I've come to discover two things about how I interact with people; two extremes that I sometimes find myself operating from. They both come from the same source, the same motivation—self-protection—but come out in very different forms.
One side of this dichotomy is the people pleaser. People Pleaser came to life when I was a child, coping with what it meant for my parents to be divorced. I wanted their love and was terrified that because, in my child's mind, they didn't love each other anymore, then they could possibly stop loving me, too. Thus, as I moved between the worlds of "Mom" and "Dad" as separate entities, my People Pleaser emerged. People Pleaser tells each parent what they want to hear in order to maintain that parent's love. This, of course, bled into other relationships in my life, and for much of my childhood and early teen years, I was a consummate People Pleaser.
But alas, one side of the coin cannot exist without the other, and thus, as I hit puberty and started to understand the strength of saying no, pushing back, and other forms of rebellion, Hand Biter took a stand. Hand Biter is another self-protector, and in my case, formed out of the frustration of being a People Pleaser and still being hurt by those that I loved. Hand Biter has a sharp tongue, and strikes before she can be struck. Hand Biter has the perfect biting thing to say, and says it without thought to anything but protecting onesself. Hand Biter is the exact opposite of People Pleaser.
As an adult, People Pleaser and Hand Biter are still with me. They have grown and developed as I have, and they are as much a part of me as my hand or my fingerprint. They have their own scars, and they make appearances when I am feeling vulnerable or distrustful. I have come to understand that, even through understanding these sides of myself, it doesn't mean these pieces of me will ever go away. Nor, I think, would I want them to. They represent the Amazon Woman parts of me: The self-preserving part of me. The part of me that will survive in the face of whatever happens, and I welcome that strength. But I am trying to learn how to call on these protectors only when I need them.