Seeking Approval, People Pleasing

Why is the individual so eager to please?

Pounded by a barrage of hate and ill will during the growing stages of his life, the state of the individual’s inner being is overwhelmed by a need for love. He acts in strange ways that makes him think he is attracting people, only to find he is annoying them. Sometimes the person actually finds a friend, and in the process of forming the relationship, he clings so steadfastly that he only succeeds in driving them away with smothering, needy behavior.

The pattern makes him wishy-washy. He adapts his mind to act on agreement rather than individual opinion: he will agree with some, and agree with others who disagree on the same argument. The person will develop Chameleon-like behaviors to fit in with people simply to appease the surmounting loneliness that pervades his being. If a group is acting loud and raucous, loud and raucous behaviors will emerge. If a group is acting dignified and elegant, the individual will clean up his act and “sip champagne” to avoid exile.

When the all the straws are drawn and the last of his antics have been exhausted, the individual may realize he is all alone still, and the realization may trigger a depressive episode. Now the person whom everyone has gotten used to, with the odd, quizzical ”jesting,” is now taciturn and unsociable. Met with looks of oddity, the individual computes the glances and the inner turmoil spirals into further emotional ruin.

In other warped cases, a person may take advantage of the individual’s mental deformity. Intentionally or not, someone may capitalize upon the individual’s zeal to serve. The individual discovers that by serving, he is at least in the company of another human being. He is now the buddy, but a buddy with purpose. In this regard, the cycle of abuse may continue with berating remarks or cold shoulder moments where he is not wanted. Compassion is long gone from this scene, yet as soon as his “friend” comes round with a need to fill ego, he climbs back into his people pleasing role in the hopes the calculating episodes were sure to be the last.

Cases like this can be minute or extreme, and are grounded in the measure of self-esteem. The first deconstructions of self-esteem come from the hands of those who wield abuse.

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