties so you can know each other better.


message 7: by Caitlynd (new)

Caitlynd | 20 comments I think when you are in a relationship, it should be with the person you love and no one else. Don't change them, they shouldn't have to change. If you fell in love with them, why would you need to?

You have to make compromises in a relationship, but there comes a time when you are making too many. You SHOULDNT have to hide your life-you should be OPENING it to your lover. That's what love is, having someone along with you on your journey.


message 8: by Evelia (new)

Evelia | 89 comments I thought because she was in love, and probably was afraid to be alone. She wanted also for her son to have a father figure and to give her son a family.
I agree though a person does not have to change for another.


message 9: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Compromise is needed (that's why my last relationship broke) but I think one shouldn't change for another. If I fall in love with someone, I don't want them to become a different person, I want them to remain true to themselves.
And change is something only the one who changes should decide, it's their life, and I am not to change it.

As you can see, there's a difference between change and compromise for me. Compromise is needed, change is a personal decision.


message 10: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Lovegreen (lynn_lovegreen) MeerderWörter wrote: "Compromise is needed (that's why my last relationship broke) but I think one shouldn't change for another. If I fall in love with someone, I don't want them to become a different person, I want the..."
I agree. One shouldn't change as a person because of pressure from a partner, but compromise (on relatively small things) is part of a successful relationship.


message 11: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Not much - only those not so positive qualities that one already recognizes and wants to change about themselves and looks for support to be a better person.


message 12: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Lynn wrote: "MeerderWörter wrote: "Compromise is needed (that's why my last relationship broke) but I think one shouldn't change for another. If I fall in love with someone, I don't want them to become a differ..."

Exactly. Because in the case that the relationship ends, for whatever reasons, they should still be themselves, and not so formed that they can't recognise themselves any more.


message 13: by Ashwin (new)

Ashwin (ashiot) | 215 comments I think as far as Maya Angelou's relationship with Tosh is concerned, it was not just about herself but her child as well. That is perhaps why she was ok of making compromise and even doing things on the sly.

As far as my opinion on making compromises in relationship is concerned, I think if one needs to make a compromise it isn't a healthy relationship (just my opinion!). We make so many compromises in all aspects of life, this one part should be one where one is free of judgement and restrictions.


message 14: by Guenojds (new)

Guenojds Jdsav | 4 comments To me, love can be too convincing and so, it can get you done a lot of things you wouldn't do "consciously".
I think love has a different impact on each other: some will completely change their habits to be "perfect" at their partner's eyes and, others think they mustn't change: their girl/boyfriend must do it.
But, in my opinion, i think we love someone because he/she is like that, with his/her manners, his/her qualities/defaults... So, we don't need to be radical: it's all about compromise.
Your personnality must be kept because it's the reflection of your mind, the visible face of your spirit's iceberg and, you live and will live with it so master it and you'll do the right things on the right moments, even in love !


message 15: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Guenojds wrote: "To me, love can be too convincing and so, it can get you done a lot of things you wouldn't do "consciously".
I think love has a different impact on each other: some will completely change their hab..."


That is the perfect summary of my thoughts. I see for myself right now how much one changes because they're in love, and it's wonderful to see.


message 16: by Katie (new)

Katie (kdalessandro) | 3 comments I do understand where she was probably coming from, in thinking it's easier to just give little things up in order to make a relationship work. The issue is, eventually you just compromise everything and you have nothing left that makes you "you."

I think changing some things for a partner are okay. For example, trying to be more patient , or trying to get into a certain show with them because they really like it. It's not okay to give up the things that you love to appease your partner (unless of course you love things like heroin or cocaine, in which case you might want to give those up).


message 17: by Winston (new)

Winston | 180 comments I think the question has a false pretense that we aren't all changing all the time!

We grow and learn and change. Friends will change our opinions, coworkers will change our relationship with work, we will strive to make changes in ourselves. If that change comes in conjunction with a romantic relationship with another, the question should be, do you like the person you're changing into?

