Are nurses in danger of becoming people-pleasers? Or are people-pleasers in danger of becoming nurses? Are some people born that way – or is it something we learn? Is this a chicken or the egg story? Read on to discover some answers.
According to Dr. Harriet B. Braiker, in her book, The Disease to Please, most people-pleasers are made that way from early childhood. But she doesn’t explain why a number of siblings, growing up in the same home, don’t all develop the syndrome. It does, however, seem to be a condition that lingers until it is effectively treated. It has damaged many lives, but treatment is simple, and effective.
This book is lay-person-deep. It is easy to follow and includes some quizzes you can take to see if you are a victim – and if so, to what severity you have the condition.
People-pleasers can, according to this book, be found in many walks of life – including in leadership roles. Have you heard of a “yes-man”? We are not talking about those typically labeled “brown-nosers” Those folks have an agenda and they can stop. We are talking about the person who just cannot say “No” to requests to do favors or extra duties for people.
These are people who seem to say “Yes” to way too many requests – and then end up so stressed out that they seem ready to burst. These are probably the people to whom everybody always asks first to fill their shift, because they always agree to do it. And, of course, they have this same trouble saying “No” when they are off work as well.
They agree to do so much more than is humanly possible – and then they snap and lose their temper in a way that can seem out of proportion to their current situation. Braiker sites many men and women who suffer from this problem and summarizes their case studies. Its well written and compassionate.
Many people-pleasers tend to show love by giving gifts and performing acts of service – but they have trouble receiving. They give and do until they are worn smooth-out. But those they love and serve don’t ever seem to reciprocate. These precious folks are often hiding secret hurts and never feel that they are loved well by those on whom they lavish their affection. They often have trouble bearing their true heart to others because of fears learned early in life. It makes two-way relationships very difficult.
Here are some of the things people-pleasers typically think and feel. “The words ‘I love you’ always carry memories of associated painful actions.” “Saying ‘No’ is dangerous.” “Love hurts.” “I have to shut up and stay out of the way to be safe.” “I have to be a “nice” girl/boy and do as told.” “I have to always agree.” “I have to comply.” “I have to always say ‘yes’.”
Obviously, many -maybe well-meaning – but still dysfunctional families raise people-pleasers. It’s a trait that develops as a coping mechanism to help children survive. They are forced to figure out ways to manage in whatever way they can. They then grow up and raise more people-pleasers.
So it is a created syndrome. They tend to agree to all requests. Some might have been promiscuous in their teens, since they have not learned about healthy boundaries. They have trouble understanding where they stop and others begin. They don’t believe that they have rights over what happens to their bodies. They can easily grow up to become battered spouses.
They are so sweet, so good, and so nice. They dismiss their own needs in preference for the needs of others. These are some of their trademarks. This has been programmed into them. Maybe that’s why they make such good nurses. Hospital patients and nurse managers love these compliant folks. But inside, people-pleasers are often suffering and helpless to change.
Their siblings may have grown up with different looking scars, but they were all probably affected. We see victims of dysfunctional families every day, because almost none of us really understands how to be healthy or raise healthy kids.
BUT, THERE IS HELP – its effective – and its easy! Braiker’s book provides a 21-day action plan with easy baby steps to re-train the people-pleasers’ responses to requests in kind ways. From the very first few days, people in the book who followed the steps, saw exciting improvements.
This is easy! The steps are so small, and they build upon each other. Following these simple steps has helped many into people who are now living happy, fulfilled lives. The book is full of former victims who have now come to embrace their own personal worth as well as gaining a fresh, new value for those around them.
Of course, one little book can’t be the total cure for a lifetime of behavior. And the situation of some is beyond what this book, alone, can address. But it certainly gives a people-pleaser a place to start. I like how it helps a person develop a sense that they have a right-to-be who they are – and that’s priceless.
So, are nurses in danger of becoming people-pleasers? No. If you weren’t one already, nursing won’t do it to you (although it will try.) Are people-pleasers in danger of becoming nurses? Yes, very much so, because they love to do for others. Are people born that way? No. It is a trait that is learned during childhood. But some have more tendencies toward developing that syndrome than others do. And unfortunately, many people-pleasers will raise their children to become people-pleasers because they don’t know any better.
There are many other books on this subject. But this one is so easy to relate to and very user friendly.
So, Cheers! To your health!
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