Published on April 1, 2023

Are you a self-described people pleaser? Are you a self-described people pleaser who has difficulties in your relationships? Do you also say that conflict scares you? Are you having a lot of difficulty with communication and conflict in your relationship and feel overwhelmed and scared all the time that you will lose the relationship?

people pleaser  People pleasers often describe people pleasing as though it is something of like an act of humility and with great submission that they are a people pleaser. But people pleasing is actually a defense mechanism in which the individual is hiding their true self, because throughout their childhood and through repeated patterns they have learnt that every time that they reveal who they are as an individual, it is met with great consequences of conflict, rejection, anger or hostility that produced and produces negative feelings.

 As a result, people pleasing is a defense mechanism that they have developed over the years to protect themselves and at the same time trying to be in a relationship. It has become integrated into their identify. It also is creates poor boundaries in relationships. It leaves other feeling like they don't know the person. Lastly, it can contribute to superficial relationships that will wane over time.


 All people are relational and we need relationships. People pleasing behaviors is based on a on a scale depending on how much trauma and difficulty the individual had during their childhood. People pleasing can be seen in relationships from employment to friends to romantic partners.


People who are more and more adverse to conflict and do more extreme people pleasing are often the ones who have the most fear related to showing who they are. They will often display activities of 'Can't you see how hard I'm trying?', they will try and be accomodating and adapting, they will avoid conflict, they will often hide what they want, they will say yes to one thing (while often unconsciously not wanting it) and then do not do the activity agreed to later on.


This saying yes and doing no leads to big conflict in the relationship.  It contributes to people that are in relationships with People Pleasers to be confused, frustrated and angry, resulting in huge conflict. The person in a relationship wiht a people pleaser can have feelings that they don't know who the person is that they are in a relatinship with because they are often saying they will give you what you want, but then they don't do it. Again this can lead to a lot of conflict, something the people pleaser is trying to avoid.  The people pleaser is often very confused by this pattern and doesn't understand it because they are trying tos hard.  


If you are the people pleaser you are often living in fear of being rejected, being found out, afraid of conflict and not really understanding why the conflict happens.


Again, people pleasing is a defense mechanism or coping strategy that an individual learnt through dysfunctional patterns of relationship throughout their adolescence, childhood and adulthood. It is something that can be healed and corrected through therapy. Issues that are addressed are self-esteem, boundary, emotional regulation, self-reflection, more effective communication and learning how to feel confident in saying what you want. It does require work and commitment, but can result in much better relationships, sense of self-worth, calm and reduction of anxiety.


All in the Family Counselling has been providing therapy for the last two decades. Tammy Fontana, lead therapist, has expertise in working with people who have people pleasing, anxiety, depression, relationship problems, sexual intimacy issues and other marriage and family issues. If you would like to learn how we can help you, contact us at +65 9030 7239.


Category(s):Addictions, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Coping with Medical Problems, Couple Counseling, Dance Therapy, Ending a relationship issues, Health / Illness / Medical Issues, Marital Counseling, Men's Issues, Relationships & Marriage, Self-Confidence, Self-Criticism, Self-Doubt, Self-Esteem, Sexual Problems / Sex Therapy, Women's Issues

Written by:

Tammy M. Fontana, MS NCC CTRT Sex Therapist USA

Ms. Fontana is a relationship counsellor specializing in helping people with their relationships whether it is dating, marriage, parenting or with their extended family. Her clients call her approach practical and found solutions to their problems. Ms. Fontana has obtained her Master Degree in Mental Health counselling from the United States and is a USA Nationally Certified Counsellor. She is also a Certified Choice Theory Reality Therapist and is USA trained Sex Therapist.

Tammy M. Fontana, MS NCC CTRT Sex Therapist USA belongs to All in the Family Counselling Centre, PTE LTD in Singapore

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