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Appeasement: Going Along to Get Along

Do you fill in awkward silences?  Laugh at other's offensive jokes or agree with other's opinions without feeling like you can verbalize your point of view?  This is likely conditioning from early childhood.

This has far reaching detrimental effects that cannot be immediately seen.  This leads to not being a part in shaping the world around you and leaves the more opinionated, outspoken, and yes, oftentimes narcissistic individuals to be the dominant voice in the world.  Oftentimes its the soft spoken introverted person in the back of the room who has the most impactful ideas that can change the world and bring people together.  The world has been for too long been dominated by left brained individuals who see the world in a very polarized manner, right/wrong, good/bad.  This is the reason our world is in the situation it is today.

Why are so many of us on the sidelines?  Watching the events of the world get out of hand, feeling helpless and powerless to do anything?  The answer can oftentimes be found in early childhood conditioning.  We are conditioned from an early age how to respond to the world.

Appeasement trauma...  Stephen Porges the PhD researcher in the field of unconscious trauma responses has identified a reflex response known as appeasement.  The ventral vagus nerve is responsible for social engagement and this branch gets activated in individuals who have appeasement as a dominant unconconscious reflex response.  This means an individual with this type of response can walk into a room and unconsciously be drawn to regulate the nervous system of the most emotionally dysregulated (angry/confused/sad/frustrated) person in the room.  They are the peace keepers.  Its a super power that can be detrimental to the nervous systems of these individuals over time.  This reflex response is usually conditioned in early childhood when someone in the early family didn't have the tools or knowledge to emotionally regulate themselves.

Oftentimes women will regulate others with their own nervous systems.  However even men can do this.  They call it 'people pleasing'. This is due to subconscious messages we got from culture or family like "be safe, be silent, be small, put others before you."  In my culture there was a lot of "what are people going to say?"  This leads to an inability to live authentically and in awareness of your own wants and needs.  You can see how someone from this type of conditioning can end up looking very high functioning, successful but on the inside they are not happy and actually quite disconnected from their true self.

The truth is that we are all responsible for our own emotions and navigating them.  As humans we are meant to connect and that means sharing our inner world but not for others to be responsible for our emotions.  Emotional intelligence is sorely needed for us to be able to interact in healthy meaningful ways.   Triggered emotional responses without emotional intelligence lead to conflict and unhealthy relationships and ultimately unhealthy nervous systems.  An unhealthy nervous system looks like being in an adrenergic fight or flight response all the time.  Think about your dominant response to conflict, is it either puffing yourself up to confront or avoiding the situation altogether?  Another response is appeasement where you speak sweetly to the other person and regulate the other person with your own nervous system which is NOT a long term solution because ultimately the other person needs emotional self awareness and tools to emotionally regulate themselves.  This is why I say we live in a world where emotional intelligence is sorely needed.  It's not about blame or conflict, it's about understanding each other's feelings and needs and being able to have a healthy conversation about these things without being in a reflex survival response.

Email us at if you are interested in our coaching program, "Stop Going Along to Get Along."  We cover nervous system regulation, the stress response, psychological complexes, chinese medicine concepts and more!  A synthesized approach to understanding ourselves and how to move forward with healthier ways to interact.  My passion is for you to find your inner truth so you can impact the world in the unique way you were meant to!

Aneela Mahmud Dr Aneela is creator of the health coaching program, the "Stop Going Along to Get Along". Specifically for women professionals who want to find their truth outside of others expectations. She found her own health and answers while getting certified as a Jungian psychology Life Coach, acupuncturist, Medical QiGong practitioner as well as through the fields of Integrative and Functional medicine. Mahmud is committed in her path to evolve her understanding of herself in relation to the world. She is also dedicated to helping people find their own unique way to live healthy lives outside of the confusion and chaos of the world.