Ep #38: When You Stop People Pleasing and Other People Aren’t Pleased

The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | When You Stop People Pleasing and Other People Aren’t Pleased

In the last two episodes of this podcast, we talked about people pleasing: that insidious habit of trying to control how other people think and feel about us by doing things we believe will garner their approval or avoid their disapproval.

Last week, I outlined how to stop people pleasing, and with the holidays coming up, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to practice it. However, unsurprisingly, it’s very likely that the people who have benefited from you putting their wants and needs above your own aren’t going to like it. So, how do you support yourself when you stop people pleasing and other people aren’t pleased?

Listen in this week to discover what to do when you stop people pleasing and other people aren’t pleased. I’m showing you why not people pleasing is a foreign concept to so many people, what to expect when you stop, and my top tips for having your back when you start telling others what you really want.

I am accepting applications for new clients! All you need to do is click here, and you can schedule a one-on-one consult so we can discuss where you are, where you want to go, and whether coaching is going to help get you there.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Guidelines you can use to support yourself when you stop people pleasing and other people aren’t pleased.
  • Why it’s more likely for the women in your life to be upset when you stop people pleasing.
  • The importance of deciding ahead of time how you want to think and feel about other people’s displeasure.
  • What to expect when you stop people pleasing and other people don’t like it.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 38 of The Autism Mom Coach, When You Stop People Pleasing and Other People Aren’t Pleased.

In the last two episodes we talked about people pleasing, that insidious habit of trying to control how other people think and feel about us by doing things we believe will garner their approval or avoid their disapproval. Not surprisingly when we stop people pleasing it is very likely that people won’t be pleased, especially those who benefited from us putting their wants and needs above our own.

Stay tuned to learn why this is not a problem at all and what you can do to support yourself when other people aren’t pleased.

Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach, a podcast for moms who feel overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes powerless as they raise their child with Autism. My name is Lisa Candera. I’m a certified life coach, lawyer, and most importantly I’m a full-time single mom to a teenage boy with Autism. In this podcast I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with Autism and special needs parenting. You’ll learn how to shift away from being a victim of your circumstances to being the hero of the story you get to write. Let’s get started.

Hello everyone and welcome to the podcast and part three of the People Pleasing series. So next week is thanksgiving and with the holidays coming up there are going to be so many chances to practice not people pleasing. So if you haven’t already take a listen to episode 37 where I give you five steps to stop people pleasing. Maybe you’ve already listened and you’re considering trying this out a bit. Maybe you are considering telling your family that you will be staying home for thanksgiving, or that you will only be attending the family event for two hours.

Maybe you’re considering telling your neighbors that stopping by your house spontaneously is a no. Or maybe you are considering telling your in-laws that if your child with Autism is not invited to an event then no one from the family will be attending. Whatever it is, chances are when you stop people pleasing and start telling people what you really want and what you really think, they might get annoyed, especially when they are used to you just going along with the plan despite how you really feel.

And this is especially so in my opinion if you are dealing with the women in your life, the moms, the sisters, the best friends. This is because more than likely the women in your life are also big people pleasers themselves. And the idea of saying no and not doing the things you are supposed to do just to make other people happy is completely foreign to them. And I say this not as judgment but just as a reality check. We’ve all been socialized this way. And so when one of us decides that we’re going to wave the flag and say, “Nope, I’m not abiding by the secret code of motherhood anymore.”

The other people in your life might be like, “What the fuck and who do you think you are.” That’s okay, your instinctive reaction to their displeasure or judgment might be to feel a sense of panic, oh no, they’re not pleased and I’m going to be voted off the island. This is normal. I always think about the Friends episode, I think it’s called, the one with Chandler’s work laugh.” In this episode, Monica notices that every time Chandler is around his boss, Doug, that he has this really fake laugh. And he’s always laughing at Doug’s ridiculous jokes. And he’s letting him win and things like that.

And so she calls him out on it. So chandler decides, well, the next he makes a silly joke that Chandler doesn’t think it’s funny, he’s not going to laugh. And so that’s exactly what happens. Doug makes this corny joke about his wife’s coffee not being able to win a fight because it’s weak, something like that. And Chandler just doesn’t laugh. And so then Doug is like, “Did you hear me?” And he says the joke again and there’s this really, really awkward silence.

And so what happens is, is that Monica feels so uncomfortable that she jumps in and she explains the joke and why it’s so funny. And so then she and Chandler are now using this annoying laugh. Anyhow this same thing might happen to you. You will feel the displeasure. You will feel the discomfort and you might want to just say, “Screw it, I’ll do it anyway.” Just know that this is normal, just like I talked about last week.

This is your fear brain talking to you and this is why it is important to decide ahead of time using your rational brain, how you want to think and feel about other people having thoughts and feelings. Because here’s the thing, that’s all that is happening. Other people are having sentences in their minds and feelings in their bodies, that’s it. These cannot hurt you. Is it okay for people to have their thoughts and their feelings, they will anyway. You always get to decide how you want to think and feel about your decisions and other people’s reactions to them.

You can decide that other people being angry or annoyed means that your decision is wrong, or that you are wrong. Or you can decide that other people are allowed to have their opinions and preferences and it means nothing about you. Here are some guidelines you can use to support yourself in this shift.

