The label people pleasing may be one worn like a badge of honour, a flattering self-description and an attribute admired by members of society. However, one can be addicted to the approval of others and look for self-worth through others, sacrificing their needs in exchange for approval. There are a number of vulnerabilities as a people pleaser that open you up to manipulation. To keep gaining acceptance successfully, one needs to avoid criticism, rejection and abandonment at all costs.
If you fear conflict, confrontation and anger, any form of intimidation, be it a raised voice or show of anger, may coerce you back to seeking approval and compliance. With a need to avoid negative emotions, one’s ability to understand, process and deal with negative emotions becomes diminished. Depression, for instance, can be seen as anger turned inward with an inability to communicate and confront another person directly in order to reach a resolution. Saying NO may generate levels of guilt and anxiety, as any form of denial or confrontation may elicit the angry responses you anticipate. As you continue to accommodate and comply with other people’s needs, your identity becomes less clear, feeling invisible, unrecognised and able to change the circumstances. People pleasing creates an external locus of control, where a general view that things happen to you, under the control of others or factors outside of themselves. At Amida Therapy, we will work with you to start identifying your needs and increase your emotional awareness of these needs. With the use of tools and techniques, we can start to develop healthier ways to self-soothe and communicate by setting boundaries around our needs.