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When we talk about trauma, we often mention the fight-flight-freeze response. We know it’s our body’s natural reaction to perceived threats, which allows us to act quickly so that we can protect ourselves.

However, there’s a fourth type of response: fawn. People who fawn use people-pleasing behavior to feel secure in their relationships and deescalate potential problems, trying to blend in at all costs.

The term was first used by Pete Walker, a psychotherapist and trauma expert who describes fawning as “seeking safety through appeasing the needs and wishes of others”. …

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Fear of abandonment is something many of us carry, yet we have no idea how deeply it affects our lives and relationships.

More often than not, we’re not aware of our abandonment issues — we’re aware of its symptoms. We’re aware of our jealousy, our insecurities, our anxiety and our overall inability to form healthy, stable connections. We’re aware of the fact that we somehow always end up feeling abandoned, even when the abandonment is not real.

It can take many years — and many tears, and many failed relationships — to finally realize there’s something deeper going on that…

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The dark night of the soul is one of the most confusing, lonely and painful experiences we can go through — specially when we don’t even know what it is.

It usually begins with an extreme sense of discomfort. Suddenly, we’re unable to feel joy doing things we once loved. We feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

Old friends are now uncomfortable memories because we just don’t resonate with them anymore. We don’t know why, so we don’t know what to tell them — so, we let these friendships naturally evaporate. And it hurts. A lot.

Something feels off.

Something is out…

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Conflict avoidance is a real problem that affects many of us. We stay silent, we push down our feelings and we pretend there’s nothing wrong when deep down we’re angry, disappointed or frustrated.

It gets worse when we’re in situations where we should stand up for ourselves. The mere possibility of being honest about our emotions or confronting someone about their behavior makes us extremely anxious, making it very difficult for us to say enough is enough.

There’s a reason why this happens.

Your conflict avoidant behavior doesn’t come from nowhere. It comes from growing up in an environment where…

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It can take many years to realize that some traits of yours aren’t actually just traits. They’re the result of the environment you grew up in.

When you’re raised by parents who accept you for who you are, support your dreams and give you the freedom to fully express yourself, you’re much more likely to develop the necessary emotional tools to navigate life.

However, when you’re raised in a chaotic environment filled with drama and conflict, where your feelings are not acknowledged and you’re constantly worrying about pleasing your parents… That’s a whole different story.

To begin with, people who…

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Talking about mental health is absolutely necessary if we want to deepen our collective awareness and help each other in our healing journeys.

Fortunately, there have been improvements in our courage and willingness to talk about our own trauma. The domino effect is real: the more we talk about our personal, traumatic experiences, the more we help others recognize and heal their own wounds.

Still, there are some comments we make and preconceived ideas we have that can be very invalidating, even if we don’t have bad intentions.

When we’re traumatized, we often struggle with acknowledging our feelings and emotions…

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It can be incredibly difficult to get in touch with the deepest parts of ourselves and recognize why we are the way we are, or why we feel the way we feel.

For many years, I didn’t understand why I was unable to find normal, healthy, secure relationships. I’d feel overwhelmed by people who had genuine feelings for me, and I’d feel attracted to people who pushed me away — just like I pushed those who loved me.

After many months of introspection and diving into psychology books, I eventually came to the realization that I had an anxious-avoidant attachment…

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Those of us who’ve been through narcissistic abuse and are now able to call it by its name know what it feels like to mention narcissism when talking to other people.

We want our friends and relatives to understand us. We want them to see the narcissistic person as clearly as we do now. Yet, more often than not, we’re told “you can’t diagnose them” or “you shouldn’t label them like that”.

Once again, our pain is downplayed and our experience is minimized.

The reason why this happens is simple: people who are not aware of such toxic, unhealthy patterns…

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If you had told me a few years ago that acknowledging our pain was an act of strength, I’d have laughed at you.

I believed that being cold and detached was my best trait. It didn’t matter how hurt I was, or how painful my past had been — I was so good at pretending I was fine that I actually convinced myself I was happy.

This is what we’re programmed to do. We dismiss our own needs, we avoid our own emotions. We do our best to live as disconnected as possible because we know how terrifying it can…

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We usually associate people-pleasing with selfless individuals who are extremely kind, considerate and compassionate.

Well, the truth is way deeper than that. True kindness doesn’t involve betraying yourself, nor does it cause anger, bitterness and resentment.

I’ve been a people-pleaser for years. For as long as I can remember, my needs were irrelevant and my feelings were unimportant. It didn’t matter how I truly felt about something — what really mattered was how everyone else felt.

I’d go out of my way to make others feel comfortable and fulfill their needs, even if that meant betraying myself and leaving my…

Patrícia S. Williams

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