You DON’T “have” to accept others’ worldview, opinions, or directions. 

But a lot of us think we do. 

A lot of us have been conditioned to believe that to NOT accept other peoples’ worldview, opinions, or directions, is LITERALLY dangerous. 

The essence of the “fawn” trauma response is, if we don’t go along to get along, if we con’t acquiesce, then we’ll be abandoned— or attacked. 

We don’t come by the fawn response by accident. 

Many of us grew up in environments where our survival— emotional or maybe even physical— really did depend on our willingness to “play along” with somebody. 

We might have grown up in an environment in which disagreement really wasn’t an option. 

Perhaps we grew up in an environment in which disagreement was brandished as evidence of our “bad attitude.” 

Maybe we were shamed for even THINKING about NOT conforming to what somebody wanted. 

Maybe we were threatened for not “playing along.” 

Or, perhaps it wasn’t even that active or specific— maybe we grew up neglected, and got it in our head that our only chance at getting ANY kind of love or attention was to “go along to get along.” 

Maybe we figured that IF ONLY we could get everything JUST RIGHT, we would “earn” approval or acceptance. 

Maybe we made it our goal to be SO GOOD at “going along to get along” that OF COURSE we would be loved and valued. 

Sometimes that strategy may have even worked— for a minute, at least. 

Many people DO like people who agree with them. 

Many people DON’T tolerate it when people in their sphere disagree with them. 

Some people in positions of power DO attack or retaliate when someone in their sphere doesn’t “get with the program.” 

Whatever the origin of your “fawn” trauma response, it didn’t just come out of nowhere. 

You didn’t just think it up one day as a strategy to gain safety or approval. 

if your “go to” trauma response is fawning, chances are you grew up in an environment in which “go along to get along” may have been an actual survival strategy. 

We often judge ourselves when “fawn” is our go to trauma response. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that people pleasing is a “choice” we’re making because we’re “scared.” 

Trauma responses aren’t choices. 

We don’t sit down and calmly decide between fight, flight, freeze, fawn, or flop. 

When we’re triggered, our nervous system makes that decision for us. 

It helps to understand where our “fawning” comes from— to see its origins clearly, with acceptance and compassion. 

If your go to trauma response is “fawning,” you likely grew up very scared or at least somewhat desperate. 

People pleasing can be an exhausting addiction. 

The only way we’re going to recover from it is to understand the purpose it served— both once upon a time, and now— and to meet it with enormous self-compassion. 

Inside of our “fawning” adult self is a kid who is scared they’ll never be safe or loved. 

We need to hold that kid close. 

One thought on ““Fawning” doesn’t come out of nowhere.

  1. “…you likely grew up very scared or at least somewhat desperate.” This! And, unfortunately, when the foundation of one’s life starts like this, a lot of what has been built up on top of it continues this legacy. I’m so grateful for your generous writings, Dr Doyle, as the cumulative insights from following you are clarifying so much.

    The DeTox from all this dysfunction is intense–almost need an entire slash and burn of the landscape for new growth to be possible and healthy. Better late than never. On this thanksgiving weekend, please know, I am ‘extremely’ grateful for the voice you offer us all.

    Liked by 1 person

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