I grew up with parents who felt they had to hide many things about themselves out of fear of being rejected and to maintain a certain societal status. I remember my father and mother exaggerating and telling lies and feeling very confused by this.
Over time, I adopted the same fears and I became a people pleaser because I felt similarly that getting others’ approval was the most important thing to do in any relationship over my own truth and needs.
When I became a parent, I was faced with the awareness of this shadow of mine. I became the enabler in my relationship dynamic in order to cover up the inherent problems that I was facing to maintain the happy appearance of new motherhood which led to a lot of resentments.
I have worked really hard to heal this aspect of myself since I had read “The Conscious Parent” book because the last thing I wanted do was create this same shadow with my child which could create the narcissistic qualities that I found my relationship and witnessed with other friends’ partners.
Many of these men were raised with passive parents who steered their whole lives around their children and came from abusive backgrounds themselves. They overcompensated to the degree that it was detrimental to their boys.
Dr. Shefali says, “Children who are raised by parents who sidestep their authenticity camouflaging their true feelings for the sake of fitting in, learn to emulate this phony way of living, watching us try to gain the approval of others, they become people pleasers, catering to the needs of others for the sake of approval.
When our children see us placed the needs of others before our own, they learn that they are to value others more than themselves. because they are highly oriented towards relationships they also base their sense of identity on their relationships but beneath such an authentic service of others, lies a simmering resentment since no one can sustain such giving, unless they have first given to themselves period.
When we please others to gain their approval, we may also begin to please our children seeking their approval we cater inordinately to their needs instead of teaching them to take care of their own needs, over indulging them, we send them a message that it’s okay to take advantage of us out of our own low self sense of self worth. We allow them to imagine themselves as the center of our world, which is an emotionally unhealthy, obsessive way of attempting to assuage our own lack. It’s also a recipe for bringing up narcissists who imagine the world just revolves around them. When we are unable to create healthy boundaries for ourselves.
Our children learn to disrespect the boundaries of others, observing us fail to claim ownership of our space and our needs. They come to believe their space and their needs are more important than those of the others because we constantly give to them without saying no.
When appropriate, they fail to learn the importance of accepting that life itself sometimes says no to us, consequently, they develop a grandiose sense of themselves.”
As parents, it is our responsibility to break the cycle of people-pleasing and create a conscious parenting approach. We must learn to prioritize our own needs and boundaries, while also teaching our children to do the same. By modeling authenticity and self-care, we can help our children develop a healthy sense of self-worth and respect for others.
It may not be easy, but it is worth the effort to create a more balanced and fulfilling family dynamic.