When I was two my parents decided it was best that they divorce. From a young age I found myself as this ping pong ball bouncing between houses and the moods of my parents. They did their best a co-parenting but there was always an elephant in the room, their bitterness and resentment towards the other. It was clear to me that I could be, by default, this sort of a trigger for the bouts of inner turmoil that they had. When returning from my dad's house I could sense my mom being triggered by my good mood from having a fun time with my dad and when I would go to my dad's house, he'd be bothered that I even looked like my mother. It is because of this that I started unconsciously feeling like I needed to attend to my parents needs and feelings while putting mine on the back burner and this has led to a life of unhealthy behavior from me.
Because of my childhood, I grew up to be highly attuned to other people's feelings and until recently didn't really understand how this was having a detrimental effect on me and my relationships. Being extremely cognizant and able to read other's has caused me to spend most of my life prioritizing the feelings of other people over my own just to keep the peace.
Hi, I'm Cake. I've been a people pleaser for XX years.
People pleasers have a very accommodating personality that can be taken advantage of. We are the pushovers, the ones that will do anything to keep others happy and this usually stems from a derailment in early childhood development. Because my parents were so wrapped up in their own heads and seldom asked about my feelings, I developed an unconscious desire to give in to what others wanted or needed while simultaneously building resentment about doing so. When I started understanding all of this, the failures of some of my past relationships made a lot more sense. It is nearly impossible to have a healthy relationship when you feel you have to accommodate others and you don't get the same treatment in return. Most people don't ask for you to bend over backwards to appease them and keep them happy but because I was programmed to do so I automatically expected the same in return and when I didn't get it I grew resentful.
Here's what I was missing: understanding that my needs mattered. I never learned that it was ok to prioritize my own needs and feelings before other's therefore I had no idea how to acknowledge and express them when they arose. It was uncomfortable for me to admit I was feeling a certain way or that I had a need; I felt incredibly selfish when I did. This has been terribly lonely and isolating for me because I have been under the false impression that no one cared about me as I did them and that my needs didn't matter. A lot of unnecessary inner anger and bitterness has been the result of these fallacious beliefs.
As I grow and understand more about why I have always felt the need to please others and the ramifications of doing so, I have cautiously been testing the foreign waters of voicing my own needs and feelings and this has been brutally hard not an easy thing for me to do. When you've been a people pleaser as long as I have it takes courage and practice to feel at ease with expressing your own feelings and needs for you have been programmed to not think of yourself. It has been a bit overwhelming to identify my own needs and even more daunting to speak up about them but with constant awareness of how I feel in every situation I am finding it's getting easier and easier to do.
There is great comfort in knowing that this doesn't have to be a permanent part of who I am. The more inner work I do and understand the correlation between my childhood and the formation of these irrational unconscious beliefs, the more empowered I am starting to feel. I have, for far too long, been alone and resentful because I never learned how to assertively express myself and with this new knowledge of what has led me down the people pleasing path I have started to reclaim control over putting myself first. I have become a happier person and have been amazed at how people listen to my feelings and needs sincerely. I have started to practice healthy giving instead of the unhealthy cycle of giving and expecting the same in return. Most importantly, I have a new appreciation for meeting my genuine needs and this has deepened the love I have for myself.
The only thing wrong with trying to please everyone is that there's always at least one person who will remain unhappy. You.