First, decide with the smart rational part of your brain that it is not a problem if other people aren’t pleased with your choices. Here are some thoughts that you can practice. Other people are allowed to have their feelings. What other people think about me is none of my business. I can choose my own wants and needs and still have love for people in my life. The more you practice these thoughts the more automatic they will become for you.

Second, you can mentally rehearse the situation ahead of time so that you can prepare yourself cognitively and somatically for the experience. I talk about mental rehearsal in episode 25 of the podcast. So if you haven’t already, go back and listen to it. With mental rehearsal you can visualize yourself telling your sister-in-law to stop sending you articles about Autism. Or telling your mother that you will not be attending thanksgiving dinner. Or your best friend that you don’t like it when she just stops by out of nowhere because it’s really disruptive to your child.

You can picture yourself doing this, experiencing the emotion that will arise in your body, breathing through it and reminding yourself that this is just temporary and that you are safe.

Finally, you get to decide ahead of time to have your own back by resolving that you’re not going to call yourself selfish or anything bad for taking care of yourself even when other people are not pleased. Now, let me be clear, the goal of this work is not to be a sociopath who doesn’t care at all about what others think. But rather to not let it mean anything about you that someone else is having a thought, because it doesn’t. You can remember that your thoughts create your feelings and so do theirs.

And if they’re upset that you will no longer, for example, drop everything you are doing to take care of them, that’s okay. It’s okay that they are upset. They are allowed to have their feelings. The work for you is to release the reins on trying to control other people’s thoughts and other people’s feelings and to create your own safety by validating your own decisions for yourself.

Alright, that is it for this week. And one last thing before I go, if you are enjoying this podcast please, please, please take the time to rate and review it. Ratings really do help other moms like you find the podcast and so the more ratings the better. If you enjoy it, if it’s useful to you please take the time to do that. And if you haven’t already, share the podcast with a mom that you know who might find this information helpful as well. Thank you and I’ll talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you want more information or the show notes and resources from the podcast, visit theautismmomcoach.com. See you next week.

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Ep #37: How to Stop People Pleasing

The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | How to Stop People Pleasing

In last week’s episode, I invited you to examine the areas in your life where people pleasing shows up, like saying yes when you really want to say no and doing things in hopes that other people will think highly of you. These insidious habits are leading to resentment and taking away from your ability to feel connected to yourself and the people you’re trying to please.

The good news here is that people pleasing is a choice, and we can choose another path. People pleasing is a well-worn habit, as well as a socially acceptable and even encouraged practice, so stopping isn’t easy. However, small changes can go a long way. Even 10% less people pleasing will make a big difference in your life, and this week, I’m showing you how.

Tune in to discover how to shift from doing things because you always have and everyone expects you to, to figuring out what you really want and acting in alignment with your own values. I’m giving you a strategy that will help you stop people pleasing, one step at a time.

I’m holding a presentation for the Autism Services & Resource Center of Connecticut on Thursday, November 17 2022 at 6pm Eastern, called 7 Truths Every Autism Parent Needs to Know. I’m sharing the most important things I’ve learned in my 13+ years of raising a child with Autism and the two years I’ve been coaching moms raising children with Autism. So, whatever your journey with autism looks like, I’d love to see you there, so click here to get access!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why we falsely believe people pleasing is good and virtuous.
  • 5 simple tips to help you stop people pleasing.
  • The totally normal but intense discomfort that comes up when we decide to stop people pleasing.
  • How to apply my people-pleasing prevention strategy in your own life.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 37 of The Autism Mom Coach, How to Stop People Pleasing. In last week’s episode I invited you to examine the areas in your life where people pleasing shows up, the places where you are saying yes when you want to say no, or where you are just doing things in hopes that other people will think well of you.

These are examples of people pleasing, the insidious habits so many of us engage in often at the expense of our own time, our own wellbeing and most of all our own connection to ourselves and to the people in our lives that we are trying to people please because very often when we are people pleasing and just doing things because we think we should, it’s not creating more connection with the people we’re trying to please. It’s actually creating less, it’s creating less connection and more resentment.

The good news is that people pleasing is a choice. We can choose another path but it is usually not as easy as just noticing it and stopping because this is a well-worn habit and it’s a socially acceptable and encouraged practice. Dead stopping is not easy and it doesn’t even need to be the goal. Small changes can go a really long way, 10% less people pleasing is a really big deal, but how?

How to shift from doing things because you always have and everyone expects you to, to figuring out what you really want and acting in alignment with your own values. For that it is helpful to have a strategy which is exactly what I have for you in this episode. Keep listening.

Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach, a podcast for moms who feel overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes powerless as they raise their child with Autism. My name is Lisa Candera. I’m a certified life coach, lawyer, and most importantly I’m a full-time single mom to a teenage boy with Autism. In this podcast I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with Autism and special needs parenting. You’ll learn how to shift away from being a victim of your circumstances to being the hero of the story you get to write. Let’s get started.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the podcast. Before I get to today’s topic I want to tell you about an upcoming presentation I am doing for the Autism Services and Resources Center of Connecticut. The presentation is coming up on Thursday November 17th at 6.00pm Eastern and it is called Seven Truths Every Autism Parent Needs to Know. In this presentation I will share with you the most important things I have learned in my 13 plus years of raising a child with Autism, and the two years that I have been coaching moms facing kids with Autism.

