How My People Pleasing Turned Toxic
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How My People Pleasing Turned Toxic

My need to please the people around me created a toxic friendship environment.

How My People Pleasing Turned Toxic

Throughout my 20 years of life, I’ve always tried to please the people around me. Now people pleasing is not a bad quality to have. Always making sure that you are caring for your friends, family, and even strangers, but people pleasing can also turn out to be one of your biggest enemies and your worst nightmare.

Trying to balance my everyday life, I would always put myself and my well-being on the back burner. Before I could even begin to worry about myself, I had to make sure that I was pleasing those around me. A seemingly simple task that could easily turn into a whirlwind of emotions.

I’ve always struggled with two consistent factors in my life: friendships and myself. When it comes to myself, there has always been a lack of self-attention and I tend to let others “run me over.” Then when it comes to friends, I quite often find myself taking people pleasing to a whole new level. At one point in my life, I started to do things that were against my values, ended up dropping my standards, began to act in ways that were opposite of my personality, and became almost petrified to share my own thoughts and opinions with some people I called my “friend.” All due to the sole purpose of wanting to please my friend and I would do anything to fit THEIR mold.

Friendship is all about reciprocity, you give some, you take some. My need to please people quickly fell into a trap in this particular friendship that I couldn’t get out of. I gave, and gave, and gave some more. And she took, and took, and took some more. Then started to take parts of myself that I wasn’t even giving: my confidence, my trust, my personality, my style and my thoughts. She took ME and I wasn’t receiving any of myself back.

The definition of friendship is the mutual trust and support between two people. Friends are the people that YOU chose to put in your life, the people that you are supposed to share the same values with, the people that you laugh with, the people that you cry with, the people that are supposed to be there for you through the thick and the thin, the people that are honest when no one else is, the people that are supposed to lift you up to make you feel better, and the people that will always be your number one cheerleader.

My once confident self, broke down to become a peasant that followed the ringleader’s every move and complied with every request. Always putting the ringleader before myself and sometimes even driving myself in harm’s way to protect the ringleader. Countless actions that I tolerated that deserved the words “I’m sorry”, but not once were those two simple words ever spoken. I continued to put the ringleader before myself just to please her so I could “fit in”. I continued to get hurt. I continued to be bossed around. I continued to hide my own opinions. I was putting my friend, the ringleader, before myself, but what I didn’t realize is that she wasn’t even being a friend to me.

I thought our values were the same, but I had changed mine to fit hers. I thought that she was there for me through thick and thin, but she was only there for me when it was convenient for her. I thought that she was always honest with me, but her web of lies told a different story. I thought she lifted me up, but really she always brought me down. I thought she was my number one cheerleader, but she was actually just cheering on herself. I thought she was always there to laugh with and cry with, but she actually only made me cry.

I became terrified of her and not pleasing her. I was so scared of her to the point that I would wouldn’t confront her about something that I knew was morally correct because she had a different opinion on the situation. I would be in tears just thinking about confronting her and I wouldn’t challenge her because she would turn every situation around that was her fault, to somehow being my fault. I stopped doing things that I loved to do because she didn’t like to do those things. I completely stopped hanging out with certain people because she didn’t like them, so I thought that I shouldn’t either. I would never spend too much time away from her because I knew that she would get mad, and I never wanted her to be mad at me. I stopped sharing my accomplishments with her because if she didn’t receive the same accomplishment then she would be mad at me.

No one should ever be afraid of their friends. I had been put in a shadow from the start and had never realized it. I had been blinded and manipulated to go against my own values and thoughts. I had been lied to and lies were told about me to others by my so-called “friend”. I had been hurt without even knowing it and had lost my confidence and so many other parts of myself along the way. When I finally realized what was going on, I knew that I needed to stop worrying about pleasing people and take a step back and look at who I had become.

I had lost little qualities about myself along the way that I wanted back. I wanted my voice back and I didn’t want to be a “follower” to a leader, that was really no leader at all. A leader, just like a friend, is one who is honest and accountable for their actions, who is empathetic to your feelings, and who is an inspiration to those around them. None of those qualities were being expressed to me and it was time for a change.

After putting my big girl pants on and gaining back some of my old confidence, I put an end to the reign of a toxic friendship and a weight was lifted off of me that I didn’t even know was there. I am happier and more confident than I have been in a long time. I’m no longer afraid to share my opinion or be who I truly am.

Everyone deserves to be happy and no one ever needs someone in their life to bring them down. I put my people pleasing as a top priority and forgot about myself along the way. I will continue to try and please those around me, especially, my friends because they are important people in my life that encourage me to be the best that I can be, push me to accomplish my goals, lend a helping hand, and take care of me when I can’t even see I even need taking care of. However, I will never again jeopardize myself and my values for someone who uses me as a pawn in their game.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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