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Liberating Your People Pleasing Parts

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Do you consider yourself a “people pleaser?”

Perhaps you chronically say “yes” to social events on nights that you would much rather cuddle up with your Kindle. Maybe you pick up the phone every single time your parent calls, when you know the call will leave you feeling frustrated and rejected. Or, maybe you have noticed that you are currently “floating” in relationships (friendships, romantic, family, occupational…) whereby you feel like the “yes man,” while your needs are simultaneously being pushed further….and further…and further down.

“People pleasing” in a world of therapy talk, can be understood as one often putting their own needs on the back burner to serve the needs of others. This can leave you feeling on edge, resentful, and detached from your authenticity.

If you are reading this, thinking, “OOP… okay, yep…this is me…,” you are NOT alone. So many of us have really strong people pleasing parts! I mean, everything in our society pretty much conditions us to people please (think: working for companies that make you really, really miserable, but you have to pay the bills, repressing who you really are in order to fit in to a social group, behaving in ways to accommodate to societal pressures of how you “should” look, act, dress, speak, etc.) At the very core of it, our “people pleasing parts” “people please” in order to feel acceptance and belonging – which are things we all strive for.

People pleasing does NOT mean that you are somehow weak, underserving, or stigmatized. It means that there is a part of you that is working really, really hard to keep you safe and help you feel connected and accepted.

Often times, our people pleasing part is a very young part of us. In other words, it was developed at a very early age. So many of us grow up in families where we learn to shut off our own needs in service of the family system.

For example, maybe you were a child of caregivers whose mood was unpredictable. You had to walk on eggshells, putting your own emotions and needs away until you “sused out” their mood that day. Maybe a parent was absent often, and you had to drop everything to “step up” and “help out,” for the family. Or, maybe there was significant trauma, abuse, or neglect, that led you to learn that your needs “must not be important” because they were not being met anyways.

All of these situations (and more) can promote a part of you to develop people pleasing tendencies. A lifetime of people pleasing can leave you feeling disconnected from what your needs even are, what you like, and who you are at your most authentic core.

Your needs deserve to be met. As someone with people pleasing parts (that have been soothed and softened with my own therapy journey), I know that the idea of getting your needs met might be scary! Maybe you fear the conflict, or feathers that might be ruffled as a result. I hear you! That fear is real, and we can work to soothe it while also empowering you to understand who you are, what you need, and how to get there.

Ready to liberate your people pleasing parts? Therapy is an amazing place to support you with this. I am here to help.

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