Recovering From Appeasing
This blog is written by Cheri Neal; 3VQ Certified Trainer.
What skills are you proud of, that you put time and attention into polishing? Imagine being immersed in a training full of strangers, when the instructor matter-of-factly shares that YOUR best skill is actually a detriment and then proceeds to identify all the ways that skill—the one that you were so proud of—can hurt people deeply!
I don’t have to imagine. I can reflect back to that day in December 2015, when Donna Zajonc put the word “Appease” in the same bucket as Fight, Flight, and Freeze, which are all the ways we react when in drama.
I bolted to the women’s room and burst into tears. Appeasing is BAD?!?!?! I’d spent my entire life polishing my precious gift as an Appeaser. I was a master at it! It took nearly 20 minutes before I gained my composure, reentering the classroom, swollen red eyes and all. I could barely pay attention, thinking about what Donna had shared.
Had I REALLY been the CAUSE of so much drama? What David and Donna helped me to recognize for the first time in my life was that Rescuers appease out of fear—they do whatever it takes to keep the peace. They allow themselves to not matter so that everyone else will hopefully be happy. If everyone else is happy, then the story they tell themselves is that they can be happy too. But that’s a lie. Over time, the Appeaser starts to feel sorry for themselves because nobody cares about them. They then start to feel like Victims because nobody cares what they want, even though they don’t KNOW what they want. They’ve spent their entire life focusing on what OTHERS want!
It was a very hard habit to break. Who am I kidding? That makes me sound like I actually have broken the habit! It is truly a one day at a time, one interaction at a time, thing. I am constantly waking up to ways I unconsciously appease or try to manipulate people in an effort to keep the peace.
I recently completed an inventory of all my resentments as a part of my self-help practice and guess what? All ten resentments were based on the fear of letting others down, by me not doing what they wanted or them not doing what I wanted. But what I now know is that true peace and ease come when I focus on being a Creator in my life, not theirs, and allowing them to be the Creator of their life.
I had to face my deep-seated fear and frustration that I felt by NOT trying to fix things. Then I had to learn to breathe. And trust. Trust that things will work out the way they are supposed to. I had to put my fixer toolbox away and take out my journal instead.
The good news is, slowly but surely, I’m coming to see the value in minding my own business and focusing on creating a life I love. And when I forget, I read this mantra, gifted to me by fellow coach Daniela Popa from Romania:
Today, no matter what I’m doing, no matter who I’m doing it with, and no matter where I’m going, it is my primary intent to please myself, because it brings me joy, putting me in alignment with my Spirit. And that is the greatest gift I can give the world.
Learn more about Cheri and Candid Coaching and Conversations: https://www.cherineal.com/