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  1. #61
    Senior Member ZiL's Avatar
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    Your post is something I can HEAVILY relate to, Edahn. And I'm still trying to pinpoint my problems with this as well.

    One of the things I've considered is that part of my need to please people and make them like me has stemmed from specific negative childhood situations. I've noticed on looking back into the past that there were various instances where I'd get an unexpected and unintended negative reaction from someone - relatives and friends. For example, I'd be making a harmless joke, or just trying to be friendly when all of the sudden someone would blindside me with an angry reaction that I felt was out of proportion to the situation. Or as many children do when they want to be "cool," a person whom I thought was my friend would turn around and start being a jerk the next day. I never did that to people as a child - I was pretty sensitive and empathetic - but when people did it to me I couldn't make head or tails of it, and it scared me. It scared me that I could just be minding my own business, and someone could suddenly come at me with a negative reaction that I never would have expected. Kind of like when you're driving along at the speed limit and some Jeff Gordon-wannabee comes flying past you flicking you off. It's like - what did I do to provoke that (besides driving the speed limit, which isn't some heinous crime)? The possibilities for interpersonal chaos terrified me from a young age. The fact that I can't predict the behavior of others, and that just because I act one way doesn't mean the other person will follow.

    I believe these experiences might have something to do with my seeking approval from others. By being nice to people, I'm trying at all costs to avoid those unexpected negative reactions. I'm charming to disarm. I see negative possibilities in every interpersonal relationship, and I become overly paranoid, seeing negatives where there are none, blaming myself for things that might have more to do with the emotional state of the other person.

    I too was a pleaser as a child - I wanted teachers to respect me and not treat me like an idiot. Trying to equalize authority is still something I do now.

    I genuinely enjoy being around others when I feel a level of safety has been reached; I love that feeling of togetherness. But till that point, I can be very socially anxious and overly paranoid about the intentions of others. I hope we can all get ourselves on to a path of training to stop this behavior, because it does suck.
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  2. #62
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post
    I actually was unable to watch American Idol for several years because of the way Simon insults people the way he does,
    and I really cannot for the life of me understand why they show the awful auditions of people singing bad, just so they can publicly humiliate them.

    However, far from being able to please people the way you say you try to do, I was convinced that I would never be able to please people and so went through life self-sabotaging every relationship... doing and saying stupid things that would make people reject me... so that I could be in control of the rejection, presumably. I was frustrated because I couldn't stop myself.

    ...

    My coping mechanism is the grieving process.

    [/COLOR]
    That was a great post. I definitely feel like parts of me have died in relationships. Actually, that's the basic feeling I have when I get anxious or try to get people to like me, because I manufacture a false self and sacrifice my real self.

    What situations will make you grieve?

    Thank you so much. I can see how part of the forgiveness will have to be forgiving myself for treating me like ass.

    Quote Originally Posted by dissonance View Post
    it probably has to do with something in your childhood -- for me, i overcompensate for not getting enough positive reinforcement as a child. i learned to navigate my relationships in a strategic way (with the goal of avoiding disappointing others) very early on.

    i think it actually boils down to a feeling that everyone is more fragile than you are -- which maybe suggests something about your childhood? you accept the emotional reactions of others but don't accept your own. you think of yourself as separate from everyone -- they're allowed to have feelings and you aren't.

    it's at least that way for me, and all i know is that i have to learn to value my own feelings more and stop thinking of myself as such a robot.
    Can you elaborate on that? It's very very true. How does it relate to you needing approval from others?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZiL View Post
    [post and stories from childhood]
    I have the same history of unanticipated angry responses and I also do the paranoid thing. Great post.

  3. #63
    Senor Membrane
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    I just wanted to say I'm starting to love this place. This thread is by far the largest concentration of common wisdom I have seen. It's great to see you all draw possible solutions from your own life, which is the "subject" you are most familiar with.

    I have experienced this also, but I really have nothing to add. Very thorough of you people.

  4. #64
    To the top of the world arcticangel02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Awesome responses. dissonance, what you said is making me think about some stuff. Thanks.

    I figured out that the reason I don't like not feeling good about people is that I think I'm supposed to, and that not feeling good is a sign of anxiety, and that in my mind I force myself to fix that instantaneously.

