September 2021 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Happy fall–my favorite season! I’m not crazy about the bitter cold that follows, but as an introvert, I love to cocoon and can feel those cozy days ahead. I don’t do much autumn gardening, but now that my knee is further recovered from surgery, I hope to do a little weeding–before my gardens raise the white flags of defeat to their marauders.

Speaking of white flags, in July, I let go of people-pleasing as a primary theme of my memoir, with motherhood taking center stage. I’m still wending my way out of and into those literary worlds, trying to find my niche and my tribe.

Maybe you can help me: Do you have favorite resources–websites, podcasts, books–about motherhood, parenting, or perseverance through adversity? I’d love your ideas! 

Meanwhile, my full manuscript has now been read by my awesome critique partners, and my writing and storytelling have vastly improved as a result. With a little final tweaking, I’ll soon start querying literary agents again. That’s the plan for now, anyway.

My current working title (which may sound familiar) and description:
 Growth: A Mother, her Son, and the Brain Tumor they Survived. The clash between a woman’s naïve expectations of motherhood and her son’s crushing needs destroys her confidence and threatens her stability.
Would you be enticed to read on? If you have family or friends who might be interested, please forward this email or this link to sign up for this newsletter. 

People-pleasing remains a big part of my story, so I’m still offering focus groups and mother-daughter dialogues, and my webinar Wipe Your Feet Before You Walk All Over Me is now on Youtube. (If you watch any of it, I’d appreciate a thumbs up and even a share!) And I still have lots of great resources on my website, like this page. Toward the bottom of the page, you’ll see a link to my tipsheet: 50 Simple Ways to Stop People-Pleasing. Please check it out!

And I’ll continue to write about topics related to people-pleasing, like this guest blog about creating assertive mantras, a key step in my own personal growth.

I also had a fun essay about my knee surgery published: Kissing my Knee Goodbye. And yes, I really did kiss my knee.

Also, ICYMI, here’s my blog about my 9-11 prayer.

Finally, if you’re on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram, I’d love to have you follow me–you never know what you’ll learn about me!

All the best. And keep scrolling for more good stuff…


Anniversary getaway with my sweetie.

Michael and I took a much-needed mini-vacation in Rockport, Mass to celebrate our 39th anniversary. Don’t think I’m unaware of the privilege of being together all these years, especially after some of the challenges we faced. We are unbelievably blessed and grateful. Here’s the story behind the red fishing shack in the background, the “most painted building in the world.”

Books that inform my writing.
I’ll be adding this book below to my bibliography of people-pleasing resources. (Let me know if you’d like the list and I’ll email it to you.) A lack of healthy boundaries is a key symptom of the disease to please, and the more I read, the more I realize how my own struggle was and is defined by poor boundaries. 

Above is an oldie but goodie I recently discovered. It’s the book I’d needed as a new mom, to show me I wasn’t alone in feeling so desperately incompetent, so, well,  desperate. Plus, it’s hilarious and moving, and inciteful. Every new and expectant parent should read it. (I know, I know–when do new parents have time to read? But I’m hopeful for them.)   

People-pleasing on the web.
Two great reads for you:

Faith and Values: Avoiding Conflict out of Fear

16 Codependent Traits That Go Beyond Being a People Pleaser

Having a baby is like suddenly getting the world’s worst roommate, like having Janis Joplin with a bad hangover and PMS come to stay with you. Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird.


  • Karen DeBonis

    Karen DeBonis writes about motherhood, people-pleasing, and personal growth, the entangled mix told in her memoir "Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived" forthcoming in spring 2023. Subscribe today to receive Chapter 1: A Reckoning.

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