Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker: Life Coach for Empaths, Highly Sensitive People & People Pleasers

Navigating Anxiety, A Healing Your Anxious Teen Podcast Interview with Britt Bishoff

September 28, 2023 MaryAnn Walker. Britt Bishoff Episode 61
Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker: Life Coach for Empaths, Highly Sensitive People & People Pleasers
Navigating Anxiety, A Healing Your Anxious Teen Podcast Interview with Britt Bishoff
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, host of the Healing Your Anxious Teen Podcast,  Britt Bischoff,  interviews MaryAnn Walker,  life coach for the helpers, healers, and people pleasers. MaryAnn shares her insights on finding balance in life, meeting your own needs, and how this perspective can positively impact parenting, especially when dealing with anxious teenagers.

MaryAnn emphasizes the importance of recognizing and accepting your own needs and emotions as a parent. She discusses the common tendency to prioritize others' well-being above your own and how this can lead to burnout and a sense of inadequacy. MaryAnn encourages parents to shift their perspective and understand that their child's struggles do not reflect their parenting skills. She also emphasizes the significance of allowing children to experience discomfort and navigate their own emotions.

The conversation delves into the concept of sustainable love and the idea that focusing solely on giving without receiving can lead to imbalance and exhaustion. It's crucial to create mutually beneficial relationships where both parties contribute and receive support.

Britt and MaryAnn also explore the topic of balance and how being mindful of the energy you invest in relationships can lead to healthier and more fulfilling connections. They highlight the importance of recognizing when you may be unintentionally creating an imbalance in relationships.

In the context of parenting, MaryAnn discusses how adopting a mindset of meeting your children where they are emotionally can lead to more profound connections and better communication. She encourages parents to allow their children to experience negative emotions and resist the urge to fix or rescue them.

Overall, this podcast episode offers valuable insights into finding balance in life, nurturing healthier relationships, and adopting a more compassionate and understanding approach to parenting, especially when dealing with teenagers and their anxieties.

To connect with MaryAnn Walker, click here:

To connect with Britt Bishoff, click here:

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Well, hello and welcome back. So I was recently interviewed on the Healing Your Anxious Teen podcast with Britt Bischoff, and we had such an amazing conversation. She is an amazing interviewer, and things just felt so comfortable. It just felt like I was hanging out with a girlfriend just chatting on the couch. So I asked her if I could also share the content here so that you could also benefit. because I just loved it. So if you have an anxious teen, I highly encourage you to go and follow her content as well. She has a podcast as well as a social media community. And so yeah, I'll put all of her contact information in the show notes, but here it is my interview with healing your anxious team.

