There’s absolutely nothing wrong with pleasing people, including ourselves. If we’re willing to make sacrifices for the sake of another, who are we to say that’s wrong? But the fact is, people pleasing isn’t about pleasing others, but fending off our fear of rejection. Those of us who would consider themselves people pleasers are generally individuals who feel the need to be accepted by the world around them. And not just a general acceptance, but that of each person they come in contact with. And to maintain this madness, we seek to please with abandon. One of the great misconceptions among people pleasers is this idea that we’re ‘good people’ who are just trying to make everybody happy. … it’s not so much our great concern for another human being, but our obsession with the way others may perceive us. As a result, we tend to say yes to everything and rarely stick up for ourselves. Even if someone blatantly wrongs us, we are usually the ones who absorb the hurt and then stand in the corner, fuming to ourselves. It’s not a pretty site. The fact is, when we try to please everybody, we end up pleasing nobody. Tired from the burnout that comes from the over extension of ourselves and frustrated by the fact that we keep letting others take advantage of us, we quickly become ineffective in helping others and often times end up resenting everyone around us. Then, when we finally run into a situation where our help is truly needed, we are too depleted to help out. Also, our ability to decipher a real need from that of someone trying to take advantage of our people pleasing nature, is quite skewed. In our minds, every ‘need’ is a requirement for us to act and in time, this wears us down to worthlessness. From an article by ‘Eric’ @ http://motivatethyself.com/overcoming-people-pleasing/
If you are busy pleasing everyone,
you are not being true to yourself.
“Codependent” is a word that comes up frequently… Being dependent in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s a component of healthy relationships. Some people fear dependency, interpreting it as a sign of weakness or helplessness, or out of a fear of intimacy. In healthy relationships, this is not the case. It is altogether possible to be an autonomous person and yet be able to be dependent on another. If you exhibit healthy dependency you are willing to admit the need for others in your life, and to let them need you. After all, we all start out life as completely dependent on our caretakers. If we grew up in a family that encouraged a sense of autonomy and independent growth, with parents who praised our achievements and showed us love, we will reach adulthood with a sense of security about ourselves and our internal worth and our ability to move through the world as successful people, in whatever way we define that for ourselves. Setting emotional boundaries, giving someone space (and taking it for ourselves) is acceptable. We can allow people to be who they are, not who we want them to be. We understand that we can’t change other people, and balance feelings of closeness with feelings of separateness. Yet we also know how to care for others and let them care for us – we’re able to ask for help when we need it. In other words, it’s ok to need and be needed, because we know and feel good about who we are independently of another person if that person happens not to be around. We are able to form healthily interdependent relationships without losing our sense of self. Sometimes things don’t go the way described above, and what’s experienced growing up is criticism, rejection, conditional love (often based on achievement that validates the parents’, not the child’s, sense of self-worth), over-dependence promoted as valuable, making it impossible to feel adequate without another person around to shore up self-worth. In this scenario you are unable to take responsibility for your own sense of adequacy. You expect your good feelings about yourself to be validated from outside yourself – usually from another person. You feel weak and vulnerable. You depend on someone else to feel secure, comforted, nurtured, supported, lovable, or worthy. You can’t make a decision without the approval of the other person. Your relationships tend to be enmeshed rather than engaged, and the other person in your relationship probably complains about feeling suffocated. More than likely you’ve been called “clingy.” Since it’s hard to set your own agenda, you’re often at a loss, looking to the other person to fill in what’s missing for you. From an on-line article by Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA http://www.therapycanwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=49&Itemid=99
If you need encouragement,
praise, pats on the back
then you make
everybody your judge.
