What’s Wrong With Being a People Pleaser?

Why are some of us so frustrated in our families, feeling like we are serving everyone else and our needs or wants are not being attended to?  Why is this happening? It may be because some of us are people pleasers and can’t or won’t communicate our needs to our family members. The result is that the family just goes on with what they want and they get it because they speak up and make it happen.

You may be the pleaser in the family so you are often meeting the needs of the other family members but at the end of the day you realize that you are frustrated because you didn’t get your needs met.

How does this keep happening? How come your family members are not meeting your needs? It is because you haven’t expressed them clearly and you haven’t required them to take you seriously. Often times if you are a pleaser you are not comfortable with conflict. Your role in the family has been to avoid conflict and smooth things over.

As children a pleaser was given the choice to either follow the rules set by others and receive praise or to stand up and challenge the rules and expectations and receive a withdrawal of affection and a feeling of abandonment. So this child learned to not challenge or create conflict. They have to renounce their own thoughts, feelings, needs and desires in order to stay connected and approved of. Also to avoid feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment.

After doing this for years they loose the ability to nurture and care for themselves. They don’t know how to communicate their desires in a healthy way. It often comes out in anger and frustration. There is a difference between pleasing and serving and it comes down to the motivation. Is the motivation to avoid conflict or is it to relate with respect and care? Here are some examples.

Pleasing in parenting; Your child has lost their favorite toy. You hate to see him/her so sad and disappointed and don’t want to face the tantrum so you replace it right away.

Serving in parenting; Talk to him/her about responsibility and appreciation. Work on a plan so they can earn back what they have lost. Help and support them in the process.

Pleasing in a relationship; You don’t agree with your partner on an issue, for example how to spend your money, so you give in and give up. It’s just easier than fighting about it.

Serving in a relationship; Take time to talk about it and listen to your partner to gain an understanding of their perspective and share your perspective. Then work together to problem solve, speaking with respect and considerations until you work toward a solution that is acceptable to both of you.

Communicating honestly and clearly can be frightening for a pleaser, they fear loosing the affection and connection to the other person. It is something that needs to be learned in a safe and trusting environment. Seeing this behavior is the first step toward healing. You can learn to communicate your needs in a healthy way.

We are always here to help.  Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions for us! Give us a call at (562) 537-2947.  Also, visit our Facebook page for ongoing resources.

Written by Lisa Strong


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *