How not to people-please your way to relationship angst
August 27, 2011 10:08 AM Subscribe
How do those who tend to people-please stay honest with their feelings and needs in romantic relationships? I want to avoid becoming overwhelmed and disoriented after about half a year or so, which seems to happen again and again.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I feel like the desire to be loved and to 'do good' and 'be good' has, historically and currently, overshadowed my sense of appreciation for the person who I'm with. I fear that I select people to date who do not move or challenge me in the sense that 'I am enamored with everything this person is and must build a connection with them,' but rather, respond mostly to the feeling of being liked and appreciated by someone else. I'm not trying to knock the people that I love and have loved -- I always find myself surprised by the beauty of people, and what we can share in a relationship. I just fear the foundation of romantic love (in the sense that I have practiced and understood it) comes from an unbalanced place -- I often feel like 'if I lost this relationship, that'd be okay -- but it'd be devastating for this other person, so I should keep at it.' I hate creating imbalances of power, but I guess that's what I do; I'm always the one to break things off.
I don't like this. It seems pointless at best, destructive and self-defeating at worst. I end up being plagued by guilt, a sense of failing others, all of this junk. Shame. For what it's worth, my mom has a very strong people-pleasing streak in her; I'm also a child of an alcoholic household with emotional abuse and codependency stuff that went on.
I'd like to hear from others who have been down in these mental-trenches of doubt, and simultaneously committed to being good and loving another and ashamed of the shallowness and one-sidedness of that love, in a sense. Should I get out of my head and be grateful for what I have and concentrate more on gratitude and the beauty of others? Should I be harder on myself and only consider relationships that truly move me and challenge me? Am I protecting myself too much?