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

Fawning: A People Pleaser Stress Response

April 18, 2024 MaryAnn Walker Episode 99
Fawning: A People Pleaser Stress Response
Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker: Life Coach for Empaths, Highly Sensitive People & People Pleasers
More Info
Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker: Life Coach for Empaths, Highly Sensitive People & People Pleasers
Fawning: A People Pleaser Stress Response
Apr 18, 2024 Episode 99
MaryAnn Walker

Send us a Text Message.

"Fawning" is the most common stress response among highly sensitive people and people pleasers. In this episode we explore the four F's in the human stress response—fight, flight, freeze, and fawn—and discuss how fawning manifests in behaviors aimed at pleasing others, often at the expense of one's own needs and boundaries.

What You'll Learn:

-The four F's of the human stress response: fight, flight, freeze, and fawn
-How fawning can be identified through behaviors like extreme people-pleasing and conflict avoidance
-The impact of seeking approval and over-apologizing on personal well-being
-The dangers of ignoring personal boundaries and difficulty in saying no
-Strategies to recognize and navigate fawning tendencies

Recognizing the signs of fawning is crucial for breaking the cycle of people-pleasing and developing healthier boundaries. Understanding these patterns can help you reclaim your self-identity and build more authentic relationships.

Was this helpful? Don't forget to subscribe to our channel for more!

Looking for customized support? Come and work with me!
Apply to work with me: https://maryannwalker.life/contact-me
Connect with me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryannwalker.life
Connect with me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maryannwalker.life/
Connect with me on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@maryannwalker.life

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

"Fawning" is the most common stress response among highly sensitive people and people pleasers. In this episode we explore the four F's in the human stress response—fight, flight, freeze, and fawn—and discuss how fawning manifests in behaviors aimed at pleasing others, often at the expense of one's own needs and boundaries.

What You'll Learn:

-The four F's of the human stress response: fight, flight, freeze, and fawn
-How fawning can be identified through behaviors like extreme people-pleasing and conflict avoidance
-The impact of seeking approval and over-apologizing on personal well-being
-The dangers of ignoring personal boundaries and difficulty in saying no
-Strategies to recognize and navigate fawning tendencies

Recognizing the signs of fawning is crucial for breaking the cycle of people-pleasing and developing healthier boundaries. Understanding these patterns can help you reclaim your self-identity and build more authentic relationships.

Was this helpful? Don't forget to subscribe to our channel for more!

Looking for customized support? Come and work with me!
Apply to work with me: https://maryannwalker.life/contact-me
Connect with me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryannwalker.life
Connect with me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maryannwalker.life/
Connect with me on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@maryannwalker.life