This presentation is for you whether your child was recently diagnosed or you’ve been at this for several years like I have. You can register for this event by going to the show notes where I will leave a link. It is open to the public so you can attend even if you’re not from Connecticut. When you register for this event you will also have the opportunity to sign up for my email list which I highly encourage because if you are on my email list you will always be the first to know about presentations like this.

Alright on to how to stop people pleasing. Like I said people pleasing is a pretty well-worn habit that most of us have. So stopping it will take some work. Here are five tips that I have for you on how to stop people pleasing.

First, stop calling it people pleasing. When we call lying to ourselves and lying to others, people pleasing we are likely to believe that we are doing something good or virtuous but we’re not. We are deceiving ourselves and deceiving others. So stop calling it people pleasing and remind yourself of what’s actually happening here.

Number two, stop telling yourself that you are responsible for other people’s emotions. You do not cause other people’s feelings. For this you can go back to episode six of the podcast, the self-coaching model where I teach you that it is our thoughts that cause our feelings. That goes for you and that goes for other people too. Their thoughts cause their feelings. Your action or inaction does not cause your friend to be mad, your neighbor to be disappointed or your sister to be happy. The actions that you do or don’t take are all circumstances in somebody else’s model.

For example let’s say the circumstance is you tell your mother that you will not be celebrating the thanksgiving holiday with the extended family. Instead you are going to stay home because you know that these events are really overwhelming for your child with autism. And you want to have a nice and peaceful day so your decision is we are going to stay home and you let her know this. She then has the thought, the family should be together on thanksgiving. And then that causes her to feel angry or hurt.

Your decision to eat dinner at home is not causing her to feel angry or hurt. It’s the thought that she is having about your decision. This is an important distinction to understand because we are so used to believing that we cause other people’s emotions. And yes we might do something or not do something that triggers some thoughts in other people that creates these emotions. But it’s not the same as us causing their emotions.

When we tell ourselves we are responsible for other people’s emotions we deputize ourselves to do whatever we think we need to do in order to influence or manipulate how other people think and feel. But you are not responsible for other people’s emotions. You are responsible for your own.

Number three, figure out what you want. This could be really challenging for lifelong people pleasers who have spent so much of their time and effort conflating what other people want and what other people expect into their own wants and needs. One way to figure out what you want is to ask yourself. If no one else truly cared about what I did, what would I choose? If the rude mother in my child’s class could care less whether I’d bake cupcakes or send in store bought ones, what would I do?

If strangers on the playground did not care that my child stand and clapped his hands, what would I do? If it was all the same to my mother-in-law whether I canceled a dinner date because I was exhausted, what would I do? And if all else fails and you are still feeling stuck, ask yourself what would my dead honest kid with Autism do in this situation?

Number four, allow the discomfort and do it or don’t do it anyway. When you stop people pleasing it may feel really uncomfortable at first. This is normal and it is important to really understand this because when we feel uncomfortable our biological instinct is to make the discomfort go away. And for some of us this might look like just giving in and doing the thing you don’t want to do anyway because you think it’ll just be easier.

It will feel uncomfortable but here is the thing about feelings, all of them, they are temporary, they don’t last very long so long as we are not stoking them with our catastrophizing thoughts. So feel the discomfort, ride the wave of emotions and do what you want to do even if other people are not pleased.

Number five, have your own back. When we rely on other people’s approval to determine how we feel about ourselves we are stuck in a never ending cycle of looking outside of ourselves for validation. So when we then dip our toe into being honest with people about what we do and don’t want it can feel scary and it may cause us to second guess ourselves and our decisions. This is why it is vital to have your own back and validate yourself. This means when the discomfort comes you don’t take that as a sign that you are doing something wrong.

You take that as an opportunity to double down on self-love. You can do this by deciding ahead of time what you will tell yourself when you feel the discomfort, the thoughts you want to think on purpose. Some suggestions to get you started. It is okay to say no. It is not my job to please other people. Other people can have their opinions. I can feel uncomfortable. I am safe.

By deciding what you want to think ahead of time and reminding yourself and redirecting yourself to these thoughts when you feel the discomfort, this is all a way of supporting yourself through feeling and processing that emotion versus saying, “Forget it, I’ll just do the thing.” Alright, that is it for this week, thanks and I will talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you want more information or the show notes and resources from the podcast, visit theautismmomcoach.com. See you next week.

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Ep #36: Why We People Please

The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | Why We People Please

People pleasing is like Fight Club: we don’t talk about it. This is because, when we do, we talk about it as if it’s some sort of virtuous or morally superior trait that some people have. But that’s not what people pleasing is at all. People pleasing is a lie, and we need to make a change.

When we are people pleasing, we’re lying to others and to ourselves. We’re trying to manipulate how people view us by acting in ways that are not in alignment with how we really want to show up. With The Holidays fast approaching, the people-pleasing season truly is upon us, which makes now the perfect time to talk about how people pleasing shows up in Special Needs Parenting, and most importantly, how to break this exhausting habit.

Tune in this week for part one of a three-part series all about people pleasing. In this episode, I’m showing you what people pleasing is and how it’s impacting your experience as the parent of a child with Autism, and be sure to come back next week to go even deeper into this topic.

