what's a people pleaser?, am I a people pleaser, how to stop being a people pleaser, am I control freak?, the need to please, why am i a people pleaser, people pleaser definition, dina cataldo

#27: Control freak? You May Be a People-Pleaser

Yes, high-achievers can be people-pleasers.

In fact, a majority of the female lawyers I've spoken to have struggled recognizing that they're a people-pleaser and removing this block.

It stems from our need to control.

I believe people in high-powered professions are especially susceptible to this because part of our job description is to be in control at all times.

That means having control of other people's perceptions too.

Listen in to hear if you fall into the people-pleaser category and how you can keep it from hindering your growth.



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A few years ago, I noticed a lot of people pleasing habits in myself. Not to say they haven’t been there my whole life, it’s just that I began noticing them.
And once you begin these habits, it starts a whole chain of events that can be difficult to unravel. You may have created whole relationships in which you behave in certain ways, and now your partner or co-workers expect you to behave in that way.
Unraveling these behaviors takes work, and you may think lawyers don’t have people pleasing problems because they’re tough as nails and don’t have feelings. At least that’s the stereotype non-lawyers like to talk about around me until they find out I’m a lawyer. Then they always say, “but you don’t seem like a lawyer. You’re so nice.”
Just wait until you see me in the courtroom, buddy.
It was actually annoying for me to see these people pleasing behaviors in myself because I thought, “Wow, I’m so accomplished in these areas in my life and yet I was completely oblivious to what was going on in my relationships with partners and family for years.” 
That’s really the benefit of one-on-one coaching. Talking to someone through what’s going on in your life can unlock these hidden areas and make you see the truth of what’s holding you back in areas of your life.
If you’re ready to start unlocking doors for yourself, I have some free 30 minute discovery calls available for you and I to chat about whether coaching is right for you.
I’ll link to a questionnaire in the show notes. YOu’ll answer a few questions, and then I’ll contact you with a scheduler to make time to talk.
You can find that in the show notes at dinacataldo.com/27
Something I learned is that people pleasing is also co-dependency. When I’ve used the word co-dependency with friends, I’ve had at least one say, “I’m not dependent on anyone.” Well, that’s not what it is. I’m independent. I can take care of myself just fine. So let’s talk about what people pleasing — aka co-dependency — is.

What is People-Pleasing?

It’s when we put other people’s needs ahead of our own on a consistent basis.
You can probably hear in that definition why this can be negative for us at work and at home.

Why is People-Pleasing Considered a Negative Behavior?

We’re creating stress in our lives where it’s unwarranted. It’s adding drama to our lives. 
Some examples:
  • We overcommit to our boss or our family when we know we are going to be killing ourself to pull off what they want or forcing us to choose between work and family. Notice how choosing what we want isn’t part of that equation.
  • We don’t speak up to let our boss or family know that we’re stressed out because we think we’re supposed to be able to handle it all.
  • Because we’ve overcommitted, we're stressed out. This results in a difficult time being present . We’re disengaged when our mind is on our to do list. What’s the point of going to an event you promised you would go to when you don’t want to be there, and you know you’ll be thinking about the yoga class you skipped or the rest of the to do list you have to check off when you get home?
  • You become resentful when you say yes to the things you don’t want to do, which may lead to you lashing out unexpectedly or being passive aggressive.
None of this feels good in your body. You’re sacrificing yourself for the good of others.

Why am I a People-Pleaser?

Basically, we want people to be happy, and we think we have some control over that.
Usually stems from something that impacted us when we’re kids. 
I can tell you the reasons WHY I think I became a people pleaser — expectations from my dad — and give you lots of examples. But I think the most important thing is addressing the now.
Journaling all the reasons why you believe you’re a people pleaser could be productive. But stay away from dwelling on it. There’s no one to blame for your thoughts. We have complete control over our thoughts and how we feel, so that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

How Do You Know Whether You're a People-Pleaser?

When did I recognize I was a people pleaser? There were moments.
  • The bad relationships I created where I didn’t create boundaries then felt resentful when I didn’t get what I wanted out of it
  • The awareness that I was attached to how I was perceived by other people. As if I could control how others perceived me.
  • The feelings of resentment I had when I felt I was doing more than those around me, so why should I feel guilty.
Are you a people-pleaser? How to know and what to do about it.
  1. You seem to work harder than anyone else in your office or anyone at your home.
  2. You have a tough time saying no. —>
    1. HINT: will lead to resentment
    2. HINT: sarcasm as a way of being passive aggressive
    3. HINT: you’re always saying “I don’t have time” to do the thing that’s good for you.
  3. You dim parts of your personality.
  4. You want everyone to be happy, and when they aren’t you feel like you need to do something more to help them be happy.
  5. You say “I’m sorry” excessively.
    1. Next time you say “I’m sorry,” ask yourself what you’re apologizing for.
  6. You do something you don’t really want to do because you don’t want someone not to like you or to be upset with you.
  7. You need people to tell you you did a good job, so you can feel validated
    1. HINT: fear failure
  8. You develop a behavior to avoid conflict.
    1. Hold in your feelings.
    2. Walk away without talking through an argument.

How Can You Stop Being a People-Pleaser?

There’s three things you can do.
  1. Recognize some truths
    1. We teach people how to treat us.
    2. Your needs are important.
    3. You deserve to have what you want.
  2. Prioritize personal growth. You must have a healthy relationship with yourself before you can be in a healthy relationship with others.
    1. Start by saying yes to yourself more.
    2. Say no to things you don’t want to do. “No is a complete sentence.” Try it.
    3. I’m going to link to Teri Cole’s Website because she specializes in co-dependency. She’s a great resource for anyone who wants to explore this topic more.
  3. Begin becoming assertive in areas you may not usually be assertive. (Creating boundaries)
    1. This is you being honest about who you really are and what your wants and needs are.
    2. It may be saying, “I can’t go to the grocery store to get stuffing. But you can grab some money out of my purse and go yourself.”
It’s the small stuff, right?

Alright, I hope you have a wonderful day. Talk to you next week!

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