Okay, you guys, today we have a special guest. This is my first in a series of doing interviews with women who are mothers, women who have mothered teenagers or who are mothering teenagers, and this is the fun part, who are also life coaches. So they have that Both of those aspects. And it's going to bring such a cool, um, just a cool message to this whole entire podcast for you guys. So today we have Marianne Walker and I'll let her introduce herself. Go ahead. Well, thank you so much for having me on. I'm so excited to be the first one. Yeah. So as Britt said, my name is Marianne Walker and I am a life coach for the helpers, the healers, and the people pleasers. And so, um, I, from what I understand, you work with, uh, teens with anxiety. And so. It's interesting. I work a lot with their parents, right? Helping them to learn how to navigate, not only their own feelings, but how to navigate other people's feelings. And I'm also a mom of three girls. So two of them are now adults, which is blowing my mind. And then I also have a junior in high school. So it's been kind of fun to see their evolutionary process and personal development there as well. Yes. Awesome. Okay. So what I love about this is you probably haven't been a life coach for their whole entire teen years, right? When did you, when did you start learning this stuff? Yeah. So I have been, well, I've been following coaches for a few years, but I've only been an actual coach for about two years now. And so, yes, I absolutely learned. Through mistakes. You know, even now I'll have conversations with my kids where they're like, yeah, that wasn't super helpful and you do better now, mom. I think we've all been there. So often we learn through the doing, right? So we have the education piece and then there's also just the life experience that we just learn through the doing. I love that. And what's so cool about what you're doing is you have that kind of hindsight on. What you can see better what you could have done differently and what could have helped your kids better. And then you're also helping all of these helpers and healers and people pleasers to, to do things differently. So I love that. So what, if you had to, um, tell me specifically who you help and how you help them, that's what I want to know. Um, or because this podcast is actually for the parents of. The teens who are going through anxiety. It's called help. They're anxious teen. So that, so we're helping the same people. We're talking to the same people and I'd love to hear more about. Yeah. Well, with me working with the helpers and the healers and the people pleasers, one of the things that they really struggle with is. Essentially they're prioritizing everyone else's wellbeing above their own. Right. And so I think oftentimes as parents, we kind of go into freak out mode where we think our kids are a reflection of us. Right. So we think if our kids are doing good, it means I've done a good job. We equate those two. It's really hard for us to separate and distinguish out that, you know what, it's okay for my kid to struggle. Yeah. And that doesn't mean I'm a bad parent. It doesn't mean I can't hold space for them. It doesn't mean, you know, so we're essentially compounding the issue, right? Where we're thinking, well, no, I need to make everybody else happy. Everybody else should be doing good. And when everybody else who in actuality is 100 percent out of our control, when everybody else is good, then I'll finally be happy. You know, we're delaying our own happiness. Mm hmm. And what I see is on the other end, where kids... Kids can tell that we want them to be happy like they absolutely know that and so we might see that they're happy and we see this all the time right where there's horrible circumstances where kids are committing suicide and things like that and the parents are like they were happy like what what was going on and so I'm not saying that that's the reason why but I do want us to look at happiness as maybe a little bit different than what we normally look at it as where what we view as happiness Yes. might be our own view of what, like, if we were a teenager, what we would think happiness looked like, right? So we're kind of projecting that onto our own kids. And, um, that's when it's not helpful to us, right? Because we're just being people pleasers. But it's also not helpful to them because we're not necessarily helping them in a way that they need help. We're helping in a way that. We is like, if we were the child, we would have needed help. That is so beautifully stated. Yes. I love that because yes, you're exactly right. The people pleasing goes both ways, right? When we're trying to make our kids happy and no, you shouldn't be feeling these negative emotions. You should be happy all the time. We're teaching them essentially to go through life, people pleasing others, right? That they have to wear a mask, otherwise mom's going to be upset. Right. And the worst thing that can happen, like even worse than you being upset is that the people around you are upset that you're upset and it just compounds that issue. You're exactly right. Like that people pleasing is a tough thing. And if you want to break the cycle, it has to start with you as the parent where it's like, Hey, I'm going to learn how to be okay with this comfort. I'm going to learn how to be okay with people around me that I love being uncomfortable. Because that's going to also give them permission to learn, to sit in that discomfort and learn how to process those negative emotions rather than just shove them down. