The Downside of People Pleasing – Hidden Damage to Relationships
By Angela Cox, last updated April 1, 2024

Have you ever found yourself bending over backwards to please others, even at the expense of your own happiness? This is simply known as people pleasing. Although often hailed as a commendable trait, this can actually harbour hidden dangers that chip away at the foundation of our relationships. In a time & age where social acceptance and validation seem of the utmost importance, it’s easy to slip into the role of the People Pleaser, putting on a mask to hide our true selves.

But why do we feel compelled to don the People Pleaser mask in the first place? That’s the main idea we are trying to understand through this article piece. 

So, at its core, it’s a sense of insecurity and low self-worth, compelling us to prioritise the needs and desires of others over our own. The charm of being perceived as “nice” or “helpful” often blinds us to the toll it takes on our mental and emotional health at the same time.

If we further look deep into the role of relationships, the consequences of people-pleasing become increasingly more apparent. Resentment festers beneath the surface, fueled by the realisation that our own needs and desires have been brushed aside in favour of appeasing others. The pressure to maintain this facade can lead to outbursts of frustration and even persecution towards those we feel are taking advantage of our kindness.

This is where the Paseda360 Coaching Method comes into play, a revolutionary approach that goes deep into understanding the complexities of human behaviour and relationships. By peeling back, the main layers of our pretender personas, Paseda360 Coaching will help you uncover the root causes of your own behavior, empowering you to break free from the shackles of people pleasing. Through introspection and self-discovery, we learn to embrace our authentic selves and cultivate relationships based on mutual respect and understanding. Let’s have a closer look.

Let’s Understand the Pretender Model

The paseda360 Coaching Method, developed by renowned coach Angela Cox, tries to unveil the mysteries of the human psyche through its innovative Pretender Model. This model offers a profound understanding of the masks we wear in our daily lives.

To put it simply, Angela observed that individuals often adopt one of four pretender positions when triggered. These 4 positions are as follows:

  1. The Perfectionist
  2. The People Pleaser
  3. The Persecutor of Self
  4. The Persecutor of Others.

These positions trigger a range of unhelpful behaviours, thoughts, and feelings, including shame, guilt, anger, frustration, and resentment, among other feelings. Recognising and understanding these patterns is crucial for individuals to break free from the cycle of pretender personas and cultivate healthier relationships with themselves and others. But in this article, we are trying to focus on the “people pleaser position” and its characteristics, in order to understand the hidden damage that it creates on relationships.

The People Pleaser’s Mask

The concept of people-pleasing, although seems simple, often conceals a multitude of underlying struggles, deeply rooted in the individual’s psyche. Going into the complexities of why individuals adopt the role of the People Pleaser reveals a narrative fraught with challenges and vulnerabilities. Let’s try to understand the “The People Pleaser” situation to the best of our ability.

Causes of People-Pleasing

Poor Self-Esteem: As we mentioned before, people-pleasing behaviour can stem from a lack of self-confidence, leading individuals to prioritise others’ desires and needs over their own. Seeking external validation becomes paramount for those with poor self-esteem, driving them to engage in people-pleasing behaviour in hopes of gaining approval and acceptance.

Insecurity: Feelings of insecurity often drive individuals to go above and beyond to please others, fearing rejection or disapproval if they fail to meet others’ expectations. This fear can compel individuals to prioritise others’ happiness at the expense of their own well-being.

Perfectionism: The relentless pursuit of perfection can also contribute to people-pleasing tendencies. Individuals may feel the need to control how others perceive them and their actions, striving for flawlessness in all aspects of their interactions.

Past Experiences: Traumatic or abusive experiences can significantly influence people-pleasing behaviour as individuals adopt this demeanour as a defence mechanism to avoid conflict or harm. By prioritising others’ needs and desires, they hope to prevent triggering negative reactions from others.

Desire for Validation: While some individuals genuinely enjoy helping others, for others, people-pleasing is a means of seeking validation and acceptance. By prioritising others’ happiness, individuals hope to feel valued and appreciated in their social interactions.

Effects of People-Pleasing

Anger and Frustration: Engaging in people-pleasing behaviour reluctantly or out of obligation can lead to feelings of anger and frustration. This cycle of helping others while feeling resentful for being taken advantage of can ultimately result in regret and self-pity.

Anxiety and Stress: Constantly striving to keep others happy can stretch one’s physical and mental resources thin, leading to chronic stress and anxiety. Neglecting one’s own needs in favour of others can have detrimental effects on one’s health and quality of life.

Depleted Willpower: Devoting all energy and mental resources to pleasing others leaves little room for pursuing personal goals. Research suggests that willpower and self-control are finite resources, and prioritising others’ needs can leave individuals with insufficient willpower to focus on their own aspirations.

Lack of Authenticity: People-pleasers often hide their own needs and preferences to accommodate others, leading to a sense of disconnection from their true selves. This lack of authenticity can leave individuals feeling as though they are not living their lives authentically, potentially leading to identity crises.

