“International affairs is very much run like the mafia. The godfather does not accept disobedience, even from a small storekeeper who doesn’t pay his protection money. You have to have obedience; otherwise, the idea can spread that you don’t have to listen to the orders, and it can spread to important places.” ~~Noam Chomsky
I am a People-Pleaser. You’d think that this would lead me to much happiness and satisfaction in my dealings with other people, since my primary approach is to make sure others are happy. You know the type: ready to pitch in when there’s unpleasant work to be done, encouraging to even the lowliest loser, willing to give you the shirt off his back or the last dollar in her rainy-day fund… People-Pleasers seem like they haven’t a hostile bone in their bodies. In fact, People-Pleasers seem unusually adept at Suffering Internalized Torment (S.I.T.). But, as anyone with this disorder can tell you, quite the opposite is true. A People-Pleaser is like a dog~ obedient, loyal, always ready with a smile, a shoulder, or a silly trick intended to brighten your day (in other words, ready to S.I.T.)~ but People-Pleasing has a dark side, too.
One of the hallmarks of Pathological People-Pleasing is an irresistible need to be disobedient. How can that be, you ask? Think Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Every time I feel compelled to Please Others, there is within me an urge to prove that I do not care if Others are Pleased. This leads to more than a few Situations Harboring Internalized Torment, or S.H.I.T., as it is commonly called. Here are some of the characteristics of someone who is experiencing S.H.I.T.:
- rumination on the lack of respect, gratitude, affection, or general goodwill that one views as “acceptable” from the Person one is Pleasing
- elevated levels of irritation, dissatisfaction, or frustration with the inconsideration of others- aka: negative self-talk
- the desire to teach others a lesson about how to properly treat others- aka: Educating the Ignorant Other(s)- aka: superiority complex
- a strong sense of Social Justice as it applies to the situations in which one is People-Pleasing- aka: martyrdom
- problems with “authority”~ from negative internal dialogues, to passive-aggressive behavior, to outright trouble-making- aka: rebellion without cause
- confused, irritated, or hostile reactions of others- aka: turbulent relationships
- loss of friends, jobs, romantic partners, etc.- aka: abandonment
With all this going in inside, it’s no surprise that the outer life of the People-Pleaser is often quite a mess. If we are Good Dogs, we must S.I.T. Some professionals equate these behaviors and attitudes with personality disorders. And we People-Pleasers are definitely disordered in our personalities~ we put up with being treated like dogs by…well,… acting like Good Dogs. We S.I.T. when we want to run. The trouble is that we’re liable to also act like Bad Dogs~ biting the hand that feeds us, thwarting the plans of others, and derailing good relationships with our bad attitudes. In essence, we are full of S.H.I.T.
Individual humans are not the only perpetrators of S.H.I.T., though. History is filled with well-documented occurrences of S.H.I.T. on local, state, national, and even international levels. We expect everyone else to be Good Dogs, but deny our own tendency toward Bad Dog-ism. This leads to S.H.I.T.
What can we do about S.H.I.T.? The first step is to acknowledge that it exists, and that it comes from inside ourselves. There’s no sense in denying what is right in front of us. To ignore S.H.I.T. is to step right into it. We know from experience that S.H.I.T. isn’t easy to get rid of once we’ve stepped in it. We try to scrape it off, but it sticks to everything, and it just plain STINKS.
It’s important to remember that S.H.I.T. happens. It’s just part of life. The best we can do is a) learn how to recognize and clean up our own S.H.I.T., and b) learn how to control our S.H.I.T. There are many resources available to help in S.H.I.T. alleviation, including therapy, self-help books, and twelve-step groups. One good step is to learn how to S.I.T. …Interacting with others should not be a matter of obedience, but of mutual respect and satisfaction. We’re all Dogs, aka: Dreaming of Grand Selves. We all want to be Masters of our lives, but must S.I.T., for that is the way of things.
Meditate. Breathe deeply. S.I.T. in Silence & allow S.H.I.T. to pass without struggle, strain, or resistance.