00:00 Intro
01:41 Intro music
03:10 What is the fawn response 
08:00 Why revert to fawn response 
10:00 Enmeshment 
16:00 Characteristics of fawn response   
37:15 Why are we talking about it 




  • Intro freeze episode and how it came up
  • What is the Fawn Response?
    • Pete Walker, psychotherapist and author of Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving wrote: The fawn response is “a response to a threat by becoming more appealing to the threat.”
    • Psych Central:
    • Fawning refers to consistently abandoning your own needs to serve others to avoid conflict, criticism, or disapproval. 
    • Fawning is also called the “please and appease” response and is associated with people-pleasing and codependency.
  • Why do we revert to Fawn Response? 
    • Childhood Trauma 
    • Complex Trauma (war trauma)
    • Fawning is particularly linked with relational trauma or trauma that occurred in the context of a relationship
      • Abuse: harmful experiences that could be physical, sexual, or emotional in nature
      • Neglect: trauma as a result of things that didn‘t happen, such as physical or emotional neglect
      • Enmeshment: a lack of boundaries between family members that can impair a child’s independence and sense of self
  • Let's talk about Enmeshment
    • Enmeshment is a description of a relationship between two or more people in which personal boundaries are permeable and unclear.
    • You grow up in this environment and then you go to a job where there is no clear direction on what is required of you but you get yelled at if you fuck something up. 
      • eFactory, “50% of employees across all sectors currently lack role clarity in the workplace.” (source is selling something, so…)
  • Is Fawn Your Response? 
    • stifling your own needs
    • finding authentic self-expression challenging
    • flying under the radar
    • having trouble saying “no”
    • over-apologizing
    • holding back opinions or preferences that might seem controversial
    • experiencing chronic pain or illness
    • having depression, which can be linked with trauma
    • trouble with personal boundaries
    • assuming responsibility for the emotional reactions and responses of others
    • fixing or rescuing people from their problems
    • attempting to control other’s choices to maintain a sense of emotional safety
    • denying your own discomfort, complaints, pain, needs, and wants
    • changing your preferences to align with others
  • Why Are We Talking About This on a Focus Podcast? 
    • Well, we are talking about it because of a therapy session, but…
    • Bryan… I wonder… out of all the people who stop and start businesses, I wonder how many just mentally murder themselves because of childhood trauma…. 
    • The Fawn response is absolutely sucking your focus. You literally are losing yourself trying to appease others. 
    • National Institute for Children’s Health and Safety: Nearly half of American children—are exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that can severely harm their future health and well-being. As a manager or owner, half of your employees experienced real trauma…