In this episode, MaryAnn Walker and Empty Nest coach, Michelle Evans, explore the concept of people-pleasing, particularly in the context of empty nesters and their relationships with their adult children.
People-pleasing may seem innocent on the surface, but it often involves neglecting one's own needs while prioritizing the desires and expectations of others. This can lead to compassion fatigue and burnout. MaryAnn highlights the potential dark side of people-pleasing, where individuals aim to fulfill their emotional needs by pleasing others. In the context of empty nesters, there can be a tendency to rely on adult children to fill emotional gaps, which can complicate the parent-child relationship.
While it can be a challenge, it is critical for empty nesters to allow their adult children to experience and manage their own emotions, even if it leads to moments of discomfort.
Maryann provides actionable steps for listeners to clean up their people-pleasing tendencies, emphasizing the importance of non-judgmental self-awareness, patience, and celebrating small victories in the process. She suggests shifting from a parental role to a coaching role as adult children grow and need more independence.
Want to connect with MaryAnn or register for the FREE Raising Confident Kids Summit? Click here!
Want to connect with Michelle? Click here!
Well, hello, and welcome back. So I was recently interviewed on Michelle Evans podcast beyond the nest. Michelle Evans is a life coach for those that are entering into empty nest hood. And we talked about the idea of people pleasing around empty nest hood and specifically people pleasing as it pertains to our adult children. And speaking of children, make sure that you listen to the end of the podcast. You can hear a few more details. About the Raising Confident Kids Summit that is going to be starting on November 1st, and we'll be going straight to your inbox. Now, this is an amazing summit where I am actually going to be one of the panel experts, and so you can go to the show notes to check that out and register now for this free event. Again, that starts November 1st. So with that, here we go with my interview with Michelle Evans. Enjoy!
Welcome to the podcast. I have a guest with me today who is an amazing energy practitioner and life coach for helpers, healers, and people pleasers. She's made it her life's mission to make loving and serving more sustainable for those who listen, nurture, and heal. Welcome Marianne. Well, thanks, Michelle. I'm really excited to be here today. So I collaborate with Marianne all the time and she has got some amazing things that she shares and I really was excited to be able to bring her on the podcast. So this is amazing. Oh, I'm super excited. I know that Michelle's just always a good time. So anytime we get to hang out, I am there. All right. So my podcast is geared towards empty nesters. So let's talk about people pleasing because these are people that have been people pleasing for a long time, right? Yeah. So what, what is people pleasing exactly? Yeah. Well, people pleasing, it sounds so sweet and innocent. On the surface, right? It's like, Oh, I just grew up and I please people. I make people so happy. And it sounds so great. But me working as a coach with people, pleasers and the helpers and the healers, oftentimes what happens is we become so focused on other people's wants, wishes, and desires that we neglect our own. So this can oftentimes lead to compassion, fatigue, and burnout. And there's also a little sneaky part of people pleasing, right? Where essentially people pleasers are pleasing other people. And then. Effort to fulfill an emotional need for them. And so I might be doing nice things for you so that you'll praise me or so that you'll reciprocate in some way, it kind of has this little bit of a dark side sometimes where you really have to check in with self and be like, okay, am I loving and serving from a clean place where I just want to love and serve? Or am I coming at it from a place of neediness? And I find, especially for empty nesters. When they're going through this transition, then it's like, but wait, my babies, and there can be a little bit of that cling energy where now it kind of muddies the waters a little bit more where it's like, no, but my babies are supposed to fill these needs for me and supposed to help me to feel better about myself. And so it can be a really interesting dynamic to just notice that in the adult parent child relationship. That is so fascinating. So what about when you're trying to people please your adult kids? What, like what's happening there, right? So many things. I think that for, for, especially for the empty nesters, they have identified so much in one role that honestly, a lot of the times it really is done out of innocence, right? Where it's like, well, I don't know who I am anymore. So they're still identifying as the mother, the nurturer, the caregiver, sometimes even as the one who still is. Making the doctor's appointments or driving the kid to work and different things and and it can make things a little bit muddy there in that sometimes there are people pleasing their adult children, but it's preventing that growth in the