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Ep #163: Breaking Free from the People-Pleasing Trap in the Aftermath of Divorce| Becoming You Again Podcast

Can all the people pleasers raise their hands? Yes, mine is right up there with you. I am what you might call a recovering people pleaser and if you struggle with people pleasing, you can be too.  By the end of this episode you'll know exactly what a people pleaser is, why we do it and a few tips on how to break free from the people pleasing trap, especially after your divorce.

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Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it shows up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.

Featured on this episode:

  1. Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.

  2. Are you lost and confused about who you are after divorce? Don't worry. I've got 51 Ways to Get to Know Yourself Again. Click here to download.

  3. Want to work first hand with Karin so you can stop worrying about what your life will be like after divorce, and instead begin making it amazing today? Click here to schedule a consult to find out more about working 1:1 with Karin as your coach.

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Full Episode Transcript:

This is Becoming you Again, the podcast that you go to when you are going through a divorce and you need help mentally and emotionally, because you feel like everything is hard, you don't know what you're doing and you have nowhere to turn. So you turn to Becoming you Again. I'm so glad you're here. This is episode number 163, and I am your host, karin Nelson. Welcome to Becoming you Again, the podcast to help you with your mental and emotional well-being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the grief and trauma of your divorce. We're going to do that by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so that your life can be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, karin Nelson. Welcome back to the podcast Today. I want to jump right in. We are going to be talking about people pleasing. So I don't know about you, but I do know myself much better than I used to and I am definitely a recovering people pleaser. And if you're not there yet, or if you aren't quite sure exactly if you're a people pleaser, then this is probably a great episode for you to listen to. So, basically, people pleasing is when you say or do things that you don't want to do and you do those things in order to kind of control the actions or the emotions of other people. I'd love to use examples from Seinfeld. I've used them several times in the podcast before. But it's just such a funny show and it's one of those shows that my partner and I we kind of just watch it on replay all the time. If we have nothing to watch, if we just want to put something on in the background that we've seen a million times, we'll just turn on Seinfeld because it is so classic, it is so funny and the more you. It's one of those shows that like, the more you watch, the funnier it is. But anyway, okay, that's just my little Seinfeld plug there. But do you remember the episode where Elaine is working for Mr Pitt and he loves this specific kind of pen and she has to get him this specific kind of pen?


So she and Jerry go into a pen store and they don't have the one that she's looking for. But the guy's like, oh, I can order that one for you. Why don't you give me your phone number and I'll call you when it comes in? And he's a little bit creepy, maybe right, like Elaine's a little bit turned off by him because she feels like he wants her phone number for more than just to call and tell her that the pen's in, right, that's kind of the vibe that she's getting. So she gives him Jerry's phone number and then she just keeps waiting for this phone call. So eventually he calls, says the pen's in. Jerry gives her the message and she says well, I already bought that pen at a different store. So she feels bad. So she goes in to tell him that she doesn't need the pen anymore.


First of all, this is people pleasing 101. She could have just left it. She could have. Just who cares Now he just has that pen in stock. She could have called him back and said I don't need the pen, she didn't need to go in in person. He makes this big excuse about how it was so rude that she like went and bought the pen and he ordered it. And how could she do that and he should? She should somehow make it up to him by going out on a date.


Now here's where more people pleasing 101 comes in. Elaine does not want to go out on a date with this man. She was a little bit turned off by him in the very beginning. She is not interested in him in any way. She does not want to go out on a date. But what does she do? She says yes because she wants him to either think that she's a nice person, to not think badly about her, or she doesn't want to make him feel bad.


That is people pleasing. That is when we show up in a specific way and we say or do things that we do not want to do so that people won't feel bad, they won't feel badly about us, and we kind of do it in a way to kind of control them. Now, it may not be overtly like manipulative control, but it is saying yes to things that we never want to do, that we never want to participate in, that we're not okay with that. We just don't want to be a part of. Just to make people feel better about themselves, to feel happy, and what ends up happening is we usually feel terrible about ourselves, we put ourselves in a situation that we don't want to be in. We are grumbling and unhappy the whole time. We create resentment and it takes us further away from knowing our true self, being our true self and showing up as the person that we want to be.


