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Old 02-15-2019, 06:20 AM
Anne2.0 Anne2.0 is offline
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Default Re: LT's thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by LonesomeTonight View Post
Funny, I replied including the term "deferential" before seeing your reply. I find this authority figure conversation rather fascinating. I'm going to have to think about it more (it was one of my plans during T's break). I think for me it's somehow tied into my wanting to please people. Like T talked about last session how it seems I seek praise from people I see as authority figures. I said partly that, but also how rejection or...lack of approval? affected me even more, but maybe those are kind of the same. He said it made sense that the latter bothered me more. I think it was partly that I found, say, doing well in school (which I was good at) got me approval and praise. So I got used to getting that, then if I didn't do well at something in school, college, or, later, work, it was really hard for me. It ties into my perfectionism in some ways, too. And fear of rejection and abandonment. Etc.
So, I wonder what happens when you dismiss the label "authority figure" and just look at the thing itself. Because "authority figure" does have an element of deferring to someone or feeling pressure due to a hierarchy or power dynamic, and it just seems (I could be wrong, I'm not you) that there isn't an overlay or necessarily even a whiff of dominance/submission. It seems that you feel perfectly comfortable asking for what you want (thinking of your history of emailing here) even if it seems like he's not on board with that. And at times where you and he sees things differently, it seems to me that you don't adopt his perspective like a pelican swallowing a fish, but you do consider it and it seems like often the two of you end up somewhere in the middle, mostly just understanding each other better. Again, just my impression from reading your sessions, but I don't think power dynamics (which I *think* but don't know operate within an authority figure type relationship) are the thing.

But it does seem like people-pleasing is a thing for you (as you said

What it seems like to me is that this is alive in your sessions with your T. You may want to please him because then you get what you want out of the connection, approval, positive feedback, etc. Totally normal human needs. It seems like you also want him to please you, too, and maybe this is one of the ways those love languages play out, in the sense that we model for other people what we are wanting them to do for us. I do think that you've been able to say a lot of truth in the course of it, so it's not as if you are "people-pleasing" in the sense of just telling people what they want to hear. I see a lot of positivity in the way T reacts to you speaking what's true for you, even if he doesn't completely get it or agree.

T doesn't people-please back. He won't just tell you what you want to hear because he's not operating on that screenplay. And that's where the "tiger" is (buddhist reference to the monk who takes a "tiger" along on his mission because it agitates him in exactly the way he needs to work on).

So, if you frame the issue as "people pleasing" rather than seeing people as authority figures, does that change anything? Maybe it helps you see this dynamic in therapy that's troubling you more accurately, maybe it helps you explore whether this plays out in other relationships in your life.

And people pleasing is kind of like having some kind of addiction to food. You can't just stop eating like you can doing drugs. One side of people pleasing is a positive relationship skill because it facilitates connection between people. I recall loving to make my baby laugh by saying or doing silly things-- you could certainly say I wanted to please him, and to some extent I still do. I love making him laugh in that belly-authentic way. The laughing is just the manifestation that he is happy, but it's really about the connection. That it's a connection born within a positive emotion in the moment is just one way we connect and impact people. And least many of us want to be able to create connections with others, and I don't know how people pleasing isn't just part of this. The problem with people pleasing is when it compromises your autonomy or your expression of self, or where you self-censor out of fear that being true with the other person won't result in their pleasure. Where's the sweet spot of being people pleasing yet expressive and connected? At least I'm looking on finding it.
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