How to break the people pleasing pattern and set healthy boundaries
Co-dependent relationships seem to be more prominent today’s world: but, are they? Or is it something that always existed?
Kristina’s first question is really relevant to explaining our guest’s main motivation driver:
Hailey Magee is really committed to help people overcome people pleasing, which generally appears in our relationships with others. She believes that at its core, it is a dysfunctional relationship with the self. Certified by Erickson Coaching International, she has worked one-on-one with over 200 clients and her virtual workshops have welcomed thousands of participants from the United States, South Africa, France, Yemen, and beyond.
That is why Hailey uses the phase of people-pleasing instead of co-dependency. It has nothing to do with being generous, or kind, or even putting other people’s needs before our own occasionally. The key difference is when we put others first AT EXPENSE of our own needs repeatedly. It can be present in any type of relationship: friendships, coworkers, etc.
Hailey explains through some of Kristina’s questions the main drivers to co-dependency: a big one is if you were neglected as a child. Then, you will become a people pleaser because you weren’t seen. If that happens to us, we can believe our role is to please others to get love.
When we grow, the bottom line is safety. The safer we can feel in a connection, the best we can do to find love. Someone who makes us feel ok when we ask for what we need is ok.
Someone who doesn’t attend to our needs or is judgemental can draw out our people-pleasing tendency.
To break the people-pleasing pattern, we must strengthen our relationships to our values, identities, needs, and desires and practice living in alignment with that core self.
In some relationships, both rely on each other for support. Typically, the under-functioning party takes care of a side, and the other party allows the other party to under-function.
You feel like a secondary character in your own story. When the people pleaser isn’t stating their feelings, it’s confusing. Additionally, if the people-pleaser mirrors the other person, it can be confusing and lead to boredom in the relationship.
Safety is the bottom line on every occasion. Because for example, if there is a toxic relationship or an abusive one, people start to shrink to feel safe and not take too much space.
It’s a two-way street, and it depends on our level of privilege. But sometimes, acknowledging your emotions and where you are can help you stand out and break the pattern. Running away and “shrinking” might be the only option, though, if you are faced with abuse.
Kristina asks if you can be a co-dependent parent! Hailey answers that a lot of parenting is sacrificing yourself for a child. A lot of parenting involves sacrificing mental peace to attend to a person. When it becomes a chronic pattern that is detrimental to yourself. Even with parenting, the limit is when you chronically feel you’re abandoning yourself for another person.
Child experiences can get us into codependency, but we can learn that later in life—financial dynamics, gender dynamics, can make us learn that behavior.
Breaking the pattern is about looking within. Resentment is the signal that a boundary might be needed here. If you are procrastinating or you feel overwhelmed and burned out to overcommit to things, that can be a sign that you need some boundaries.
Kristina asks if it can be a shock to other people when you set boundaries and how to avoid the fear of that: Hailey answers that learning how to set boundaries when you haven’t before is like learning a new dance or training a muscle. If it is with a specific person, you can tell that person that you are thinking about re-establishing those boundaries and that you would like to have a conversation with them to do so.
It can create an incredible amount of guilt to set new boundaries, but the goal is to calm yourself down with those feelings. The goal isn’t to feel fear or guilt again. The goal is to learn skills to make those feelings more bearable.
When we start setting boundaries, we start to break karmic cycles. That can trigger people a lot. Also and we change the systems on how group relationships work out. It’s really important to set a boundary and think long-term. Imagine the implications of not setting a boundary. What would mean for you to be 5 more years of standing in that situation?
Kristina asks for cultural differences, as she has lived in 3 different cultures: Hailey answers that certain behavior in the US would be labeled co-dependent. At the same time, it wouldn’t be so in India. And yes, people will be triggered by boundaries in those settings. And yes, the people that you align with your boundaries might be a smaller pool, but you can find them and align with them.
In families, when there is a cultural difference, it might be tricky because they might say: I don’t know you! Why are you not coming to visit? There is discomfort in acknowledging those values in a family system. You need to be clear on how many of the values of your culture you hold dear.
Hailey receives all kinds of people at her workshops. She knows that a diversity of people want to release boundaries. Ages, gender, countries. It affects many people and we’re finally having a language and paradigms to discuss it.
Two more hard situations are mentioned in the interview: one is when your physical space is being shared. Hailey states that you should make a list of everything that is in your control and consider your resources or support network in the area. What is over-giving offering you? What are the red flags of someone who does want to over-depend so much? It takes two to tango: what do you get by over-giving?
Another difficult situation is when to discern between setting a boundary or not, over time or with a relationship that we are not very clear on. Hailey states that the red flag should rise when we are in a position where we’re trying to change or alter another person. Because that means we are a lot of behaviors that we are considering. Another consideration is If their action repeatedly shows that they can’t meet my needs.
If you want to work with Hailey, she works with cases to strengthen your muscle. We, as a group, are discussing it and joining.
Her Coaching Model is designed to help you
(1) strengthen your relationship with your inner self
(2) bring that inner self to your connections with others through empowered boundary-setting, healthy relationship-building, and expression of your needs and desires, and
(3) experience the inner freedom and confidence that arise when you live from a place of authenticity and integrity. today because we criticized previous group systems: religion, groups, etc. So we are letting ourselves commit to relationships more than before when those support systems were in place.
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I have been a personal growth enthusiast since I can remember! Mindvalley follower since 2015 and practitioner, I support with my writing female entrepreneurs and brands in the personal growth industry; I am a proud editor of this blog!