I am accepting applications for new clients! All you need to do is click here, and you can schedule a one-on-one consult so we can discuss where you are, where you want to go, and whether coaching is going to help get you there.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How I’m defining people pleasing for the purposes of this episode and the many forms it takes.
  • My experience of people pleasing in my journey of being a Special Needs Parent.
  • The natural desire we have as humans to be accepted and approved of versus the darker side of people pleasing.
  • Why we people please and what we tell ourselves about why people pleasing is okay.
  • How to see where people pleasing is showing up in your day-to-day as the parent of a child with Autism.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • To get my worksheet for this episode, go to my home page and enter your email address in the pop-up!
  • Click here to get my Check What’s Triggered workbook, designed to help you identify some of the triggers you’re anticipating for this school year, and to crate thoughts that will better serve you.

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 36 of The Autism Mom Coach, Why We People Please.

People pleasing is like fight club. We don’t talk about it and that’s because when we do we talk about it as if it’s some sort of virtuous or morally superior trait that some people have. But that’s not what it is at all. People pleasing is a lie. When we are doing it we are lying to others and to ourselves. We are trying to manipulate how people view us by acting in ways that are not in alignment with how we really want to show up.

And with the holidays fast approaching the people pleasing season is upon us which makes now the perfect time to talk about how people pleasing shows up in special needs parenting and what you can begin to do right now to break this exhausting habit. In part one of this three part series I will talk about what people pleasing is and how it shows up in special needs parenting. In part two I will tell you how to stop people pleasing. And in part three I will talk about what to do when you stop people pleasing and people aren’t pleased. Stay tuned.

Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach, a podcast for moms who feel overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes powerless as they raise their child with Autism. My name is Lisa Candera. I’m a certified life coach, lawyer, and most importantly I’m a full-time single mom to a teenage boy with Autism. In this podcast I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with Autism and special needs parenting. You’ll learn how to shift away from being a victim of your circumstances to being the hero of the story you get to write. Let’s get started.

Hello everyone and welcome to the podcast. This episode will air on my birthday and I will be in an IEP meeting again on my birthday two years in a row. And fingers crossed that this meeting goes more smoothly than some of the rest of them have. So anyhow you know how it is with IEP meetings, they’re not a party no matter how wonderful your team is. And as I was thinking about this upcoming IEP meeting and IEP meetings of the past I realized something.

Now, for years and I mean years I approached the IEP table with an agenda that did not just include advocating for my son. Now, of course that was the primary goal, but my secondary goal, and this one was hidden to me for quite some time and really until I found coaching and started to do more of this internal work. The secondary goal was for other people at that table to like me. I wanted them to like me. I wanted them to think I was doing a good job. And I say this now and I kind of feel embarrassed by that, but also really compassionate and understanding to myself.

I mean of course I wanted people to think I was doing a good job. Now, that in and of itself is not a problem and it is quite natural. We are a social species. We are wired to be aware and to some extent really care about what other people think of us, and who more than a mom advocating for her child in a sea of no’s and unknowns would benefit more from a high five and a pat on the back. But I also know that this natural inclination we all have to be accepted and approved of can have a darker side.

And that darker side is when it shows up as a never ending need to people please other people to the point where you are doing all kinds of things because you think you just have to. And you don’t even know what you want because what you want has never really been a consideration beyond if everyone else is happy with me then I can relax and be okay until the next time someone needs something. Exhausting.

Now, of course there are things that we do every day that may be pleasing to others but that does not make them people pleasing as I’m going to define it in just a moment. I make my son, breakfast. I attend doctors meetings and IEP meetings on my birthday. I clean the house. I feed my friend’s cat when she is away. I call my mom a few times a week to check in and see how she’s doing. While all of these actions may please other people in my life my motivation for doing them is love, care, friendship and kindness,

They feel good to me. They feel expansive. Even if I don’t love cleaning the house, which I actually do, or feeding the cat, I am not doing it out of a feeling of dread or obligation that if I don’t do this then other people will think poorly of me. That is the difference between the things we do because we want to do them and the things we do to people please. People pleasing often does not feel good and it feels like dread and obligation. So let’s define it.

What I am talking about people pleasing I am talking about the actions you take, or do not take in order to be perceived in a favorable light by other people, in order to control what other people think of you. People pleasing takes many forms, saying yes when you want to say no and vice versa. Not telling people the truth because you are afraid it will hurt their feelings. Doing things for other people so they will think that you are good or nice, focusing on how other people see you, and doing things so they will think that you are competent, or kind, or nice, or just a good mom.

Not setting or holding boundaries because you are afraid that you won’t be able to stick to them or because other people will be unhappy by them. People pleasing is you doing things or not in hopes that other people will be pleased by you often at the expense of pleasing yourself. And it is a lie, people pleasing is lying, lying to others and to yourself. Lying to others so you can avoid the discomfort you are afraid you might feel if they don’t approve of you, or if you believe that they will not approve of you.

So you trade in the discomfort of displeasing others for the discomfort of letting yourself down. Let me give you some examples of how I see this showing up in special needs parenting. Maybe you don’t set or enforce boundaries with your child because you don’t want your child to see you as the bad guy. You want to be the good parent. Maybe you overcorrect your child for a behavior in the playground because you do not want the other parents to think you are letting your child get away with a bad behavior.

