The People Pleaser and the Narcissist: The Toxic Relationship Trap

People Pleaser Narcissist Toxic Relationship Trap

The narcissist and the people pleaser

The lack of self esteem and low sense of self worth are perhaps why most people pleasers end up in a relationship with narcissists. It’s like a match made in heaven. They are two ends of the same spectrum – the people pleaser is the benevolent element while the narcissist is the malevolent element. They often feed off one another and are usually unable to thrive without the other. 

Narcissists love preying on people who will give them praise and validation. While people who love pleasing others love giving what the narcissist seeks the most – attention. Their lack of self-confidence and self-esteem compels them to focus on the narcissist by avoiding their own selves. Clinical psychologist and the author Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D. writesPeople-pleasers, so dependent on being approved and accepted by others, are incapable of validating themselves independent of others’ confirmation.”

Read also: How To Stop Feeling Sorry For Toxic People

The narcissistic relationship trap

One of the main reasons why narcissists and people pleasers attract each other so much is because they fulfill each other’s unhealthy, toxic needs. The narcissist is only concerned about their own needs and desires while the pleaser is obsessed with making others happy by avoiding their own needs. This is why the narcissist is so strongly attracted to people who love pleasing others.

Narcissists think of themselves first and very little of others; people pleasers think of others and very little of themselves,” says author and mental health advocate Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC. A people pleaser will often look at their narcissistic partner through distorted rose-colored glasses. They will avoid all their negative traits and validate their behavior just to gain acceptance. “Narcissism demands to be fed and people pleasers are the best source,” adds Christine. When their narcissist partner becomes abusive, they take the blame and easily apologize to avoid confrontation. This is perhaps the most perfect toxic relationship as the narcissist constantly spreads their toxicity and the people pleaser continually tries to ‘fix’ their narcissistic partner.

Read also: Narcissistic Relationships

The main problem is that people pleasers fail to realize they deserve to be loved unconditionally and accepted just as they are in relationships. They need to realize that it is okay to be flawed, to be imperfect, to make mistakes  and still feel content. They must realize that their emotions have value too and it’s not their job to fix others or make them happy.

How to get out of the trap

If you are a people pleaser and want to get out of this unhealthy relationship trap then you need to start by putting yourself first. It is only by taking care of yourself, you will find the mental and emotional energy to help others. Self-love and self-care can give you the strength to turn your life around. Therapist Erika Myers says “It’s OK to be a giving, caring person. It’s also important, however, to honor and tend to our own needs.” It won’t make you selfish. It will only make you realize your own worth.

The next thing you need to do is start setting up healthy personal boundaries, if you wish to overcome people-pleasing behaviors. Healthy boundaries will empower you to protect your personal needs and desires and nurture your emotional and mental space. 

Moreover, you also need to learn how to identify signs of narcissism in your partner and see them for who they are. If they fail to respect your boundaries, then you need to consider walking away from the relationship to protect yourself and build your self esteem. Liberating yourself from the toxicity of your people pleasing habits and narcissistic relationship will empower you to find happiness within and live a satisfying, meaningful life.

Read also: 9 Important Reminders For A People Pleaser and How To Finally Say ‘No’

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