1 December 2011
People Pleasing: a Subtle Form of Manipulation
We all want to please some of the people, some of the time. But constantly saying yes instead of being honest and issuing a “No” had become problematic for me. See, I was pleasing for a reason, and that reason was to get what I wanted. Either right in the moment of my pleasing or sometime in the future, I would be ready to cash in on my niceties. I didn’t see the truth of the matter back then and I remained unaware of this character defect until years later. I knew deep down that I had lost my way in life. Every time that truth would come into my mind, I would push it back down. This left me looking like an unaccomplished, unfocused 26-year-old woman, who had moved back in to her dad’s house. To some, all those factors would have been enough to elicit a change. That wasn’t the case for me. The fear of change was still greater than the pain of staying the same. I continued to draw from your life force because I couldn’t draw from my own. I had become your classic example of a “people pleaser.”
Why do we feel the need to people please? One cause is falling into a rut of negative thinking. In author Skip Downing’s book titled On Course, Strategies for Creating Success in College and in Life: he writes about repeated negative thinking and refers to it as our own personal “Inner Critic.” He explains that people who are dominated by their “Inner Critic” begin placating. Downing explains “placating” as putting oneself underneath others so there is less chance of rejection or criticism (157).
I began placating myself in the beginning of a relationship and I didn’t even know it until it was brought to my attention by my then-boyfriend Darren. I met Darren at my brother’s beachside home during a weekly poker night. Darren was seated at the card table mid chuckle and sporting a grin, just like the rest of the guys at the table. After saying hello and registering an unfamiliar face, I...