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So what some people might be thinking is why would we do that? Right. And I think everything we do is because of how we think it's going to make us feel right. Like it's, we do it all because of how we think we're going to feel. We think that we're being really altruistic, but no, this is going to make everybody happy. But that's a lie. We tell ourselves we're doing things where people pleasing in an effort to make us feel good. Like I know many of the people I work with, they just feel like they can't relax. Until everything around them is good, but it's essentially because they haven't learned how to navigate their own emotions. So here they are trying to micromanage everybody else's emotions because it seems so much easier to control other people when we feel out of control of ourselves. So funny. Let's even just think about what she said. It seems easier to control other people than to control ourselves. Yeah. When like, there's only one person we have full control over. And we're putting all of our efforts into other people to help us feel better. Right. So interesting. I it's so mind boggling.'cause when you think of it that way, then it's like, boy, like that really can seem kind of manipulative, right? Like, no, everybody has to be happy. So I'll feel good, but it's the subconscious thing happening. We're not trying to manipulate other people. Mm-hmm. But we find ourselves feeling triggered and we think I can't, I don't know how to navigate this inside of me. So I'm gonna control everything outside of me. Yeah. But then we're essentially teaching our kids even that. No, you have to learn how to make everybody around you happy. We're not, we're not modeling how to navigate that ourselves. Yeah. And here's an example that I use all the time with the kids is, um, well, first of all, okay, let's think about you've how many kids. What I, what I ask them is, how many kids do you have in your grade, right? They'll say like 200, 500. And the question is, so are you going to go to school and try to make all 500 of those people like you, right? And what's interesting is all 500 of those people want you to be somebody different. They want you to be what they think. You should be and all of them have a different idea of what that looks like. And so even if we just sit and think how much energy that would take to literally sit and try to please and try to be the person that each one of those 500 people wants us to be. Yeah. That is so much work, right? And we kind of, I think we do that because we think it's less work than it would be. To come to the one person who can actually help us to feel included, secure, confident, wanted, um, all of those things, right? But we, we like essentially hand it over to the masses instead of bringing it back to ourselves. So true. Yeah. And I kind of want to build on that example a little bit, because one thing that I've been thinking on is the idea of like, it's kind of my cookie analogy, right? So it's like, not everybody likes every kind of cookie and that's okay. But we think when we're human, everybody should like us. Right. But if we're thinking of ourselves as cookies, it's like, Oh yeah, some people like chocolate chip and some people like oatmeal and some people like raisin, you know, some people like nuts, some people don't. But when we're trying to make. Everybody at that school happy, right? All 500 students love us. It's like, okay, so I am a chocolate chip cookie, but now I'm like rolling around and nuts and cinnamon and maybe even like candy cane bits for the holidays. And, and like, essentially I'm making myself into a cookie that nobody really likes, nobody can really, they don't even know who we are, let alone do we know who we are, right? So we lose ourselves along the way, trying to get everybody to like us. And it's also really interesting to just pose a question, like, but do you like all 500 of those people? Like, are they people that you just want to hang out with all the time? Like you might think that, Oh yeah, I mean, they're fine. I'll say hi to him in the hallway. But like the goal is really to find the people that really resonate, right. Which feels so different. That sense of actual genuine belonging versus rolling around and all of those different things just to try to fit in. Yes. Yes. I love that. I, I call it, find your people go find more people. Right. And the way you find your people is you got to figure out. Well, okay. What do my people look like? First of all, right. Well, who do I want my people to be? And then we go out and find those people. We're not just like trying to find any cookie, right? We want specific cookies. Yeah. We're not just looking for the scraps. We want something genuinely filling for us. That's going to fill our soul. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Okay. So next week I'm going to New York city. Yeah. Have you ever been there? No, I want to go. I'm so excited. But they have, I think it's called the Levain Bakery. I don't know. It's, it's like, everybody knows it. It's famous for their cookies. It's famous for their breads. And I'm really excited to go. And I was looking at the menu and there's a, um, since we're talking about cookies, um, there's the oatmeal raisin cookie and they really only have a few things on their menu, like not very many. And so I was, I was like, they're I don't like oatmeal raisin cookies, but you have this on your menu as part of something that, okay, surely there are people who want to buy this because it's on your menu out of like five things. Yeah. So what that makes me think about is there's no way I'm going to ever go