Feeling ‘not good enough’ is very common. As a child, we have often been criticized by our parents, told off, told we should, could, must, be and do better. And often this results in the extremely damaging sub-conscious belief ‘I’m not good enough, and nothing I do is ever good enough’. The result is that we feel dissatisfied with ourselves, and with everything we ever do. It is a hard existence! If you have this belief, you will find it very difficult to complete anything (because, if you complete it, it will not be good enough… at least, if it is incomplete, you have an excuse.) You may go from project to project, never be able to rest, admire your creation, say ‘I did that!’ and feel proud. Your negative belief will be projected outwards and you will feel dissatisfied with your partner, your friends. Nothing about them will be ‘good enough’ either. Your partner cries ‘you’re never satisfied!’. You feel guilty you are ‘not doing enough’. Nothing is ever enough. If you think about it, ‘I’m not good enough, and nothing I ever do is ever good enough’ is a total negation of self. The entire self has been rejected, and consigned to the scrap heap. The process for changing it is NOT to go around saying ‘I feel good about myself’ fifty times. Positive affirmations do not work. They just overlay on top of what our sub-conscious KNOWS is true – which is ‘I’m not good enough’. The way to clear a belief is simply to go into the dark cupboard, pull out the belief. Bring it into awareness, and say, yes! This has been true for me. I acknowledge it and surrender to it. In this instant, as we embrace it, the belief’s power magically goes ‘ping!’ and it is no longer true for us. Please note that in embracing a negative belief we are not condoning it. We are merely bringing it into the light and acknowledging it so that it can be changed. From an article by Jelila /Angela Torrington http://www.baliadvertiser.biz/articles/spiritual/2005/feeling.html
Vanity and pride are different things,
though the words are often used synonymously.
A person may be proud without being vain.
Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves,
vanity to what we would have others think of us.
Psychologists have identified a number of core aspects of personality, and one of the most important is a characteristic called agreeableness. Agreeableness reflects how important it is for you to get along with other people. If you are highly agreeable, then you organize your life in ways to make sure that the people around you are happy and that they feel warmly toward you. If you are not that agreeable, then you don’t really care much about how the people around you feel about you. Now, you might think that being agreeable is generally a good thing and that being disagreeable is not. After all, if you are disagreeable, you may get people angry with you or you might turn off your friends. Disagreeable people may come off as judgmental or cold. But people who are highly agreeable are often too nice. And that can be a huge problem. Remember, that if you are highly agreeable, you want other people to like you. As a result, you may not want to say things to other people that might upset them. That means that you will not stick up for yourself in lots of situations. You may not tell a friend or significant other that you are not interested in going to an event that they want to attend. You may not tell someone else that they have upset you. You probably have a hard time asking for a raise. What can you do if you find that you’re being too nice? Here are a few suggestions.
Say what you mean. Agreeable people often speak indirectly when they want to criticize or to disagree. If you and your friends are deciding on a plan, and someone suggests something that you don’t enjoy doing, don’t say something vague like, “That isn’t my favorite thing,” or “I guess that is ok.” Be more direct. It is ok to say, “I don’t enjoy that.” You may not always get your way, but at least your opinion will be known.
Write what you can’t say. Writing can help. When you write a note or email to someone else, you distance yourself from their direct reaction. That can be helpful for starting a difficult conversation. While it is always better to speak to someone directly than to write to them, it is better to write than to say nothing at all.
Engage your friends. Often, when you have to say something that you are afraid might offend someone, you assume the worst. You begin to believe that someone else will take what you have to say in the worst possible way. In the end, it is easy to talk yourself out of communicating at all, because you fear a negative reaction. From an article by By Art Markman http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/when-being-too-nice-hurts_n_2122238.html
Being too nice
of being hurt,
taken for granted.
