While most people have a desire to please other people naturally, no one is born a dysfunctional people pleaser. Crossing into being dysfunctional means that pleasing other people reins supreme in your life, even above pleasing yourself & taking care of yourself. It results in toxic relationships with abusive people who take advantage of you. It also can cause many problems in your own life. Your finances, mental & physical health can be severely damaged or destroyed by being a people pleaser. Clearly, the life of a people pleaser isn’t a good life in any way! Breaking free from people pleasing ways isn’t easy but it is possible, & that is what I hope you will learn from this post today.
To start with healing from any dysfunctional behavior, I firmly believe it’s best to heal the dysfunctional thoughts & beliefs that started you on this road. Doing so will change your behavior naturally as you heal.
Learning how to be a people pleaser often starts early with children whose parents were narcissistic. These parents don’t have normal expectations for their children, such as wanting them to learn, grow & one day become independent adults. Instead, they teach their children some very dysfunctional & toxic things, & those children need to unlearn these things.
One thing they teach their children is that their love is conditional. They are only worthy of love if they please their narcissistic parent in some way. This belief ends up transferring to other people as well, & these children try hard to earn the love of people in their lives by doing anything they want them to do. Children who grew up with parents like this need to learn that no matter what they do or don’t do, they deserve to be loved. And, anyone who insists they do things to earn their love truly doesn’t love them. Someone who genuinely loves won’t demand anyone earn their love
Another toxic lesson people pleasers learned early is that they only deserve attention when they are accomplishing something that pleases their narcissistic parent. If these children aren’t doing something that pleases their narcissistic parent at all times, they believe they are unworthy of attention. The truth however is that is completely wrong! No one should feel they have to fade into the background just because at a certain moment they aren’t doing something. Your actions & behaviors alone don’t make you worthy of attention from anyone.
Narcissistic parents teach their children that they are only worthy of praise & kind words when doing as they are told to do. The more a child ignores their own wants, needs & feelings & focuses on doing whatever their parent wants, the greater chance they will be shown some kindness. Since that kindness is so rare, children in this situation focus more on their parents & less on themselves. This is so unhealthy! Everyone needs to have balance between doing for themselves & other people. Contrary to what these children learn, it is NOT selfish or wrong to take care of themselves & do things they want to do sometimes.
These sick, twisted beliefs need to be rejected & healthier ones need to take their place. When you’re in a position of people pleasing, ask yourself why you feel you need to do what you feel you need to. Is it because you genuinely want to do this for someone or do you feel obligated to? Are you trying to earn favor with this person? Answer yourself honestly! If you are unsure, then pray. Ask God to show you what your true motives are & to help you get healthier. He will be glad to if you just ask.
6 responses to “How To Stop Being A People Pleaser”
Cynthia, while many of us would say people pleasers need to not forget themselves, to a narcissist they prove to be easy foils to manipulate. Keith
Unfortunately, that’s so true. Narcissists are more than happy to exploit them.
When I was four years old, my mother told me “I love you, of course, because you are my daughter. I just don’t like you.” She said this to me several times throughout my childhood. It always came out of nowhere, for no apparent reason. I would just be walking from one room to another, and she would say it as I walked by. Or I would be sitting quietly in the back seat of the car, not doing or saying anything, and my mother, sitting in the front seat, would say it. “I love you, of course, because you are my daughter. I just don’t like you.”
I finally found the courage to ask my mother why she did not like me. I wanted to change whatever was wrong with me, you see. Her reply: “It’s just you! It’s just the way you are. It’s the way you think.” I was eleven years old when she told me that.
I tried so hard to please my mother, for so many years. Needless to say, it was impossible.
((((hugs)))) That was a cruel thing for her to tell you, but especially when you were so young! That guaranteed you would try so hard to please your unpleasable mother.
When I was in my late teens, my mother told me something similar. “I don’t like you very much right now.” Also during this time, she stopped telling me she loved me. That kind of behavior does quite a number on a child. 😦
It’s so strange, how alike these narcissistic personalities are. I’m sorry your mother said that to you. I know it hurt. ((HUGS))
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It really is strange. That’s one of the reasons I think narcissism is demonic. I can’t think of another reason so many people of different ages, genders, cultures, religions, etc. would act so similar.
It sure did. Thank you. (((hugs))) back! ❤
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