Hi, my name is Natasha Adamo and I am a recovering people pleaser. I’ve had the disease to please my entire life and made it my mission to be everyone’s version of perfect. I was never happy with myself, painfully insecure, and more than anything… I just wanted to fit in and be liked.
Recovering from the disease to please has been one of the most difficult paths to remain on. Every day, I still catch myself trying to revert back to my old programming.
So how do you know if you have the disease to please?
And if you are a people pleaser, what are some real ways that you can put an end to it once and for all?
Does any of this sound familiar?
- When interacting with someone, you are more worried about how they’re viewing you than you are invested in the conversation. Afterward, you feel debilitating anxiety, rehash everything, and beat yourself up. You obsess over every move made and every word spoken because you realize that you were never invested in the conversation. You confuse auditioning with connecting. It seems like the only way you can ever please others is by having to doormat yourself.
- You’re an impulsive and excessive “agree-er.” You’d rather just agree, fit in, stroke someone’s ego, tell them what they want to hear, etc., than be honest, and voice your opinion.
- You care to a detriment about the opinions of eve.ry.one – even people you barely know.
- You gravitate toward and over-value relationships where you have to work for love, acceptance, and validation.
- You’ve googled “body dimorphic disorder,” “social anxiety,” “I feel ugly all the time,” “Why doesn’t he want me?” etc. You hate the way you look and you emulate the style of others because you are unsure of what your identity even is. You’re a chameleon and mold to fit (please) whomever you’re with. You can even notice your personality starts to change around certain people/groups.
- You pedestal people who were never worthy of your time and give out second (third, fourth, and fifth) chances that were never earned.
- You continue to experience the same results with different people.
- You’re confrontation avoidant.
- You feel like you have to lie about little things to get people to like and accept you.
You find more comfort in trying to be “perfect” for others than you do in living and speaking your truth.
- You’re always frustrated with how passive and weak you are.
- You hate that you have no control when it comes to over-sharing.
- You are ashamed of your boundaries and standards always being negotiated down.
- Your romantic relationships are with emotionally unavailable, narcissistic partners.
- Your friendships are with dominant friends who always call all the shots and run the show.
- You freeze when directly asked by people what you want.
- You’re always disappointed, getting your feelings hurt, offended, and misunderstood. No one cares or gives as much as you do, but they always get all of the recognition, love, and benefits.
- You get crucified for what others get a slap on the wrist for.
- You’re emotionally constipated.
- You gravitate toward versions of one or both of your parents romantically, professionally, and/or in friendships.
How do you put an end to the disease to please?
Acknowledgment & Accountability.
The two common denominators of the disease to please are low self-esteem and a lack of boundaries. Because of this, you end up becoming a magnet for toxic relationships. Not acknowledging (and committing to being responsible/accountable for) this connection is like having extremely pale skin and wondering why you burn after an hour in the sun without SPF.
If you’re exhausted from being on the disease to please hamster wheel, you need to work on your boundaries and self-esteem. Start little by little – when you feel the pleasing coming on, remind yourself that you are enough, just as you are. And act on that recognition.
When you decide to close the door on your disease to please, everything changes. The types of friends, family members, and romantic partners who previously got access to you will no longer be able to bust your boundaries nor will they trigger you into “how high can I jump for you” mode. They can no longer get away with doormatting you because you no longer doormat yourself.
Do you know how dermatologists say that the skin is a window into what’s going on inside the body? Your relationship history is a window into YOU and the relationship that you have with YOURSELF. Overcome your fear of looking into that window. Life won’t end. It will finally begin – on your terms instead of everyone else’s.
You need to get more worried about the effects of your drained self-respect (and the diminished respect others will have for you) than you are scared of deviating from your people-pleasing programming.
You have everything to gain and everything to lose. The choice is yours.
Written by: Natasha Adamo