Maybe you don’t ask your partner to do bath time, or fill out paperwork, or make dinner because you want him or her to believe that you have it all under control and you don’t need any help. Maybe you don’t ask family members or friends for help or for breaks because you don’t want them to believe that you can’t handle your child. Maybe you say yes to invitations from friends when you really want to say no because you believe whatever the invitation is for, say a birthday party.

Maybe you think that this will be too intense for your child but rather than offending them, you go to the party. Maybe you agree to bake the cookies, or decorate the classroom, or volunteer at that dance because you want the neurotypical kids’ parents to know that you are just as involved as they are. Maybe you do not tell your family members how they can accommodate your special needs child in their homes because you don’t want to offend them or you don’t want them to judge you or your child.

Maybe you don’t tell your sister-in-law to stop sending you emails about Autism cures because you don’t want her to think that you are ungrateful or a bitch. Maybe you tell your child’s doctor that you will pursue a therapy she has suggested just because you want her to believe you are doing everything you can even though you don’t agree at all that this therapy is appropriate for your child.

And finally, maybe you decide to discontinue a social skills therapy because you don’t think the program is meeting your child’s needs but you decide to tell the administrator it is because your schedule is too full. Because you don’t want to have a difficult conversation with her about the program. These are all forms of people pleasing and really people deceiving. And here’s the thing, it doesn’t work because the truth is we can’t please other people because we don’t cause their feelings. Other people’s thoughts cause their feelings.

So when we engage in people pleasing we are really just trying to influence how other people think about us and how they feel about us. And on top of that, people pleasing really isn’t about the other person at all, it is about us. It is about the discomfort we want to avoid when we fear that we are not doing what other people expect of us. So let’s talk about this. Why do we do this, why do we people please?

First, like I said at the beginning of the show, as human beings we have a desire to fit in and be accepted, this is driven by our evolutionary biology. We are wired to care about what other people think about us as a matter of survival. But in addition to our biology there’s also our strong, strong socialization as women. As women we are socialized to put other people’s needs above our own. We are socialized to believe that this is what makes us good people worthy of love and acceptance.

How much we do, how much we show up for others, how much we sacrifice for other people, these beliefs are taught to us and modeled to us by caregivers, educators, and society at large. For some of us, people pleasing as much as we resent it, it feels a lot safer than not people pleasing and this is for good reason. Historically, people pleasing might have been a matter of survival. I mean at its core, people pleasing is a survival technique. If other people are happy with me then I will be okay.

So the idea of not going with the program, of rocking the boat, that is scary. It means risking the safety of being the good girl, being liked by everyone and never ever disappointing anyone but yourself. And this makes sense, we are rewarded for people pleasing because it enables us to fit in with the archetype that has been carved out for us, of the good mom while avoiding the discomfort that comes with owning what we really want. Because, well, other people might not like it.

We people please because it is the road we have been travelling most of our lives. It is what we think we are supposed to do, what we have been socialized to value of the mom who does it all, the supermom over the mom who values her own needs and sets boundaries. I mean that woman is selfish which is basically the worst thing you could call a mother, selfish. So we do it all even though we don’t want to and then we wonder why we are feeling resentful or burnt out.

Here’s the good news, people pleasing is a choice. We can choose our discomfort. We can choose the discomfort of standing for ourselves over the discomfort we feel when we do things just because we think we should or have to. But first we need to notice it. We need to get really honest with ourselves because people pleasing is so insidious. It’s so wrapped up in everything that we do and a lot of what we think of ourselves that we don’t even notice it so much of the time.

So the first thing always is we need to notice all of the areas in our lives big and small where we are doing or not doing things for really no other reason than we fear that another person will be upset or perceive us in a way that we don’t want. And I’m not even talking about people you know. A lot of times we people please for people we don’t know, for people we imagine in our minds. And sometimes we people please for the person right next to us. The point here is to really get familiar with the areas in your life where this shows up.

You can do this by asking yourself the following questions. When are you saying yes when you want to stay no? When are you staying quiet to keep the peace? When are you doing things to control or influence how others perceive you? If you are unsure whether you are taking actions because of people pleasing ask yourself, am I doing this out of love? Is this in alignment with my values? Or am I doing this because I think I should do it? And usually whenever a should pops up it is very tightly linked to people pleasing and what other people think, or what we believe other people think or expect of us.

Once you gather up your list ask yourself, what am I afraid will happen if I don’t do whatever it is I’m doing to people please? And then finally ask yourself, can I handle this? And that question is really ultimately, can I handle the discomfort I will feel by not doing the thing that I think other people expect of me? Can I handle it if a stranger thinks I’m a bad mom? Can I handle it if my mother-in-law is disappointed or even angry that I didn’t invite her to dinner?

Can I handle it if my sister-in-law takes offence when I tell her to stop sending me articles about Autism? And I think what you’ll find the answer to these questions is probably yes. Yeah, of course you can, you’ve handled a lot. You handle a lot of discomfort on a daily basis. And so it’s the question of whether or not you’re willing to make room for this kind of discomfort in order to show up in your life in a way that feels good to you.

Alright, that’s it for this week. Give some thought to these questions and next week I will tell you what you can do to stop people pleasing Thanks and I’ll talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you want more information or the show notes and resources from the podcast, visit theautismmomcoach.com. See you next week.

