Has Emotional Trauma Made You An Extreme People-Pleaser?
Have you been experiencing feelings of anxiety, hypervigilance, and fear? Do you have a hard time feeling “safe” because you didn’t feel safe when you were little? Have you been agonizing over achieving perfect grades, a spotless home, or a flawless body in order to feel that something is in your control when everything else feels like it may drop out from under you at any moment? Do you tend to hold yourself to impossibly high standards?
Perhaps you were the family member who took on the role as mediator during disputes, and to this day, you still feel somewhat responsible for fixing things that are beyond your control or not your responsibility. You may feel like you’ve failed the people you love if you are unable to keep the peace or if you are unable to fix their problems. Maybe you feel unable to rest until everything – and everyone – is taken care of, even if it means ignoring your own needs and allowing others to walk all over you.
Do you wish you could rid yourself of this unhealthy desire to fix what is beyond your control? Would you like to have a healthier sense of identity – one that isn’t defined by your success, achievements, looks, or what you can do to benefit others?
Validation Is A Basic Human Need
It’s a natural human desire to want to be cared for and to want to help others. The fact that you have these desires really strongly doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you – they just need to be channeled a bit differently. When you have a history of emotional abuse or neglect, forming healthy relationships and attachments might require additional work, because doing so goes against the patterns that were ingrained in you from childhood.
Some people struggle with a need for control as a result of emotional abuse or childhood neglect. As children who were completely dependent on their parents, they learned quickly that they were most likely to get their needs met and feel safe when their parents were happy, because that was when the parents were most willing to take care of their kids’ needs. Frequently unhappy or angry parents can sometimes lead to child neglect, which causes some children to grow up with a strong desire to please others. Trauma therapy can help you recognize the origin of your struggle, how deep into your psyche it goes, and how to free yourself from it. You may have grown to regard people-pleasing as a coping or survival mechanism for dealing with trauma.
By learning to see yourself as a whole person, regardless of how others might have treated you in the past, you can discover a confidence that comes from you – not your achievements, your looks, or anything else on the “outside.” You can discover a new kind of freedom in which you don’t need to look to other people for worth and meaning.
You are important enough to be seen, validated, and cared for by others. You don’t have to take responsibility for others in order to feel worthy or present yourself as perfect to have value. With the help of an experienced trauma therapist, you can learn healthier ways of managing unmet needs and live a happier, more fulfilling life.
Trauma Therapy Can Change Your Relationship With Yourself
In my practice as a trauma therapist, I will teach you skills to manage emotions and relationships as a “band aid” in the short-term. That way, you will have a temporary solution while we do the more in-depth work of going back to the experiences that started the unhealthy behavioral and relationship patterns. Addressing the unmet needs of your youth helps establish a plan to better meet those needs today. I will create a safe, non-judgmental environment that enables you to gently explore your struggles with people-pleasing and childhood trauma. I seek to understand the ways in which you want to be seen by others, but are afraid to allow to happen.
My therapeutic work involves practices, such as mindfulness and acceptance, EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. At the end of each session, I will condense what we discussed into a simple summary and list of instructions for you to carry throughout the week: notice this, pay attention to that. This “homework” is designed to help you focus your efforts throughout the week; don’t worry, you can’t fail at it. The last thing I want to do is give you more stress.
Therapy will ultimately help you change your relationship with yourself. You can learn to live “in the moment,” rather than remain locked in a traumatic past. You don’t have to fear being truly “seen” by others or regarded as somebody less than perfect. When unfortunate events or disappointments happen, you can learn to move through them in a healthier way without feeling like a failure or losing sight of your worth. You can have a healthier sense of self and improve your relationships with others.
Conveniently for clients, my therapeutic work is online. You won’t have to commute across town, using up gas in your car; you won’t have to cancel your sessions due to inclement weather; and you won’t have to sit in traffic. Best of all, you can talk about trauma from the safety and security of your own home, rather than the sterile office of a stranger.
You May Have Some Concerns About Emotional Trauma Therapy…
Is therapy expensive?
Don’t think of therapy as a monetary expense. Therapy is an investment in your emotional health and in your future. The skills you will learn in our sessions cannot only help you heal from trauma – with a clearer, healthier mind, you can experience positive changes in other aspects of your life as well. With therapy, you can feel better about your relationships, your self, and your ability to create real change in your life.
I’ve tried trauma therapy before, but it didn’t work. I’m beyond help.
You are not beyond help. One of the most important aspects of the healing process is forming a solid bond of trust and connection with your therapist. If past attempts at therapy haven’t been successful, it was likely because you didn’t have a good connection with that therapist. Trying a different approach with someone that you can truly confide in – someone who tailors his or her strategies to your unique needs can make all the difference.
Is online therapy just a watered down version of “real” therapy?
Many people who have switched to online therapy have found that they like it better than traditional therapy. For many clients, it’s easier to talk about trauma from the comfort of their own home, from a favorite chair or perhaps with the support of a pet nearby, which can be more therapeutic than having to leave your home and sit in an office. Online therapy has all the same tools as in-person therapy to help guide you toward healing.
Call To Schedule An Appointment With A Trauma Therapist
If you live in New Mexico, Virginia or DC and are ready to find help for emotional trauma and have a healthier relationship with yourself, I invite you to call me at 888-242-9345 for a free 15-minute phone consultation.