child. It's it's not cutting those apron strings. It becomes more enabling. Then helping, and that's not really going to create the love and connection relationship and the trust there. They think that they're doing something very helpful for their adult children when really they could potentially be stunting their growth under the guise of, but this will make them so happy and help me to feel fulfilled. Hmm. Okay. That is so interesting because I've had coaching clients that I've worked with who have been trying to stop people pleasing. And one of the things that I see come up is they don't know how to say no to their adult kids because they don't want their adult kids to get mad or get upset with them. Or they don't want them to have to ask for somebody else to watch their kids, or to have to go through the discomfort of finding somebody else. So how do you allow your adult kids to be upset? If they're going to be upset, how do you allow that in, in, in yourself? Right. And it's so funny because there's other aspects of life. I think it can help to look for evidence for where you've allowed it in other parts of life, right? Because you feel okay about it. For example, if a coworker is having an issue, it's just all that. That's really hard for you. Like you can hold space for them, but you're not necessarily making it your problem saying, but I must save it. And I must save the day. And Oh no, this is now all about me. And what can I do to help them? so it can, Create that conflict because a lot of times then these moms, they really do want to babysit their grandbabies, right? They may want to be there for the kiddos and that's great. But then to check in that, okay, well, am I doing this from that genuine place or am I people pleasing my adult child? And then just recognizing that, you know what, everybody has feelings and that's okay. And reminding yourself that, yeah, my kid might throw an adult sized tantrum because they're used to me doing everything for them. They're used to me cutting the meat, making sure that they're home safe, buying the clothes, all of these things, like reminding yourself, okay, I've have had experiences, even raising this child in particular, where they've maybe had some feelings come up, but the only way that they are going to learn how to navigate their adult sized emotions, or if I step back. And I let them like we are essentially when we aren't allowing our adult children to have their big feelings. We are essentially stunting their emotional development because there, we can't expect people to learn how to navigate their own emotions. If we don't allow space for them to learn how to navigate those big emotions through those big adult life experiences. Right. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I like what you said because I think that goes so well with. Um, believing that you gave them all the tools that they needed and that they'll figure it out. They'll figure out how to navigate some of that discomfort and you will too. Yeah. Yeah. And it's having that faith in self that you did the best you could. And also knowing that, yeah, there's going to be stuff that I'm going to wish I would have taught them. And that I didn't, and neither one of you are going to know what those things are until they face them in the real world. But even then acknowledging that, okay, but maybe I didn't teach them exactly how to do this thing, but I've done enough. I've helped them to learn that they can learn how to navigate these things on their own. They can. actually make a phone call and set up their own appointment. They can actually, you know, do some research into, you know, doctors and whoever. So it's just kind of interesting. You just noticed like, okay, what is my intent here? And then having that trust in yourself as well as in your adult child. So what about. In-laws So we, you know, we raise these kids and then a lot of them grow up and get married. Yeah. We have in-laws and we really want our in-laws to like us. Yes. So is this about the adult child people pleasing the in-laws and wanting to win them over? Is that what you're referring to? Yeah, well, no, it's like for me as a mother, like an empty nester and I have, you know, all these boys that are, you know, growing up, getting married and, and I really want them to like me. I really want my in laws to like me because you always hear about like, you know, that Oh, your mother in law and, and now that I am, I am one, Oh, it doesn't have to be that way. Like, and I really want them to like me, but I, but how do you stay out of people pleasing energy and still show up in a way that like you can respect and then hopefully also your. And laws can respect. Yeah, that's a really interesting dynamic, right? Because there's other parts of life again, where you're like, okay, with somebody not just totally falling in love with you. But when this is somebody that's going to have a lot of influence on your child, it does kind of create those feelings of, Oh no, but I need to make sure that we are on good terms so that if there's something happening with the kids, I know that they're on my side. And, and so it's kind of interesting to recognize like, okay, so maybe right now I'm