    As for needing people's approval, I was thinking today about how much I hate watching people get embarrassed. I can't even watch it on TV, like when Leno interviews people and asks them easy stupid questions. I have to change the channel because the feeling I get are overwhelming. It makes me think that I'm just very sensitive to feeling rejection. Even seeing it in another person will trigger certain circuits and memories and feelings that are very intense, for which I still don't have the courage to face or a good coping mechanism to work with.
    I recognise this feeling - I have a tendancy to skitter away emotionally from anyone I suspect (whether accurately or not) of liking me in a romantic sense: I fear having to let them down because I'm not exactly sure of what I feel. Better to distance myself and not have to deal with it. (And as far as watching stuff on TV? I find it difficult to listen to prank calls or whatever that involve an innocent person... something about it just makes me cringe.) But yeah, disappointing others is worse than being disappointed myself.

    My suggestion would be just to watch yourself - pay attention to when your mind suddenly feels the need to overcorrect and overcompensate when dealing with other people. Don't try and resist it, but just pay attention to it and try and understand it. Maybe then you can start to relax the grip.
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  5. #65
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dissonance View Post
    i weigh loyalties/specifics, and then figure out a way to explain myself to both people. i try to reach the best compromise possible, but i end up factoring myself out too much.
    I enjoyed reading your entire post. My primary concern for people who focus on pleasing others is the fact that we have such limited control over what happens externally. Placing one's identity in anything that is determined outside of self creates such uncertainty. Whether it is people liking us, winning awards, striking respect or fear in others, etc. we can't determine the outcome, but can only influence it. People find a variety of ways to control the responses of others - to make them more predictable. Some people try to elicit positive responses, some withdraw to ensure no response, while others take an antagonistic approach to ensure a negative response. It can all be based on the same fear of the unpredictability of others. There is some value in letting go of what we cannot control. It is helpful to focus on doing our best to achieve whatever result as opposed to measuring ourselves based on outcomes.

    As a side note, your username is interesting in contrast to your natural inclinations to create harmony. It makes you kinda interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    ...As for needing people's approval, I was thinking today about how much I hate watching people get embarrassed. I can't even watch it on TV, like when Leno interviews people and asks them easy stupid questions. I have to change the channel because the feeling I get are overwhelming. It makes me think that I'm just very sensitive to feeling rejection. Even seeing it in another person will trigger certain circuits and memories and feelings that are very intense, for which I still don't have the courage to face or a good coping mechanism to work with.
    I found this interesting and something i can relate to to some degree. During my first year at a particular university i became rather depressed on watching negative dynamics amongst other people. The negativity was not directed at me, but i found that irrelevant. If someone is willing to hurt another person in some particular way - backstab, embarrass, ridicule, etc., I know that they would treat me the same way given the right circumstances. In that way, i don't see much difference between rejection of myself or someone else. The aspect of disapproval of others that hurts me the most tends to be this reminder that there are so many overwhelming negative dynamics that exists which i can't conquer, but can only avoid or make feeble attempts to fix. When one person insults me out of the blue it reminds me of how such things exist everywhere. Those moments i find these within myself are particularly demoralizing. That is why I attempt to remain somewhat open to any living thing, even if it is cruel and beyond my ability to embrace. Even if i don't like what they do or how they make me feel, i can at least remain curious about their experience with a desire to understand. I have found that the more I can understand, the less desire there is to hate or punish. It is different from actually embracing, but it does produce peace.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
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  6. #66
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    If someone is willing to hurt another person in some particular way - backstab, embarrass, ridicule, etc., I know that they would treat me the same way given the right circumstances.
    This is very important because we are all inclined to think it won't happen to me. But if they will do it to someone else, they will do it to you.

    So it is worthwhile watching how people behave because that is how they will treat you.

  7. #67
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiL View Post
    I've noticed on looking back into the past that there were various instances where I'd get an unexpected and unintended negative reaction from someone - relatives and friends. For example, I'd be making a harmless joke, or just trying to be friendly when all of the sudden someone would blindside me with an angry reaction that I felt was out of proportion to the situation. Or as many children do when they want to be "cool," a person whom I thought was my friend would turn around and start being a jerk the next day. I never did that to people as a child - I was pretty sensitive and empathetic - but when people did it to me I couldn't make head or tails of it, and it scared me. It scared me that I could just be minding my own business, and someone could suddenly come at me with a negative reaction that I never would have expected.
    this was the exact story of my childhood too, except it was my mom who would blow up at me all the time over random nonsense (like seriously everyday).

    i learned to think of it in a more strategic way over time -- i'd try to read her moods and analyze everything i wanted to say before actually saying it, holding most things back. and of course, since my parents are my prototypes for thinking about people (as a psychological truism), i applied that mentality across the board.

    but the problem with thinking of it that way is this: if it's a game of strategy, there's a right move and a wrong move. and that means i can always figure out the right move given enough time. so instead of being able to live in the moment, i'm always withdrawing and analyzing before participating.

    another huge problem is that if something goes wrong, i blame myself -- i immediately see my own "play-mistake" (to use a card game term). it's obvious that if i only did this one thing differently, my "position" in the game would be better.

    of course, i don't keep this metaphor in my mind consciously all the time. but i really do think of it as me navigating a somewhat arbitrary game where everyone else defines the rules. and my job is to be the best player possible...