Tips to Stop People-Pleasing: Reclaiming Your Authenticity

Now that we understand the main issues & complexities of people-pleasing, it’s essential to equip ourselves with practical strategies to break free from the cycle and reclaim our autonomy to the fullest. Here are some actionable tips to help you navigate the path towards authenticity and self-empowerment.

Establish Boundaries

Knowing your limits and setting clear boundaries is vital in curbing people-pleasing tendencies. Communicate your boundaries assertively and unapologetically, letting others know what you are willing and unwilling to do. Whether it’s limiting the time you spend helping others or setting specific availability hours, establishing boundaries empowers you to prioritise your health.

Start Small

Breaking ingrained behavioural patterns takes time and patience. Begin by asserting yourself in small ways, such as saying no to minor requests or expressing your opinions on inconsequential matters. Gradually work your way up to larger challenges, building confidence with each small step towards authenticity.

Set Goals and Priorities

Reflect on your priorities and aspirations, and allocate your time and energy accordingly. Identify activities and relationships that align with your values and goals, and gracefully decline commitments that detract from your personal growth and fulfilment. By aligning your actions with your priorities, you reclaim control over your life and foster a sense of purpose.

Practice Positive Self-Talk

Cultivate a supportive inner dialogue that reinforces your worth and autonomy. Remind yourself that your needs and desires are valid, and you deserve to prioritise your well-being. Harness the power of positive affirmations to bolster your resolve and counteract feelings of guilt or obligation.

Stall for Time

When faced with a request, resist the urge to respond immediately. Take a moment to evaluate the request and consider its implications on your time and energy. Asking yourself pertinent questions, such as the time investment required and your genuine desire to fulfil the request, allows you to make informed decisions that align with your priorities.

Assess the Request

Be mindful of signs that others may be taking advantage of your generosity. Evaluate the nature of the request and discern whether it aligns with your values and boundaries. If you suspect manipulation or exploitation, assertively communicate your boundaries and decline the request with conviction.

Avoid Making Excuses

When declining a request, refrain from offering elaborate explanations or justifications. Remember that “no” is a complete sentence, and you are not obligated to provide excuses for prioritising your well-being. Maintain a firm yet respectful tone, and resist the urge to succumb to guilt-inducing tactics.

Remember that Relationships Require to Give and Take

A healthy relationship thrives on reciprocity and mutual respect. Evaluate the balance of give and take in your relationships, and ensure that your needs are met as well. Cultivate relationships where both parties contribute to each other’s growth and well-being, fostering a sense of equity and harmony.

Help When You Want to Help

Embrace kindness and compassion on your own terms, driven by genuine intentions rather than external validation. Act with altruism and empathy, but remain attuned to your own needs and boundaries. True kindness stems from a desire to uplift others, devoid of ulterior motives or expectations.

How Paseda360 Coaching Can Help: Unveiling the Path

At Paseda360, the target is to become a source of transformation in the world of modern coaching, offering a holistic approach that transcends traditional paradigms for coaches. And when it comes to the specific topic of people pleasing, the revolutionary pretender model can definitely be used to help.

Central to the transformative journey of Paseda360 Coaching is the imperative to confront and address underlying issues that fuel people-pleasing behaviours. Through compassionate guidance and introspective exploration, individuals confront the shadows of their past traumas and insecurities, embarking on a path of healing and self-empowerment. 

By dismantling the barriers erected by self-doubt and self-criticism, people can cultivate a profound sense of self-worth and authenticity, laying the foundation for genuine connections and fulfilment.

The insidious nature of people-pleasing often manifests in moments of overwhelming stress or underappreciation, leading to a cascade of emotions that culminate in lashing out at others. Paseda360 Coaching equips individuals with the tools and strategies to navigate these treacherous waters with grace and resilience. 

By fostering self-awareness and emotional regulation, individuals transcend reactive patterns and cultivate healthier responses to challenging situations, fostering harmony and understanding in their relationships.

Final Words: Liberating Oneself from the Chains of People Pleasing

As we now see, in the age-old process of human interaction, the detrimental effects of people pleasing reverberate far and wide, casting shadows of discontent and discord upon our relationships, even in 2024. From the erosion of authenticity to the stifling of genuine connection, the insidious grip of pretence leaves a trail of broken bonds and unfulfilled aspirations in its wake.

So, by following the root causes & addressing its underlying issues, we can try to understand the behaviour behind the “people pleaser” role. That is where the Paseda360 coaching method comes in. 

At its essence, Paseda360 Coaching is a catalyst for profound transformation, empowering individuals to shed the stifling confines of their People Pleaser mask and embrace their true selves. Through a journey of self-discovery and self-compassion, individuals reclaim their autonomy and authenticity, forging deeper connections based on mutual respect and understanding. 

By fostering a culture of vulnerability and acceptance, Paseda360 Coaching unlocks the latent potential within each individual, guiding them towards a life of purpose, fulfilment, and genuine connection.

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