People Pleasing (*TRIGGER WARNING) - Mental Health Sup...

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People Pleasing (*TRIGGER WARNING)

Iluvhorses profile image

Why am I such a people pleaser? I'm always trying to please other people especially my Dad who is not always encouraging. My Dad is really my uncle, but I call him Dad. The way I see myself is entirely dependant on how others see me. Even if someone gives me a huge compliment, it'll only make me feel good about myself for a little while and then I'll go back to feeling bad. I'm very insecure. I'm always doubting myself whether it involves work, school or horseback riding. I always have to ask people for reassurance whether it is regarding my performance at something or my appearance. I'm just trying to understand why I always feel this way? I'm thinking it might be connected with the sexual abuse I've endured. Maybe my broken family or the slight emotional abuse I went through growing up? I'm just not sure, but I want to find out because I think it could be a first step towards improving myself.

16 Replies

Speaking for myself and how sexual abuse as a kid growing up effected me, was that I was shamed, felt guilty ,thought it was my fault, I must have done something wrong...all to those things that tear down a kids sense of security, and self worth. After years of self deprecating and allowing myself to be in unhealthy situations because I didn't think I deserved better....I could not take a compliment because I didn't feel worthy enough, didn't like myself, wasn't comfortable in my own skin...couldn't commit to a relationship because I never felt I deserved to be happy....

Decades of thinking this way, years of therapy, group work, medication, and not self medicating...recovery....and learning to believe that ''it was not my fault, I am a good person who had bad things happen to them, and I didn't deserve to be abused.' It took years and I'll always be a work in progress....but now....I'm okay with liking who I am. I don't need anyone else's approval...but I can also accept a compliment as well as give one. I have good and bad days because of my pre-existing depression....but I no longer feel I have to beat myself up for's just a learning opportunity...I have a good sense of someone trying to use me or take advantage...and I can say ..'no'....that's not okay.

It sounds like you've come a long way. Congratulations :).

I still have nightmares...but at least when I wake up....they are gone.

Hi you are at the first stage of dealing with this if you are that aware you are a people pleaser. Now you need to start changing it. This is where therapy could come in an help, but you can try practising this when you are aware you are doing it. Rather than agreeing with someone for example when you disagree say mildly actually I disagree and say why. You haven't got to make a big thing out of it and if someone wants to argue about it and you don't just say you will have to agree to differ.

Again if someone wants you to do something for them and you don't want to or normally would say no. You haven't got a give a reason but you can say you haven't got time or you are too tired. Or you could say you will let them know. There are lots of ways to prevaricate and it doesn't mean you aren't a nice person any more if you don't place yourself at others beck and call, it just means you are no longer a doormat. x

Thank you. I want more of a backbone in the way that I want to be able to portray my views without wording about what others think.

Well do it in the small ways I have suggested. Ironically you will find others like you more once they get to know the real you and not the false front you present. x

I would say that I too was raised as a total "people pleaser" due to extreme narcissistic emotional abuse. I agree that it will be tied in to a lack of a secure sense of yourself through no fault of your own as you have not been given that "secure base" to build from due to the abuse etc you suffered.

I agree with hypercat. Just start making small changes to your behaviour. You will find it very liberating that you don't always have to please and agree with people. It is really weird at first and you may find you get anxious about it and maybe overstate it which could lead to a bad reaction from people especially if they are used to you being "maleable" or "agreeable". So take it slowly. Just do a very slight change in your behaviour and understand that you do have the right to your own opinion as do others and it's ok not to always agree all the time. Even if they express dissaproval at your action or view this may not necessarily lead to a permanent rejection on their part. (I was raised to know that any disagreement with my mum that I would be abandoned and so i never disagreed with her. I have had to learn even to have an opinion.)

People can disagree, get over it and still remain friends, so don't be too frightened of just being yourself. You don't need to be "perfect" to be allowed to exist in this world; just be you.

Regarding the other point you made, it is hard needing external approval all the time I know as i am the same. The thing is it does make us vulnerable ; so you need to try and build just a little bit of resilience within yourself. It is hard and don't beat yourself up too much for needing it. Just don't let it shatter and destroy you if you don't get it one time. Think enough of yourself to know you are ok as you no matter what. Just take it slowly. We can only do what we can do.

I am still low on the "self reliance" for self opinion bit and I am far too dependent on other people's reactions, but i know I do my best at it and that's all any of us can do; just work on it bit by bit.

Gemma xx

Thank you. What do you mean by resilience within myself? Are you talking about self reliance?

Hi, yes that's what I meant! Though you used the correct words! :) x

Regards childhood abuse the only and best way is to approach your GP and explain your needs. You will most probably need to talk out your problems and learn how to put those problems to rest.

You need to consider where you wish to go with this concern and unpleasant memories you must have. Sometimes over time memories can play tricks with our past. That happened with me, I can remember very little of what happened when I was young.

My Life is like a dream now and I now consider my Surrogate family as my Mother and Father. Although I was living with my family for most of the time. In my case my memory of my Surrogates are getting stronger and my family sad to say are fading into the past.

The whole thing even extends to my Siblings, I never see them and they mean nothing to me

You are opening a possible can of worms and I feel for you in that adventure. What you need to do is not allow the past to destroy your future, know when you wish to stop after you decide how far you want to push the past forward


Thank you. What do you mean by surrogate family?

A Surrogate family is a replacement/alternative family, where the original family hands over the child at various times. The child then has two families that extend into two relatives of both families.

In my case I would go out with the Surrogate, eat meals with them and watch TV, also I was introduced to the Surrogate Family relatives as well as my own. They also educated me out of school. I would on occasions in the early days sleepover

I personally feel because of this, my proper family lost out when I was growing up.


Oh I see! So why did you have a surrogate family?

My family travelled over three years and i was first installed with my Grandparents

When I was about three/four it just seemed too happen. I have no idea why I was palmed of. Eventually we moved and I was spending more time with their family. My Parents had two more kids and I was told later in life they had not really wanted me around. Because I failed my eleven plus, they lost interest I suppose. Hence the Surrogacy. I was left at my own devices at ten years old ????.


What exactly is eleven plus? Sorry I'm not from your country, but I'm assuming this is something to do with education? So we're your grandparents your surrogate family? Or were you reinstalled with another family? Sorry for all the questions. I'm just trying to understand.

In the UK when we are ten or eleven we used to take an examination called eleven plus. This used to dictate if we were going to attend Grammar School, Technical School or Secondary School, I flunked and was sent to the latter. If we did well at twelve or thirteen we could be offered another examination called the thirteen Plus the chance of passing or even taking the examination was very slight. So I remained in Secondary School. It was strange in a way I qualified as a Part Time Youth Leader at Durham. and I became Youth Leader at the Grammar School I failed to attend when a student.


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