People Pleasing, A 12 Step Recovery Program…John Page Burton

We all know people who are serial “people pleasers”. The art of people pleasing is not gender specific nor is it limited to race, religion or culture. People pleasing is an addictive, learned behavior that can be very difficult to change. The stereotypical people pleaser is adept at creating an environment of co-dependence in every area of their life. People pleasers are masters of avoidance. The philosophy of a people pleaser holds that as long as I am doing everything possible for someone else then I will never have to be responsible for my  life, my dreams or my desires. People pleasers are also extremely comfortable in justifying their behavior. “My kids could never function without me”, “my spouse would burn everything if he had to cook dinner for himself”, “the committee would be lost if I didn’t guide them every step of the way” or ” it just makes me happy to see them so happy” are some of the many excuses people pleasers routinely use to justify their inflated sense of self importance.  Unfortunately, people pleasers are also teaching their children that it is normal to do everything for everyone else and to do nothing for themselves. Children of people pleasers often grow up to be socially stunted adults. Remember, we teach people how to treat us.

Finally,  although they put on a happy public face, most people pleasers give of themselves begrudgingly and tend to harbor a great deal of resentment toward those they do everything for. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to sign up for the “People Pleaser 12 Step Recovery Program”.

The 12 Steps To Recovery…

1. We admitted that we were people pleasers and that we were sick and tired of obsessively doing everything for everyone else.

2. We came to believe that doing everything for everyone else was robbing us of our dreams and goals.

3. We made a conscious decision to turn over the majority of our dysfunctional workload to those around us who were just as capable of fending for themselves as we were.

4. We then took a fearless, moral inventory of our lives and came to the realization that we were in fact worthy of and open to letting other people meet some of our needs for a change.

5. We admitted to a power far greater than ourselves that we no longer had the desire to be in obsessive control over every single aspect of another persons life.

6. We were then ready, willing and able to let someone else do the laundry, cook meals, shuttle kids, mow the lawn, shop for groceries and search tirelessly for the remote control.

7. We humbly asked our creator to re-wire our brain to reflect a more self-centered mindset.

8. We made a detailed list of everyone we had been doing everything for and gave them each a copy of “the do it yourself guide to empowered living”.

9. We also made amends to everyone we had been doing everything for and let them know it would never happen again.

10. We continued to take a personal inventory and when we found ourselves slipping back into our unhealthy, enabling patterns we promptly rapped ourselves upside the head, thus bringing us back to our senses.

11. We continued to seek through prayer and petition the strength needed to first recognize and then act upon the principle of “feed a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime”.

12. Having had this “mind blowing” revelation regarding how much time we were taking away from our own dreams, needs and desires we made it our mission to share our message of hope with people pleasers everywhere.

And so it was…..

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback on people pleasing.

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