The word trauma in a dictionary, to explain the causes of people pleasing


Have you ever wondered why you feel the constant need to please others? People-pleasing trauma is a unique form of emotional distress that stems from a deep-seated fear of rejection and conflict. It’s like being stuck in a never-ending cycle of trying to meet everyone’s expectations while neglecting our own desires and needs.

It’s important to understand how trauma affects your personality. People pleasing can take a toll on your mental health, self-esteem, and overall happiness. But don’t worry, because recovery from people-pleasing trauma is possible. You don’t have to remain trapped in the negative pattern forever.

Healing from people-pleasing trauma is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity. Embarking on a journey of healing and recovery is so crucial! It’s about reclaiming your power, rediscovering your true self, and living life on your own terms.

It’s time to prioritize your own needs, rediscover your self-worth, and cultivate a life that is truly authentic to you. So, get ready to embark on a transformative journey towards healing from people-pleasing trauma. It all starts with understanding what kind of trauma causes people pleasing.

Is People-Pleasing a Mental Problem?

Have you ever wondered if people-pleasing is more than just a harmless habit? Well, let’s dive into the psychological aspect of people-pleasing and explore whether it can actually be a mental problem. Understanding this distinction is crucial because it can have a significant impact on our overall well-being. So, let’s unravel the complexities and discover how people-pleasing affects our mental health.

When we talk about people pleasing, we’re not just talking about wanting to make others happy. It goes much deeper than that. People-pleasing usually stems from a deep-rooted fear of rejection and a relentless desire for approval. We constantly seek validation and avoid any form of conflict, often at the expense of our own needs and boundaries. This internal struggle can leave us emotionally exhausted, anxious, and questioning our self-worth.

Now, let’s differentiate between healthy behavior patterns and people-pleasing. Healthy behaviors involve genuine acts of kindness and consideration for others, but they don’t come at the cost of our own well-being. To stay healthy, it’s vital to recognize the importance of setting boundaries, taking care of yourself, and upholding your values. On the flip side, people-pleasers often overlook their own needs, compromising their contentment and genuineness in order to please those around them.

Negative mental impact

You cannot ignore the negative impact on your mental well-being. The constant pressure to please everyone can leave you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and even resentful. It chips away at your self-esteem, as you rely on external validation to feel worthy and accepted. It’s crucial to recognize this and take proactive steps to heal and reclaim your mental well-being.

It’s important to understand the psychological aspect of people-pleasing and differentiate it from healthy behavior patterns. The next thing to do is acknowledge its negative impact on your mental well-being so that you can break free from this cycle.

What Kind of Trauma Causes People Pleasing?

Uncovering the root causes of people-pleasing trauma can help us understand why we developed this pattern in the first place. It’s an interaction of many factors, like our childhoods and the power of cultural and social norms.

What is considered psychological trauma? Let’s dive deeper into these aspects and explore how they contribute to the creation of people-pleasing tendencies.

Childhood experiences

Our childhood experiences play a significant role in shaping our behaviors and beliefs. We learn to prioritize others over ourselves when we grow up in environments where our needs and desires are constantly dismissed or invalidated. This can stem from parental expectations, neglect, or even emotional or physical abuse. These early experiences create a deep-seated belief that our worth is tied to how well we can meet the needs and expectations of others.

Cultural and social conditioning

Cultural and social conditioning also contribute to developing people-pleasing tendencies. Conformity is valued in society, with politeness, agreeableness and willingness to please being seen as important qualities. We are taught to prioritize harmony and avoid conflict at all costs. These cultural and societal norms shape our behavior and reinforce the idea that our worthiness depends on how well we can please others.

People pleasing and emotional neglect

People pleasing and emotional neglect often go hand in hand. When you don’t get the emotional support you need growing up, it can make you desperate for approval from others. You end up always trying to please people, hoping they’ll notice you and make you feel worthy.

Emotional neglect can have a big impact on your self-esteem and make you feel you’re not good enough. To cope with that, you become a people pleaser, even if it means ignoring your own needs.

People-pleasing trauma, however, isn’t solely caused by one specific event or experience. It’s a cumulative effect of various factors that shape our beliefs, behaviors, and sense of self. By understanding these root causes, we can untangle the web of people-pleasing and embark on a journey of healing and recovery.

But here’s the thing: people-pleasing isn’t healthy or sustainable. It just keeps you stuck in a cycle of seeking validation and ignoring your own feelings. To break free, you need to acknowledge the past, be kind to yourself, and learn to take care of your own needs.

It’s essential to reflect on your childhood experiences and the influence of cultural and social conditioning. Think about these factors with kindness and awareness, and you’ll learn why you’re so eager to please.