Well, hello and welcome back. Now. Most people have heard of fight flight or freeze, but have you heard of fawning? There are four F's in the human stress response. So there's fight flight, freeze and fawn. And these are coping mechanisms that are our response to stress danger, or a perceived threat. Especially as it pertains to social situations. So this might look like trying to win over the good graces of others, more than likely at the expense of your own needs, boundaries or values. So it essentially looks like an extreme desire to please others avoid conflict and seek approval. In other words, it can look a whole lot, like people pleasing as a stress response. So in fact, that may be one way to tell if you are people pleasing or if you're just genuinely wanting to make people happy is by looking at what's happening underneath your actions, are you feeling stress in the form of duty obligation, or even a fear of abandonment or rejection, if you don't comply with what it is that you're trying to appease in other people, if so, then you. might be experiencing a fawn response. Now for many people, pleasers, fawning can become a pattern of behavior and it can show up in the following ways so I'm going to talk about a few of these really kind of self reflect on, okay. How is it showing up for me? Is it showing up for me and how can I learn to navigate it? Because awareness is the first step when it comes to learning how to navigate it. All right. The first one is an extreme desire to please. Now people pleasers oftentimes go out of their way to make other people happy, even if it means sacrificing their own wellbeing. It looks like saying yes to everything, even when it's not in their best interest. These are the people that oftentimes bite off more than they can chew. Now I once heard someone in a leadership position say, if you want something done, give it to a busy person and I couldn't help, but wonder how many of those busy people that are known for getting it done? Or attempting to win over others approval, which can ultimately really lead to burnout. All right. The second one is avoidance of conflict. fawning behavior often includes going to great lengths to avoid any kind of disagreement or confrontation. People pleasers might suppress their own opinions or needs just to maintain harmony. So this might look like not speaking up when they're in pain, when they're going on a hike with somebody they're just trying to grit their teeth and get through it. Or maybe they're a go a longer, who essentially has no opinion, but just goes along with what the others are wanting. Or maybe they're even convincing themselves that toxic behavior is tolerable because they would rather keep the peace in relationship, then speak up and risk creating further conflict in relationship. Now once upon a time I was taken to the emergency room with severe sciatic pain. I couldn't walk and I had to be carried in. And when they carried me and they put me in a wheelchair and they were just having me wait until there was a bed available, there were no beds available. And the pain was excruciating. And I remember sitting in the emergency room with tears streaming down my face. And I was so polite. I was so polite when I was in this extreme pain. It was really interesting to reflect back on. And I found myself saying, please, are there any beds available, please, please. I just really need to lay down. Please, do you think that you might checking again to see if there's a bed available? I was so soft-spoken and so polite. And I really didn't think about it until later how much different my response to pain was compared with everybody else in the emergency room. And I realized that those that were more expressive around their pain, they got a different response from the staff. And I've reflected back on that moment. So many times in my life, kind of using it as a life lesson for myself to remind my brain, that asking to have your needs met... there's nothing wrong with that. And sure, you know, it was a busy night. The staff may have been stressed, but guess what? It was not my job to manage their stress. It was not my job to be extra quiet and polite and make sure that I didn't add to their stress. But it was quite literally their job to help me to manage my pain. So I think about that often when I find myself in a situation where I'm just trying really hard to just fly under the radar and make sure that nobody experiences a,negative emotion. All right. Number three, seeking approval. People pleasers often base their self-worth on external validation. This means that their mood may depend heavily on the reactions of those around them. So if someone around them is unhappy, then they do whatever they can to shift the mood. So this might look like jumping up and hurrying to get to work cleaning the house. When they're grumpy partner walks into the room.. Or maybe they're trying to take away someone's negative emotion with a sweet treat or maybe tickets to an event.in an effort to make sure that everybody around them feels good all the time. Right. But Huzzah! Look what I've got here. They're very excited to try to take away their pain. But when we are seeking to be viewed as the fixer of everything so that we can get credit for making everything better, right. Getting that external validation, it doesn't only hinder others growth when we don't allow them to learn how to navigate their own emotions, but it also creates a codependent relationship where neither party can now function without the other. It really creates that anxious attachment. All right. Number four, over apologizing. fawning can also show up in excessive apologizing, even for things that are not necessarily our fault. People pleasers may apologize profusely to just avoid upsetting other people regardless of the situation. And sometimes this over apologizing, it ties in with the other things that we've talked about. For example, maybe before someone has even given feedback on someone's presentation, they might be apologizing ahead of time. Oh, I'm so sorry. I know I didn't do a very good job. So they're over apologizing in advance, even though they don't know what they did well and what they didn't do well yet they have not yet received that feedback. But this also kind of pulls in the external validation because now the other person's inclination is to make them feel better. Right. So saying, oh, you're so self aware that, to know, you didn't do a good job. They get some kind of a win, right. Or maybe they, the other person finds themselves wanting to say, oh, but Hey, you did great. You know, really, it was fantastic! And now they're reassuring them due to this apology, or maybe they're apologizing for having a difference of opinion, or maybe when you come to them with feedback about something, then they're over apologizing. Like, oh, I'm just so sorry that I failed you. And then it's in the depths of despair. And now, rather than talking about the issue they're over apology is now creating a situation where now you have to address how they are feeling, right. It kind of shifts the spotlight of what's happening in that situation. So, if you find yourself over apologizing, it may be a fawn response because it's kind of triggering this in other people where you're wanting to make them feel better, or also seeking that external validation where you're now seeking to pull in things from other people. All right. Number five, ignoring personal boundaries. fawning often involves ignoring or downplaying personal boundaries. People pleasers might allow people to overstep their boundaries. Just to maintain peace or to avoid rejection. So, for example, one client of mine found herself in a car with a friend who later she found out was intoxicated. And so as her friend really struggled to stay in her lane, my client decided to just silently pray for safety because she was too afraid of her friend's wrath to speak up or to ask her friend to pull over and let her take the wheel. So it can literally put you in danger when you're fawning, just because you don't want to upset somebody else. it might also show up as allowing a date to maybe get a little bit more handsy with you than you would have liked or allowing somebody to yell at you and you're not walking away. It's tolerating these behaviors and allowing somebody else to push beyond your boundaries and beyond your limits in an effort to keep the peace. But again, that's creating that internal conflict. All right. Number six, difficulty saying, no, this one is similar to ignoring personal boundaries, but it's slightly different because in this case, there might not be any boundaries there to begin with. Right. So one of them is that you're allowing someone to push beyond your boundaries. The other one is that you don't have any boundaries to begin with. So it can be really hard to tell where one person ends and the other person begins because we just don't know what they're made of. They haven't told us what they are and are not okay with. So the people pleaser in this instance, they may feel intense guilt or anxiety at the thought of disappointing someone which leads to an automatic yes. Response. And oftentimes those with this response, then they really struggle with their own self identity. They don't know what it is that they like or what they don't like. They don't know necessarily who they want to be in relationship with because they're so consumed with who it is that they want to just make sure that everybody wants to be in a relationship with them. But they've never actually thought about who do I actually want to be in relationship with. They don't have enough of that self identity to know those things for themselves. Now overall fawning in the context of people, pleasers is a coping mechanism that comes from a place of really wanting to be loved, accepted, and valued by others, but it creates a pattern of behavior that can lead to exhaustion, resentment and really ultimately a loss of self identity. But coming to recognize these tendencies in ourselves can be the first step in breaking free from that cycle of people pleasing and fawning, and really learning healthy boundaries. So if, as I went over these six ways of fawning, if it kind of triggered a recognition in you that, oh, wow, I have a tendency to do that. Then I invite you to come to my, how to stop people, pleasing workshop, which is happening tomorrow, April 19th, this is a free event, but you do need to register to join. This workshop will be about an hour in length and yes, there will be a Q&A portion. So bring your questions with you. I would love to be able to help and support you. And of course, if you were unable to watch it live, then still come and register so that I can send you the replay for the workshop and you can watch it at your convenience. Now, while this workshop is going to be open and free for everyone. I am also going to be letting you know about a rare opportunity for a group workshop, which I'm super excited about, but this group training will have a cap on how many people can participate. So come to the workshop, see if this group program would be a good fit for you. I am super excited about it. So yeah, let's talk soon. Talk to you later. Bye.