Are you someone who loves to please people just because you like them? Or could it be that the real reason you want to please them is because you fear their disapproval?
Many people, especially women, suffer from the ‘please people syndrome’. This means they find it difficult to say ‘no’; to speak their mind when they disagree with others; to challenge people; to ask for what they want.
All this can lead to major stress because the please people person rarely gets their own needs met. This sometimes leads these passive people to get so frustrated that they eventually blow a gasket.
Let’s look at an example. John, that awkward bloke who sits near you at work, never washes up the mugs when it’s his turn. No-one else challenges him, and it’s often you who ends up doing it. Sometimes you become passive-aggressive and sigh loudly, clattering the mugs as you clean them, but you say nothing.
Each time this happens, you put a mental ‘saving stamp’ in a book marked ‘John’. Then one day you are tired or stressed and you notice the mugs need washing. This is the final stamp (read final straw!). You blow up. You shout at John, calling him all the names under the sun. He’s stunned. Okay, so he’s a bit lazy, but more often he’s forgetful.
‘If you’d reminded me, I’d have washing them. Honestly.’ he tells you.
You kind of believe him.
Now you feel bad. You never let John know you were angry with him. You assumed he would read your mind that you were upset, or at least get the idea from your exaggerated sighs. You feel guilty, and John feels hard-done-to.
Trouble is, if you’re a really passive person, you still won’t say anything when he forgets the next week (or the week after that). You’ll be there with your new savings book, putting ‘John’ stamps in it, until you blow up next time.
Speak to someone gently as soon as they irritate you. Speaking out early on means that you will be in control of your emotions. They may not change their behaviour, of course. In that case, you may need to speak to them again; find another way round the problem or seek a more considered solution. It will depend on the situation.
Another thing to consider is whether you are sweating the small stuff – worrying about something that just isn’t that important. I used to worry about the loo seat being left up. But, hey, it’s really no big deal. I’ve thrown that stamp away and feel more relaxed for it.
I’d love to know if you are acting more assertively now. Perhaps you have some questions in relation to being assertive or would just like to comment on this blog. Do write in the comment box below.
My best wishes,