The Placation Pattern In Your Relationships - Teal Swan Articles - Teal Swan Jump to content

The Placation Pattern In Your Relationships

Before you read the totality of this episode, I want you to go get your phone.  Open up your contacts list and scroll through the names and relative to every name on that list, I want you to ask yourself “Do I feel like I have to placate this person?”  Before you do this, let me explain what placation is. To placate someone is to make a person less hostile or to prevent potential hostility by doing something that appeases them.  To understand placation, all you need to think of is a hostile situation. For example, a restaurant gives a refund to a customer who threatens to write a bad review. A civilian in war time pretends to be a member of the opposite side so as to not get killed.  It is essentially any action taken with the specific intention of calming or preventing hostility. This means placation can be done in a situation where hostility is already present or where it is preemptively done because hostility is anticipated.

I’m going to give you some examples of how it might apply to your life.  You buy someone something in order to prevent them turning against you. You compliment someone to calm them down when they react aggressively to something you did that they perceived as an insult.  You get your work assignment done on time without ever asking any questions when you get stuck on it, so you never have to face the wrath or scrutiny of your bosses. You change your plans to attend something you don’t want to attend so as to avoid losing the friend who invited you.  You put yourself down to prevent them from seeing you as a threat and all those consequences that would come as a result of them seeing you that way. You stay silent and deliberately don’t take the attention away from someone to prevent them from getting jealous of you and becoming an antagonist.  You make sure to check in with a person and ask how they are doing to make sure you’re still ok with them and to make them feel like you care, so you never wander into the territory of being seen as an adversary. You tell them lies instead of the truth in order to avoid being ostracized.

Placation is felt as a tension and fear in the body.  It is an incredible form of social pressure. The way you can tell if you are placating someone vs. connecting with them and doing things for them out of love is that you will be doing them with this background fear that if you don’t, they will turn hostile towards you and there will be a painful consequence because of that hostility.

Ok…  keep this in mind while you feel for that emotional note of fear (fear that if you don’t do whatever appeasing thing, they will turn hostile) pause this video and do this exercise of scanning each person in your contacts list to see if you feel you have to placate them before you resume this video.

What did you find out?  Are you really connecting with people?  Are you doing things that please them out of love or out of fear about what will happen if you don’t? Do you feel really safe and secure in your relationships?  Or are you spending the majority of your social energy placating the people in your life and feeling like it is impossible to be honest or authentic without them turning into enemies?      

Some of you are probably feeling relieved to understand why you are under so much stress relative to the people in your life.  Some of you are probably feeling pretty sick to your stomach about this realization right about now.

Why did you not notice this pattern so as to be able to name it before?  Because you have become as acclimatized to living in dangerous, hostile environments and holding a hostile world view as a fish has become acclimatized to water.  You’re used to it.

Don’t listen to what many psychologists and social experts say when they say that dysfunctional relationships and families are the rarity. They are in fact the vast majority relative to human social behavior.  The fact that dysfunction is the norm is why we don’t call it dysfunctional any more than we called heads being put on a spike dysfunctional in the 1500s. At this point in time, families and relationships simply fall somewhere on the scale of dysfunction.  Unfortunately/fortunately the more aware and conscious you become, the more you will recognize this.

In a dysfunctional family or in a dysfunctional relationship, there is a subconscious principal that governs the group or pair:  Every man for himself. You can literally boil all the behaviors belonging to all the people that are part of a dysfunctional social system (such as manipulating, intimidating, triangulating, punishing, codependent strategies, narcissistic strategies and yes, this includes placating) to this: Everyone must find their own creative strategies to meet their own needs and to avoid harm in an environment where it is a guarantee that no one is going to take anyone else’s best interests as a part of their own best interests.  It is the opposite of a safe and authentic relationship.

A dysfunctional relationship takes place in an atmosphere of hostility.  But there are all kinds of words and behaviors employed to cover this truth up.  Words like “I love you” and “we’re family and no matter what, we’re here for each other”.  This is one of society’s main gaslights. To understand more about gaslighting, watch my video titled: Gaslighting.