There is a need for compromise, and especially when you're very close, it could be a lot of compromise. But no one should be controlling the other person and if something feels off, an ideal relationship would open enough to let both people communicate and then discuss what changes should and shouldn't happen.


message 18: by Elfa Centauri (new)

Elfa Centauri (elfacentauri) | 8 comments I agree with Emma, that's a really interesting point, Winston!

Sometimes love makes us to act like our partner wants to, and at the beginning we can think it is ok. But as Maya explains, there comes a time when you realize how much did you change your attitude or your hobbies, and maybe our relationship is not working, because you are not interested anymore.

A relationship should make us grow instead of simply change, and maybe try new experiences. If not, at least respect what the other one likes.


Karlita | Tale Out Loud (cherrykarl) | 8 comments Change is good, thus compromise but not to the point you don't know yourself anymore. If you want to make a change, better be sure it will bring you both close not the other way around. For me, issues in relationships are constant and the proper response to it is openess — your feelings about it, how you fix it and how to act on it.


message 20: by Cynthia (last edited Nov 29, 2016 10:00AM) (new)

Cynthia Jeaneth | 4 comments I think that what we forget is that, most of the times we change ourselves in the ways that we think it will make our partners more happy to be at our side, the problem being a giver and a people pleaser as I am is, that in the process you tend to let yourself go away and when suddenly you hit the ground again you don't even know who you are anymore. I acnowledge that we all change, grow, evolve and devolve at our own rithms, pacing each of us un different tunes and that staying where you know how to be, how to behave and how to make the other happy sounds like way easy , even keeping in mind the self hurt that you do.

Anyway if you happen to find out how to let go a safe, mind harmful place for a riskier and healthy one pls let me know.


message 21: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Cynthia wrote: "I think that what we forget is that, most of the times we change ourselves in the ways that we think it will make our partners more happy to be at our side, the problem being a giver and a people p..."

Cynthia, I don't understand your question properly. How could I help you.

Coming back to the discussion:
I think the problem is if you change in the way Maya did and you discover that you changed so much you don't recognise yourself anymore.


message 22: by Winston (new)

Winston | 180 comments Thanks all for the positive feedback on my comment!

Cynthia, I also am not 100% sure I get what you're asking? Are you saying that as a people pleaser, you often find yourself changing too much to keep others happy and sort of lose yourself in that process?

If so, I would recommend perhaps finding a few hobbies you could do yourself, and maybe have those be healthy outlets for when you're overwhelmed slash losing yourself?


message 23: by Kayla (new)

Kayla Tocco (kaylatocco) A question that on the surface has be screaming that you shouldn't have to change or suppress yourself at all around someone you love. That being said. Things are hardy as black and white as that- for instance, perhaps the person you love does love you exactly for who you are and what your beliefs are etc whether they agree with them or not, but perhaps their family is extremely anti- whatever it is you represent- in that case in order for your relationship to work with the person you love, you may have to suppress yourself a bit around their family in order to be with them. But I do believe that if you're with the right person, they should love you for exactly as who you are and not who you portray yourself or think you should be.


message 24: by Cynthia (last edited Nov 29, 2016 06:30PM) (new)

Cynthia Jeaneth | 4 comments I think that i didn't put it clearly in writing, it's sort of the feeling when you don't know if you just out grew because your life and the experiences in it or if you just started to act in that way to please everyone around, trying to keep earning the gold star every time that you do something; trying to make someone happy in ways that are probably not even humanly possible.
And then coming into a realization that you don't know who you are anymore and what makes you happy aside of acheving that gold star.

The last lines where kind of a pun about knowing what you ( I) got to do but, frezzing just thinking about doing it and, how aside of the change we become codependents on the delusion of love that we have, and the fear of losing that delusion( I usually don't do this in writing, which makes the inflexions more hard to follow and in my case as this is not my primary language, more hard to execute with the proper syntax and grammar to give more sense into my line of thought).


message 25: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Jeaneth | 4 comments Winston wrote: "Thanks all for the positive feedback on my comment!

