Home / Blog / #9 Discovering Home and Embracing Authenticity: RelationTips Q&A – Part 2

#9 Discovering Home and Embracing Authenticity: RelationTips Q&A – Part 2

Isaac Archuleta

Episode Summary

In our previous episode, we covered the topic of enmeshment and home, helping the guest find their way to an inward home that will root them no matter where they go. In this episode, we take a deep dive into her subconscious to examine why “home” feels so far away and what steps need to be taken to reclaim it. As we converse, you’ll hear referenced the Performer Chart. If you’d like to follow along, the chart is at the bottom of this page.

Some of the episodes in our line up are what we call, RelationTips Q&A’s, a safe space for everyday folks to come on the show and talk with a therapist about a problem or topic they are struggling with.

These episodes are intended to highlight queer stories with the hope that others can relate and gain insight into their own journeys.

Guests on these episodes bring vulnerability into the space that allows for a deep, emotional exploration of areas that hit deeply for many queer folks.

For information about how to become a guest, visit us at iAmClinic.org.

Breaking Free from the Performer Mode: Embracing Vulnerability in Relationships

“Queer Relation Tips” is a podcast devoted to helping members of the LGBTQ+ community create fulfilling love lives and relationships. In this powerful episode, the host and guest explore the concept of the “performer mode” and its impact on relationships within the LGBTQ+ community. By delving into the root causes of enmeshment and its influence on prioritizing the needs of others over one’s own, the episode sheds light on how authentic connections and vulnerability can transform relationships.

Enmeshment and the Performer Mode

At the heart of this episode lies the concept of enmeshment, a relational pattern that emerges from early experiences, especially during childhood. Enmeshed individuals become highly attuned to the emotions of others, often driven by the fear of abandonment. They prioritize meeting others’ needs and expectations to gain acceptance and validation, creating what the host terms the “performer mode.”

The performer mode is characterized by four key beliefs:

1. “I am valuable when I meet others’ expectations and rescue them from pain.”

2. “I need to be spectacular to earn my value.”

3. “I need to care for others, and if I don’t, I feel incredibly guilty.”

4. “Being close scares me because I will lose my sense of identity or individuality.”

Through shared experiences and deep introspection, the guest reveals how their upbringing in a religious context further reinforced the performer mode. Growing up with the belief that living a holy life brought blessings and avoiding an unholy life led to curses, the guest internalized the idea of constantly needing to prove themselves to others.

The Impact of Enmeshment on Vulnerability

As the episode unfolds, the guest candidly shares their struggles with vulnerability. Fearful of rejection and judgment due to their queer identity, they admit to compartmentalizing aspects of themselves within different friend groups. Although they find safe spaces within these circles, they still feel the pressure to wear various “shades” or personas to be accepted. This constant need to perform takes a toll, leading to exhaustion and resentment in their relationships.

Finding Authentic Connections and Embracing Vulnerability

Throughout the discussion, the host emphasizes the importance of creating safe spaces for vulnerability with trustworthy people. Breaking free from the performer mode requires recognizing the need for authentic connections and embracing vulnerability to experience genuine intimacy. The conversation unveils the complexity of enmeshment and its role in shaping relationships within the LGBTQ+ community.

The journey towards authenticity involves overcoming the fear of being seen for who we truly are. For the guest, the fear of abandonment was rooted in childhood experiences with their mother, who would leave when they misbehaved. This early conditioning laid the foundation for their performer mode, making them believe that they needed to perform perfectly to keep people close.

The guest’s self-awareness and willingness to explore the roots of their fears serve as an inspiration for others. By acknowledging the impact of enmeshment and religious upbringing on their relationships, the guest takes steps towards reclaiming their identity. They begin to recognize the value of vulnerability, understanding that it is not about impressing others but about connecting authentically.

Beyond the LGBTQ+ Community

The themes discussed in this episode resonate beyond the LGBTQ+ community. Enmeshment and the performer mode can be prevalent in various relationships, regardless of sexual orientation. Many individuals struggle to be vulnerable due to past experiences or societal expectations. Breaking free from these patterns is a journey of self-discovery, self-compassion, and self-acceptance.


In this thought-provoking and insightful podcast episode, the host and guest illuminate the performer mode and enmeshment, providing valuable insights into building healthier and more authentic relationships. By acknowledging the impact of childhood experiences and religious upbringing, the guest begins their journey toward reclaiming their identity and fostering deeper connections with others.

This episode serves as a powerful reminder that vulnerability is not a weakness, but rather a strength that enables genuine intimacy and connection. Embracing vulnerability allows us to shed the layers of the performer mode and reveal our true selves to those we care about. It is an invitation to break free from the fear of abandonment and find comfort in the authenticity of our relationships.

As the guest’s story unfolds, listeners are encouraged to explore their own relationships and patterns, seeking opportunities for growth, healing, and deeper connections. The journey towards vulnerability is a courageous one, but the rewards of authentic relationships are immeasurable. Through this episode, “Queer Relation Tips” offers a profound message to all listeners: embracing vulnerability is the key to unlocking the full potential of love and relationships.

Episode Debrief

Enmeshment creates major changes in our personalities and major shifts in our behavioral patterns. One of the biggest effects from enmeshment that we sustain occurs in our identities. Enmeshment slowly convinces us that we are only as good as our performances. 

Just to recap, enmeshment occurs anytime a parent convinces a child that the child was in control of someone else’s mood, emotions, or behavior.