buy an oatmeal raisin cookie. Like in my mind, it's like nobody buys these. They're gross. Right. And people might be thinking that about you. People might be, you might be thinking about that. You might be thinking that about other people, but there's a reason why it's on the menu. And it's because a lot of people buy that cookie, right? Yeah. Yeah. And don't you want to spend time with the people that just genuinely love you, right? Like, Oh my gosh, you are my favorite kind of cookie and nobody ever has you on the menu, but I just found you on the menu and I'm so happy to have you like, it just shifts things so much, right? I'm not just buying you. Cause you're the last thing here, right? I love that. Okay. So you say that you, um, you help people struggle to find a sustainable way to love. Yeah. I'm really curious about what you mean by that. Yeah. Yeah. Cause I think so often we do try to people, please. Right. When we're trying to people, please, in order to receive love in return, we're creating something unsustainable because we're not really. Thinking about what it is that we need to come in. So we're like essentially giving and giving and giving in the hopes that somebody will find us valuable and choose to invest in us rather than wholeheartedly, just going into relationship, recognizing I can be my own self. And you can be your own self and we can kind of look and see, okay, so is this a want match? What do we have to offer each other by way of finding that balanced reciprocation in relationship? Because that's the only thing that's really going to be sustainable, right? Is if you can find something that is mutually beneficial rather than just trying to people please your way into relationship, because that's going to ultimately lead to. Always being disappointed and always left wanting. So a lot of people just experience. Yeah, that compassion fatigue and that burnout, but the compassion fatigue and burnout is that a huge indicator that, okay, I need to find something that's also coming in to fill my cup. Yeah. Oh, okay. Let's talk about that. I love this because I grew up being taught, whether this was intentional, intentionally put on me or not. I believed that it was my responsibility to love everyone and to serve everyone. And so whenever there was an opportunity that presented itself, that was my job, right? And I essentially felt like I couldn't say no. Yeah, I didn't even consider saying no to be right. Yeah. Yeah. And so what's interesting is I love that you use the word sustainable because it is not sustainable to give, give, give, give, give and not get essentially. Right? Yeah. Because spaghetting is filling our cup. Yeah. And I read one time, I saw a meme, and it made me really mad. It said, you can pour from an empty cup. And I went on to read the description, and I was like, no, you literally, like if I had a cup in my hand. You can't pour from an empty cup. There's nothing in there, right? So you have to have, you have to have a mutually beneficial relationship and not all relationships are this way, but let's just give everyone who's listening here permission to go out and find one mutually beneficial relationship that is sustained, a sustainable way to love and to be loved. Yes, so much. So, amen. Yes. Yeah. I think especially as women and caregivers, like society as a whole, put so much value on us providing value, right? Like, no, it's your job to give. It's your job to love. It's your job to, to serve other people. And we almost shame. Having a need, we almost shame, you know, that, that, no, I'm sorry. Like you're just supposed to always have a full cup to get to other people. But when you really think about it, that's just not real. That's not real life. Right? Like we all need to be fed. Just thinking about the human body and how we're created. Like, yeah, we can expend energy, but we also need something coming in and just being mindful of what's my diet coming in. Is this something that's sustaining and fueling my body? But so often just with life in general, it's like, no, no, no. I only have value. If I have something to give to other people, and it's such a strange thing to think about too, where it's like we, when we're placing other people's value on that, then isn't that kind of a strange thing that, that we feel valuable when we're giving to other people, but we also shame receiving. It also does the other person a disservice because then it's like, well, I'm kind of better than you. Cause I can give this to you. And I'm sure glad I'm not in your situation where I have a need, but it's like, but really we're all going through life, having needs, right? We are. Yeah. I love. And, and I also heard one time that, oh my gosh, I'm going to botch this, that, okay, here's my story. So my dad is really, really good at giving, giving, giving, giving, and he almost doesn't want to be perceived as someone who needs. Especially from his kids who are struggling and moms and all the things. Right. But something that I need in my life is to feel like I can give to my dad. Like, I truly feel like that's something that I need to become closer to him, to feel more love, actually, even from him and with him. And so when you're not providing others opportunities to serve you and to love you, We can also, I don't want to like shame anybody for this, but just to just to kind of change that a little bit with what you said. That's giving people an opportunity to experience more love from you by being able to serve you. Yes. And finding those genuine ways to love and serve. Like I remember I saw something on in my Facebook feed that a lot of people