Tag Archives: people pleasing

Giving to Get

Someone said that my being more ‘real’ (whatever that means), made me more likeable. I looked at this at the time and thought how funny that someone has an image of how I should be, and that I need to fit their ideal image so that I am acceptable to them and their ideals of what a likable person is. I don’t know how I was supposed to respond to that…with some gushing or a thank you for their acceptance of me; that somehow through their validation of liking me that it made me something special?

Their liking me has nothing to do with me. How they see me through their own belief filters is how they see me. So what? Their telling me that they like me, as long as I behave in a fashion that matches their ideals of what a likeable person is, is more about them.  Why? They see themselves as being a good person, and this idea makes them feel good about themselves because to them they have done me a huge favour by offering me their gift of acceptance and belonging, which they think I am missing. What happens if they withdraw their love and acceptance? Nothing much, life still goes on.

Most people who have sessions with me at Emotional Awakening, come to me about feeling unacceptable, unlovable and feel that they don’t belong. They feel disconnected, alone and lonely. They play the role of people pleaser in an effort to reverse the feelings and negative thoughts they have about themselves, and to feel liked and accepted by others as a means to like and accept themselves. It’s a vicious circle as they then begin to despise themselves for being people pleasers and resent the people they are trying to please because it is a bottomless unfulfilling pit. So they alienate themselves through their resentments and self-dislike which only confirms the idea to them that they are unacceptable, unlovable and don’t belong. This then only deepens the idea that they not good enough and their self-esteem also takes a further nose dive.

If your relationships are based on giving to get – be it acceptance, love, security, belonging or praise and so on, then it is not an authentic relationship, no matter who the relationship is with. If you like or love someone because of something….it is the something you like/love and not the someone.  So if you like someone because they validate you, what happens when they stop validating you? The relationship eventually crumbles as it does not have a firm foundation of mutuality but of co-dependency – of one using the other and vice versa. Both parties are being disingenuous, albeit subconsciously perhaps, as the relationship has nothing to do with being liked, respected, accepted or loved.  It is in fact the opposite of those.  It is about getting something you feel you don’t have, and are unable to give to yourself.

I need your love and acceptance? Is that true?


Co-dependency by definition is a loss of self because you are too busy taking care of others as a means of seeking love and approval because you are afraid of being alone/lonely, abandoned and unloved, so you put up with unhealthy relationships to avoid it. If you find yourself constantly trying to please other people at the expense of your own preferences and needs, that is a symptom of co-dependency.

Some symptoms of co-dependency include:
• Approval seeking or people pleasing.
• Fear of being alone or abandoned.
• Feeling selfish, or guilty for not meeting the needs of others.
• Feeling not good enough, or “too much” or “too little.”
• Irritable when others don’t take your advice.
• Diminishing yourself in order to lift up others.
• Being everyone’s “go to” person.
• Getting caught in others’ trauma and drama.
• Rescuing or fixing others, to your demise.
• Giving ultimatums, or nagging to keep others out of trouble.
• Covering or taking a fall for others.
• Enduring unhealthy relationships to avoid loneliness.
• Giving of your finances and other resources to depletion.
• Having an addict, user, abuser, or narcissist in your life.
• Having self-limiting or self-sabotaging beliefs.
• Over-responsibility or doing more than your fair share.

Co-dependents find themselves in one-sided relationships as giving and receiving is not in balance due to their unhealthy means of seeking love and approval. A healthy relationship is based on a balance in giving and receiving which allows each to remain centred and respectful of their own needs as well as those of others. By creating one-sided relationships you are disabling yourself from your own authenticity and continue to enable others as you also deprive the person you are sheltering of the lessons they need to learn and grow. The truth is; you can only give so much for so long before you start suffering and need help yourself. Your approval seeking is actually an embedded fear of abandonment – of being alone/lonely and unloved somewhere in your subconscious but these fears can be transformed so that unhealthy relationships either become healthy and balanced, or they fall away.