People pleasing is often an attempt on our part to avoid feeling any kind of anxiety or any kind of guilt, right? So we go back to that example of Elaine. She felt guilty about having the guy order the pen and then going and buying it somewhere else, and to try and minimize feeling that guilt she's like, well, maybe if I just say yes to going out with him I won't have to feel this guilt anymore. Maybe that will take the place. Saying yes to this date will take the place of feeling guilty.


And when it comes to anxiety, often we will people please, we will tell people things about ourselves. We will not tell somebody the truth Like I don't want to do that or I don't want to go out on a date with you, or whatever it is right, because we don't want to feel anxiety, because we think that if we tell the truth in that situation they might have a bad reaction to our truth, to the thing that we're going to say no to, to the thing that we are covering up by the people-pleasing. And so what people-pleasing really comes down to, when we want to break it all down, is that there are certain emotions that we kind of feel intolerable to, of those being the ones that I just mentioned anxiety and guilt, and that is why we will lie. That is why we will say or do things that we don't want to do and show up as a people pleaser. And the problem is that when we people please, when we show up with these lies about ourselves to try and make other people feel a certain way, we're basically abandoning ourselves. We are telling ourselves that who we are, or what our truth is, is unacceptable, that we can't have it, that we can't be who we are, that we are less important than what other people might think, and what we want at our core is for other people to accept us, to like us to not be upset with us, and we think that if we are who we are, if we say our truth, if we say no, if we don't go along with the crowd or whatever right, we think that we will be rejected in that way. And so for us to fit in, to be liked to be accepted, to not have people be upset with us, we feel like our only option is to pretend to be a completely different person than who we are, and so we continue to lie and we continue to alienate ourselves until we forget who we truly are and what we truly like, what our opinions are, what we truly want.


I can 100% relate to this. When I got out of my marriage, I felt this so heavily. I felt like I didn't know who I was. I'd been a huge people pleaser. I still have tendencies of people pleasing I definitely do, and it's the thing that I really have to pay attention to but again, I have recovered so much and I have got to know myself so much better, and so I don't want you to think that, like if you've been living so much of your life as a people pleaser, as this person, that you're not quite sure who you are. There is hope, I promise you. I'm going to give you a couple of tips today to help you be on your way to letting go of the people pleasing and figuring out who you truly are and really stepping into this idea of, instead of abandoning yourself, reconnecting with yourself.


Because when we feel disconnected from who we truly are, we often don't feel like we are in control of anything in our lives because we're constantly putting on this fake persona. Where don't feel like we are in control of anything in our lives, because we're constantly putting on this fake persona where it's almost like we're performing to be a version of yourself based off of what you think other people want you to be, this person that you think they want you to be, and so you show up as this fake version, even though you're not that person. And so you show up as this fake version even though you're not that person. But when you prioritize the thoughts and feelings of other people over your own, you create those outcomes in your own life. So I want you to think about one of the last times you showed up as a people pleaser and you felt maybe that guilt, or you felt maybe that anxiety guilt, or you felt maybe that anxiety.


And I want you to recognize what it feels like inside your body, because that can feel very intense, right, and often when we feel an intense emotion, what we'll do is we'll go on our head and we'll just kind of perpetuate the spinning in the thoughts and then that creates more of the chemical release from our brain into our body. That creates more of the emotional response and it gets more intense and our nervous system starts to dysregulate even more than it already was, and then our nervous system is like oh, this is truly dangerous, this is really bad. We can't show up as our true self because we are feeling this anxiety so intensely and it's just continuing to intensify. And so the way out of that is to number one we need to re-regulate ourselves as much as possible, right? So how do we do that?


I have many, many podcasts on how to re-regulate your nervous system. You can do the box breathing. You can anchor into blue. You can ground yourself in many different ways. You can do some somatic practices.


There's lots and lots of different ways to re-regulate your nervous system, but truly the long-term solution to overcoming people-pleasing is to be able to get good at tolerating anxiety and guilt. Now I have a whole podcast on guilt and how to turn down the volume of guilt, because it's just kind of this underlying emotion that is always going to be in our brain. It's not something that we can really get rid of, but we can turn down the volume so we don't have to feel it all the time. But anxiety is an emotion that you can learn to tolerate. Recognize what it is, allow it to be present inside of you instead of allowing it to intensify when you open up to it and allow it to be present. It doesn't intensify when anxiety intensifies, when we go into our brain and spin in those thoughts and the stories and the anxiety continues to intensify. What usually happens is we have a panic attack, and so learning to get very tolerant of anxiety means that you're just going to learn how to allow the emotion to be inside you. One way to do that is to be present with the emotion.