were inspired by and it has a great message, but it kind of rubbed me a little bit wrong where it was saying, you know, this story about this mom saying, Hey, go and ask the neighbor for a cup of sugar. And they're like, well, why we have sugar. She said, well, I want them to know that they can ask us for things and not feel guilty about asking us for things when they don't have anything. And I thought I can understand the principle of working to create reciprocation relationship, but I just couldn't help, but wish in that story that she had found something genuine that the other family had to offer, you know, Hey, could you maybe walk my kids to school or, Hey, I could just really use an ear right now. Could you just listen, but finding something that they can. Actually provide by way of value rather than like fabricating this false thing where it still is the one up one down position of the giving and receiving, you know, but really thinking through what do I genuinely have to offer in this relationship? Maybe you don't have any sugar, but maybe you do have a way to help to transport kids. You know, it's like just thinking through what do I genuinely have to offer? What do they genuinely have to offer and how could we find something that is mutually beneficial? Yeah, I love that. Yeah. Yeah, totally. So, I have so many things running through my head that I want to ask you. Okay, let's talk about, um, balance. Yeah. How do you talk to your clients and how do you teach about balance? The balance of having needs and, and also needing to get, right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So one of my favorite analogies is honestly just like a tennis match, right? Like if you're showing up at a tennis match and you've got a whole bucket of balls and you start lobbing them over, but no balls are coming back. Like using that as information before you've hit the empty bucket stage, right? Cause we keep thinking, no, but if I just keep lobbing it over, if I just keep serving, then something will come back. Some Bob will be returned, but it really takes just being really mindful ahead of time because so often it is us creating the imbalance, right? So we can talk about, well, other people, we need to figure out a way to make other people bring something back to the table, but really it's. All on our shoulders to actually recognize before we hit the burnout stage, ideally. Right. And, and sometimes it takes hitting the burnout stage before we can recognize the imbalance, but really being a conscious creator of, okay, how can I create balance? And are there specific ways that I'm. Creating imbalance for myself, recognizing like, okay, you know what? Like maybe I do need to step back just a tiny bit to allow space for the other person to invest, because I'm just showing up in such amazing ways and I'm such an incredible human, but I'm not giving them any space. In order to reciprocate. So I'm essentially creating my own burnout and imbalance. And so it's just really that mindfulness of recognizing how we're creating imbalance and then deciding what we want to create on purpose. Oh, I love that. As you were saying that, I imagine like, you know, the movies where they're playing tennis, but that machine just like to like, yeah, there's not even a chance for you to get about the other side. And we take the machine for granted right where it's like, no, the balls are going to keep on coming. We're teaching people. That we're just always going to be there and that we don't have any needs, right? We're a machine. We can keep sending them over. Yeah. I love that. You brought that up. Cause yeah, cause we're teaching people how to engage with us and how to respond. And so if we are essentially teaching them, Hey, I have zero needs. I have zero expectation of reciprocation, then that's what they're going to, that's how they're going to engage with us and how they're going to treat us. Yeah, and for those of you listening who might be thinking, I want to be that machine like that's the ultimate I strive, because you might be right you might want to actually be that machine who's just giving giving giving. I want you to think about that machine. And eventually, It runs out of balls. Yeah. And maybe it runs out of balls while you're doing bedtime with your kids at night, right? It can't go on forever. And so just to, like, if you have to pause this for a second, just think about why would I not want to be that machine? what would make it so that that machine is actually not serving me, that striving to be, that is not serving me in my life. Mm-hmm. or if you have to go to is not serving my family, is not serving my friends, is not serving my job. Right. Whatever it is, because it, it's just to, to get curious for yourself. Um, that, just that question. I guess just get curious about how that may be not serving you in the way that Yeah. Well, I'm even playing with that analogy even further. It's like, you know, even that machine, it has, it needs a power source and it needs somebody to fill it up with balls. So maybe it's not the person that you're currently in that match with that is going to be returning the balls. But being creative about, okay, where's my power source? How am I going to recharge? Who is going to refill my, my machine? Right? Because even a machine, we idealize this machine that yeah, so awesome, but even a machine has needs really, it cannot run forever. And so when we, when we think in our heads that we should, it's that expectation when we're shooting on ourselves that creates that feeling of upset where it's like, no, but I should be able to do this. So