Change, especially when it comes to honoring our mental health and removing addictive patterns, means shifting multiple facets of our lives. This could look like removing people who we were once close with, removing ourselves from certain situations, even removing ourselves completely by moving our homes or changing jobs.
While these literal and figurative moves are integral to getting healthy, the feelings that coincide with big changes might not feel great, especially when feelings of sadness, shame, and guilt try to take over. If you’ve experienced these feelings, you may be a people-pleaser.
Signs and Symptoms of People-Pleasing
People-pleasing and mental health issues go hand in hand. When we are hyper-focused on the needs of others, we have no space to focus on ourselves, especially when it comes to taking care of our mental or physical space. Here are a few key traits of people-pleasing:
- Taking Blame-Instead of dealing with an uncomfortable situation, you will take the blame to end the conflict. More often than not, you did nothing wrong.
- Apologizing-No matter what occurred, you’ll apologize to defuse the tension and move away from conflict. Like taking the blame, you most likely did nothing wrong.
- Avoiding Disagreements-No matter who you’re speaking with, you find it easier to agree with someone’s idea or point of view to avoid a tense moment or awkward interaction.
- Avoiding Conflict-You will actively go out of your way to ensure you don’t have to face tension or difficult conversations with others.
- Perception-You become hyper-focused on what others think of you, causing you to act in ways that may not be in your best interest or true to your heart.
- Focused on Others-You’re only happy when others are happy. You focus on what others need to ensure they are happy and conflict is far away. This means forgoing your needs to ensure everyone is comfortable.
- Never Sharing Feelings-In keeping with the concept of avoiding conflict, you never say how you feel when you’re upset or angry because you don’t want to bother the other person and or make them upset in any way.
People become people-pleasers for many reasons. It could stem from childhood trauma or abusive relationships, but the bottom line connects to self-worth. When we focus on the needs of others, we forgo the things we need, and when it comes to getting clean, sober, and healthy, if we forgo our own needs, the consequence could be deadly.
When we decide it’s time to change our lives, it means changing our internal and external worlds. This may make some people in your life uncomfortable, but you must remember that you are worth it. Your life is worth it. Your needs are worth it. And if you’ve struggled to break the addictive cycle before, you know you have to make the big changes externally to reflect the internal shifts.
Breaking the Habit and Creating Boundaries in Recovery
The first thing you have to accept when breaking the people-pleasing habit is that you’re worth it. You’re worth your own time and energy. You can and should come first! Think about the safety instructions on a plane. They instruct you to put on your own oxygen mask first before attending to others. Why? Because if you pass out, you can’t help anyone else. The same is true for your everyday life. If you don’t have enough oxygen, how can you properly help others? How can you find healthy relationships? How can you create a safe space to recover from your trauma? If you’re putting someone before yourself, you can never heal.
It’s time to have an honest conversation with yourself. Start by thinking about how others treat you and how you feel around certain people. People-pleasers tend to put the blinders on to ensure they won’t rock the boat but is that boat a healthy and positive environment, to begin with? Ask yourself some of these questions:
- Do I put myself first? If so, when? If not, why?
- Do I hold back my feelings and opinions because it feels easier? If so, with who?
- Am I always taking care of others? If so, why? Does anyone take care of me?
- Do I always apologize even when an apology isn’t necessary? If so, why?
These questions can start the internal conversation needed to decide if it’s time for some self-love and self-care. It’s time to acknowledge what’s holding you back from sobriety and what you’re willing to remove to fight for yourself, once and for all.
Moving Forward in Self-Love
More often than not, people struggle to break the people-pleasing cycle because of feelings like guilt, shame, and fear. We are afraid to say no, we are afraid to ask for what we need, and we feel bad when others feel bad, but when we focus all of our light on others, we keep ourselves in the dark. We forget that we are feeling bad and forgoing our own needs which suggest we don’t love ourselves. Learning to love ourselves is step one in the fight for sobriety. Learning to love ourselves is integral to healing. When we learn to love ourselves, we realize that the life we have been living no longer suits us, and we are ready to make the changes to ensure we love ourselves forever.
Sometimes loving ourselves is difficult because we either weren’t shown love as a kid or our concept of love is skewed from trauma. If you’re looking to start the process of internal discovery, reach out to the Burning Tree Ranch. Focused on getting you clean and healthy, Burning Tree works to ensure your individual needs are met while giving you the tools you need to find self-love and stay clean and sober once and for all. Call now to learn about our treatment options. Take the first step towards self-love today: (877) 389-0500