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Why People Pleasers Are Amazing Actors

Updated: Dec 11, 2022

Those of us who have the people pleasing personality are natural caregiver, supporters, fixers, rescuers and actors. We naturally play the role of who everyone around us wants us to be, rather than who we actually am!

We are like shapeshifters. We can naturally go in and out of characters to adjust the energy of the room and to make others feel comfortable. When I own this trait opposed to trying to deny my shadow side of pleasing others my entire perception change.

See the problem with most people pleaser is that we wear a mask. Due to a early traumatic experience of loss (such as the loss of a parent) or rejection, being abandoned when young, being repeatedly bullied or ridiculed, having a physical condition that either makes you different or you believe makes you unattractive to others with no idea how to process these difficult emotions we show up unauthentically depending on which script we have to play in any given moment. I know from personal experience because that's exactly what happen in my own life after my mom left me to live with my grandmother to pursue her career in law enforcement when I was five years.

I've been on a healing journey for over a decade after being triggered and deep rooted wounds of abandonment and childhood emotional neglect started manifesting after a series of unexpected panic attacks occurred when I became a trucker wife. The decision of my mom leaving me when I was five years old even though I visit her every summer created deep dark wounds of distrust, resentment, misunderstanding and sense of abandonment fuel by a deep fear of rejection. During the duration of my own journey and my inability to cope with stress and painful emotions I developed a binge eating disorder.

However, I learned that as humans we all seek attention from others it is a basic and essential human need that everyone desire. Attention from our parents and favorite loved ones. Attention from our teachers and friends. Attention from our lovers or spouse. Attention within the workplace for doing an awesome job. Attention in the form of recognition, understanding, and acceptance are essential for us to thrive both psychologically and physically. A feeling of being appreciated is inside all of us. Often this desire for acceptance is matched by a fear of not receiving understanding and acceptance, thus justifying the creation of a strategy of hiding our true selves and creating a driving force that keeps us from being authentic. Not sufficiently getting the experience of being understood, validated, accepted, considered, and appreciated, as we are, can lead to feelings of shame and unworthiness that then creates a sensitivity to having the feeling of being rejected. I know it did for me. The desire for acceptance and the fear of rejection informs many of the actions in our lives and the way we live and interact. This understanding of my fear of rejection gave me clarity of why I choose the mask of people pleasing, it made me feel in control, safe and protected from being hurt and abandon. As long as I please and supported others people were happy. In my mind if people are happy they will never leave, I would also avoid pain. This limited thinking is just one concept of ideas and fear based thoughts I had to release and heal from as I learned how to accept and embrace my shadow trait of the desire to please.

Connect To Your Natural Acting Skills

I learned to use this trait as if I was an actually actor in Method Mode. As I research my issues such as low self worth, unassertiveness, passive aggressive behavior, anxious attachment, and a weak sense of self due to codependency and emotional eating. I was constantly being drawn to the concept of who do you need to be to create the life you want, free of codependency and emotional eating?

I thought long and hard. I needed to focus on my eating habits like fitness models without the elimination of a entire food groups and crazy dieting. I thought to myself, "How could I used their lifestyle to create a healthier one for myself in a realistic way?" One thing I could do that fitness model did was cut out sugar. So, I choose to cut back on sugar to overcome my sugar addiction and sugar cravings. I did a full pantry clean out by throwing away all the junk and processed food in my house. I read articles and books on sugar addictions. I research and explored recipes on Pinterest that were sugar free. I made a list of brands and foods that were low in sugar. I keep the top ten recipes and foods that worked for my personal body type and lifestyle. If they measured up to 1) Stop my sugar craving. 2) Help decrease my appetite and made me feel fuller. 3) Increase my chances of elimination waste (because I struggled with digestive issues of chronic constipation and had a past anal fissure surgery that I was preventing from happening again) I would add these foods to my new lifestyle. So, I got in character and didn't break it until I was comfortable with my sugar withdrawal symptoms as a result I loss an unexpected 30 pounds. The weight loss was a bonus because I was not seeking weight loss I was seeking to manage my emotional eating and overcome sugar addiction.

I did the same thing with my unhealthy habits of denying my own needs to please, fix, save, and rescue others. Instead of denying who I was, a caring person who loves supporting others and seeing them happy. I own it. I am who I am. The difference was that, I just started doing those things for myself. Again, I vow to not to break character. During that time I was struggling financially because I was only working part time and paying off student loans debts. I needed to focus on my private practice to increase my income from part-time to full time so I could take care of my own needs and create a stable financial situation of my own by doing this I would not only create the structure I needed in my life but boost my self worth, self esteem, and build and maintain a stronger sense of self so I could start feeling capable, deserving, and trust myself again. As a result I would be free of codependent behavior and Imposter Syndrome.

To prevent burnout I set stronger boundaries with clients, I was no longer on call 24 hours 7 days a week making part-time pay. I created business hours, expectation, and a company policy known as standards and business goals. To balance work and life, I delegated tasks to my kids and husband. I stop being the only one cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, dismissing income opportunities to stay flexible to driving the kids to school, activities and appointments. As a trucker wife everything has always been on me to handle. Since my husband has a local job now, he was still not as available, but I notice when it was something he wanted or needed to do he somehow found the money or made the time to do it. With that awaken, he would have to make time to help me too with no excuse. I am no longer that woman who self sabotage and sacrifice everything while no one else lift a finger until it's beneficial for their own needs. My new decision making skills is to ensure it's a fair/win win situation for all involve.

