Are you a People Pleaser? For years I allowed my empathic nature to cause me to constantly relax my boundaries to ensure the happiness of others. This caused so many problems in the long run. I perpetually found myself in situations where I had to go back and re-establish boundaries that should have already been enforced within my personal relationships. I was selective to whom I would implement strong boundaries with and others would get a more relaxed version of my boundaries. This eventually caught up with me.
I can remember it like it was yesterday. I had allowed a colleague to perpetually overstep my boundaries due to feeling an irrational belief that I needed to rescue her and help her due to her constant ability to make me feel sorry for her. I allowed her to do a ton of things that I would have never allowed anyone else to do. I quickly realized I was being manipulated and taken advantage of. It wasn't until I set a boundary with this colleague that I realized she was utilizing my empathy as a way to gain access to my resources. Once I started to implement boundaries within our connection, she completely became unglued and slandered my name to anyone who would listen. This infuriated me. But why? It was due to my inability to set boundaries with her from the very beginning. I had to take responsibility for my inability to set strong limits within my personal connections.
So how did I stop being a people pleaser? Well it started with taking personal accountability for my own unhealed trauma and constant desire to keep the peace. I also realized I was truly hurting myself when I failed to set boundaries and expectations for people in personal relationships.
Next I had to remember to continue to set boundaries with those in all areas of my life. I had to set boundaries with my daughter, friends, co-workers, employees, associates, the guys I dated and family members. I also gave myself permission to re-establish my boundaries whenever I felt I needed to and accepted that people have the freedom to choose if my boundaries were in alignment with what they needed for their lives. I only took responsibility for my own emotions and provided others compassion and space to process their own emotions.
Most importantly I realized that people respect boundaries and this helped me to remain true and authentic to myself. This is how my self-healing began. I learned that I needed to be a major priority in my life and this started by being comfortable verbalizing my needs and expectations to others to prevent from betraying myself. So now I am a recovering people pleaser and I have evolved into a person who implements and respects healthy boundaries. How about you? Are you in need of support regarding ways to reduce your unhealthy trauma response of being a people pleaser. Well our practice of Licensed Counselors are ready to assist you with starting your journey to self-healing. You deserve to feel safe and secure within yourself and this starts with setting healthy boundaries within your relationships.
- Sharika Pruitt, LPC, NCC