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    As for needing people's approval, I was thinking today about how much I hate watching people get embarrassed. I can't even watch it on TV, like when Leno interviews people and asks them easy stupid questions. I have to change the channel because the feeling I get are overwhelming. It makes me think that I'm just very sensitive to feeling rejection. Even seeing it in another person will trigger certain circuits and memories and feelings that are very intense, for which I still don't have the courage to face or a good coping mechanism to work with.
    i definitely get this when watching other people too. for example, i seriously have to leave the room several times an episode while watching the office. i'm the type of person that gets more embarrassed for someone else than they do for themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dissonance
    i think it actually boils down to a feeling that everyone is more fragile than you are -- which maybe suggests something about your childhood? you accept the emotional reactions of others but don't accept your own. you think of yourself as separate from everyone -- they're allowed to have feelings and you aren't.
    Can you elaborate on that? It's very very true. How does it relate to you needing approval from others?
    well, what Iím trying to say is, you feel like an alien among these random irrational beings. and since you think of yourself as different, you think that you have some obligation to protect them from ďharmĒ. itís as if youíre an adult in a world of toddlers. theyíre all so fragile.

    you want their approval like a father wants his children to love him. you want them to be thankful for the role youíre playing.

    and if they reject you, given that parent/child metaphor, it means you havenít taken the right ďparentingĒ approach. so you blame yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    I enjoyed reading your entire post. My primary concern for people who focus on pleasing others is the fact that we have such limited control over what happens externally. Placing one's identity in anything that is determined outside of self creates such uncertainty. Whether it is people liking us, winning awards, striking respect or fear in others, etc. we can't determine the outcome, but can only influence it. People find a variety of ways to control the responses of others - to make them more predictable. Some people try to elicit positive responses, some withdraw to ensure no response, while others take an antagonistic approach to ensure a negative response. It can all be based on the same fear of the unpredictability of others. There is some value in letting go of what we cannot control. It is helpful to focus on doing our best to achieve whatever result as opposed to measuring ourselves based on outcomes.
    oh, I fully agree. i would love to not care so much. itís something iím going to have to work on throughout my life, iím sure.

    As a side note, your username is interesting in contrast to your natural inclinations to create harmony. It makes you kinda interesting.

  8. #68
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Wow...lots of responses...I don't have the patience to read through them all right now. Maybe another time.

    But just regarding the OP - I can relate to much of what you have written, and I think it's something that will always be hovering under the surface for me, as it's something I've always struggled with. There have been times where I have reached a 'place' where it hasn't been an issue, but it pops it's ugly head up at me more often than I like to admit. I recognize when it happens.

    I think it's human to want people to like you. I think it is a raw feeling, and I think for anyone it can hurt when you are rejected -- when someone openly rejects you, or takes the more passive approach by simply ignoring you. Yes, rationally, the thing to do is to tell yourself that it's impossible for everyone to like you -- it's just not gonna happen. But rationalizing it doesn't get rid of the hurt, or the feelings themselves.

    At one time, I got rid of this feeling by putting up a cynical wall to deflect all of it -- I distanced myself from others so that I 'wouldn't care' if I was rejected (even though it was an illusion that I didn't care - deep down I did, but I rationalized it so much and the cynicism deflected most everything and I could think badly of others instead of facing my own hurt).

    I dunno. Personally I feel that I'm authentically me, and that doubles the hurt when I'm rejected - because it's ME that's being rejected. But..I just think it's what it is to be human.

    I don't think I helped a bit with this post.
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  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I hate hate hate disappointing people.
    What makes you think people have expectations of you in the first place?
    And if they do, why are those expectations as important as your own?
    I don't wanna!

  10. #70
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by booyalab View Post
    What makes you think people have expectations of you in the first place?
    I guess I imagine them already being there. Kind of like wanting to be the best student. Your teacher is expecting you to do well.

    And if they do, why are those expectations as important as your own?
    Good Q, but I don't think of it logically. All these things happen subconsciously. My fear of fucking up and being undervalued, I guess, leads me to make decisions that are not in my ultimate best interests, just immediate best interests.

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