Healing is possible.

Healing from people-pleasing means putting yourself first and learning to set boundaries. It’s about finding your own worth and not relying on others to validate you. By doing that, you can build healthier relationships and live a more authentic life.

By addressing the root causes of people-pleasing trauma, you can cultivate a healthier and more authentic relationship with yourself and others.

What Are The Psychological Effects of People Pleasing?

Let’s take a closer look at the psychological effects of people-pleasing and how it can impact our mental well-being. It’s important to understand the deeper implications of this behavior because it goes beyond just wanting to make others happy.

1. Emotional Exhaustion: The Toll of Constant Approval-Seeking

The need for approval and the effort to make everybody satisfied can take a heavy toll on your emotions. The relentless pursuit of making others happy can leave us feeling emotionally exhausted and drained. It’s like running on a never-ending treadmill, desperately trying to keep up with the demands and desires of those around us. The weight of this constant effort can leave us feeling overwhelmed and depleted.

2. Erosion of Self-Worth and Self-Esteem: The Cost of Neglecting Ourselves

People-pleasing can eat away at our self-worth and self-esteem. We gradually start questioning our own value as we prioritize the needs and desires of others above our own. We believe that our worthiness solely depends on how well we can please others. This negative self-perception can chip away at our confidence and leave us feeling inadequate and unworthy.

3. Anxiety and Stress: Living in Fear of Disapproval

One of the significant psychological effects of people-pleasing is higher anxiety and stress. Constantly seeking approval and trying to avoid any form of disagreement or conflict can create a persistent state of worry. The fear of disappointing others and facing disapproval becomes a constant source of anxiety. Stress and unease become more intense in our lives because of this.

4. Impact on Mental Well-being: Navigating Unhealthy Relationship Dynamics

People-pleasing can have a detrimental impact on our mental well-being, especially in our relationships. It often leads to developing unhealthy dynamics. Such as codependency, where our sense of self becomes intertwined with meeting the needs of others. These patterns can cause us to feel emotionally depleted and stuck in relationships that are not mutually beneficial or supportive.

Understanding these psychological effects is crucial in your journey toward healing and recovery from people-pleasing trauma. By recognizing the toll it takes on your emotional well-being, self-worth, anxiety levels, and relationships, you can make conscious choices to prioritize your own mental health and break free from the cycle of people-pleasing.

It’s time to embrace your authentic self and live a life that aligns with your genuine desires and values.

Recovery from People Pleasing Trauma

How to recover from people-pleasing trauma and reclaim your life?

Healing from this deeply ingrained pattern takes time and effort, but trust me, it’s absolutely worth it. So, here are some steps to guide you on your journey:

Step 1: Acknowledging and Accepting the Trauma

The first step toward recovery is acknowledging that people-pleasing has taken a toll on your life and well-being. Recognize that it’s not your fault and that you deserve to heal. Embrace self-compassion and give yourself permission to let go of the guilt and shame associated with people-pleasing.

Step 2: Cultivating Self-Compassion and Kindness

Be gentle with yourself throughout this process. Practice self-compassion and remind yourself that you’re deserving of love and care. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a dear friend. It’s time to prioritize your own needs and well-being.

Step 3: Setting Boundaries and Building Healthy Relationships

Recovering from people-pleasing involves setting boundaries and establishing healthier relationship dynamics. Learn to identify your own needs and communicate them assertively. Surround yourself with people who respect and support your boundaries, and let go of toxic relationships that hold you back.

Step 4: Developing Assertiveness and Finding Your Voice

Reclaiming your voice is an essential part of the healing process. Start by expressing your opinions, desires, and boundaries in a clear and assertive manner. Practice speaking up for yourself and asserting your needs. Your voice matters, and your opinions are valuable.

Step 5: Cultivating Authenticity and Embracing Your True Self

Rediscover who you truly are and embrace your authenticity. Explore your passions, interests, and values. Engage in activities that bring you joy and align with your true self. Embracing your authentic self allows you to live a life that feels genuine and fulfilling.

Step 6: Coping with Triggers and Relapses: Strategies for Success

Healing is not a linear journey, and there might be setbacks along the way. When triggers arise or relapses occur, don’t beat yourself up. Try building coping skills like being mindful, taking time for yourself, and getting help from people who care about you. Remind yourself that it’s all part of the process.

Recovering from people-pleasing trauma takes time, patience, and self-compassion. Be gentle with yourself as you navigate this journey. Surround yourself with supportive individuals who understand and validate your experiences.

Follow these steps and commit to your healing. You’ll gradually free yourself from people-pleasing trauma and reclaim your life on your terms.

You’ve got this!

