I was reading a young woman’s blog post about her being a people pleaser, and it’s something that came up as a topic in one of my counseling sessions last year. I believe the discussion had to do with staying in relationships longer than I should, because I didn’t want to hurt the other person. I feel that’s what you do with the people you love, whether it’s a romantic relationship or a friendship. I was always taught to stick through things, even when you’re miserable, because things will eventually work out. I’m not sure that’s accurate, because it’s never worked!
That’s when my counselor told me I was a people pleaser. Although I’d never really thought of myself as one, it makes sense as to what I have experienced in all types of relationships. I am slowly learning and making changes, but undoing something you’ve been doing for most of your life isn’t easy! I recall finding myself catering to men I dated without getting anything in return – often hosting, cooking, cleaning up everything – you name it. What the fuck was I thinking? As far as friends go, I would be a shoulder to cry on, but when it was my turn, those same people weren’t there. The thing is – I enjoyed doing that for someone I cared about or loved. I treat the people I care about the way I want to be treated, even if I am being taken advantage of, and I’ve had enough of that shit!
I resonate with most of this article from Psychology Today, “Are you a people pleaser?” Neglecting myself by serving others’ needs before my own? Check. Fear of rejection? Check. Resentment when I don’t feel appreciated or feel like I’m giving more than the other person? Check. This is another thing I have to work on, because being taken advantage of is a really awful feeling. Usually, once I realize someone is taking advantage of me, it’s a little late and a lot of resentment has built up by that point – and once I get to that point, I’m over the relationship. But I’d rather see the signs prior to that point.
I do believe I’ve gotten better over time, especially the last couple of years in romantic relationships, friends, and jobs. Now I don’t feel the need to make dinner for a man to please him if he doesn’t do something in return, and I’ve limited friendships with people that haven’t been there during times of need. Unless I’m working for myself, when it comes to jobs, I do what is in the job description and nothing more. There is no need to burn myself out again trying to please others that will do nothing more than move on to the next person when I stop giving.