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Ep #35: Managing Your Transitions

The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | Managing Your Transitions: Schedules, Previews, Social Stories and Test Runs

While we might not be as sensitive to changes and transitions as our child with Autism, did you know that we too can benefit from the same support systems we use to help them? I’m always trying to help my son through transition periods by previewing, understanding, and preparing for them. But recently I realized, maybe I could use these same strategies with myself.

Whether it’s a transition from sleep to waking up, being in school to returning home, weekdays to weekends, or even bigger transitions, white-knuckling it, panicking, and resisting are such common reactions. And if you want to create more ease and safety in your own mind and body as you manage your transitions, you’re in the right place.

Listen in this week to discover how to support yourself through any transition. I’m digging into schedules, previews, social studies, and test runs as just a few ways we try to prepare our kids for transitions, and I’m showing you how to use these systems for your own benefit too.

I am accepting applications for new clients! All you need to do is click here, and you can schedule a one-on-one consult so we can discuss where you are, where you want to go, and whether coaching is going to help get you there.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What happens when you white-knuckle against or resist transitions.
  • How to brainstorm, troubleshoot, and stay present during a transition period.
  • My tips for easing any transition in you and your child’s life.
  • What previewing a transition looks like.
  • How to create ease and safety for yourself as you manage big or small transitions.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • To get my worksheet for this episode, go to my home page and enter your email address in the pop-up!
  • Click here to get my Check What’s Triggered workbook, designed to help you identify some of the triggers you’re anticipating for this school year, and to crate thoughts that will better serve you.

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 35 of The Autism Mom Coach, Managing Your Transitions. Schedules, previews, social stories and test runs. These are just a few of the ways that we try to prepare our kids for transitions and changes. And while we may not be as sensitive to changes as our kids with Autism, we still have nervous systems that can benefit from the same supports we use to help our children. To learn more keep listening.

Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach, a podcast for moms who feel overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes powerless as they raise their child with Autism. My name is Lisa Candera. I’m a certified life coach, lawyer, and most importantly I’m a full-time single mom to a teenage boy with Autism. In this podcast I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with Autism and special needs parenting. You’ll learn how to shift away from being a victim of your circumstances to being the hero of the story you get to write. Let’s get started.

Hello and welcome to the podcast. Before we get to this week’s topic I wanted to knowledge something very significant in my own life and that is the recent passing of my father after a hard fought battle with cancer. Following his passing I dead stopped everything that was not essential. I canceled coaching calls. I canceled speaking engagements and I took off a week from work. In the past and by the past I mean before coaching I would have likely kept myself as busy as possible and muscled through.

I would have told myself that there was nothing I could do and better to keep busy to avoid feeling terrible by occupying myself with things to do. But not this time, I said no to everything that could wait another week. And I said yes to being with my family, and the discomfort and sadness that comes with grieving a parent. I share this because I want all of you to know that you can do this too, not just when someone passes away, but every day, any day.

You can say yes to yourself and no to other people, it is okay. You can disappoint other people and it will be okay. This is a topic I’m going to dive deeper into in the next few weeks because with the holidays coming up it is the season of people pleasing. And that is just another area I think where we create so much more suffering for ourselves because we are so focused on what we should do and what other people expect of us, and not on what feels right to us.

In fact, we don’t even know what feels right to us because we’ve never even actually thought about it. It’s just not been on the menu of things that we feel are important and that’s going to change. So, stay tuned for the next couple of weeks where I’m going to talk about skills that you can use as we move into this holiday season to show up the way you want to versus the way everyone else expects.

Alright, for today we are talking about transitions. Now, this topic has come up completely organically, just a situation that I’m dealing with in my own life. I have shared in previous episodes that my son and I are currently living out of state while he attends an intensive OCD program. And while living out of state is very disruptive to our lives, it’s been well worth it because we’re finally getting the help that we need. And I say we purposefully because I am benefiting from this as much as he is.

After years of being ignored, or put off, or outright rejected from programs that told us flat out, “We can’t do OCD in high functioning Autism.” We are finally in a place that gets it. But like with all things Autism, it’s complicated. The program is specifically for kids with OCD. And while they have experience with Autism, Autism just always introduces some wrinkles. So, they are not treating my son with the straight up OCD protocol. They are adjusting it to meet him where he is. And so that is incredible.

And on top of that I get every week one hour of face-to-face time with two doctors as we talk about my son’s progress, as we talk about strategies and we brainstorm. It’s been incredible for me, just to be talking to people who get it, who are right there with me, who are listening and who are really there to help. Not to say that I haven’t had this in the past but this is just so specific to where we are, in the struggles that we’re having that it’s amazing.

So that said, every time I hear my son say something like, “Mom, I’m sick of this. I want to go home”, or my son’s school calls and asks me, “Well, when is he going to be coming back?” I can feel my chest tightening. I feel panic in my body. And I was trying to figure out, what is going on? Why am I feeling so panicked? And what I’ve realized is that this is a transition coming up and I am resisting it. It’s creating panic in me.

And as soon as I realized that I was resisting a transition it was like, well, wait a second, I am always trying to help my son with previewing transitions, with understanding transitions and preparing for them. Maybe I can use those same strategies I use with him on myself. Because the fact is we are not going to be there forever, we are going to be transitioning home. And I really have a choice to make here. I can bury my head in the sand and I can have many panic attacks at the thought of this program ending.