When anyone – a man or a woman — has most of the control in a relationship, they create an out-of-balance, resentment-filled, dysfunctional relationship. Another Denver client I’ll call Burt recently married a woman who continually tells him how unhappy she is and that it is his fault. When I suggested to him that they need to get these issues worked out before he married her, he said he’s talked to other husbands and that this is “normal” in relationships – that husbands have to spend their entire lives trying to make their wives happy. He spends every day trying to change himself to fit who she wants him to be. I said, “Don’t you know that when you do what she wants in one area, there will always be something else she wants you to change?” He said that he did feel that nothing was ever good enough with her, but that maybe he is lacking in a lot of areas. Men went from dominating to weak and they need to come back to the middle and demand equality. I told George and Burt both to stop giving up who they are and stop asking their wives for permission to live their lives. Burt couldn’t fathom it since he’s too recently married to know just how bad it is going to get for him, so he dropped out of therapy. George, who has been married for years and has had time to know this isn’t working for him, agreed. He joined a Monday night softball league and actually had a drink with the guys afterwards. Did he catch hell? Of course! But we prepped for it. He told her, “You’re welcome to come and watch, but I’m not going to stop enjoying my life just because you want me to!” And is he still depressed? Hell no! By Carolyn Bushong http://www.examiner.com/article/weak-men-who-try-to-please
I have a confession to make. I don’t want to hug you. It’s not that I don’t like you. I do, probably. I just really don’t enjoy hugging in any form. I know this probably makes me sound cold or like I suffer from some Monk level OCD contamination fears. Neither is true. Nor did I spend my formative years in a creepy Soviet orphanage where I had no physical contact. Hugging to me just doesn’t feel natural. It is never my instinct to hug someone. The worst is when I run into some random acquaintance I haven’t seen in a while and the first thing they do is try to hug me. In a way though, I’m jealous of these natural huggers. They certainly come off as much warmer and friendlier than me even if it might not be wholly genuine. Since I don’t want to come off as unapproachable or snobby, I’ve gotten pretty good at faking enjoying hugs over the years. I am now able to hug someone without doing the creepy straight armed Dr. Evil style hug. Progress. So I normally let other people dictate the terms of first contact. If they go in for a hug, I will return it warmly. But I will never be the “hug initiator.” Maybe someday I’ll be able to proudly own my non-hugging status and have t-shirts made that say “You seem like an awesome person and I’d like to get to know you better, but please don’t touch me.” From a post by Amanda Fox http://hellogiggles.com/confessions-of-a-non-hugger
We were not a hugging people.
In terms of emotional comfort
it was our belief that no amount
of physical contact could match
the healing powers of a well made cocktail.
From “Naked” by David Sedaris
If we find ourselves… feeling trapped or clung to by our partner, we may want to consider how much we were intruded on as kids. Did we have a parent or caretaker who was overbearing and imposed on us for attention or reassurance? Are we now reacting (or overreacting) to our partner, because he or she is looking to us for similar qualities? While we aim to find partners who complement us in a positive way, we often wind up finding people whose opposing traits can rouse negative dynamics between us. For example, how many couples do we know, where one person does the talking, and the other stays quiet? While one person tells the stories and attracts attention, the other acts as a listener and falls into the background. We frequently choose people who fill out our personalities, then resent them for the very traits that make them our “other half.” Even when we choose partners who complement us positively, we run the risk of eventually distorting them or provoking them to become someone who we are less compatible with. This is often not the case when we first get involved with someone. In the beginning of a relationship, we naturally step out of our comfort zones, forcing ourselves outside our own heads and into an interaction with someone unfamiliar. The scenario of getting to know a stranger forces us to push ourselves, to be our best selves, and to treat the other person with respect and interest. As we get closer, our defenses start to arise. We start to feel more vulnerable, and influences from our past start to seep in. We must be wary in this stage of how we can distort our partners. We may start to insert hidden meaning into their words that suit a way we feel about ourselves. We may start to project qualities onto them or exaggerate characteristics they possess. Dr. Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/relationship-advice_b_824879.html
What you see is only half of what I am.
I have a hundred different faces,
a million different personalities.
Only a part of me is what I show you.
I display a fraction of my true self.
Everything is just a façade.
It’s not the truth of me.
You don’t know me.
You never will.