in the must be seen as box, like what's coming up for me, how, why am I making my child's in laws about me? And, and just to make sure that you're in a clean place, right? Because that's great to want to have a healthy relationship with your in laws and also like checking in with yourself that, you know, maybe sometimes you get along with your own in laws and sometimes you don't, but again, it's exercising that faith and trust that it's going to be okay. Are all now adults. And there's probably going to be some missteps along the way. And we can all figure out how to navigate that, knowing that yeah, stumbles are going to happen. And that doesn't mean that we'll never get along. It doesn't mean, you know, just checking in with, what am I making it mean for when I am getting along with them? And when I'm not getting along with them, what am I making it mean? What's the story in my head? Yeah. Well, and for me, it comes up like, like if we're not getting along. It's a problem. Yeah. Because then I potentially wouldn't be able to see one of my boys, wouldn't be able to see the grandkids. And so it feels very, it feels very activated to like, how do I manage myself and be true to myself and be authentic and allow my daughter in laws to manage themselves and just trust that they are able to let go of the messiness that we all have. Right. Yeah. Cause it's tricky. Cause we're used to having so much of the pie. Right. We're used to getting this much time with our kids. And we have this expectation in our head about when we're going to get this much time with the grandkids and this much time with the son in law or the daughter in law. And it can take some time to remind yourself that, Oh, like the pie has just been cut in more pieces and to recognize, okay. Like you said, like, what am I making it mean? Am I making it mean like I got less of the. Pie now of all of their time. And that must mean that, that they're upset with me or, you know, this, that, and the other, or does it just mean, yeah, you know what, like, yeah, we're all figuring out how to divide up this pie. We're all trying to figure out who's going to get how much time and what that's going to look like. And maybe for a season, you are focusing a little bit more on the quality over the quantity, depending on where the children and the grandchildren are living. Uh, but just making a point to, okay, well, whatever time I get. How do I want to show up and make sure that you're showing up from that clean place so that all of your time you are spending with them isn't spensing. So, but like, you like me more than the other grandma. Right. And, well, I mean, but you're going to be here for the holidays. Right. Because when you're coming at it through that needy clingy energy. That's probably going to create some resistance and create the opposite of what it is that you're seeking in a relationship. You want your family to show up because they want to be with you. Not because you've guilted them or obligated them to show up because you keep doing all of those things for them. Right? That's where the people pleasing is coming in. But I do the free babysitting. And remember, I offered to do an overnighter and, and, but I took you all these leftovers and recognizing that, Oh, maybe I have just slid into manipulation. If I was doing those things, expecting, or even planning to like tell them later, remind them of all of the things that you did for them so that they'll start to fulfill that need for you. So you can feel special. Hmm. Yeah, that is so interesting because I, I saw that pointed out that it is manipulation when they don't get a vote. And so you're doing stuff in a transactional sense and they don't know that that's what's happening. And then you call the debt due and they don't even know they have a debt. They don't even know they're running one. Yeah. Yeah. That's it. And that's really interesting. Another thing that's come up with people pleasing that I find really fascinating is the resentment when you're trying to manage somebody else's emotions. And you're trying to keep them happy. So then you say yes to something that you is really a no. And then you resent them for that. So what, what do you think about that kind of stuff? Oh, that is so real. I mean, that's honestly like what I coach on day in and day out is like. Yeah. So like, I'm really feeling taken advantage of and yeah, like, you know, everybody wants me to do all these things for them and they're not doing anything for me. And yeah, like I'm really in this rough spot where I've been like keeping track of who's invested what, and I am really lacking. And like, that's honestly what I coach about day in and day out. Like that's a very real thing. And the hard truth is if you find that you're experiencing that resentment, you need to make it more about you check in with yourself and see, oh. Because the resentment can be a big indicator that you need to check in with yourself. First of all, about your motives, if you're giving in order to get gained, and if you're coming at it through that manipulative lens. But also just to check in that, okay, well, I'm just going to believe them. Like, if this is how much they're willing to bring to the