What’s Changed?

04 May

So, I unfriended my adoptive cousin, the one who has been ghosting me on facebook and beyond for awhile. It felt good, like a strong wind swept cross my soul and made everything better, lighter. That’s a lesson that I need to keep in mind for the future; that any relationship can become toxic and harmful and with my people-pleaser personality I need to see it when it starts, I need to toughen up, not just put up with it.

Do you think a people-pleaser personality is an inate personality trait, or is it a learned behavior? Or is it both/and? I’m leaning to both/and in that the trait is heritable and lived experiences either enhance or limit the effects. I do think whatever causes it, being adopted can amplify it to our detriment. Detrimental in many different ways due to all the “positive” messaging on adoption, compounded by not being kept so that always lurks in the shadow, it happened once, it can happen again.

What’s new with you? What have you learned about yourself during this pandemic we’ve all had to navigate through? Has it made you more aware, changed you in distinct ways, and do you think for the better or worse?


Posted by on May 4, 2021 in Uncategorized


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11 responses to “What’s Changed?

  1. Mws R

    May 4, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    I agree

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Laksh

    May 4, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    Same thing for me. Letting go of toxic people. Personally I held on because of the years I had invested in these relationships. I kept up because not to would me all that work would be laid waste. It took an epiphany to realize that it is okay to let go and the future and the past are distinct.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. beth62

    May 4, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    Happy you are feeling lighter. Sometimes it just makes sense to remove some from daily thought, and thoughts of future continuing contact. I know you’ve been thinking on it for a while. Glad it’s a good move.
    I think it’s a little of both, too, mostly epigenetic I think though.
    I struggle with ending things like that, it’s too easy sometimes, worries me. I don’t trust my decision making with it usually. I think it has a lot to do with practicing “making people go *poof*” Like my original family, *poof* gone from contact and most thought, when necessary. It’s too easy for me to distance myself from any one. I wonder if everybody is like that. I’m good at it, and that is often worrisome.
    So I try to balance that with the people pleasing. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a few people that I can tolerate that I want to please, so I continue 🙂 The rest are up for a possible *poof* at anytime.
    I noticed due to the pandemic, or maybe just age, I tolerate more people than I used to, some people don’t seem to get on my nerves as much as they used to at least lol. When I meet with others now I think I am more serious about the contact. Plan more, make it more worthwhile for the time we are together, eliminate distractions, that sort of thing.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Dannie

    May 4, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    Letting go of obvious toxic people was easy in the beginning of parenthood. I had a great aunt I never visited after my daughter came to live with me and adoption was finalized because she was blatantly racist. Then in her dementia the hatred became worse I heard… different than my grandfather’s wife (weird story, my grandfather remarried after years and years of being a widower and they had a baby 6 months after I was born so she never wanted to be Grandma/Abuela so we always referred to her by name or my grandfather’s wife…I digress) that as she got older, she became kinder and loved kids and when my daughter came was all about being grandma/Abuela, and when she got alzheimer’s always spoke about that beautiful and wonderful girl she met (my daughter)….I knew nothing horrible would come out of her mouth even in dementia…

    What I’ve personally learned is to be authentic and not hold a facade about a happy life. Do we have great days? of course and I love my life, but are we as a family struggling right now with my husband’s declining mental health and with my son’s adhd? yes, and it’s a fact…so learning to build my community for help and sanity while enjoying the good of life. What I am most concerned is that now my daughter is the most healthy and “normal” in the family but I don’t want her to think she has to keep up a happy front just because she’s doing well….she can be upset with life too and happy too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      May 4, 2021 at 6:06 pm

      You always make so much sense Dannie. Feel free to message me if you ever need an outlet.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lara/Trace

    May 4, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    I do think it is both, Tao. I have wondered about this for a long time!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michele Sharpe

    May 4, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    Like Beth, I’m one who has easily cut off relationships that felt toxic, perhaps too easily. But, the icky adoption-gratitude thing kept me in touch with APs far too long. It feels liberating now to be free of not just them, but also of the person I was when with them, who was always trying to navigate discomfort and to avoid getting truly enraged when they pushed my buttons.

    I’ve often thought that my habit of cutting people off had something to do with being adopted, something like “I’ll leave you before you can leave me!” It could be genetic, but it didn’t come from my mother’s side — those relatives forgive EVERYTHING of each other. I don’t who my father was, so that’s an open question.

    Agree with Tao that people pleasing or cutting people off is probably a complex trait, both heritable and influenced by environment.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. cb

    May 5, 2021 at 12:34 am

    “Do you think a people-pleaser personality is an inate personality trait, or is it a learned behavior? Or is it both/and?”

    It may be both. I was actually a terrible preteen – I certainly wasn’t a people pleaser lol. As a teen though, I was well behaved (probably because my younger bro had issues that were coming out in his teens). In some ways, my bad preteen behaviour worked well because “hey”, at least I didn’t have to be worried that my parents were going to ever get rid of me, after all they *passed the test*.

    Havign said that, I think I very much was a people pleaser in my teens and young adulthood, I was often more of a chameleon being what I thought other people wanted rather than just being me. I think by my 30s, I was a bit more myself but even then it wasn’t until reunion with extended bfamily that I felt more the real me – I think meeting my bfamily and seeing the similarities made me realise that I probably hadn’t changed too much from what I might have been which was sort of reassuring.

    Also sometimes one doesn’t ealilse until ater that one has behaviour that is people pleasing. For example, I always used to tell mum about things that I liked and would feel a little bit sad if she didn’t like them too but after reunion, I realised that my behaviour did change, i.e. it was fine for us to have different interests and likes.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Claire 'Word by Word'

    May 24, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    I think people pleasing is a characteristic that many adoptees have, because of the years and years of practice in adapting and learning to fit in to a family where there is not a natural pre-natal bond, it’s not conscious but it is a kind of conditioning that creates a behaviour that then affects our lives in the external world.

    I think we become empaths, developing that ability to stand in the shoes of the other, see things from a perspective that is not naturally our own. It can be draining and I know it took me years to realise that this chameleon effect and ability to adapt wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

    One of the coping mechanisms I realise, that my sister and I have used, is to remove ourselves completely from the family environment, we have relationships, but don’t live nearby, so we can be ourselves from afar, away from expectations.

    I did just recently read and review an excellent book on the subject (not adoption specific) but tactics for empaths/people pleasers written by Anita Moorjani Sensitive is the New Strong, The Power of Empaths in an Increasingly Harsh World. I found a few of her suggestions really helpful and have passed them on to friends as well.


    • TAO

      May 24, 2021 at 7:59 pm

      Chameleon effect I can relate to, not sure on the empaths though, I think I’m too bossy by far. Will mull on that.



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