People Pleasers and Narcissist Are Two Sides of the Same Coin
Before I dive into this, if you’re not sure what a narcissist is here’s the simple definition: a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. We all have that to some degree, but if it’s excessive, that’s when it turns into narcissism. If you’ve met one or been in a relationship with one, you know. It’s all about them. Me, me and more me. And did I say it’s about me?
Many politicians and famous people are narcissists because that type of personality seeks attention. To quench their thirst for the limelight they will do almost anything to get it, therefore, they generally are successful people.
Narcissists are attracted to people pleasers because people pleasers love to please. Because they want to please, they want to give them their full attention. They will do just about anything to make the narcissist happy. The wrinkle in the carpet is that you can’t. Narcissists can’t be pleased. They’re always seeking more. And more and more.
Some call them energy vampires because they can suck the life out of you. People pleasers will give and give until they’re sucked dry. And the narcissist will keep on taking from them until the people pleaser has no more to give. That’s when either the people pleaser gets smart and leaves or the narcissist finds a new people pleaser to meet their insatiable needs.
Narcissists want attention to feed their greedy and needy egos. They are needy people at their core, although they would never admit that. That’s why they always want more and why they crave the spotlight. They constantly strive to prove their worth through selfish acts.
People pleasers please and give attention to others so they can feel good about themselves. While their acts may seem honorable and less horrific, they’re different sides to the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. The narcissist needs a fan club and the people pleaser needs to be head of the fan club.
Same End Result, Different Motives
We tend to judge the narcissist as a horrible person yet we look at the people pleaser as the Girl (or Boy) Scout who can do no wrong. They’d both give you the shirt off their back for what seem like entirely different reasons, yet really are the same. The narcissist does it to look good, to make you think they’re such a great person. It’s all about their image. They want you to like them so they can suck you in and use you. The people pleaser does it to look good too. They need to fulfill their need to please. They want your approval.
They’re both in essence saying, “See, I gave you the shirt off my back, aren’t I the nicest person ever?” They both want you to like them. If you think about it, neither is coming from integrity. Neither are being true to themselves. Well, you could argue the narcissist is because that’s who they are and don’t want to change.
They Both Want Approval
Narcissists want approval to cover their dirty tracks. What I mean by that is, they don’t really care about your approval, especially if you’re of no use to them, but they want to be liked. Since approval is part of being liked, they want your approval because they want to be liked, or rather, worshipped. They want everyone to see how great they are. It means a lot to them. It feeds their ego, and they have very big egos.
People pleasers, on the other hand, crave approval. That’s what makes them tick. They want you to like them so they’ll do just about anything for you. Many people pleasers aren’t honest with themselves. They don’t see or don’t want to see that they do all of these nice things so people will like them. Yes, it’s nice to want people to like you and it’s nice to do nice things. But not when you’re doing it just to get someone to like you. Or if you don’t even like the person, why bother to please them? That’s where people pleasers get hung up. It’s a habit to please everyone.
They Fit Hand in Glove
Since the people pleaser wants to be liked and readily gives approval, and the narcissist craves your approval, see how they fit hand in glove? The people pleaser is a ready-made audience for the narcissist. And sadly, willing too.
Over the years of helping people I’ve helped many women who have been in relationships with narcissists. Generally, women are the people pleasers and men are the narcissists, but it can be reversed. It’s given me clarity to see this dynamic so I can spell it out for those of you who may be in a relationship with a narcissist or have been and are still recovering from it.
Narcissists are difficult people to be with in the long-run. They may be outgoing and charismatic, which lures you in. They may be fun loving and the life of the party, which keeps you with them. Or they may keep making you promises that you wait to be fulfilled. But in the end, they will suck you dry.
Narcissist parents are difficult because they often spawn people pleaser children who are raised to please the selfish narcissist parent. That sets up the dynamic for you, the child people pleaser, to attract a narcissist as an adult. The narcissist in your life may not be a romantic relationship. It could be your boss or co-worker or friend. If you have a tendency to attract narcissists, keep an eye out for who comes into your life and what role they are playing. Are they your friend? Lover? Boss?
If you have a tendency to be a people pleaser, I don’t ever want to discourage you from continuing to be a nice, helpful person. Just pay attention to who you attract in your life. Keep an eye out for narcissists. You’ll know when you meet them.
The biggest thing you can do to help yourself is learn to say no! Most people will graciously understand when you put up boundaries. Narcissists will not. They will keep pushing you to do and give more and more. When you don’t, that’s when they tend to leave and move on to their next victim. Let them. Or they might become abusive to coerce you to keep on giving. Don’t.
So, while narcissists always want more, people pleasers are always willing to give more. See how they mesh so well? One benefits (the narcissist), the other, does not. The people pleaser thinks they’re benefitting because they have someone to do things for. The problem is the narcissist doesn’t reciprocate and never will. If they do, it’s for the short-term, usually to hook you in. Then they stop caring about helping or pleasing you. It’s all about them and what they can get from you.
Keep Being You
Bottom line is if you’re a people pleaser, keep on being nice and helping others. Just don’t do it to your detriment. If you find you’ve attracted a narcissist because you’re nice and like to help others, run! It will always be a one-sided relationship.
While it may be painful for people pleasers to realize this, I tell you because I’ve seen it with too many well-meaning, nice clients. Lovely ladies who attract the wrong guy. Or lovely ladies that had a narcissist parent that turned them into a people pleaser who grows up and attracts narcissists.
As I said, people pleasers are nice people. Who doesn’t love them? Don’t stop being you, just realize it when you’ve attracted the wrong person whether it’s a lover or a friend. If you have to have that narcissist in your life, do your best to keep them at arm’s length. Keep your boundaries up. Say no when you want to. Don’t let them run your life. Please only the people you like and reciprocate.