People Pleasing

By Jennifer Kaplan, M.S., R.S.W. Psychotherapeutic Counseling | | Categories: #assessment , #codepence , #recovery , Depression Therapy , Depression Treatment , Psychological Assessment , Psychotherapy , Stress Treatment , Trauma Therapy

Many of us have a person in our life who makes us feel badly. Try as we may to be helpful or kind even attentive, this person makes us feel as though we are failing and can’t get it right. We feel an even stronger need to please them, to try and get it right for them. The person who makes you feel this way Id like to call a tar baby. I borrow this term from Eve Babitz, (« Slow Days, Fast Company » 1977).

The tar baby somehow needs you to look after it, it’s fussy and needy like a baby but impossible to please. When you get close, when you try your best to get it right for them you feel fouled like being covered in sticky tar. They don’t hug you in return. They leave you feeling awful.

Psychologically speaking, if you act like no one can ever get it right for you, if you are ever displeased by others efforts, if you opine that you don’t think what you are asking is THAT difficult, those around you will try that much harder to please you. That is how a tar baby operates.

Tar babies have control issuse. They operate this way in order to feel important and in control. They can never be happy because they must always act unhappy to control others behavior.

It’s hard to drop a tar baby because they are sticky. But drop them you must. They leave stains and tar is slow to clean off but you can do it.