table, if this is how much they're willing to, To offer at this point in time, I'm just going to believe them and I'm going to adapt my own investment accordingly. And that can be hard thing, a hard pill to swallow, right? Because we think, no, but we should keep giving and we should. But if you're recognizing that resentment cup coming in, the hard truth is that you have all this resentment because you have chosen to invest in again and again and again, without creating space to have your own cup filled. And we tend to attach a judgment that. But this person in particular should be the one to fulfill my need, but if they're unable to at this time, because they are learning how to navigate having in laws or they have a new spouse or they have a new baby, they have other priorities just at that season of life. And you're making it mean that for some reason, it means that you are lesser than, or that they should owe you and that you should be higher up on their list of priorities. Like just check in with self and recognize like, okay, I obviously have something that I need to, you know, Go get some coaching on, or just workshop here to figure out what is happening for me and how can I adjust accordingly to create that balance rather than expecting the other person to be the one to create balance. Yeah. Okay. So you said it's almost like, okay. So, so then we expect to be on a higher list of priorities. Okay. I find that so interesting. It's almost like, because we raised these kids, we're entitled. To more and I always tell my boys like I bore you from my womb and it's like reminding them like, listen, we shared a body. Yeah. And, and so what, what I can see that at times, what I've made that mean is that I should be put higher on the list of priorities, but that's not true, right? And you'll hear a lot of women say that where they're like, look at these stretch marks. Look what I did for you. And that's essentially what they're doing is saying, no, like you need to be elevating me. You should be treating me this way. And it's. Yeah, mom. Like you did a lot for me. And also like, just by putting those things out there and setting up those expectations, you're still kind of squashing your child a little bit, right? Because then you're, you're questioning what they are choosing to invest in, which might be very good things, but instead just asking like, Hey, like, yeah. What's going on for you and what things you interested in and, and, and yeah. And, and how is that for you to be adapting to this new situation? Getting compassionate and curious about their situation rather than judgmental can help to really relax the nervous system a little bit and help to calm that down a little bit. Right. Because that is a challenge. Yeah. Okay. I was listening to Brene Brown, her book lately. So I just wanted to go back really quick and touch on resentment. One of the things that she said that I was like, wait, what? It totally blew my mind and changed my life. I love moments like that, but she said she realized that resentment, she always thought it was in the anger family. And she said, it's not, it's in the envy family. Hmm. Interesting. Yeah. And so I was like, Oh my gosh, that is fascinating. So when I'm resenting my kids for asking me for things or it's because the underlying issue isn't resentment, it's actually envy. And for whatever reason, maybe it's I'm envious that they have the audacity to ask because I haven't. Yeah, or maybe it's because I'm envious that they are able to go out and go on dates And I didn't like I stayed home with my little kids So that's been like a mind blower Yeah, or even envious of how they're spending their time, right? Envious of the activity that they're choosing to do rather than be with you. Maybe you wish that you could be there, or maybe you're envious of their new partner, or even envious of, of the, the moments that they're having with their children, where you just really are envious and wish you could be there. So that is really interesting to think about. Resentment through the lens of envy. That's fascinating. Yeah. Well, and what it, what it did for me, it changed the way, like I wasn't feeling resentment towards them. It was actually envy and I was able to own the emotion that I was creating it because resentment feels like it's really somebody else's fault. Yeah. And right. And I was having, I was even having a really hard time cleaning some resentments up. But as soon as I saw that envy piece, then I was looking for, okay, what is it that I'm envious about in this situation? And then I could own it. Yeah. Wow. Resentment was kind of the secondary. Yeah. I love that. And, and when we can bring it back to ourselves, those are the things we have control over. Right. When we do have that resentment and the anger and the expectation of others, what the other people are going to do, that's a hundred percent out of our control. The only thing we have control over is how we're going to show up. So I love that about using that to turn it from, Oh, apparently I have these expectations of others. What am I making mean about me? What things are in my control? Yeah. It's like, I think that is like so powerful. Okay. So tell me what would