Many of my clients struggle with excessive people-pleasing. They will express frustration with being “too nice,” and how easy it is for others to take advantage of them. They give a lot and get little in return. Often they mask their pain with a smile as to not draw attention to their struggles. They know all too well that being too nice comes at the price of always coming last, and being mistreated, even by those who claim to love them.
People-pleasers figure that if they make themselves useful and pleasant, then people will want to keep them around. It is exhausting being a codependent woman. Since she cannot decline a request, she is overworked and resentful, and her own self-care suffers— big time.
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Made, not born.
A woman with people-pleasing behavior was raised with the understanding that her feelings, needs and desires were not important. She learned early on that her abusive caregivers’ wellbeing came first. As children, people-pleasers are obedient, because at their core lies fear of rejection and abandonment.
A woman who is a people-pleaser often is full of self-doubt, overthinks everything, and lacks confidence in her ability to make decisions. She asks others what she should do and repeatedly hands over her power.
A people-pleaser’s indecision keeps her dependent on other people to tell her what to do. It encourages her to stay small and not take risks. Her indecision negatively impacts her self-esteem and limits her advancement.
Vulnerable to Emotional Manipulators
A single woman with codependent tendencies needs to be hyper-vigilant when dating, because she is trusting by nature and sees the good in people. She has been starved for real love and connection, and is vulnerable to those who mean to take advantage of her, especially emotional manipulators.
Emotional manipulators will move the relationship very quickly to the next level, convincing the codependent woman that they share a “special relationship” and that it is “true love.” A people-pleasing woman is capable of getting swept up into a relationship quickly because it feels good at first, and may even do it to avoid hurting her partner’s feelings.
A married woman who is a people-pleaser, that is just waking-up to the fact that she is committed to an emotional manipulator, will often benefit from professional help to identify her options for staying safe and getting her life back. A relationship with an emotional manipulator can be very difficult to remove oneself from, but with help and courage, it is entirely possible.
Overcoming People-Pleasing Behavior
Becoming conscious of people-pleasing patterns in current relationships is the first step to gaining mastery over them. It is imperative that codependent women process their trauma while paying attention to red flags when meeting new people.
Women find it beneficial to understand the root causes of their people-pleasing behaviors. For many clients, our sessions are the first times in their lives that they are encouraged to get in touch with and healthily express their anger.
Through understanding their past and present relationships, learning direct communication skills, and practicing them regularly, women discover a new freedom to reclaim their power. They emerge from their past behaviors with a greater sense of competency and purpose.
I have been fortunate to witness people-pleasing women transform into confident women who truly honor themselves. It starts with the realization that she simply deserves to be treated better by others and by herself.
What My Clients Say
Most of my life I lived with a feeling that something was off. I could never tell what it is, but the feeling was always there. I came to Heidi in hopes of "saving" my relationship, and through our work I found something better, I found myself. Before Heidi I was skeptical of therapy, I thought only "crazy" people went there. At first I was nervous and uncomfortable, but Heidi was so gentle, empathetic, and non judgmental that I soon was looking forward to our sessions. She gently guided me on the journey of discovering truth about my childhood and the suppressed feelings that I've been carrying around for decades. With Heidi I discovered psychosomatic therapy (somatic experiences), and consciously experienced parts of myself I didn't know existed. I now know where the feeling of something being off comes from and why it's there. I've become connected to my body and my emotions, I've learned how to be empathetic, non-judgmental, and loving towards myself. Heidi showed me how good it feels to be seen and heard for who I really am.
I would not be where I am today without the work I've done with Heidi. This includes navigating a career as an educator, aiming for growth and still maintaining my sanity. It also includes learning about myself, my impulses and strategies to deal with those, as well as learning to set boundaries with those around me. Heidi has helped me not just find my voice, but to clarify it and use it to support my strengths and goals.
It has been difficult for me in the past to open up completely to therapists in the way that I needed to in order to benefit from the service. From day one, Heidi always made me feel comfortable through being genuine, present, warm and non-judgemental. This allowed for me to completely open up, be vulnerable and bring to sessions the topics that I deeply needed to speak about. Heidi is creative and open-minded and she helped me to have to develop a more hopeful and expansive worldview. I always looked forward to our sessions together.
I started seeing Heidi when I was having trouble at work. I really liked her practice of meeting with you so we could both decide whether we were a good fit for one another. Her warm and welcoming demeanor put me at ease almost at once. Heidi is a great listener, and very thoughtful in her responses. As a result of her guidance and support, I was able to overcome my fears of career growth. Her techniques made it possible for me to succeed in my endeavors to find a new, more suitable position. After 20 years in the workforce, thanks to Heidi, I was finally able to find the right professional environment. Heidi has also helped me grow in my personal life. She has opened my eyes to focusing on what is important to me, and not just accepting things as they are if it is not right for me. I have gone through a few heartaches, and thanks to Heidi, I have been more selective and that has led to a much more fulfilling outcome in terms of relationships, whether it be friends or romance.
I remember I was so nervous to have my first session with Heidi because I did not know what to expect but because she was so patient, kind and understanding she made me feel very comfortable to open up. One of the main things she’s helped me accomplish is to stand up for myself, communicating, and also has helped me to not overthink my decisions. I look forward to our sessions every week because it gives me a chance to talk about the strengths and weaknesses I’ve come across and her guidance has really helped me. Thank you Heidi!
Empathy is the truest mark of a psychotherapist, and Heidi's ability to truly listen and care is what makes her such a fantastic therapist. Throughout my time with Heidi I always felt supported. Her understanding and flexibility went a long way towards creating a safe space. I can honestly say much of the progress I have made, the confidence I feel now, is directly because of our time together.