Humans are a socially dependent species.  And don’t think this is simply because of species evolution.  It’s not only because being without a tribe that felt they wanted or needed us, meant death for millions of years.  It’s because we are still relationally dependent. If you leave a human baby (and even child) out on its own, it is dead.  End of story. And even when we grow up, whether you like to admit to it or not, there are needs that every person needs in order to thrive that in fact depend on being connected to and belonging with other people.  This means we are put in a serious double bind when the very thing we need to survive and thrive is the very thing that we perceive as being hostile or potentially hostile to us. It means we have to develop strategies to stay aligned with and wanted by people who we feel could turn against us on a dime if we do anything to displease them.

I’m not going to gaslight you.  You do not live in a world that is socially safe.  People are not to a place yet where they have comprehended oneness at all levels.  They are not at a place yet where they get that they need each other (and this includes everyone, not just ‘some people and not others’.  Most people are operating from a narcissistic perspective without realizing it. Meaning “everything I’m doing, I do for my own best interests and I see you as ‘other’, so your best interests are not included in mine”.  You know what that means? It means that some people are absolutely going to put you in a position to have to placate them.  Even our government is set up to have to be placated by the civilian. But until we make this placation dynamic conscious and name it for what it is, we will have no hope of creating relationships that are different or a society that is different.

Until we make placation conscious, we will be staying in relationship arrangements that we shouldn’t, living inauthentic and dishonest lives that are out of alignment with our own integrity, placating in situations that placation is not actually required, because hostility is something that is being projected.  And we will be doing it in subconscious, deterministic ways rather than conscious ways that are effective.

If placation is your norm, you become accustomed to unsafe relationships and not only perpetuate them, but stay in ones that are detrimental.  Maybe you even stay in them because it’s safer than leaving. You do all this as opposed to creating safe relationships and finding people who are dedicated to creating safe relationships as well.  To learn more about this, watch my video titled: How to Create a Safe Relationship.

If placation is your norm, your highest priority will not be honesty.  In fact either lack of integrity, dishonesty and inauthenticity will be your way of placating people and you will self-sacrifice constantly or you will be walking a tight rope in a minefield trying to somehow placate people into to becoming ok with your truth so you don’t have to sacrifice your best interests completely.  For this reason, you would benefit by watching my videos titled: How To Be AuthenticIntegrity, What is Integrity and How to Build Integrity and Self Sacrifice, The Most Self Centered Thing In The World.

If placation is your norm, you most likely grew up in an environment where you adopted the perspective that the world is hostile and people are hostile.  You had to placate one or more of the people in your early life and now because of this, you run the very real risk of projecting hostility or projecting the risk of hostility where it doesn’t actually exist. This tends to be especially noticeable with people who you perceive as having more power than you, such as authorities.  This puts other people in a lose - lose situation. They are not all the things you are telling yourself they are, but it doesn’t matter. They are cast in the role of the dangerous guy in your head anyway.

If placation is your norm, you will not even be conscious that you are doing it.  You will simply feel tension, anxiety, stress or even the panic of threat. You will then unconsciously experience a subconscious take over.  You will begin to go into ‘placation autopilot’ and begin to do things to appease them or calm down potential or existing tension subconsciously. You will placate using the very same strategies you learned in your early childhood.  There is no room to stop and realize what you are actually doing. If you stop and see what you are actually doing, you are in a place of free will and choice. Then you can decide if the situation actually requires placation or not.  If not, you can relax. If so, you can decide how to best go about it in a conscious way.  This may include finding effective placation strategies or finding ways to release resistance to and become more ok with the social consequence that the other person is giving you or potentially will give you.  You can also decide what to do about the fact that you have a situation or person in your life where placation is required.

One thing that will totally change your relationship to placation is to realize that it is a narcissistic strategy.  It is done for one person and one person only and that’s you (you includes things you’re identified with). You are placating to stay safe in a situation where you perceive the other person to be unsafe.  For example, if you give that person a gift from a position of trying to placate them, you didn’t give them that gift so that they would feel good. You gave it to them so that you could be safe. It was a gift given for you, a lie told for your own sake, a concession made for your benefit, not theirs.  You’re operating from the old paradigm: It’s every man out for himself.

