People-pleasing is a type of addiction. A person uses it in the same way other people use drugs, alcohol, smoking, gaming, work, or shopping.
You see, when you go through life as a people-pleaser, you’re not living life in your own terms. You’ve chosen to hide your true self beneath the surface. By being nice and drama-free.
Rebecca is a severe people-pleaser. A real pushover. Even when people are already being rude to and manipulating her at work, she remains agreeable. Condoning. A sort of idolatry.
She thought it’s “cool.” To please and put other people’s needs first. But instead of being appreciated, she finds herself being treated as a doormat. She’s confused and depressed.
Where lies the reason behind one’s addiction to people-pleasing?
Often, it lies behind a person’s need to avoid being disliked, invalidated, or criticized. Any sign of discomfort of others’ disapproval can prompt a person to please.
Psychologists discover “childhood traumas” as a common factor that developed people-pleasing addiction. It’s linked to issues of parent-pleasing to avoid disapproval and abandonment.
Psychologist Dr. Leon Selzer, in his Psychology Today article, “From Parent-Pleasing to People-Pleasing,” writes:
“As children, people-pleasers felt loved only when they’re conforming to the needs and desires of their parents … when such children asserted their will contrary to parental wishes, these parents typically reacted critically and withheld from them caring and support.”
Thus, a child being dependent on the parents’ acceptance, he or she may become fearful of its being withdrawn from him or her. This is where the choice of parent-pleasing comes in.
According to Dr. Selzer, not to do parent-pleasing can risk parental alienation and produce feelings of guilt, humiliation, and shame.
He observes that the child may feel “it less hazardous to abandon the self than to run the risk of being abandoned by their parents” and “over time, this choice between self-abandonment and parental abandonment came increasingly imperative.”
From parent-pleasing to people-pleasing. Do you think the link makes sense?