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Unread 01-16-2012, 02:58 PM   #1
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Default People pleasing personality.

Couple of years ago I was told that I have people pleasing personality disorder. It's quite a catch 22 disorder to seem to have and I find it really difficult to talk about and explain it to people because it's hard to admitt the problems I have or people don't understand. I was wondering if anyone else goes through this and has the same problems or wants to share any experiences?
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Unread 01-21-2012, 04:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: People pleasing personality.

I was told by someone - not a doctor - that I am a "people pleaser." It was not said as a compliment.

I think I understand why that was said to me. I think at times that does describe how I act. Here is the funny thing, though. There are times when that would be the last thing anyone would describe me as being.

People pleasing behavior seems to go with insecurity. I think it gets complicated - in my case, anyway - because I can be a really nice person and act pleasingly because I sincerely want to be on good terms with people and I really care about them. Then, again, I can be fearful, and maybe my "people pleasing" behavior is less than sincere. Also, I can be in a miserable frame of mind and act in a way that wouldn't be considered pleasing at all, even downright totally inconsiderate of others.

Maybe your situation isn't that complicated and is more straight forward. If you get an actual diagnosis from a psychiatrist, it probably will be worded differently than "people pleasing disorder." Whoever used those terms was not a doctor . . . maybe a therapist?

It could be useful to get an actual formal diagnosis because that hones in more to the root cause of the problem. Maybe you would like to share more about what led someone to describe you in that way.

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Unread 01-27-2012, 02:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: People pleasing personality.

It was by a psychiatrist at CAMHs (Child/Adolescent Mental Health service) and I was there for my GAD. I worry about everyone and feel like everyone is more important than myself. I get anxious because I need to help everyone and neglect myself and it's overwhelming at times. She suggested from the sound of it I have "what is known as a people-pleasing personality" and after looking at it, i'd say I probably do. I'm not sure why still.
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Unread 01-28-2012, 04:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: People pleasing personality.

We live in 2 different countries. Our psychiatrists, I believe, do not use exactly the same system of diagnostic terminology.

One system, that I suspect might be what is used in the UK, is the ICD-10 Code System. That stands for the International Classification of Diseases and it is compiled by the World Health Organization. Chapter 5 of the ICD Code deals with issues of mental health. I was just looking at it on-line and I did not see "people-pleasing personality" listed as a disorder.

So, I have a strong feeling that your psychiatrist was using a term that may be popular in everyday speech, in some quarters, but is not a truly medical term. That non-medical term may have been chosen because your psychiatrist may not truly see you as a person with an actual mental disorder.

There are lots of personality tendencies that can cause us quite a lot of difficulty in life that are not necessarily the marks of being mentally ill. If you are under the age of 21 - and depending how far under that age you are - the psychiatrist will be slow to diagnose you with an actual mental disorder based on you being, perhaps, overly concerned with others - to your own detriment.

It sounds like that's what the doctor is trying to say to you. The doctor, I suspect, would like to see you think about what goals you have for yourself and put more of your mental energy into achieving those goals.

Quite honestly, I don't know why the doctor didn't just come out and and say something like that to you. I, myself, think it doesn't help a person much to have a label thrown at them - whether it is "people pleaser" or "people-pleasing personality disorder."

I wish you could get some more feedback from members. This probably isn't a rare sort of difficulty. Members in the UK might have better understanding of why a psychiatrist would use a phrase like that.

Meanwhile, I hope you get a chance to see this psychiatrist again. If you do, I hope you will say that you are unclear about what was meant and that you would like a better explanation.

Being excessively concerned with pleasing other people usually has some connection to feeling insecure.

Well, since I just noticed that you did look the subject up and found something, I looked it up for myself. Sure enough, there are articles on "People Pleasing" as a disorder. (Still, it is not a medically accepted term.) But it has real meaning, nonetheless.

You are very right to be concerned because personality traits tend to stay with us. What I saw in an article was that "pleasers" have trouble being assertive. Also, "pleasers" become distressed when they fail to please. You do need to learn to be assertive if you plan to have any kind of a decent life. Also, if failing to please causes you distress, then you can count on spending a ridiculous amount of your life in a state of distress because a lot of the time there "is just no pleasing people." - as the saying goes.

What you have - medically speaking - I suspect, is an anxiety disorder. Your "people pleasing" ways are a symptom of your anxiety, rather than the actual disorder. The actual disorder is the anxiety. People pleasing is a symptom.

I do know a lot about anxiety. It is a terrible stress to be under. Maybe we can each think about this subject with a little more clarity now.

I would recommend that you think about re-posting your problem within a forum on anxiety. When we don't get much feedback (and hearing only from me isn't much), it is often because we have not found the right forum to post under. Good Luck.
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Unread 02-10-2012, 02:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: People pleasing personality.

Hello, I would like to share something, for whatever it is worth.

I will first state that I am in no way deemed a professional.

Being a people-pleaser is not a disorder. It is a trait that is associated with having the personality of a Peaceful Phlegmatic. I am this personality in its true form. People of this personality are shy, quiet, and very agreeable to everyone. They feel guilty when they leave someone without trying to help. Indeed, many people see this personality as a curse, but there are many people that have it. Rose - You are right, pleasers will undoubtedly become depressed when they don't please, because that is their goal in life. And yes, personalities stick with us. I strongly think that we are born with our personality/ies and they do not change throughout our lives.
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Unread 02-10-2012, 06:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: People pleasing personality.

CgRgSm - I happen to think you are, perhaps, right on the money with that conclusion. "The boy is father to the man." (I forget who said that.)
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Unread 02-15-2012, 03:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: People pleasing personality.

I do have GAD (general anxiety disorder) but have never been told by a doctor that I have a disorder for being a people pleaser. I have been told all my life that I am a people pleaser, and it's true. It's a trait that a lot of first born children, like myself, have. I don't view it at all as a disorder, maybe annoying from time to time but I am not ashamed of it. It's part of who I am and who many people are.

There's a lot of other people out there who are dealing with the same thing, there is no need to be ashamed or embarrassed. If it is in fact a "disorder" I'd rather have this disorder than most other disorders.
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