Or I can begin to prepare myself for the certainty that we are leaving in just a matter of weeks. So, I want to share with you some of the things that I’m doing to support myself in this transition. First, of course, just acknowledging this is happening. I don’t really know when but it’s happening. Second, deciding, how do I want to think about the fact that this program is going to end after about 10 to 12 weeks. My default thought here was, oh no, we’re going back home where nobody understands us.

The thought that I came to was, it is okay to be nervous. And this thought actually made me feel calmer because it was validating my experience, because I was nervous. I still am a little nervous. And then when I was feeling calmer I was willing to do a couple of things I had been avoiding. I emailed my son’s school to update them about the program and schedule an IEP meeting. I met with my son’s special education advocate to discuss next steps. I spoke with the hospital program about their suggestions for transition.

I started to make regular weekend trips home. I started to remove some of the things from our hotel room that I had made to make the hotel feel less hotelly and more homey. These things were great for the first couple of weeks when the message to my son was, “We are doing this. We’re not going home, we are staying here. We are committed to this program.” And now the message is, “We are leaving, this is temporary. We will be going home soon.” And really the message is to me. It’s a reminder to me.

And then I started to think about goodbye cards and gifts for the hospital staff, things like that just to get my mind here to we will be leaving soon. So instead of a transition that I was sort of white knuckling against and trying to avoid. It’s like these little things each day to just introduce into my mind and into my nervous system, this change is happening and trying to support myself along the way. And all of these little steps have made a huge difference.

When we’re talking about transitions now, I am not panicking, I am brainstorming, I am troubleshooting, I am present. So how can you apply this to your own life? First, identify areas where you might be having some difficulty with transitions. Maybe it is the transition from being asleep to being awake. This is a big one for a lot of us. I see this in my clients a lot because they have younger children. And they go from being asleep to being on. Their kid is talking, yelling, screaming, moving, whatever.

So, one of the things that you can do to ease this transition as hard as it is, is where possible wake up before your child. I know that kind of sucks because we all want to sleep in wherever possible especially for those of us where sleep is not happening a lot. But when you do wake up just a few minutes earlier than your child you get just get grounded a bit. You get to orient your nervous system. You get to take a couple of deep breaths. And so, you’re not almost assaulted as soon as you wake up by sensory overload. So that’s one thing you can do to ease that transition.

Maybe it’s from your child being in school to them returning home from school. And you go from a quietish house or peaceful ish house to one where maybe your child’s melting down because of whatever happened at school that day. Or they’re just, they have a lot of needs, it’s making snacks, it’s answering questions, it’s going through the school bag. Maybe just taking 10 minutes before they walk in the door to prepare yourself.

Stop what you’re doing and to deep breathe, do some jumping jacks or telling yourself a little social story, they’re coming home right now, they’re going to have a lot of energy, it is okay, whatever little pep talk that you need to give yourself to preview to your mind and your body what’s about to happen.

Another transition that I see a lot is going from weekdays to weekends. So, you go from the weekdays where there is structure and routine, to weekends where it might be a little bit less of that and maybe your child doesn’t react to that as well. And so, what can you do on those Friday nights or those Saturday mornings to prepare yourself for that. So instead of white knuckling it, or panicking, or flipping out when they do the thing that they do. You are previewing it to yourself.

Maybe you are making a schedule so that you can see where your breaks will be. Maybe you are just telling yourself a little social story of your own, like weekends are challenging, whatever it is. And I know this stuff can sound silly but just think about it. we do all of this for our children for a reason. We are trying to prepare them for what is coming so it’s not too much too fast and unexpected. So, wherever we can sort of slow things down for ourselves and preview to ourselves, we can help ourselves through these transitions.

The more you do this the more ease and safety you can create in your own mind and your own body, the better you will be able to manage these big and small transitions for yourself.

Alright, that’s all for this week, good luck with this. Let me know how it goes. You can always send me an email, or find me on social media. I’m on Facebook and Instagram, The Autism Mom Coach. You can ask me questions and let me know how it goes.

And of course, if you are interested in one-on-one coaching with me now is the time. Schedule an appointment, you can do this on my website, theautismmomcoach.com. I have some availability, you will see in my schedule. But if you don’t see a time that works for you, just message me, we can figure that out. Alright, thanks so much for listening and I will talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you want more information or the show notes and resources from the podcast, visit theautismmomcoach.com. See you next week.

Enjoy the Show?

 

Ep #34: When You Wish Your Child Was “Normal” (Part 2)

The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | When You Wish Your Child Was "Normal" (Part 2)

The word “normal,” though just six letters, is extremely limiting, especially when used to refer to human beings. “Normal” promotes the myth that there is a right way to do things, but that isn’t true.

This episode is the second part of a two-part series on the word “normal” and why it is so frustrating when people use it to talk about our Autistic kids. This week we dive a little further into how “normal” is subjective and the ways in which it can be harmful for those with Autism.

Join me for part two as I talk about why “aggressive” is an inappropriate way to describe the physical reactions that those with Autism experience, how certain ideas and judgements both reinforce inaccurate biases and rob us of joy, and why we can be the ones that change how language is used.

