The Invisible Woman
Sophie had a problem. She was fed up of not being listened to at work by her boss and her colleagues and at home by her husband Richard.
It turned out that Sophie was the Invisible Woman. She avoided being caught in photos. At social events she would migrate to the quietest area and if anyone spoke to her she felt very anxious at the attention. At work, she liked it best when she was left alone to get on with her job. She worked in a shop and even though she was interacting with customers all the time, she felt safe in the uniform and role of the helpful shop assistant. She was hiding in plain sight.
Most of Sophie’s colleagues thought she was a kind person and a great listener. Sophie would listen to her colleagues problems and life issues and feel glad that they were talking about them rather than about her own life. She didn’t want the attention. At home she didn’t have to worry as her husband talked a lot and often and generally about himself. She found that most of her friends were like that too so if she just kept making them cups of coffee and handing them biscuits they could keep talking. But Sophie began to wonder if she herself had anything to say and if she did, who on earth would listen?
Sophie was also an expert on blending in. She could be sociable and affable when company was around. She could be serious and studious when needed. Even though she didn’t have much in common with most of her older colleagues she kept a tight rein on what topics she brought up in conversation so she wouldn’t be discovered for being different… or a person with her own thoughts, feelings, hopes and pet hates. So when they talked about the latest episode of Coronation Street, she just smiled and nodded and didn’t tell them how actually she instead had enjoyed the documentary about hammerhead sharks.
Sophie had perfected being the Invisible Woman, but she was beginning to realise some of the consequences. That people didn’t ask her opinion very often and even when they did, she didn’t really want to tell them in case they saw the real person in front of them. They weren’t listening much because they didn’t expect her to have anything to say and they liked her quiet attention when they wanted to talk through their problems or their day.
But Sophie was now invisible and didn’t know what to do about it. Some of the questions Sophie had to work on were was she ready for people to see her? What had to change in order for that to happen? Who is Sophie, really? Who does Sophie want to be?
If you are feeling invisible, you can start to see what’s going on for you through self-reflection on some of these questions, speaking with a trusted friend or with a professional coach or counsellor.
Sophie worked on these questions and even though it felt so hard to do, she started speaking her truth where she felt safe to do so. Her husband began to recognise the Sophie he first fell in love with. People can now see Sophie, which is a splendid thing, as there is only one Sophie, as there is only one of you and me.
Thanks for reading. If you have any challenges with becoming visible in relationships that you would like some support with, let’s have a chat about how I can help. I offer a free, no obligation, introductory session where you can experience my coaching firsthand.
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I run a closed Facebook group for recovering people pleasers (women only): https://m.facebook.com/groups/2306796212899957
I am running support groups in London and Surrey for women who want to live free of the tyranny of people pleasing. See https://www.meetup.com/London-Recovering-People-Pleasers-Meetup-women-only/ and https://www.meetup.com/Surrey-Recovering-People-Pleasers-Meetup-women-only/ for more details.