be some actionable steps for all of my listeners that are people pleasers that they could start to notice and clean up. Yeah. I mean, well, we've already talked about a few of them, right? Like just noticing when the resentment is showing up, noticing if you are actually the one creating imbalance, kind of trusting the process, right? That. All right. So I have these expectations coming up, but honestly, all of us are going through a transition. They have never really adulted before. I have never had an empty nester before I just having that patience, right? So it's practicing, um, knowing that this is actually a practice and that it's going to take time. And then also just having that patience for both parties, knowing that, all right, yeah, this is a process and maybe I have the expectation that they should be in a different place on their journey right now than they actually are. But trusting the process, checking in with yourself and checking in with them and just seeing like, okay, but where are we both actually at? And is this an expectation or am I being real about where we're at and loving and compassionate about where they're at? And then also just kind of celebrate the wins along the way, right? Like how fun. That you now have adult children, it is so much fun as my kids are getting older to have these conversations that you can't really have when they're younger, but also kind of one thing that I've really been thinking a lot on lately is just making that transition in your brain from being a parent to more to being a coach that your job is no longer to keep them safe and protected from harm, your job now is to be somebody that they can bounce ideas off of so that they can determine. What things are safe for them that they can figure out how they want to proceed rather than being told. That's the only way to grow up anyway, right? Is if we learn how to do those things on our own and actually activate that frontal cortex and think things through. And so switching in your brain like, okay, am I stepping in as a parent right now? Or am I stepping in as a coach and somebody that can be that neutral space where it's safe for them to come to mom and say, Hey, I'm really having a hard time with this. You know, be that whatever it might be that they're experiencing in adulthood, you know, so it can be interesting to just notice like, okay, I'm just going to be that safe space. I'm in control of how I can show up. And they'll figure out how they're going to show up and yeah, it's going to take some time. Nobody adults perfectly out of the gate. I am 43 and I'm still figuring it out. And I'm glad that my parents are patient with me about that. Reminding yourself, okay, well, how would I want my parents to treat me right now? Because even some. Adults that are a bit older, they still struggle with those parental expectations, with the resentments, with those manuals for how mom and dad think that I should be showing up. And so just recognizing that, oh, well, I know that doesn't feel good when it happens to me, am I doing that to my adult child? Hmm. So you said the first thing is to notice, notice resentments, notice things coming up. Then to practice mm-hmm. and start practicing how you wanna show up. Practicing. No. You know, and honoring yourself. Um, have patience with the process. Don't get too perfectionist about it, just like mm-hmm. it's gonna take some practice and then celebrate the wins. Yeah. And I want to just adapt one of those things a tiny bit, just tweak it a tiny bit. But as you're noticing the things, notice them from a place of non judgment oftentimes, when we do notice these things coming up, it's like, Oh, and now I failed again. I'm a horrible mother. And we attach all that judgment to it, but just noticing it and just taking it as information, just bringing into your conscious reality that, Oh, I didn't even know I was doing that. How interesting. And once we can notice it from that place of compassionate curiosity from self and nonjudgment from self, it's a lot easier for us to even talk with our adult children about that and be like, Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. I had no idea that I was doing that. I was totally acting like that other family member that I've really struggled with. And I didn't even know it until just now. I want you to know that that's now something I'm consciously aware of. And I hope that we can move forward from this. And I think that helps alleviate shame for both parties too, right? Because then it also gives your adult child permission to not show up. Perfect. If you can work on being nonjudgmental towards yourself, it will really help you to show up in nonjudgmental ways for your child. Yeah. Yeah. Judgment is so huge. We really like to club ourselves. Oh, we do. And everybody else. Yes. Yes. We're not showing up the way we want, and neither is anybody else. So let me get my bat out and club them too. Yeah. That's so funny. So true. Okay. This has been a great conversation. So I have some rapid fire questions for you. All right. Bring it on. How did you marry energy work and life coaching together and which one came first for you? Yeah. So it's been really an interesting journey for