“How long do you think you’ve been a people-pleaser?”
I don’t know much but I know my therapist knows how to get to the heart of a matter with a single question.
“Most of my life.”
The problem with being a people-pleaser is, of course, trying to please the wrong people. I’ve been guilty of that most of my life, too.
The friend who used me.
The boyfriend who knew I’d never say no – and then got unbelievably angry when I finally did.
The ex-husband who realized early on that my people-pleasing ways were about to set up him for life – a woman that works hard, takes care of him, rarely says no, and feels guilty for having her own pleasure. Yeah, he must have thought he hit the jackpot.
But everyone has a limit, and the few times I’ve cut someone out of my life (when you have few people in your life, there are even less to cut out), it’s because I’d reached my max capacity for taking care of them with not a damn thing in return.
And that is one of the risks we people-pleasers take. It gives us joy and fulfillment to give the people we care about what they want – whether it’s a blowjob in the backseat of the car, money out of our wallets, our time, our attention, our fucking souls. Too many people, however, see that as an invitation to use someone up until they’re dry and then demand more.
My people pleasing began as a kid. If my dad was happy, I wasn’t in trouble. If my teachers were happy, my parents were proud and I was given recognition of some kind.
Later it was, if my “friends” are happy, I won’t be lonely. If my boyfriend is happy, I won’t be alone.
If my husband is happy….I’ll be happy, I think was how that was supposed to go. And I’ve always found fulfillment in taking care of people I love – which is why submission made so much sense to me. But only when it’s a give and take thing and I receive something (even if it’s just feel-good endorphins) from it.
The times people-pleasing has gotten me into trouble is when I did it to avoid a bad feeling. With my ex-husband it was two-fold: this idea that as a spouse, it was my job to take care of him (with the belief he would take care of me in return) and later, when it was obvious he wasn’t going to, because I thought I had to stay married forever because no one in my family had ever divorced. Ever. They stuck it out through some really crazy shit.
My people-pleasing has a limit, though. It always has – to a certain degree.
I met John Brownstone in the years after I learned those limits, after I became brave enough (and angry enough) to let people go who took and took and took but never gave anything in return. He restored my faith in the idea that yes, being a people-pleaser can be okay, a good thing that leads to a satisfying relationship, lots of love, and plenty of kinky fuckery.
Because, whether you believe this of Dominants or not, my Daddy Dom is a people-pleaser, too. His limits are just better and more defined than mine. And what he does to please is the polar opposite of what I do.
That’s why we fit. The yin to the other’s yang, so to speak.
My need to please has been funneled through submission in a healthy way (I know it doesn’t always happen that way for everyone). His need to please makes him a gentle, nurturing Dominant (until his sadistic side comes through which is a different kind of pleasing).
We please in different ways, but with the same end result. We’re taking care of the person who deserves our people-pleasing ways. When you’re lucky enough to find that, you work hard for it and cherish it. It’s a rare and beautiful thing.
Welcome to Wicked Wednesday! This week’s prompt is people-pleasing which I am all too familiar with. I think a lot of people are, and because so many of us get burned by it, it hardens us after a while. I like knowing who deserves my people-pleasing ways and who doesn’t. John Brownstone gets the bulk of it, but I’m a people-pleaser to anyone until they prove they don’t deserve it – or until my Daddy says I can’t because it’s bad for me. Anyway, enough about me, go find out how other people tackled this topic. I have no doubt someone brought the kink and the smut to their writing.
As Shaman puts it, I have a “Joelle polite filter.” Looking at it in light of your post, I’d say it’s about people pleasing gone wrong. Part of me will be so sure I actually told someone directly how they’ve hurt and how I’m done with them; He’ll listen and point out how the Joelle polite filter muddied the message
People pleasing gone wrong sounds about right. I used to have that problem a lot. And yeah, being too polite is the downfall of many a people pleaser.
Pleasing the right people is always better than pleasing those who use you. It is something that has taken me years to understand… but finally I did and I am a much happier person because of it 🙂
I agree completely. People pleasing doesn’t have to be awful – if you do it in the right way for the right people. And it’s a breath of fresh air to rid yourself of users. 🙂
This is why I’ve decided to simply stay single with a random romp with a preferred boytoy now and again. I’m so tired of giving my all only to be conpletely ignored and then treated like shit when I complain.
You’ve found yourself an ecellent man – even with the ups and downs you’ve shared here, you work through them to get back to happy.
You gotta do what feels right. Before I met JB, I was ready to do exactly that – stay single and have a good fuck from time to time. It’s much better than the alternative of dealing with shitty people who take and never give.
As much as I hate to admit it. I try to please people and do my best not to “upset” them. Although I’m a lot better at not doing it. My family is the worse. Now they will make me crazy. lol
My husband is the best. If he see’s it happening he will help me out 😉
I’m awful about not wanting to upset someone else to my own detriment. The only way I’ve found to avoid that is to stay quiet. If I keep my mouth shut, I can’t open it and say something people-pleasing when it’s not necessary. It’s not easy, and having help is wonderful. 🙂
I, too, have a polite filter like Joelle. I want to be diplomatic and not offend anyone, even if it’s the bully, troll, jerk that’s doing their best to hurt others. I’m learning they deserve as much courtesy they give. I’m civil for my own sake not theirs.
I’ve been a people pleaser as long as I remember. I wanted to make my parents happy. It was important to me to be the “no trouble” child for all the adults with which I interacted. I am very blessed to be with my husband. He opened my eyes, kind of forcefully, when I allowed myself to be taken advantage of by a family member and it was physically and emotionally wearing me out.
I love taking care of my him. He truly appreciates all that I do for him. My husband takes wonderful care of me in return. And tells all his friends how great I am. (I think he likes to see me blush.) I’m so happy now that he is also willing to be my Sir and Daddy.
YES! I’m civil for my own sake, as well, but for a loooooooooong time it was so people wouldn’t be offended or angry or mean (I’m also extremely non-confrontational – I think most of us are). It’s such a relief to be able to please the one who deserves it – to me it makes it easier to tell who doesn’t deserve it. 🙂