You will most likely get confused when it comes to placation because placation involves so many loving gestures.  When is it in-alignment to show love and not? You will ask. All you need to remember is that if you’re placating, you are doing things that some other parts of you might do to show love or to connect but there is fear present.  Your motive for doing it is to calm down hostility or avoid hostility. You are doing it out of fear that there will be a consequence if you don’t do it.  Or you are not doing it out of fear that there will be a consequence if you do do it. This is one reason why being aware of your actual motivation in any given situation (no matter how much of a bad person it makes you feel like you are) is so important.  For more information about this, watch my video titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening.

Another element that I must add here is that there is a shadow lurking in those who placate.  That shadow is a lack of self-worth. People who have a chronic pattern of placating, have the understanding that people only turn hostile when they have decided they do not want or need the closeness or alliance of the person they are turning hostile towards.  For example, if you really want or need closeness with a person because you love their company or because they have something you need, you are going to do everything to avoid a conflict with them. You will do this because you recognize value in them. If you have a pattern of placation, you feel that you must be the one who does the placating in every relationship because no one recognizes your value and so they don’t perceive themselves to need or want you and so they lack the motive to stay in alignment and close and on good terms with you.  You personalize the hostility of your environment as being a comment on your own value and worth. For this reason, it will benefit you to watch my video titled: The Value Realization (A Realization That Can Completely Change Your Self Worth). And seeing as how you most likely got to this idea as a result of trauma from your childhood, such as living with a parent who was an adversary, it would benefit you to do a process that I created called The Completion Process. To learn this process, you can buy a copy of my book titled: The Completion Process or visit and select a practitioner who can lead you through it.

If your social life is about placating, it is a serious issue.  If you break it down, all life really is, is a collection of relationships with different things.  If your life therefore is about placation, you will be living a stressed, tense, fearful, exhausting, in-authentic, dishonest, thousands of pounds of pressure life and wondering why you’re not doing ok.  Your life will be non-stop assessment and obsession over whether you need to smooth anything over or prevent potential hostility.

There will always be some people who don’t mind putting you in a situation where you have to placate.  But most people don’t want this. Most people would hate to know that the people around them were doing things that please them because of placation.  This means that more people will be on board with helping you to end this dynamic than not. The ability to placate is an important social skill. But placation should never be your relationship style.  You need to re-arrange your social life according to what your personal truth is relative to being around people who you need to placate.  In my opinion, it should definitely not be your partner and it should not be the people whom you consider family or friends. If you feel you have to placate certain people, you need to have some serious heart to heart conversations with those people in your life about that feeling and collaborate with them about how to change that dynamic between you.  The good and bad news is that you will be able to tell who you actually have to placate based on that conversation. Just be careful that in that conversation, you aren’t demonstrating that you are the one need to be placated.

Pay attention to your posture and notice those feelings of resentment, stress, obligation, anger, sadness or frustration when you think about doing something to establish rapport with someone else.  Use those painful feelings as an alarm bell alerting you to the fact that you are in placation mode.

  Be committed to directly naming it and talking about it when you feel that you are about to take an action to placate or have to do something to placate someone in order to stay safe and avoid hostility.  For example, “I’m afraid that I have to placate you by coming to that party, because if I don’t come to that party, I am afraid that you’ll decide that I’m a crappy friend and abandon me.” And remember if you are committed to ending this pattern of placation, you should be asking yourself: How can I make people feel safe with me?  How can I make people feel like they don’t have to placate me?

The human ego is so sensitive that an honest conversation that is safe is definitely a practice to master.  But we should at least be trying to master it. Otherwise, we will be having relationships that are painful and not real.  And that is exactly what a relationship based on placation is: Painful and not real.

 Placation is currently a relationship style for people on earth.  People so often feel the way to create a good relationship is to placate each other.  But my question for you is: Is this what we want for our relationships? Is this what we want for our society and world?


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