They called me the “People Pleasing” queen of the East End. I could not stand confrontation of any sort, on any level. Emotionally I was unprepared to deal with the ramifications of standing up for myself. I found the best way to avoid conflict was to agree with everyone, about anything. I had no opinion of my own while in the company of others. Their opinions were the only ones that mattered, and I would say or do anything to avoid disagreeing. Sometimes I bit my tongue so hard, it bled. Kindly nodding my head in agreement, whilst I was strangling them in my mind. I was a phony, a shell, a fake. None of this behavior came with bad intent. I wanted to keep everyone happy and comfortable in my presence. But underneath it all, the truth is, that it was so I was comfortable in their presence.
I had to take a long look at who I had become. One person on the outside, and a completely different person on the inside. I thought the inner me, with my own opinions, was kind of ugly. It liked to disagree and fight for what it believed in, and would have loved a good confrontation, with a win to follow. My outer self preferred the “nice” approach, as it wanted to keep all of it’s friends, and not anger anyone. So which one was right? The inner self or the outer self?
Both, it would take a compromise to even this out, a sort of emotional balance to get real. Since the fear of rejection had an underlying stake in this endeavor I started with my family. Generally, your family will not abandon you just because you disagree with them. So I took my chances with mom. I waited for her to start a conversation and express her opinion. I waited until I truly disagreed with something that was said. Then I went to town on the subject. I may have gone overboard since it was the first time in a long time that I had disagreed with anyone. Then the unspeakable happened, she changed her opinion, based on my argument, and agreed with me. No fight, no confrontation, my opinion mattered. My ideas could make a difference, and I didn’t have to lose anything for that to happen.
Well, after that I moved on to all family members, and yes, there were some pretty good arguments. But I survived, and so did our relationships. They may have actually gotten better, because people actually got to know who I really am. I found that I gained a lot of respect for speaking my mind. I also found out that I wasn’t always in the right, but I was entitled to have an opinion and a say. So the phony disappeared and I became liberated from people pleasing. You can do it too, just let go of your fear of rejection and confrontation, they are a part of life. And you will survive them.