Understanding People Pleasing As A Trauma Response

Last Update on March 17, 2023 : Published on March 18, 2023
people pleasing as a Trauma response

Trauma is not an alien concept. Most of us have experienced trauma in some way or the other. Do you know what’s peculiar to trauma? It has a way to mold and shape your personality. The people who experience trauma (physical, mental, emotional) often think and act differently from what they would have if hadn’t lived that trauma.

There are a lot of trauma responses that people give in to but people pleasing takes a higher rank.  People pleasing has been seen in many survivors of trauma and it is nothing but a call for help.

When you continue living with trauma responses, the pain that the trauma caused never fades away. You need to get rid of your trauma responses in the most healthy way so that you can move past your traumatic experience and allow yourself to live your life freely.

People pleasing as a trauma response needs to be identified and curbed as soon as possible. In this blog, today we are going to understand people-pleasing behavior when it comes to trauma response.

People Pleasing As A Trauma Response

People pleasing is a trait that makes you make other people happy. You’re always trying to please other people even at your own cost. People pleasing is often seen as a personality trait but sometimes it can occur as a trauma response as well.

Change in personality because of a traumatic event is common only for those people who have been exposed to trauma for a long time. People with one-time trauma experiences like a car crash normally do not develop traits like pleasing people.

People who face collective or repeated trauma are most likely to develop personality changes and can indulge in people-pleasing behavior as a trauma response. Therefore, if you have been through trauma and have begun indulging in people-pleasing behavior, that’s probably your trauma response.

Also read: Why Do We People Please (Understanding the Psychology Behind It)

How To Spot People Pleasing behavior?

Most of us like to make our friends and family happy but that does not qualify as people-pleasing. People pleasing happens with people other than your loved one. They can be your colleagues, locality members, bosses, etc.

To know if you are using people-pleasing as a trauma response watch out for these signs;

Find it difficult to set boundaries and say no to people:

when someone indulges in people-pleasing, they fail at setting strong boundaries because their main agenda is to make the other person happy. Your needs take a back seat when it comes to pleasing someone else.

You are constantly seeking approval from other people:

in order to please other people you need an assurance that the other person approves of your behavior or the things you do. Therefore, a people pleaser is always looking for approval from others.

You care a lot about what other people think of you:

the main aim of a people pleaser is to make sure that others are happy with them. They care a lot about what others think of them because a fake persona always needs to be assessed.

You worry about others’ needs a lot:

a people pleaser cannot think less about other people’s needs and wants. They take care that other people’s needs are met so that you never upset them.

You feel detached from your authentic self:

a people pleaser always wears a mask because they are always hiding their true feeling and thoughts. they will always say just the right things at the right time. Because they are always hiding their true self, they often begin feeling detached from their authentic self.

You struggle to identify and understand your feelings:

as we just discussed, as a people pleaser you’re always hiding behind a fake persona. It is very easy to get confused about your real feelings and the feelings you make up in order to people other people.

You let others define your feelings:

people pleasers are very gullible. They allow others to control their narrative. You let other people tell you how you should feel about something or interpret your feelings for you.

You feel guilty if someone is upset with you even when it’s not your fault:

since you’re always trying to please others and make them happy, the slightest inconvenience can also make you feel guilty. You make it your responsibility to make the other person happy.

In times of conflict, your initial response is to adhere to and please the one who is angry:

if by any chance you get in a conflict with someone or two other people are in a conflict, you instantly make it your job to calm others down and listen/agree to what they are saying or doing.

You always mold your need according to others’ moods:

a people pleaser never wants to upset the other person therefore, they change their needs and wants in accordance with the needs of the other person.

Have you been showing any of these behaviors? If yes, perhaps you are showcasing people-pleasing as a trauma response. Trauma is something that needs to be addressed and all responses should be processed in a way that they don’t interfere with your life.

How To Stop People Pleasing As A Trauma Response?

Trauma can influence your life in many ways and the best way to not let trauma take over your life is to get proper therapy. Psychotherapy not only helps you understand your trauma better but also helps you manage and treat its symptoms properly.

Therefore, if you have experienced trauma and have developed unhealthy coping mechanisms like people-pleasing, it is best to get some professional guidance and treatment. However, there are a few things that you can do on your own too.

Let’s have a look at the things you can to to stop people pleasing;

1. Acknowledge your emotions:

it is important you pay attention to your feelings and emotions. If you want to stop people-pleasing behavior, you need to begin acknowledging your true feelings and thoughts.

2. Validate your needs:

never ignore your needs or put others’ needs before your own. You need to respect yourself and allow yourself to at least get your primary needs fulfilled. Try to validate your need and give yourself the time it takes to fulfill those needs.

3. Get creative:

try to look for creative ways to navigate your energy. Engaging in creative activities you can explore your emotions and feelings more easily and it will also help you gain an insight into your identity.

4. Create boundaries:

boundaries are very important for yourself as well as the people around you. You need to set some limits for yourself so that you don’t cross boundaries and also let others know where and when to draw a line.

5. Seek professional help:

if nothing seems to work for you and your people-pleasing behavior has started to interfere with your life, waste no time to get in touch with a mental health professional. They can help you with trauma as well as unhealthy coping mechanisms like people-pleasing.

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That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about people pleasing, a trauma response, helpful, interesting and informative. Do share this blog with your friends and family so that we know how to identify people pleasing and how to stop it.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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