Cynthia, I also am not 100% sure I get what you're asking? Are you saying that as a people pleaser, you often find yourself changing too much to..."


Yes, is a little bit like that, apply it in a context in the middle of nowhere that has notting to do at all (belive me I have tried), the local hobbie in town is drinking yourself to oblivion or worse.


message 26: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Cynthia wrote: "I think that i didn't put it clearly in writing, it's sort of the feeling when you don't know if you just out grew because your life and the experiences in it or if you just started to act in that ..."

I know this feeling, but for different reasons - well, I'm never drinking because my life is bad as it is, and I don't want it to become worse.


message 27: by Winston (new)

Winston | 180 comments Cynthia wrote: "Winston wrote: "Thanks all for the positive feedback on my comment!

Cynthia, I also am not 100% sure I get what you're asking? Are you saying that as a people pleaser, you often find yourself chan..."


Haha fair, although I love drinking and smoking because to quote Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann:

"--What is it about wine, Harry?
--What d'ya mean?
--What is it that cures us?
--Made to glorify the gods. And dull the idiots. Here, have a little more." (262)

Look, there are lots of venues to find new hobbies. The internet is unprecedented the amount of access we have to information and other people, it's often overwhelming.

But don't despair! It also means you have the equal access and opportunity as everyone else, and only if you take advantage of it, do you have a chance.

Start small. Like tiny. Like miniscule. I love reading and writing, but I started with just writing a journal daily(ish). I've written a few essays that I'm too embarrassed to publish yet, I'm like 30 pages into a fantasy novel that I don't like or think will ever be good enough to see the light of day. None of that matters. Every step in any direction is progress. I'm going to keep writing everyday, even if it's only a few sentences. I'm going to keep doing the messy gross practice and not even think about the rest of it. I even try to write a little more long form on my various forum posts! (A lot of the times, I'm just the lurker, who reads without commenting)

I don't know if that's the solution for you. I'm not in the same situation. But I'm just trying to share my tiny attempt to shout into the gigantic void of oblivion and maybe you can be inspired by the hopelessness but incessantness of my yells.

Good luck! You're an amazing person and you ought to be proud of it and then share it and your passions!


message 28: by Simone (new)

Simone | 85 comments It's a tough question.
People always say you should be who you really are and change for nobody,stay true to yourself. But sometimes we just want to change ourselves for better for the person we care or love. Of course, that doesn't mean if you love a drug dealer you should do drugs. What i'm saying is we should change better, become a better self for the person we love. So there is not absolutely no change for anyone but only for better.
But love makes people blind, so maybe there isn't right or wrong, should or shouldn't, just happy or unhappy.If that change makes you happy in that relationship then do it, if it's not then you shouldn't do it.


message 29: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Simone wrote: "It's a tough question.
People always say you should be who you really are and change for nobody,stay true to yourself. But sometimes we just want to change ourselves for better for the person we ca..."


That's very well said. I don't think anybody opposes to that, it's just, as you said, not every change is good, not every change is bad:)


message 30: by Guenojds (new)

Guenojds Jdsav | 4 comments Simone wrote: "It's a tough question.
People always say you should be who you really are and change for nobody,stay true to yourself. But sometimes we just want to change ourselves for better for the person we ca..."


This is a very interesting way to explain our desire to be better when we love someone and, I think you're near to the exact meaning of what we think when we fall in love.
Moreover, I think we love someone because we want giving to him/her happiness; we want to see him/her smiling, laughing and, a spark in her/his eyes we've never seen before.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. said: "Love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own". To me, it's a very well reason to change yourself in the right way to improve and strengthening your love.


message 31: by Jonathon (new)

Jonathon Hazelton | 7 comments One of the big points here is the difference between compromise and change here. What is actually changing in a compromise, and who is regulating it are very important features of this discussion that have not been hashed out. To me compromise would be done with simple behavior changes, you know like train you partner, use those psychology classes to your benefit! The question is: what changes to your behavior cause a fundamental change in your being, and what are you willing to change for a relationship with another human being?


message 32: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Jonathon wrote: "One of the big points here is the difference between compromise and change here. What is actually changing in a compromise, and who is regulating it are very important features of this discussion t..."

