People Pleasing Is A Problem

image by Libertinus

image by Libertinus

by Grant McGeachie

"My Name is Grant and I am a recovering People-Pleaser..."

Up until recent months it felt like I lived my entire life for others and never myself. Acting this way required suppressing my true feelings and needs - I used alcohol to numb my pain, slowly losing every fiber of my being.

My people-pleasing  was about:

  • Co-dependency 
  • Low self esteem
  • Lack of Confidence
  • Lack of Self Worth
  • Self neglect
  • Approval seeking 
  • Lack of assertiveness 

People pleasing meant an inability to move on with my own life. It was also an important factor in my decent into addiction and depression. 

People pleasing came with a cost, my sense of self, and self neglect - its a form of manipulation that ends with resentment. In the end it did not earn me self respect or respect from others. No one gains as its a form of dishonesty probably driven by fear or rejection.  

Confrontation and the Art of Ignoring Feelings

As long as I can remember, I did everything to keep the peace and avoid confrontation. As part of this process, I ignored every feeling that ever came up in my life - burying them, drowning them, and pushing them down into the pit in my stomach.

My Happiness depended on everyone around me, so I was completely at their mercy for my well-being.

Lost Identity

When I look at my life today, it is easy to see how my life has played out up until my sobriety date 9/6/2015. I had never been sober long enough or had the courage or strength to ask what I really want out of life.

I was a SON of parents that used to fight a lot - I was the mediator from a young age.

I was a Brother – I made sure all my brothers were safe & had enough money.

I was the Friend – I now recognize I was often taking advantage of due to my need to be viewed as kind

I was the Boyfriend – who always pleased his partner. I always put her happiness before mine. I did everything to make sure her life was perfect at the detriment of myself.

Every example above illustrates how one can lose his/her Identity by taking on the world’s problems - thinking you’re doing the right thing. When you stop expressing your own needs, it is a dangerous slippery slide, and one I am determined not to do again.

Muay Thai Boxing program

Grant being more assertive

My Life Today

Thanks to Hope Rehab I am now 8 months clean & Sober and after a lot of work on myself and looking within I now live my life for me one day at a time.

Was this easy? No... it was my biggest challenge yet. Trying to undo 30 years of self-destructive behaviour.

At Hope we do a lot of group sessions including on co-dependancy and boundaries, so I have learned how to manage my compulsions around these issues. I have a healthy sense of self and genuine self worth based on my new found purpose. Helping people as sober coach at Hope has changed my life and helped me gain self respect and respect from others

"I don't trade my authenticity for approval anymore"

My councillor encouraged me to be more assertive - I needed to start putting my own needs first whilst I was in treatment. This was extremely difficult as every people-pleaser knows because we all want everyone to like us and really care what people think of us.

This was the best lesson I have ever learned. As difficult as it was, it really opened my eyes as to others reactions towards me being assertive. I was starting to be a respective peer and a figure people followed and looked up too. It really re-shaped my life.

Today I have

  • Self-worth
  • Self-respect
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-Awareness
  • Boundaries 
  • Assertiveness 

But most of all I have control of my life again as I live for me.

‘ If It Doesn’t Challenge You - It Won’t Change You’.

Read More from Grant McGeachie - Grant's Recovery Story

Posted in Blog.