Rebuilding Self-Worth and Self-Esteem

It is essential to rebuild your self-worth and self-esteem after experiencing the damaging effects of people-pleasing. Rediscover your value and embrace the incredible person you truly are!

Here’s how you can embark on this empowering journey:

Tip 1: Challenge Negative Beliefs and Cultivate Positive Self-Talk

Start by challenging those negative beliefs that have held you back for far too long. Recognize that your worthiness is not tied to how much you can please others. Replace self-doubt with positive self-talk. Remind yourself of your strengths, accomplishments, and unique qualities.

You deserve love and respect, just as you are.

Tip 2: Celebrate Personal Achievements and Strengths

Take the time to celebrate your achievements, no matter how big or small they may seem. Acknowledge your strengths and the positive impact you’ve made in your own life and the lives of others. Embrace your unique talents and abilities.

Each step forward is a testament to your growth and resilience.

Tip 3: Practice Self-Validation and Embrace Your Own Approval

Shift your focus from seeking external validation to embracing self-validation. Trust your instincts and decisions. Remind yourself that your opinion and approval matter the most. You have the power to validate yourself and determine your own worth.

Embrace the freedom and empowerment that comes with relying on your own approval.

Tip 4: Embrace Imperfections and the Beauty of Being Human

Recognize that perfection is an impossible standard. Embrace your imperfections and the beautiful messiness of being human. It is through our flaws and vulnerabilities that we connect with others on a deeper level. Embrace self-acceptance and show yourself compassion when you stumble or make mistakes.

You are worthy of love and acceptance, regardless of your perceived imperfections.

By applying these tips, you can gradually rebuild your self-worth and self-esteem. Remember, this is a journey, and progress may take time. Be patient and kind to yourself along the way. Embrace your uniqueness, celebrate your achievements, and let go of the need for external validation. Rebuilding your self-worth is about embracing your true value and recognizing the incredible person you are.

You are worthy, deserving, and capable of living a life filled with love, joy, and fulfillment.

Navigating Relationships and Boundaries

When it comes to relationships, it’s essential to navigate them with a clear understanding of your own boundaries. Setting boundaries is not about being selfish or creating distance; it’s about establishing healthy limits that promote mutual respect and emotional well-being. Communicate your needs and expectations, thus creating a foundation of trust and understanding within your relationships.

Healthy relationships require open and honest communication. Express your boundaries in a respectful and assertive manner, ensuring that your voice is heard and your needs are acknowledged. It’s also important to recognize and respect the boundaries of others, fostering a balanced exchange of support and care.

Navigating relationships and boundaries is a continuous process that evolves as you grow and change. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and authentic connection, and create relationships that uplift and empower you on your path to healing.

Thriving Beyond People Pleasing Trauma

Thriving beyond people pleasing is about reclaiming your power, embracing your true self, and living life on your own terms. It’s a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. You will break free from the shackles of approval-seeking and step into a life of authenticity and fulfillment.

Identify your passions and interests. What lights you up? What brings you joy and fulfillment? Take the time to explore your true passions and invest your energy into activities and pursuits that align with your authentic self. By following your own interests, you’ll cultivate a sense of purpose and experience a deep sense of satisfaction that comes from living in alignment with your values.

Surround yourself with supportive and empathetic people who celebrate your growth and respect your boundaries. Seek relationships that uplift and inspire you, where you can be your true self without fear of judgment or rejection. Build a supportive network of like-minded individuals. This will provide the encouragement and understanding you need to continue thriving beyond people-pleasing.

Remember, this journey is unique to you, and it’s okay to take it one step at a time.

Celebrate your progress, embrace your individuality, and let go of the need for external validation. Thriving beyond people-pleasing trauma is about finding the courage to embrace your authentic self and create a life that reflects your true desires and values.


Congratulations on embarking on the transformative journey of healing from people-pleasing trauma. Understand people-pleasing, know how it affects you, and dive into the source and you’ll be back in control and living authentically.

Remember, healing takes time and self-compassion. Embrace setting boundaries, cultivating self-worth, and nurturing supportive relationships.

Thriving beyond people-pleasing trauma is a continuous journey. Stay committed to personal growth, practice self-care, and seek support when needed.

Embrace your worth, trust yourself, and live a life that aligns with your values and passions. You have the power to create a fulfilling, authentic life free from the burdens of people pleasing. Embrace the journey and shine brightly.

Christel Owoo is a professional Life Coach with ACC-credentials from ICF.

She is passionate about helping women gain confidence.

Do you want to gain confidence in life and live fully in your God-given potential?

Reach out to Christel…

Christel Owoo Christian Confidence Coach
Christel Owoo, Christian Confidence Coach