“Why don’t they like me?”- 7 Signs You’re a People Pleaser
The subject of being a ‘people pleaser’ is one that hits home for me. I never even considered myself a ‘people pleaser’ until I had actually been called out by another person in recovery who was identifying character defects we shared. At that moment I felt the urge to disagree, but just smiled and nodded my head. Subconsciously this proved the point. Being afraid to be confrontational, assertive, or even just to speak your mind is an indicator that your probably more concerned with pleasing others than anything else, and by being a ‘people pleaser’ you often compromise you own opinion or values to save face with others based on vanity, anxiety, or fear. Here are 7 signs you’re a ‘people pleaser’.
1. You Have Low Self Esteem
When you are a ‘people pleaser’, odds are you probably have doubts about the worth of your opinions and even your personal value. You probably don’t put much stock in your own feelings, and value the way others view you more than your own self-image. In both active addiction and in recovery I have had to work on self-acceptance and finding real confidence.
2. You’re an Emotional Door Mat
As a ‘people pleaser’, you allow people to walk all over you. You keep quite when others put you down or argue your opinions, if you have even allowed yourself to have one. You may even convince yourself this is just humility, but really it’s just being self-destructive when you let your emotions be disregarded by those around you.
3. You are Overly Generous
I know this is one of the things I can relate to most. I find it incredibly hard to say ‘NO’ to requests, especially from people I care about. Part of recovery is doing for others and not being so selfish so saying ‘yes’ to things you don’t want to do is not always a bad thing. However when you go out of your way to do things that are harmful or counter-productive to your recovery for others because you cannot bring yourself to resist making someone else happy, there is an issue to be recognized.
4. You Avoid Your Own Emotions
A ‘people pleaser’ usually tries their best not to feel their own emotions too frequently. They do everything in their power to avoid not getting upset or angry with others, again because they probably don’t value their own opinions or feelings. They would rather bury the emotions they feel in order to keep out of confrontation and stay on other peoples good side.
5. You Don’t Know What You Want
It can be very difficult for a ‘people pleaser’ to really know what it is they want. Whether it is a question of what they want in a relationship, in their life, or even as simple as what they want for dinner. They find it difficult to make decisions and this is mostly due to the fear it won’t be good enough for others, or they will later be judged based on even the most mundane decision. This makes it hard to take any initiative, which you need in recovery to make lasting change.
6. Try To Be What Others Want
As someone who has definitely struggled with being a ‘people pleaser’ I can relate to this very closely. In most relationships I relied on changing myself from the inside out constantly trying to adapt to what I believed others wanted me to be. Because I wanted to feel accepted and loved, I would often change my appearance and outlook to match what others saw as appealing. In recovery this can become a serious problem because we are supposed to be actively finding ourselves through honesty.
7. Depression and Passive Aggression
These two factors are pretty intense parts of being a ‘people pleaser’. When you find yourself consistently unhappy and stressed it can be related to how you have smothered your own emotions and opinions for the sake of others, and this can create misery. In that misery you can become passive aggressive and start doing things to harm others in an under-handed way to try and avoid directly dealing with the dispute or discomfort.
It’s not the easiest thing to accept that we are not making others happy but it’s even harder to grow, especially in recovery, when we try to make everyone happy by ignoring our principles and sabotaging our own happiness. Humility is very essential to growth, and being selfish is the opposite of effective in recovery, but being a ‘people pleaser’ is just another way of being selfish. It manipulates people are us to ultimately serve whatever needs we want met, and it greatly reduces our honesty and effectiveness in helping others in the long run. The irony of it is, is that we try ‘people pleasing’ to make others like us more, and we end up liking ourselves less and less.
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