Are you a people pleaser trapped in a relationship with a narcissist? This is a frustrating toxic pattern that you need to break to live a healthy, happy and satisfying life.
Who is a people pleaser?
People pleaser refers to individuals who want everyone to like them. They have difficulty in saying no to others. Hence they end up saying yes to everyone and everything. They find it frustrating that someone does not like them as they always seek external validation from others. They believe that pleasing others is the only and best path to acceptance.
They have poor boundary setting skills and often end up doing things that they might not personally like. They are willing to do anything and everything to make everyone around them happy and keep them pleased. As a result they often hide their genuine selves and portray a personality that is more likeable. National best selling author Vanessa Van Edwards writes “A people pleaser is someone who tries hard to make others happy. They will often go out of their way to please someone, even if it means taking their own valuable time or resources away from them.” She adds “People pleasers often act the way they do because of their insecurities and lack of self-esteem.”
Is being a people pleaser wrong?
Trying to please others might not look like the worst thing to do. There is nothing wrong with being kind and nice to make others happy. But when you ignore your own self and avoid your needs and happiness just to please others, then it can be detrimental for your own mental and emotional wellbeing. Author Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT explains “A people pleaser isn’t just being big-hearted or kind to others. Nor are people-pleasers compromising.” They don’t have the option to choose. “Their behavior has become a lifestyle. It’s compulsive, because they’re unable to say no,” she adds.
When you try to make others feel better or control their reactions by altering your behaviors, words and even persona, then it can become a damaging, unhealthy habit. By bending over backwards to do things that others may like, you go out of your way to be more acceptable and likeable. You invest your time, effort and energy into pleasing others as you lack self confidence, have a low self esteem and are riddled with insecurities. Therapist Erika Myers says “The urge to please others can be damaging to ourselves and, potentially, to our relationships when we allow other people’s wants to have more importance than our own needs.”
In their efforts to avoid outer conflict, people pleasers end up creating monumental inner conflict. And this can seriously affect their careers, relationships and personal lives. “The anger, resentment, hurt, and conflict we always tried to avoid continue to grow. Being alone might appear to be a welcome escape from these challenges, but then we’d end up sacrificing our connection to others, which is what we truly want,” explains Darlene Lancer.
Signs of a people pleaser
People pleasing can be a damaging habit and serious problem. If you are wondering whether you are a people pleaser or not, then here are a few signs to watch out for according to psychotherapist and author Amy Morin, LCSW:
- You pretend to agree with others even though you may disagree internally
- You feel personally responsible for how people around you may feel
- You apologize to others more than you should and unnecessarily blame yourself
- You are always doing what other want you to do and feel burdened by it
- You find it difficult to say no to others, so you either say yes or lie to avoid it
- You can compromise your values to please others as you don’t want to displease anyone
- You pretend to be someone you are not and engage in self-destructive behavior to make others like you
- Getting external validation is crucial for you as you highly value what others think of you
- You avoid conflict at all costs and easily sacrifice and compromise your stand
- You never let others know about your real feelings or emotional pain, damaging your relationships
Read also: 5 Lessons For People Pleasers