Omg you guys I just read the best article. Thank you so much to Kurvy Kinkster for sharing it! It’s called People pleasing can be the result of trauma. Its called fawining
It has really resonated with me. It’s been a huge “a-ha” moment. Here are some of the points that stuck out for me:
- To avoid conflict, negative emotions, and re-traumatization, people who “fawn” when triggered will go out of their way to mirror someone’s opinions and appease them in order to deescalate situations or potential issues.
[Personal note: yes! This is exactly what I have a tendency to do.]
- The more invested I was in an emotional connection, the less likely I was to criticize that person, vocalize when my boundaries were crossed, express unhappiness with their behavior, or share anything that I felt might damage that relationship.
- This could come across as being excessively nice and complimentary, overly-concerned with another person’s happiness, and waiting for cues in conversation to determine if something was “safe” to share or disclose.
[Personal note: I have done this so much in my relationship with MrDom. 😦 and it hasn’t been fair to either of us. I just realized sometimes I would “feel him out” first, by asking him questions, before I felt safe to share something. If I got the sense he wouldn’t share my same views or would like me less by my disclosure, I wouldn’t share it. Now when he asks me something personal, he will sometimes say “don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. Tell me the truth.” And even though it’s scary, I find that encouragement helps me to be more honest and open.]
- YOU COULD SAY THAT PEOPLE-PLEASERS ARE SORT OF ’EMOTIONAL CHAMELEONS,’ TRYING TO BLEND IN IN ORDER TO FEEL SAFE.
[Personal note: I never connected my behaviour with a need to feel safe. But it makes so much sense.]
- When you are excessively concerned with pleasing others, you learn that in order to be effective at this, you have to shut down your gut instincts, your values, your emotions — because being an individual, rather than a mirror, doesn’t serve you in securing the love that you want.
- We’ve internalized the idea that love has to feel “earned” in order to feel secure….. In other words? If love is given too freely or easily, it doesn’t feel safe.
- IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT FAWNING ISN’T INTENDED TO MANIPULATE OTHERS. The “fawn” response is driven by fear, not a hidden agenda. The “fawn” type is less about manipulation, because it’s not being used to overpower someone. Instead, it’s an excessive relinquishing of personal power, driven by fear and a desire for validation.
[Personal note: I’ve been accused of being manipulative and having a “hidden agenda”. I’ve never accepted this as true. And this explains it right here.]
Knowing where my behaviour stems from (childhood trauma) is helpful. It doesn’t mean I have to accept it. “Oh I was emotionally abused. That’s why I’m this way. Therefore I can’t change.” No. But it does help when it comes to knowing myself better.
I’ve been able to be more open and honest with myself, with MrDom, with little boy this past week. I have realized how unfair it is to “fawn” (never had a word for it before). Unfair to myself and to others I care about. So I’m going to try and get better at not doing that.
I’m scared. Being open and honest about things is risky. It means someone may not agree with me, someone may not like me, someone may be hurt by something I have to share. But in the long run what benefit is there in hiding my true feelings? I’m just lying to myself and I’m lying to others I care about. And the truth always comes out eventually. So better to have it out in the open right away so it can be dealt with.