me. Then energy work started first and I absolutely love energy work and I'm still figuring out how to like bridge those two together, but energy work I think has really helped me and supported me on my life coaching journey because I kind of had the realization with energy work that, that for me, the fastest energy. Genetic shifts happen like as quick as a thought. And so, you know, using the energy work to kind of help to create those shifts, but also recognizing that with the coaching aspect, if I can help people to identify the thought that is holding them back and help them to flip it. I have seen amazing energetic shifts happen and sometimes leave and recognize like, Oh my gosh, I didn't even know I was still holding onto that belief. I know that that was created back when I was, you know, nine years old, but here I am still believing that and how interesting, but they've never actually stepped back. To figure out why do I have that belief? And is that true? And is that something I want to continue to believe? So it's been really fun and fascinating to see how those two really do go hand in hand. It's been a super fun work. I love it. Yeah, that's so cool. So how do you nurture yourself when you're feeling dysregulated? Oh, fantastic question. Yeah, I think that my current favorite is just being outside. Nature helps me so much. When I'm feeling dysregulated, like it's really important for me to just unplug and ground and center. You know, be that through spending time in nature or through meditation, or even using my yoga practices. Okay. I'm going to practice my flexibility in my body to help me to shift this energy and also help me to be more flexible in my thinking and in my relationships, but just being really intentional about that is kind of my favorite thing. Yeah. Oh, that's just sounds so juicy and lovely. Oh, it is. So I love the way that you take care of yourself and nurture yourself. That's awesome. And what would you tell your younger self if you were given the opportunity? Let's see, I would probably tell my younger self You've got this, you know, it's a process, it's okay to do things in your own way and in your own timeline, but I think that I would just, yeah, express to myself what I'm hope I'm conveying to my own kids to, or it's like, yeah, like, you've got this. I love you exactly where you're at. And of course, throughout my life, I've been at very different places, but just, yeah, I love you and you've got this. Yeah, that's so nice. And it's so kind, right? Because so many times we look back on our past self with judgment but being able to embrace where you are and just like, Hey, it's okay, you got it. And that's, yeah. And even looking at those missteps as You know, what did I learn from that? How was that actually working for me? Like, yeah, that was awful. But what growth did I experience as I learned how to navigate that? And just recognizing like, okay, yeah, I did learn from that. I did grow from that. I wouldn't want to repeat that, but having that self compassion that, all right, but am I better? Yeah, like I think the overall I can say that, that I've improved, be it that I have an increased capacity to love other people or increased compassion or increased self awareness. You know, there's a lot of lessons that can be learned and that are very valuable, even through those missteps and just loving yourself through the process can be, yeah, life changing. Yeah. And that's, that, that is so much more kind and gentle than bringing out the club. Yeah. Marianne, tell me where, if my listeners are interested in finding you, where are you hanging out? Where can they find you? Yeah. Well, if you are a helper, a healer or a people pleaser, and you would like some support with that, I do have a podcast called inner work with Marianne Walker. You can also find me on Instagram or Tik TOK by just looking up the handle Marianne Walker dot life. And yeah, so I'm kind of all over the place. So come and find me on your favorite platform and let's connect. Oh, this has been a great conversation. Thank you so much Marianne for coming on and being a guest on my podcast. Oh, thank you. I just always enjoy visiting with you and I love everything that you share here on the podcast and I just, yeah, love the work that you're doing. I think it's beautiful. So thank you so much for letting me contribute. Yeah, this is my listeners are going to be, they're going to be so excited to hear this. So thank you again. All right, everybody. That's what we have for you this week. And we will see you next week. Bye bye.Built-in Microphone-1:
Hey there, just one last thing before you go. I don't know if you listened to my bonus episode that I just loaded, but I have been asked to be a panel expert at the Raising Confident Kids Summit. This is going to be an incredible free event where all of the... Subject matter will be coming straight to your inbox every day. So if you're interested in increasing your own confidence or learning some more tools to help you to support your children as they increase in confidence, come and attend this summit. I think you're going to love it. I'll have a link in the show notes where you can register for free. I'll see you there.