With the illusion that we control others’ behavior—either emotional or physical behavior—we will start to create a list of the things that should be done and the parts of our personalities that we should parade as well as the things that should not be done, the parts of ourselves that should be hidden and kept a secret. 

As we find ourselves using our costumes and performances to “ta-da” others we block ourselves from being known. Those we wish to see and truly know us can’t. All they have access to is the version of us they see on stage. We resent others for the show we put on when in fact they have no idea they’re seeing our show. We blame others for our loneliness and Angry Hope when in fact all who we can actually blame is ourselves. Ouch, right?

In our anger, shame, and self-blame we experience as a result of our own grand performances, we move away from relationships. Taking the definition that Relational Intimacy to mean performing, self-hiding, and self-denial, we will avoid deep relationships like a plague. We can stand the alone-ness for a certain amount of time until we feel guilty for leaving others in their quote/unquote pain or until we feel like they will leave us. In these two scenarios, we will find the energy to perform once again, keeping us in our confusion wondering when we’ll find a place, relationships, and profession that feel like home.

To reverse this cycle we must identify what parts of our being are left in hiding and how we parade around a particular façade for others to enjoy. Once we can identify what our relational chameleon looks like, we then must identify the boundary that protects us from feeling responsible for another’s emotions, an internal voice that tells you no.

You are not allowed to pick up the illusions that you control another person’s emotions and behavior and shape-shift to perceivably KEEP them happy. As you go without ta-da-ing others, it may feel like you’re empty handed and selfish. After all, enmeshment trains us to believe we are responsible for other’s emotions. Believe me, in this context relying on your own desires as a compass will feel disorienting but eventually like returning home. 

All these changes will lead to one powerful revelation we were robbed of as children. It is a knowing and a sensation. A faucet of your personhood you can no longer deny. It is not a cognitive thought you’ll think but a sensation you’ll feel. It is the experience of yourself as inherently valuable.

When we are motivated to do something, not as an award winning performance, but as a way of loving how we love others, we find that all we need to follow is the sensation of loving ourselves. With the behavioral mantra, or the  contemplative practice of loving how we love, we stumble upon our inherent value. When we stumble upon our inherent value we stumble upon our home decorated with our own authenticity and the joy it produces.

Remember, when you have been told that what you want and need is less than the needs and wants of others, you will feel incredibly selfish when you start using your needs and wants to guide yourself. But to embrace and use your desires as your compass isn’t selfish; it’s your guide back home! 

If you find yourself in the performer side of the chart, remember you are meant for more than rescuing the world.

Episode Timestamps/Quotes

Quotes in bold

00:00:00 – “Sometimes I think we are so trained to think about what other ppl need and want and we prioritize that.”

00:02:56 – Performer Chart introduced – performers rescue people to avoid guilt and feel valuable

00:06:36 – Guest descbies being the best person in every other area of her life so religion can’t criticize the queer part of her life.

00:08:06 – “We are enmeshed with God and that emshement is a major pillar of codependence.”

00:09:00 – Obligation vs. Love

00:09:41 – Biblical proof to go to the mall

00:11:29 – “We’re saying, I can’t even trust my own preferences because you’re telling me what I feel or what I want is wrong or I have to prove that it’s innocent.”

00:12:44 – “When we put up that indigo/chameleon and Ta-da with whatever shade we become with other people, they’re actually only able to bond with that shade of who we are. That layer and that bonding is actually blocking relational intimacy.”

00:13:30 – Guest not able to blame their family for feeling blindsided by their coming out

00:14:41 – Guest used closet to become bulletproof in competence so no one could question

00:16:29 – “When we’re doing Ta-da’s we don’t have to be vulnerable; we just get to provide.”

00:16:50 – “Do you feel like you’re safe to practice [vulnerability]? Do you have trustworthy people to let yourself go to that scary place and open up?”

00:19:02 – “Do you feel it is a ta-da that they don’t know other parts? Are you protecting them from who you are, in a sense?”

00:19:24 – Guest feels they are protecting themselves

00:20:17 – Example of a child with their alcoholic mom

00:21:32 – “What feels so bad about you?”

00:22:14 – Guest’s childhood story about their mom walking out and fear of abandonment

00:24:30 – You’re staying, now I’m going to leave. Why does this happen?

00:26:13 – “They don’t know we are Ta-da-ing them but we are resentful for our Ta-da’s.”

00:28:30 – Guest’s previous partner and polyamory

00:29:11 – Guest’s family and ministry Ta-dA’s

00:30:46 – Ta-da-ing in environmental career

00:31:21 – “We’re bringing that fear wherever we go: will you stay or will you abandon me?”

00:31:44 – Prioritizing Harmony vs Intimacy

00:32:27 – Guest is trying to break current patterns with current partner

00:35:50 – A performer runs from a relationship because they need a vacation form it or just for it to end

00:40:52 – Helpful to practice vulnerability but also to find enmeshment patterns

00:42:04 – Practice experiencing our own inherit value

00:42:50 – You don’t have to change the action of a Ta-da but the intention

00:45:13 – Being present, energized vs Doing something out of obligation

00:46:25 – Dealing with a family member who has questionable intentions

00:48:50 – How to talk about resentment with someone

00:50:04 – Angry Hope and Fractured Attachments

Episode Materials

Performer Chart referenced  in the episode:

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