Why Do We Appease?

There are times when we take the high road. We may choose to not say something or to wait it out; times when we weigh our options and recognize that not responding is the optimal response. There are times when we choose to remain passive; and when we do, we usually know in our gut that we probably should have said something, or set a boundary. As a result of our passivity, we have most likely sacrified at our own expense.

There are times when we appease. This is when we pacify or placate to someone’s demands or requests, and it tends to feed subjugation. Appeasement can arise from a number of factors:

  • a fear of confrontation. If our fear of conflict is such that we will go to any lengths to avoid it, we might end up appeasing someone else in order to not rock the boat.
  • a fear of someone being angry with us. No one likes it when someone is cross with us for something we have done or said we wouldn’t do. But if our fear of someone’s anger is such that we will appease them in order to avoid it, we can assume we are in default mode.
  • a trauma response. If we perceive not feeling safe due to past trauma or negative experiences, we may appease someone’s demands in order to avoid the threat of danger. When we appease due to a trauma response, we have moved into the freeze category of the freeze (submit), fight or flight response.
  • default is to please others. People pleasers have a hard time saying no – when it moves to appeasing someone, it most likely comes from both a pull to say yes, combined with a struggle to manage someone with a dominant personality.

Understanding that we might be appeasing someone is our first step in trying to understand our possible motives to doing so. From there, we can begin to move out of appeasement. Tomorrow’s post will give some coping skills to begin this process.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@karsten116

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