Monday, February 6, 2012

Poisonous People Pleasing and the People Who Expect You to Please Them

I still do it, even at 43.  Other women have told me that when you hit your 40s you start saying what's on your mind, you stop caring so much what other people think, people pleasing becomes less important.

But I still do it.   Three years into my 40s and I still knee-jerk react to requests/demands/assumptions/expectations out of this desire to people please, out of this need to be liked.

Do we ever stop?

Noticing, of course, like with any problem, is the first step.  I am definitely noticing more.

But I still cave.  I stand my ground and then people push and I back away.

About six months ago or so (I have no memory for time), I learned something new about myself (and I have no desire to go into this here, yet).  This something new clarified a lot for me, and I am learning, slowly but surely, that my brain is quite different from most people around me.

But I still expect me to be like everyone else and I think most people operate from a similar place even if their brains are more "typical."

Forty years of trying to be "normal" does not just drop away at the drop of a hat.  Even when you have the most amazing partner in life who says things like, "You can be as weird/eccentric* as you want!!"

(*Insert whatever word would make you feel the most happy, the most genuine.)

Yes, I can be as weird as I want, but that doesn't mean that the other people around us will understand.

And so the people pleasing trap is set.

And I step right into it.  Even though it is so obviously a flaming pile of crap!

Here's the thing: the people I am talking about who are most judgmental, most emotionally manipulative, most expectation-y?

It's other women.

Here's what I wish: that we could all let go of thinking that the way we are is the way others are or should be.

Not everyone who seems extroverted is social, for example.

Not everyone likes to talk on the phone.

Not everyone wants to be hugged all the time.

Not everyone communicates the same way.

Your way is not my way and your way is no better.  My way is not your way and my way is no better.

You are not here to meet my needs and I am not here to meet yours.

What is so damn hard about that?