Updated: Aug 10
There are 2 somatic inflictions I have experienced on and off for years;
1. The sensation of my throat tightening - it feels almost like someone has their hand around my vocal cords - a tightening, gripping feeling.
2. Night time teeth clenching and grinding - so bad the sound wakes me up and my teeth hurt.
A few times these symptoms got so bad or lasted for so long (weeks and weeks) that I went to the doctor in desperation only to be told "this is your anxiety again - there's nothing we can do".
But years passed and I got on top of my anxiety - yet STILL this constriction and gripping would return in my throat and STILL I would go through periods where I would clench and grind my teeth in my sleep.
Then I discovered this...
The following symptoms can be related to a fawn response or chronic people pleasing:
- Tight jaw
- Teeth grinding/clenching
- Throat tightness/constriction
- Dry mouth
Do you experience any of those too?
How about any of these:
- Digestive issues/IBS like symptoms
- Sleep disturbance
- Feeling stuck, flat, slumped, unmotivated
- Irritability & feelings of resentment
- Jumpy or on edge
If you are nodding along or saying yes to anything on this list then you might be someone in a chronic people pleasing pattern or a fawn response.
All of these symptoms can be signs of fawning - a nervous system in a threat response & a symptom of chronic people pleasing.
The list above is a description of many of the issues i have cycled through for a long time.
When we people please or fawn we put aside our own needs to prioritise the needs of others.
We squash our own feelings in order not to make anyone else feel uncomfortable or put out.
We shy away from conflict or asserting ourselves.
We silence our voice and our truth.
My symptoms - the throat closing and the teeth clenching were symptoms of me silencing my voice and holding back my truth.
For years I had fawned in relationships, at work, with strangers...
It became clear to me that my somatic symptoms were a signal from my nervous system - my body was trying to let me know that I was not living in alignment with my truth and with my needs and values.
For so many of us fawning wasn't something we decided to do consciously at first. It came about after experiencing some kind of trauma or a pattern of relationships in our lives where we had to put our needs aside.
Maybe you had a neglectful or abusive parent.
Maybe a relationship with a narcissist or a string of toxic relationships.
Perhaps you were bullied in school.
There may have been some other trauma where you learned it was safest to just not be you.
I want to help you learn that while yes, this response served you then, it no longer serves you now.
You can heal from people pleasing. You can rewire your nervous system to respond from a place of safety and connection - rather than a threat response like fawning.
To heal from fawning and people pleasing you first need awareness.
You need to understand how your nervous system works, what it might be like to fall into reflexively into threat responses and how this shows up in your life and relationships.
Next you begin to heal your nervous system - rewiring the automatic responses and find a felt and embodied sense of safety.
Then you can do the work of setting boundaries, stating your needs, living your authentic truth in relationships, being assertive and finding your voice.
If you want to explore and heal then you'll love my newest course:
"Healing from People Pleasing & the Fawn Response"