Good question, Jonathon!
Compromise and change are very different indeed.


message 33: by Anna_Kate (new)

Anna_Kate I think this is a very difficult topic, not just because of the "change vs. compromise" aspect, but also because of the question whether a person HAS to change or WANTS to change. If someone feels as if there is a need for them to become someone they are not, it´s not ok. But if we find ourselves in a position that makes us question if change might not be beneficial, it´s a whole different thing.

Another aspect is the idea Erving Goffman proposed and the question if we don´t all play a certain role in certain circumstances and are rarely ever as we really are. Depending on the situation and company we are in, every human is bound to exhibit different character traits. So, do we really "change" for another person or don´t we sometimes just "adapt"!?

I think there is no real answer whether change is ok or not, good or bad, beneficial or makes us someone we actually aren´t. It always depends...


message 34: by Robin (new)

Robin (z_rob) | 128 comments To me, one does not have to change, but rather adapt, and let some margins to the other


message 35: by MeerderWörter (last edited Feb 22, 2017 01:22PM) (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Anna_Kate wrote: "I think this is a very difficult topic, not just because of the "change vs. compromise" aspect, but also because of the question whether a person HAS to change or WANTS to change. If someone feels ..."

Woohoo, you mention a sociologist! Now, who was the sociologist who said we are only our true self if we live alone(no humans around us at all, no contact to humans at all) in a wood?
I've forgotten his name, I just remember he was a man.


message 36: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey | 3 comments Is there a point where hiding things from a loved one is ok? The fundamental question to me is what is it within yourself that is driving you to hide that thing.

Since this book is so much about Maya's relationship with her mother I think it's interesting to explore in what ways Maya hid (or didn't hide) herself in her relationship with her mother. What it brings to mind for me is how when she was first reunited with her mother she refused to just seek acceptance and seek to please her mother (for example insisting on calling her mother 'Lady'). She had been left and was her own separate person who didn't placate her mother by calling her 'mother' because it didn't ring true to her. To what extent should we compromise and change for our parents? In some ways, setting the precedent for presenting herself truthfully to her mother from early on maybe laid a strong foundation for their friendship and mutual respect throughout life. The parent child relationship is so complex as well, breaking up with a partner vs breaking up with a parent is a whole new ball game. But whether it's working against the pressures of partners or parents and trying to conform to how they want us to be all boils down to the deep human desire of wanting to feel loved and accepted. These are difficult powers to address and overcome, maybe the healthiest approach is to remain vigilant, and continue to reflect to stay aware of yourself so that you can tell if a behavior is for yourself or just out of fear of not being accepted. And from their look at why acceptance is so important, and how much of yourself you are loosing by compromising/changing.

Can you people think of any other examples where Maya either hide herself from her mother or on the other hand created conflict by refusing to compromise or change?


message 37: by Anna (new)

Anna Kravchuk I haven't read the book yet, but anyway.

Recently I read an interview with a psychologist who said a simple thing which I really liked: "Whenever I hear 'but I loved him' it's never a story about love. It's a story about neurosis, about a drug-dealer who delivers the woman necessary sufferings. Healthy love is about how happy you are. "

I think that's the main thing. If you're happy -- everything is fine. Life together is impossible without compromises but it should always be a fair compromise, not sacrifice.


message 38: by Shelby (new)

Shelby | 2 comments Simone Martel, author of A CAT COMES BACK, discusses this issue in her current interview on http://www.sursupbookshelves.com
She is wise about the endurance test of relationships that are based on wrong principles. Submerging oneself to please another is a faulty premise, and she discusses the outcome of such behavior while defining the true pillars of partnership.


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