People pleasing is actually manipulation, When Dominique said that this morning while studying Acts 5 – I took a step back. I was very close to upset, because I know that being a people pleaser tends to be a trauma response. That made me feel all kinds of ways. I felt attacked for a moment – blamed for having a response to the trauma I have come through.

People pleasing is actually Counter manipulation

Thankfully I have some self control now and was able to remember to be quick to listen and slow to speak. In so doing, I learned something valuable.

People pleasing: an unhealthy trauma response

While it is true that people pleasing is a trauma response, it is at the same time true that it is not a healthy response. Why? Because Dominique was right, it is a manipulation. When we do this we respond to the manipulation done to us with an opposing manipulation. Adding wrong to wrong.

Why is this so unhealthy? First, like I mentioned, it is adding wrong to wrong. Two wrongs will never make a right. We as children of God are to respond with truth and love, no matter what others do or say. Do not stoop to their level by counter-manipulation.

Second, it just doesn’t work. You know that no matter what you do to please an abuser you will always fall short. They will always find something to blame you for and justify continuing to abuse you. People pleasing manipulation just exacerbates the abuse cycle. The more you try to manipulate by making them happy, the more they have the power to knock you back down by not being happy.

Also, like Dominique mentioned, if you think about it, the main goal when we behave as a people pleaser is not actually to please them. You want them to be pleased WITH YOU.

wrong focus

This is a common response to abuse, it is a way we try to protect ourselves from the harm coming our way. However, it does not work. The reason it doesn’t work is because we are still basing our identity and worth on someone else’s opinion of us. We are looking for validation from a broken validator. It isn’t going to happen. When we are confident in who we are – who God says we are, then and only then can we find the worth and validation we need to live out our purpose.

When we focus on whether or not a particular person or group is pleased with us, we cannot simultaneously focus on what God wants us to do. We cannot serve two masters!

Trauma healing and the people pleasing  response

While it hurts to realize that it is selfish when you are people pleasing, and that you are in fact manipulating, it is healing and freeing to accept it as true. Once we recognize what is actually happening we can free ourselves from that unhealthy response.

Manipulation is not love. So no matter how much you FEEL like your attempts to make them happy is just loving them, that is a lie that keeps you trapped. Real love speaks truth and sets healthy boundaries. Real love does not manipulate and just give someone what they want. (What real love is is a whole other topic, but we’ll explore that too!)

Lots to think about – more healing and growth to come – So glad we can go through this journey together! Please share your thoughts below as well. Love you so much! Remember Who’s you are!


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