When a Codependent starts a romantic relationship they tend to put too many eggs in that one basket. They invest their whole lives in a guy/girl who ultimately turns out to be an addict, a betrayer, a little boy/girl, a rager, a controller, weak, lost, little, and otherwise not coming as originally advertised. Early on the Codependent is way too emotionally dependent way too quickly. Before too many years go by Codependents learn that the relationship they have arranged for themselves does not include a whole lot of goodies for them. Prince charming who put the full court press on to secure her generally is only interested in her these days to try to extract some sex from her. He is too busy and important to take the time and energy to really get to know her on an intimate and daily basis. That simply isn’t who he is. Codependents also tend to arrange their worlds so that they are financially dependent on a man. Mom is taking care of the kids so that Superman can go out and take over the world. In the mean time each year that passes by is another year that she is out of her career field, not developing her earning power and many times feeling not good enough because they aren’t earning their own money directly. Codependents have big hearts – too big. They rescue men, children, puppies, strangers, neighbors and friends. Their first thought is ‘what does my spouse or my kids need, what will work best for them’. They do not think about their own needs enough. A huge part of their Recovery process is learning to take good care of their own needs. Codependents get lost for decades in the meeting of others needs while ignoring what their own hearts were trying to say to them. Codependents many times don’t have much going on in the hobby department. They have no time devoted to what makes themselves happy. Their lives aren’t really about them. They are rest starved, fun starved and inspiration starved. They need to learn to be selfish in a healthy way. They are parched ground lacking in color and joy. http://www.familytreecounseling.com/marksblog/?s=When+a+Codependent+starts+a+romantic+relationship+
… it’s a lot easier to be lost than found.
It’s the reason we’re always searching,
and rarely discovered…
so many locks, not enough keys.
You feel that you’re responsible for her, and it’s your job to make her happy and solve her problems. You suppress your emotions and avoid confrontation. You have the sense of sacrificing the life you want so that you can be with her and take care of her. You feel trapped at times, and have the sense that you are planning an eventual escape. You feel tremendous guilt at the thought of abandoning her She is extremely jealous and makes it difficult for you to interact with other females or have female friends. She has an intense fear of rejection and abandonment. She lives her life in way that depends on you for many of her needs, as opposed to being independent and having a variety of fulfilling relationships. She has expressed that she wouldn’t be able to live her life if you betrayed or abandoned her. She depends almost exclusively on you as her source of happiness and validation. She dominates and manipulates you through her emotional response, which is often too extreme. Being in a codependent relationship makes for a stressful and unhappy lifestyle. And yet, your avoidant tendencies may keep you from following through with a break up or separation. You may be planning to break up for a long time, but you just keep holding off — many men wait years, or even a lifetime, remaining in such a relationship. It’s important that you don’t dwell on planning, and you take certain actions, fast. If you feel ready to begin the separation process, DO NOT hesitate: The longer you wait, and the more time you both invest, the more difficult it becomes. http://www.codependencyfreedom.com/codependency/for-men-11-signs-youre-in-a-codependent-relationship-and-how-to-get-out.html
We are not trapped by our thoughts.
What we generally do, however,
is create thoughts that trap us.
Joshua David Stone
In order to avoid her fears of being alone the woman may make efforts to keep her man close. It might be a criticism for going out with the boys for an evening. By discouraging him to do other things she is increasing their time together. If a woman engages in such efforts and is successful in controlling her man she will have influenced his behavior by her emotional reactions. With influence over his emotions she will have influence over what he does with his time. He will learn to avoid the activities that bring emotional reactions and criticism and do the things that she approves of. They will spend more time together which will help her to feel solid in the relationship. It also distracts herself from the fear of being alone. In one part of her mind she has helped their relationship, but she has unknowingly created a separate feeling of not being safe. When a woman sees that she can modify her man’s behavior she might perceive him as not being as strong. She will see him as someone that gives up his interests, runs around trying to make her happy. He has stopped being his authentic self and started being what she wants him to be. At some level she perceives him as no longer being his own man. She could perceive him as having weak character and could lose respect for him. More importantly she will not feel safe with a man she sees as having a weak character. Some women will conclude that if they can influence or control their man then other women will also be able to control and influence him as well. All of this adds up to losing respect and trust in the man. One assumption sometimes deep in the mind is that the stronger person controls the weaker person. If she can direct him then he must be weaker than her. This image of weakness is amplified if the woman already considers her self as weak to begin with. The loss of trust in her man’s strength may not be conscious to her, but at some level it affects her feeling of safety with him. From “Emotional Security” http://www.pathwaytohappiness.com/relationship_safety.htm
Consider how hard it is to change yourself
and you’ll understand what little chance
you have in trying to change others.