- I try to be who someone wants me to be.
- I am afraid to rock the boat.
- It is hard for me to know what I want.
- I avoid speaking my mind.
- I find it easier to go along with what someone wants or with their opinion.
- I fantasize about a strong person taking over my life and making it work.
- It is hard for me to express my feelings when they are different from someone I’m close to.
- It is difficult for me to say No.
- I avoid getting angry.
- It is hard for me to take initiative.
- I try to be nice rather than expressing how I really feel.
- I want everyone to get along.
If these statements fit you in certain situations, you may have a People Pleaser Pattern.
From this article. I find it absolutely disgusting that, just in a quick overview, I can easily say that all of those except the taking initiative one apply to me.
I mean it. And I’m not afraid to say it!
Well, I am, actually. There’s a lot of things I avoid saying – in my blog AND in real life – because of a lot of the reasons listed above. According to the article, there’s a variant on people pleasing that is right up my alley:
Please-then-Explode. While one part of you is pleasing people, another part may be feeling resentful. The resentment gradually builds up until it becomes anger or even rage. At some point, the angry part takes over from the compliant part, and you suddenly explode in rage. The person you were pleasing doesn’t know what hit them. They thought you were totally happy going along with them, and all of a sudden, you are livid. You feel controlled; your needs are being ignored, and you’re not going to take it any more. Usually the rage is impotent rage. Because you haven’t really learned how to assert yourself, your anger may take the form of flailing around rather than really changing things. You don’t really expect to get what you want, and your anger is expressed in a powerless way. Soon you feel ashamed of your outburst, your compliant part takes over again, and the pattern repeats itself.
This is TOTALLY what I do sometimes. Not all the time, but often enough that I can recognize it. Even here, where this is MY blog and I should be able to say whatever I want, I hesitate. Not because I like to keep my private life private (we all know THAT isn’t an issue) but because I am frightened of the reaction I would get from people if I were to write about things that involved them. Even if it was written so indirectly that only they and I knew that it was about them. Even sometimes if it was written so indirectly that only I knew it was about them.
I’ve written about this before, as you know. It’s one of the things that I like least about myself. It seems like no matter how much I write about it and how much I dislike this behavior, all I do is talk and never do anything about it. The article linked above (and others I have read) give some good pointers on how to break the habit and start asserting my own feelings more. What I really need is a twelve-step program. Seriously. Some sort of People Pleasers Anonymous program. Maybe I can make one up. What do you think?
Step 1: Admit Defeat.
Step 2: Overdose on self help books and Dr. Phil.
Step 3: Make a list of all the things you feel but don’t say.
Step 4: Send emails to all people involved in Step 3. Tell them to kiss your ass.
Step 5: Hide.
Step 6: Move out of state.
Step 7: Send apology emails to all people involved in Step 4.
Step 8: Castigate yourself for being such a pansy.
Step 9: Retract all apology emails.
Step 10: Move out of the country.
Step 11: Drink yourself into a stupor so you don’t have to worry about what everyone thinks about you.
Step 12: Hang yourself with bits of leftover twine and masking tape because you’re not worth a brand new rope.
Hmmmm…somehow I don’t think that will work for me.
Instead…I can think of three things that have been bothering me or gone unaddressed because I’m too worried about people’s reactions. How about I start there and see how it goes? Maybe I won’t end up having to hang myself with twine after all.