Where do you feel anxiety in your body when it shows up? What does it feel like? Where do you feel it?


When I get anxiety, I get it in my stomach big time. My stomach feels like it's in knots. It feels very tight and heavy. There's tingling in my arms. Usually my throat gets tight. My breathing gets a little bit labored. That is what anxiety feels like to me.


What does it feel like to you? Where does it show up? Go into your body, figure out where it is, breathe as you do this, pay attention to your body and what's happening in your body and get out of your head. That is the key to opening up to anxiety and recognizing that it's just an emotion. It's just an emotion like happiness, like peace, like sadness, like grief, like anger. It is just an emotion showing up as a chemical reaction inside your body. And when you can get out of your head and into your body, open up to it, breathe through it, allow it to be there without judgment, without telling it it shouldn't, without telling yourself you're doing something wrong by feeling anxiety, it will dissipate and it won't feel so heavy or scary.


And that is how you get good at tolerating anxiety. And, yes, you can do the same thing with guilt. However, in my opinion, guilt is more of an emotion where we can just kind of turn down the volume, and I guess you're kind of doing that with anxiety too. You're turning down the volume, so the intensity is not as terrible, is not as much. When you do that, that opens up the door to be able to show up more as yourself, door to be able to show up more as yourself, because then you kind of give yourself permission in situations where you might naturally, historically, have turned to people pleasing and said yes to something that you truly did not want to do, and instead, now that you have some practice tolerating that anxiety, you don't have to be so scared of creating it when you say no to something, you can just tell yourself.


I'm going to say no to this thing because I don't want to do it. And then I'm just going to allow myself to feel anxious about what somebody else might be thinking of me, or feel anxious about what they might be judging me, or thinking about me behind my back or in front of my face, what they might say to me. They might not like me anymore. They might think I'm a rude person. They might think I'm an idiot for saying no. They might think that my opinions are dumb. They might hate me now. They might not want to be my friend, like. All of those things might be happening. Right.


When you say no to something, when you give your opinion, when you show up as your true self, all of those are possibilities. However, those aren't the things that hurt you. The things that hurt, the thing that feels so terrible, is the anxiety about those things. And so if you know how to feel anxiety, you know how to tolerate it, you know how to allow it in your body and allow the intensity volume level to go down. That's when you can show up more as yourself, as your authentic self. That's when you can step out of being a people pleaser and show up more in your power as your true, authentic human being self true authentic human being self, because you're not as afraid to allow that anxiety to be present when you show up as truly the person you want to be. All right, my friends, I hope this is helpful.


Remember, you just have to learn to tolerate anxiety, tolerate guilt or any other emotion that is showing up for you when you decide that you're done being the people pleaser, that you truly are going to show up more as the authentic you than as the person you think everybody wants you to be. You've got this. You can do it. It's going to take practice. It's going to feel a little bit weird. You're not going to do it perfect every time. That's okay. Nothing has gone wrong when we're learning and growing and evolving, sometimes we're going to get it right, sometimes we're going to get it wrong, sometimes we're going to do it halfway in between, whatever, but the more you do it, the better you get, especially at learning to tolerate, allowing emotions to be present inside of you.


All right, my friends, that is what I have for you today. I love you so much. I will talk to you next week. Hi, friend, I'm so glad you're here and thanks for listening. I wanted to let you know that if you're wanting more, a way to make deeper, more lasting change, then working one-on-one with me as your coach may be exactly what you need. Together, we'll take everything you're learning in the podcast and implement it in your life, with weekly coaching, real-life practice and practical guidance. To learn more about how to work with me one-on-one, go to karinnelsoncoachingm dot com. That's wwwkarinnelsoncoaching dot com. Thanks for listening. If this podcast agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give me a rating. Wherever you listen to podcasts and for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married. Make sure and check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.




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