People-Pleaser Alert

After my menu post last week many of you expressed how exhausted you would be if you meticulously measured your portions, thought about food all the time, and were consumed by the immense guilt that occurs pretty much anytime a calorie entered your body, but let me tell you, that is NOTHING compared to how tiring it is to feel like a complete failure 99% of your life.

That sounds horribly morbid and depressing, and I promise you I am normally a pretty happy person, but I HATE disappointing others.

I have written a few times on my people pleasing tendencies, but after I posted about the diminishing relationship I have with my mom, it kind of dawned on me why I might be so upset; I feel like I am constantly letting her down.

Just yesterday she told me for the millionth time that she is unhappy with the way I maintain her home.

Now, admittedly, I suck at cleaning.

Cleaning never has been a strong suit of mine, and I really do not notice or care if there is a pair of shoes sitting by the back door waiting to be taken upstairs.

My philosophy is I will probably wear those shoes tomorrow, so it seems easier to just leave them right there, where they are daily accessible on hectic, before-work mornings.

Same thing with my egg pan…

I use the same egg pan everyday. So after I wash it, I sit it back on the stove since I know in approximately 24 hours I will use it again.

These things drive my mom absolutely INSANE.

She hates clutter, hates anything being visible on the kitchen counter, and does not understand how I cannot also be crazy living in a house where the salt and pepper shakers are still on the breakfast bar.

I wish I could be more meticulous but that has never been a priority of mine.

Of course I don’t want crumbs on the floor, or my bathroom to be filthy, or anything that could possibly be hazardous to one’s health going on in my home, but a laundry basket being unpacked just doesn’t seem that important…


To someone else this would simply be unacceptable and, that someone else, is my mom.

The conversation about how irresponsible I am when it comes to taking care of a home happens probably once every two months, and it always makes me feel horrible.

Anytime she talks about how messy I am, non-caring of her property, etc. I hear, “you are unappreciative of me, you are a horrible, completely unreliable person, and I don’t like you anymore.”

She doesn’t say these things directly, but there are so many times where I have asked her if she hates me now.

Ever since I got sick I have this immense paranoia that everyone secretly dislikes me, but is just too nice to say.

I have never been an OVERLY confident person, but it has definitely gotten worse as my disorder advanced.

I take everything personally, internalize any form of criticism as me being a sh*tty person, and then I engage in ED behaviors because I want to punish myself for not being better.

This is particularly true for my mom, poppy, Ryan and any other significantly close person around me.

My entire life has been centered on wanting to make everyone else happy and comfortable, that if it doesn’t work out that way, I have a complete breakdown.

I realize how unhealthy that is, and that it has obviously been problematic for my well-being, but it is who I am and I need to do A LOT of work to change it.

So after I was crying hysterically as my mom continued her cleaning rant, I decided to tell her what was going through my head.

“All I ever want is to make you happy, but every time you come home I let you down AGAIN because I am not good at taking care of a house. You don’t like the person I am as an adult. You never want to spend time with me anymore….”

Gosh it continued forever and I am so embarrassed that I sounded like a whiny five year old.

And she looked at me and said, “CJ, trying to make everyone around you happy has not fared well for you, so maybe you need to focus on that for yourself…I think you let yourself down and that is the problem.”


My mom brought up a pretty valid point.

The life I have now is nothing of what I planned.

I am very satisfied with many aspects of my life, and feel incredibly blessed for all the gifts God has given me, but there are certain things that do make me feel disappointed in who I have become.

I think the things I am referring to can definitely be changed, but it will take a lot of effort and patience on my part, as well as on those closest to me.

Perhaps I will go into more detail about the less blatant components of who I am that make me so disturbed, but for now, I know many of you have expressed to me your desires to please everyone else.

It might help for you to also look deep inside your soul and see how that makes you feel, if you are truly happy, and if there is anything you could change to make things better.

It is Monday after all and what better day for a little self-evaluation and goal setting?!


10 thoughts on “People-Pleaser Alert

  1. I am eager to hear about your action plan to please yourself….you deserve it….and you even heard it from Lisa’s mouth!
    Cheers to you expressing your fears and anxieties to your mom, instead of holding them in in order to please her…xoxox

  2. I was going to say this regarding your post yesterday: maybe what you need from your mom is to hear a respect for how hard this battle is. For example, sometimes I just really need to hear someone say “wow, you are so brave”. It gives me strength to really BE even braver.

    You are not a failure for being messy though, Unless you are causing actual damage to her property, I think that’s just a problem with her, not you.

  3. I know you’ve talked about your need to stay around your family, but can I ask you truthfully, why stay around your mother if all she does is put you down like that? I’ve always believed that eliminating the negative out of our lives makes things so much easier to handle…Just a thought. Though I am happy that you stood up to her!!! Great job CJ!

  4. As a fellow people-pleaser (and one who’s very conflict adverse), this post has got me thinking. You have a way with words. 🙂

  5. “I take everything personally, internalize any form of criticism as me being a sh*tty person”

    …Ah! The moment I realized how hyper-sensative to criticism I’ve become… was a HUGE revelation, but incredibly frustrating too, because sometimes I’m so helpless at stopping these irrational feelings! But if you’re aware, thats the first step!

    Also, your post just led me to realize why I’m so in love with my new CNA job… it’s all about pleasing people… all day long! “Can I cut your ham Mrs. X?” “how’s the water temp. mr. smith?” “How can I make your leg feel better bob?” Haha… perfect… I have a bright future in nursing in that case. Though I absolutely still struggle with the pan-on-the-stove + sh*t-in-the-way stuff.

    CJ, thank you so much for being so open and honest. It’s helpful to so many of your readers, and I hope it’s helpful in your recovery. I am in NO NO NO position to preach “successful recovery” crap, but right now I know the main thing helping my “upward trend” is being open with my family and team, and really trying to assess my own actions/feelings. And sharing. pff.

    You are a beautiful, motivated, intelligent woman, from what I can see, and I truly wish you the best. Keep fighting, slow and steady 🙂

    • you are beautiful, motivated and intelligent 🙂 thank you for saying those things and I wish you luck in your own recovery! i am so glad to hear your job…i really think that can sometimes be a MAJOR factor playing into using ED behaviors. you are right, slow and steady! ❤

  6. You are an amazing Woman..this post was heart-wrenching..Mother’s are a tough bunch,it’s taken me 47 yrs to realize my Mother will never give me the acceptance I need from her..but that’s HER problem..Believe me, you weren’t a whiny 5 yr old,you were trying to get your Mom to listen to you..if your Mom truly believe’s her statement about letting yourself down, then reality is…Don’t come in and chastise you like a child for not picking up the are an adult, and can choose not to make the bed, put your clothes away,not do the dishes if you want..without needing your Mom’s permission, or having to listen to her make you feel LESS THAN..which you’re NOT..GREAT JOB telling her…
    I pray one day you will believe, you can Love your Mom, but realize they don’t always behave or say the correct things..( I know that for a fact, I have a 22 yr old Daughter..and apologize frequently, if she let’s me know I’m being critical)
    Love yourself…You’re an amazing Woman…..

    • thank you so much for your words! it was awesome to wake up this morning and read something so encouraging. thank you so much for reading and the comment 🙂

  7. I have the same issue with my mom- she is a compulsive neat freak cleaning organizing whacko.
    And it has NOTHING to do with me, and nothig to do with you.
    Odds are your mother manages her anxiety by “putting everything in its place” the way you manage your anxiety with food and routines/rituals. Please remind yourself when she starts in again that this is how she manages her own issues, and they are just that. HER issues. Dont take them on as well.

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