If you are always finding yourself at the bad end of unfair and unbalanced relationships, then you might have People Pleaser Syndrome.
Most people who have People Pleaser Syndrome, including myself, have come from a background of being emotionally and mentally abused, manipulated and scapegoated.
It may not be readily apparent to you that you had emotional abuse as a child, because this syndrome will cause you to question any abuse that you have experienced. People may have manipulated you into thinking that your childhood was free of abuse, as part of the mental abuse itself.
Gaslighting a person into doubting their own feelings of being abused, is mental abuse. When you feel like you are being treated unfairly and cannot communicate about it, your reality about the abuse can become confused.
I have done a lot of research recently about People Pleaser Syndrome. There are many lists that you can find that will describe various characteristics and qualities of people that suffer from it. I have also gone through my own situations in my mind, to identify what characteristics that I have tended to demonstrate over the years.
I recommend that you do your own research about this topic, if many of things on this list seem to ring true for you.
I have written this list off if the top of my head. Some of these characteristics have been brought to my attention from articles that I have read.
Some of them are direct examples from my own life. All of the things on this list have caused me problems in my own life over the years.
Characteristics of People Pleaser Syndrome
1. You take on the feelings of others as if they are your own.
2. You feel the need to fix the problems of other people
3. You feel responsible for other people’s problems and guilty about them
4. It is easy for other people to make you feel guilty
5. You can easily be forced by others to feel shame
6. You carry toxic shame
7. When other people are unhappy, angry or disappointed with you, it makes you feel like you have the responsibility of fixing their feelings
8. You have trouble doing, not-doing or saying anything if it will get a negative reaction from the other person
9. You want people to always approve of you, your beliefs and your actions
10. You feel the need to always justify your actions and decisions to others
11. You have great difficulty in saying “no” to people
12. You are often talked into doing things you really do not want to do.
13. You are talked into not doing things, that you do want to do
14. You tend to do whatever will keep the peace, even if it is not good for you
15. You have trouble standing up for yourself, but always listen to other people who are standing up for that they want
16. You give other people their way, much more often than you just do things the way you want to
17. You question the validity of your personal wants and needs, when it conflicts with those of others
18. You often put your own dreams and goal on the back burner, in order for someone else to fulfill their dreams
19. You do not express your anger about being treated unfairly by others
20. You tend to allow your partner more benefit of the doubt than they allow you
21. You cover for other people, even if they would not cover for you
22. You have C-PTSD from some sort of childhood abuse
23. It is sometimes unclear to you how you feel about things and if your feelings / thoughts are being “put into your head” by the other person
24. You allow other people to tell you “how you should feel” about some things
There are a few reasons that you need help for People Pleaser syndrome. If you are recognizing very many things from the above list, then I encourage you to do some further research, get materials which will help you and work on a plan of overcoming this.
In some cases, professional mental health treatment may be appropriate. I am not a therapist and this article is not intended as a replacement for professional mental health treatment. I am just validating your experiences with my own and hopefully helping you to take a look into your own tendencies and patterns.
If you have the characteristics of People Pleaser Syndrome, then you are likely to be a target for predators that will take advantage of your good intentions. There are narcissistic people and other toxic personalities that look for people that are easy to manipulate with guilt and shame.
There are people that actively seek “people pleasers” in order that they can subject their will upon them. If people can easily push our anxiety buttons about confrontation, then you are the type of person that can end up in domestic abuse situations and abusive relationships.
People pleasers try to avoid confrontation that makes them feel guilt or shame. Abusive personalities will sense this about you and deliberately force you into anxiety, in order to manipulate you.
Other problems you probably experience are in work situations and social situations. Dominating people will overcome you at work and in social circumstances. It is just the way they are.
It is hard to compete and get ahead at work if people take advantage of you. Even if there are nice, kind people where you work, there is always one that will destroy you, when they realize that they can use you as a means to get ahead.
It is nice to want to believe that the world is full of people who are compassionate and caring, but we realize that this is not the case. You may be around many good people in your situations, but it only takes one person to really injure you.
We will talk more about this issue and ways in which we can retrain ourselves to have different habits. These are habits that are rooted into us, but they are not unbreakable.
The most important things are to be able to identify when we are being treated unfairly and not to feel guilty for standing up for ourselves, or otherwise protecting ourselves from abuse.
You have a right to your boundaries, your self confidence and your self esteem.
In fact these things are necessary for you to live and thrive well. Your dreams matter and your happiness matters, just as much as anyone else’s.
I got the following idea from a Teal Swan video about how to make the decisions that are best for you. What she suggests is to ask the question “What would someone who loves themselves do?” If you keep this in mind as you are interacting with people, then you will have a frame of reference for when to say “no” to people.
Blessings to all,