we might even be thinking, well, so and so can do it. Well, how do you know? Do you see them like crying themselves to sleep at night because it's just so unsustainable for them? Like we don't see, we only see people's public face, but really nobody can continue that level of service perpetually. Yeah. Let's just say that again, nobody, even though it seems like other people can, nobody can continue that. So good. Okay, and the last thing I want to talk about here is how has all of this helped you in raising your teenagers and also raising the young adults that you have in your life? That is such a fantastic question and I could go on for hours, but I will sum up like it has been life changing for me, truly. But I think that one of the biggest ways that it has impacted me as a parent is it has helped me to meet my kids where they're at. Right? Because ultimately when you're shitting on yourself, that I should be showing up in this way. My kids should be showing up in this way. We aren't able to meet them where they're actually at and nobody is going to create any lasting change unless they feel loved and accepted where they're at. And so really coaching has helped me to. Love and accept myself where I am at and be patient that, Oh yeah, of course I'm feeling burned out. That makes sense. I can love myself through the burnout. Oh yeah. It makes sense that I'm feeling really insecure as a parent right now because my kid is struggling. Yeah, that makes sense. I'm just going to be okay with myself feeling insecure right now. That's okay. And also by modeling that it gives my kids permission where I can be like, you know what? I love you right now. It totally makes sense. You know, we just made a move. It totally makes sense that you're feeling insecure when you don't have anybody to sit by at lunch yet. Like, it's okay. I don't have to tell you. No, but you should be going and starting to make friends and you should be showing up in this way. I can just be like, yeah. Sometimes it sucks to be the new kid, you know, and when I can meet my kids where they're at, then they're able to relax a little bit too, and be more open to creating that change. But, but ultimately that's the biggest thing that coaching has done for me is helped me to learn to meet myself and other people exactly where they're at and just be okay with it. And all of that comes back to going back to the very beginning, learning how to manage your own emotions. I love that. Yeah. And so in my mind, I'm like, let's meet them where they're at, and then we'll, and then it will fix itself and then it will like, and then let's fix them. How much time do we have to spend meeting them where they're at? So true. So, so for those who are listening, meeting them where they're at could be the to do list could be the fixing. In and of itself. And so I love that you're talking about that. That's so good. Cause as moms, we do want to fix, I think, and we can change meeting them where they're at to part of, to what we, what they need from us. Right. Yeah. Yeah. And it's such a different feeling to just be able to sit with your kid and just let them be sad. And let them not feel well and to be okay with it is such a different feeling than, you know, because oftentimes when we are emotionally immature, we're trying to, we're teaching our kids how to buffer to write where it's like, but I brought you home a slurpee. So you should be happy now, you know? And it's like, okay, what do I really want to create here? Like, maybe it's okay. For us to just not feel good and that we can love each other in that space of not feeling good. And I think that that also helps us to feel more loved and accepted by others, right? When we're feeling confident and secure in ourselves that, wow, like I can love me, my parents love me. Even when I'm having a hard time, it helps us to release and let go of those thoughts of, but nobody likes an oatmeal cookie, right? Because we know, Hey, but I do. I love oatmeal cookies and I know I'm going to find the other people that love oatmeal cookies, but we have to learn to love ourselves even when we're experiencing those negative emotions before we can approach relationship and attract those people that also really just love oatmeal cookies. Yeah. Yeah. I love what you said about attract, because what I teach kids is when you have that for yourself, you literally become. A magnet. People want to be your friends. Yeah. Instead of the other energy, which is actually almost repelling to people. So yeah. So true. Yeah. Cause like attracts like, right. So if you're going into a relationship thinking, I just need somebody to like me. The quality of the relationship is gonna be so much different than, Hey, I'm gonna find somebody that genuinely likes me.'cause I genuinely like me. What? What's gonna really make me happy? Like it just flips it in the mind so much. So I love that. Yeah. Hey, I'm here. Who's up for me? Who wants me Yeah. Yeah. I love that. So good, Marianne. It's so good to talk to you and meet you today. Do you want to share with everybody where we can find you and yeah, I would love to. So I also have a podcast it's called inner work with Marianne Walker and this was a fantastic interview by the way. You're an amazing interviewer. I'm amazed that this is your first one. You're going to be having fun. This is fun. Yeah. And then you can also find me on Instagram and Facebook at Marianne Walker dot life. I'm also on Tik Tok. So yeah. So if you're interested in connecting, come and find me. Yes. Connect with Marianne for sure. All right, you guys. Thank you so much, and we'll see you next week.