I am accepting applications for new clients! All you need to do is click here, and you can schedule a one-on-one consult so we can discuss where you are, where you want to go, and whether coaching is going to help get you there.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why “normal” is such a frustrating word.
  • How “normal” looks different depending on where you live.
  • What makes “aggressive” such a bad descriptor for your child’s behavior.
  • Why you should start changing your language around wishing your child was “normal.”
  • How to think about “normal” behavior differently in order to alter your language.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • To get my worksheet for this episode, go to my home page and enter your email address in the pop-up!
  • Click here to get my Check What’s Triggered workbook, designed to help you identify some of the triggers you’re anticipating for this school year, and to crate thoughts that will better serve you.
  • Ep #33: When You Wish Your Child Was “Normal” (Part 1)

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 34 of The Autism Mom Coach podcast, When You Wish Your Child was “Normal” (Part 2). Thoughts are powerful, when we think, I wish my child was “normal” over and over, it becomes a belief. We believe there is a “normal”, but there isn’t. “Normal” is not a thing, it is completely made up. And the more we give into this idea that there is a “normal” without questioning it, the more suffering we create for ourselves by just accepting that there is a right way and that we or our children are somehow wrong.

The good news is that by doing this work of questioning your own thoughts, you can begin to shift your internal narrative and your own thinking and how you talk about your child and their uniqueness in a way that is inclusive and supportive versus exclusive and judgmental. To learn more, keep listening.

Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach, a podcast for moms who feel overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes powerless as they raise their child with Autism. My name is Lisa Candera. I’m a certified life coach, lawyer, and most importantly I’m a full-time single mom to a teenage boy with Autism. In this podcast I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with Autism and special needs parenting. You’ll learn how to shift away from being a victim of your circumstances to being the hero of the story you get to write. Let’s get started.

Hello everyone and welcome to the podcast. I hope you are doing well. If you have not already, take a listen to episode 33 of this podcast which is part one of the series, When You Wish Your Child Was “normal”. Alright, let’s dive in. The word “normal”, especially as it is used when referring to human beings is limiting and laden with judgment. N-O-R-M-A-L, just six letters all by themselves say there is a right way and a wrong way. There is what is expected and standard, and everything, and everyone else.

It promotes the idea, the myth, that there is one standard way of doing or being, and there isn’t. “Normal” is completely relative, it depends on so many factors, when and where you live, your race, your culture, your economic background, your sexuality. I mean you name it, there are so many factors that contribute to what any person, what any one of us thinks of as “normal”. Take this idea and apply it to Autism, we are told early on that one of the signs that our child is Autistic, is the fact that they don’t look other people in the eye when speaking.

And then go to any restaurant or in any place where human beings gather and what will you see? No one’s looking at one another, no one’s even speaking. They’re all staring at their phones. It is very “normal” to walk into a restaurant and see people at the same table staring at their phones. I mean how many times has the waiter needed to interrupt you just to take your order? But in this day and age in 2022, that is “normal” for some people. Now, look, it’s not “normal” for people who are in war torn countries right now, or people who are in third world countries and on and on.

But right now, if you’re listening to this podcast you probably think that that is “normal”. And anyhow, the point is, “normal” is relative, it depends on so many things. But when we use this word we are bringing all of the etymology of the word, all of the history of the word, the entire idea that there is a right way and a wrong way. When we use this word that is what we are communicating. And that’s what we’re internalizing in our own narrative. Words are powerful.

Think about the misuse of the word “aggression” as it relates to kids with Autism. Aggression is defined and understood as an intent to cause harm to another person. And we all know that’s not what is happening when a person with Autism engages in physical behaviors directed at themselves or another person. They are dysregulated. there is no intent to harm. It is an intent to communicate, to deal with overwhelming emotions. But when Jake acts out physically towards his aide as a result of sensory overload and dysregulation, well, that doesn’t roll off the tongue, does it? No.

The report you get home is that your child was aggressive. and when you hear this word, how are you thinking and feeling about your child or any child that is labelled as aggressive? Not well, right? And in addition to reinforcing the belief that there is a “normal”, this word, this idea, this judgment robs us of joy. It tells us that our kids or we, or both are broken in some way. It stands in the way of us loving our children and our lives as it is right now and appreciating all of the amazingness of our own children.

But here is the good news, we get to decide how we want to think and talk about our experiences. One of the ways that we can start to shift from the limiting and evaluative language of “normal” is by questioning it. What do I mean by “normal” when I’m thinking this? What am I really thinking? Even if it doesn’t roll off the tongue, so maybe instead of, I wish my child was “normal”, maybe it’s, I wish she could speak and tell me what is wrong. I just want to help her out.

Now, this won’t happen automatically but we can autocorrect if you will, or really just reminding ourselves what do I mean when I say, “I wish she was ‘normal,’ or I wish she wasn’t different”, what do I mean? I wish they acted “normal” in public, maybe that means I wish my kids were able to enjoy themselves in restaurants, or I wish other people weren’t staring at us. This might seem simple or not like a big deal but it is because language shapes how we experience the world. It is powerful.

Alright, good luck with this and let me know how it goes. I’ll talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you want more information or the show notes and resources from the podcast, visit theautismmomcoach.com. See you next week.

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