People pleasing

30 Dec 2016

We will always open ourselves up to others taking advantage, particularly when we’re asked to do something and we never say no, when we try to please people. People pleasing means we open ourselves up to others taking advantage, particularly when we’re asked to do something and we never say no.

As a form of acceptance we do it. Of course, when we eventually say no and we start to put ourselves first, the tone from the other camp can easily change. A little condescending and standoffish in parts, it’s always difficult to come back from another person’s condescending tone. As a child that’s all I did.

When that happens, perhaps on our part we must let go of how what is said, being personal to us. Their tone is their inability to accept we have a right to make our own decisions, based on our own values, wants and needs. It’s about how much value we place on ourselves, not other people’s value being placed on us.

It’s not also about being and looking for acceptance from others, we need to be accepting of ourselves. I never stopped recognising or rejecting other people’s  behaviour, so I must have valued myself more than I thought. Others seem to give themselves permission to treat others less important than themselves and somehow that becomes acceptable and the norm, but that’s no more acceptable than us thinking we’re more important than they are.

We tend to let condescending, standoffish behaviour in, until such a time we struggle under the enormity of their behaviour and then we let rip. The other problem is that because we don’t always know to handle being caught up in that situation, we don’t always know what and how to say what we need to say and therefore we don’t.

Perhaps we think it easier not to, or perhaps we’re afraid of the backlash that comes with it. Perhaps that’s why we keep things sweet.

8 Responses to “People pleasing”

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  1. Randy 30. Dec, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

    Well, now people pleasing is my area of expertise! I was forced to do it as a child, so it’s no wonder that I became so good at it. I may have been great at it, but I despised every second of it without realizing that I didn’t have to keep doing it.

    Just to keep my Mother happy, I played the dancing monkey role, while the other part of me fought to be the peacekeeper, because I got tired of all the insanity at home. My parents didn’t seem to have an issue with being people pleasers to get what they wanted from people, but I found it too highly insulting to accept being treated like a commoner all the time.

    My Mother’s parents and family were great at doing that and thinking we didn’t know how much they looked down their noses at us. I’m thinking that if I did actually make New Year’s resolutions, the first one would be to stop being such a people pleaser and focus on my own life for a change.

    When I think back on who and what I allowed into my life, I find it appalling to put it mildly. People so often wonder why others tolerate being treated a certain way, like very badly, but when you have lived that way for so long, you don’t know any different.

    It isn’t a matter of wanting or not wanting it, what it comes down to is that it becomes our normal, which people don’t understand. I finally figured it out when I wracked my brain to understand why the most amazing women would choose to be treated no better than hookers.

    You live what you know, is the expression that I have come up with, which made so much sense to me. It’s why people pleasers do what they do, since we have just been doing it for so long we don’t know anything different.

    I know for me, it eventually became easier to just go along with things, rather than to keep fighting. The only problem with that, is people will treat you like a peon, like you’re considered just a slave to them, which I find to be highly humiliating.

    There was always a tiny shred of dignity left in me that hated being treated that way, but I didn’t comprehend that it was okay to feel that way, even though I was forced to accept it as a child.

    The reality is that, chronologically I’m 48 and definitely no longer a child, so I have the right to choose how people treat me in the end.

    • Ilana 30. Dec, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      The irony is that individually we have a right to how people treat us, we have a right to say how we want to be treated, but there are those who make our lives difficult and make us feel bad when we choose not to conform.

      All of this stems from childhood of course, but we’re not children anymore. Not everyone is and will be accepting of the new you, but rest assured Randy, you absolutely have the right to choose how people treat you in the end.

      Trust me, I’ve got the teeshirt on this one!

  2. Brad 30. Dec, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    I was a people pleaser for a while and then realised I wasn’t being the true me, but a version of myself to find approval and acceptance.

    When I realised the person I was trying to please (or maybe appease) wasn’t worthy, then I decided I really couldn’t give two figs about his opinion of me.

    I guess there is a happy medium, but ultimately we have to be true to ourselves and not others.

    • Ilana 30. Dec, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

      Your last paragraph sums up your response beautifully. There is a balance a happy medium to achieve, but that has to come from both sides. I agree.

      We can please others if it suits us too, but not if we’re doing it just to please or where other people solely benefit. The odd time is fine, but not all the time.

      It does us no favours, as it just serves to distance us from those who don’t like our change in attitude.

  3. Bonnie Johns 30. Dec, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    I went through something very similar this past summer. A friend of mine for 12 years came to live with us because she couldn’t afford her rent at her apartment.

    Along with her was her 15 yr old daughter, (who we expected) along with the daughter’s boyfriend who she never asked if he could come. These people were more than happy to sit back and not provide a dime toward the household.

    All because her and I were best friends, she thought she could skate free. She surely showed her true colors. What she didn’t realize is this is my dad’s house, not mine and she was under the impression, what’s my family’s is hers also.

    We no longer talk because of this. After a month and a half we had to ask her to leave because it was too much.

    • Ilana 30. Dec, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

      Thanks Bonnie. I am sure you wouldn’t have minded had your friend offered to help around the house and/or contribute to the finances whilst she was in your home.

      Even if she couldn’t have afforded to pay you anything, asking goes a long way. It’s the thought that counts.There are circumstances where we sometimes outstay our welcome and you probably felt bad doing it.

      I am sure this is not something you would have chosen to do, but under the circumstances must have felt compelled to act.

  4. Bonnie Johns 31. Dec, 2016 at 6:10 am #

    Thank you, yes we did. because I have three girls and having another child who is not mine and only one year older than my eldest daughter, allow to have a live in boyfriend is not okay.

    They never asked if the boy could stay, they knew what they were doing. And if they would of helped stretch the food out that we were providing, help save hot water, turn off lights, etc that help would have gone a long way for sure.

    • Ilana 31. Dec, 2016 at 7:39 am #

      Yes, it seems you clearly made the right decision for you, one which you wouldn’t have made had your friend behaved differently in your home.

      A home is a sanctuary, it’s important friends coming to stay in our home, treat our home accordingly.

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