My Badass Characters

What character I adopted. Believe it or not I mixed both Camila Vargas and Teresa Mendoza of Queen of The South. The series premiered on June 23, 2016 during my recovery and I fail in love with it. Over the years, after watching the entire season collection I have adapted the best qualities that would serve my own recovery. Two badass boss woman I could strongly relate too on a soul level. I needed their confidence and self love. Therefore, in my mind I was like what would Camila do, she would never devalue her own needs. Or what would Teresa do, she would always create a win win situation, but when she felt disrespected she always handled her business she wouldn't escape with food. She was always in problem solving mode, never running away unless bullets was flying lol🙂.

The point is. Just like we can learn lesson in movies, music, books, and from those around us. We can also choose how we respond rather than reacting. The hidden actor in me helped me create healthier habits and a stronger sense of self and a can do attitude. I believe it was easy to make the shift because I was already used to wearing a mask with my people pleasing behavior. I was once told that being stuck was all in my head. We are never loss my spiritual teacher said. She said the same qualities we love in others are within ourselves we just haven't made the choice to behave in that manner. She said nothings matters but love in this life. All problems are relationship problems. If you are hurt and experiencing pain it's because a need has gone unmet. She told me once I release the need to be dependent on others to feel happy or good about myself and let go of all expectations from others I would find peace. The only resolution is the reducing of the fear and shame surrounding needing and receiving from others. To avoid internalizing your experience of rejection, you need to proactively make a choice to start to face your fears, and to begin to share yourself more in a authentic way that is true for you.

In doing so, you can reduce feelings of aloneness. As you face your fears and share the emotions that arise as a result of your experience, you are sure to encounter others with similar stories. The problem is that you think you are alone in the world. The realization that you are not alone in the ways you experience rejection, can in itself reduce the feelings of shame and aloneness. You feel stuck because you lack belief in yourself. Lack of faith cause inaction. Often times taking action can be a powerful way of moving through fear, and sometimes it can be quicker than you may imagine. When we avoid what we fear, our anxieties are apt to worsen over time because we are stuck in our head. Dwelling on the patterns of the worse that could happen, never thinking about what is possible. Many people shy away from taking healthy risks for fear of appearing ridiculous, foolish and deeply ashamed. Fear when faced, more often than not does not produce the previous feared outcome, or is nowhere near as dreadful as imagined, but the deeply felt negative consequences of not acting can be debilitating. That's why you must learn to detach.

With no expectation there is no disappointment, requirements, obligations or dependencies. We are fully detached from needed people to be or act a certain way that makes us feel comfortable, which cause others to wear mask and disconnect from their authentic self. She said we are all each as individuals responsible for our own lives. It's no one job to love you or ensure that you are happy. If someone choose to love you or have your best interest at heart with no condition which is very rare, they are a keeper. Therefore, as you walk this path of love live and let live. That spiritual teacher was my higher self channeling those words while writing in my shadow journal during my time with God and my ancestor. I constantly reread those words every time I feel stuck.

The reality is, we all are doing our best to reparent ourselves and release limited beliefs, fear based thinking and trauma that cause us to self sabotage or play small. Sometimes we have to be a bit creative in our recovery goals. Have fun with it. Recovery and healing is a personal journey there is no right or wrong way to accept who you are both positive and negative traits and heal your wounded inner child in order to move forward. The key is that we choose to think, feel, and behave differently. in all this means is to choose love/faith more than you chose hate/fear. Then do all we can to keep moving forward, rather staying stuck in emotional pain that is there to teach us what needs to be healed or released.

I hope this inspires you to set goals and take action.

Your Exercise

Choose the character that inspires you to do and be more in your life. Embrace the positive qualities you can emulate in your own life. Let's build the life you were meant to experience free of codependency and emotional eating.


Dr. White

Help Developing A Plan For Self Care

Do you want help developing a self care plan that works for your own busy schedule? Do you want accountability implementing a self care plan? If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain optimal mental and emotional health, consider reaching out to Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. We are a Metro Atlanta, Conyers Georgia area. We are a coaching and counseling practice with empathetic, skilled counselors and recovery coaches who can help you set goals, develop a self care routine and move forward to build a more fulfilling life. Our team would be happy to work with you either just for a couple of sessions to develop and implement a Self Care plan or longer term to work toward overall better mental health within our membership site or other programs.

About The Author:

Dr. Nikki LeToya White MSEd-TL, Ph.D. RHN is the founder, director and a full time board certified trauma-informed nutritionist, folk herbalist, and wellness consultant at Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. She created Spiced Life Conversation, LLC

Art Wellness Studio and Botanica to provide the Metro Atlanta area with a counseling and coaching services where clients are carefully matched with the right program for healing abandonment and childhood emotional neglect trauma that cause codependency, emotional eating, financial stress, and imposter syndrome as it relates to fear of success and being abandon. We help you begin your emotional healing journey with ease. Recently, we have expanded to include online membership site so we now provide support to people living all over the world. All of our recovery coaches provide at least one evidence based treatment to assist in your recovery. Dr. White is a big proponent of self care and helping people live a fulfilling life! She has been in full remission with both codependency and emotional binge eating disorder since 2016. In live a life in recovery from sugar addiction. Loving her low sugar balance lifestyle.

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