The Disease to Please | Harriet B. Braiker

Summary of: The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome
By: Harriet B. Braiker


Are you constantly striving to please others, even to the detriment of your own needs and well-being? In ‘The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome’, Harriet B. Braiker uncovers the root causes of this disturbing behavioral pattern and provides an actionable 21-Day Action Plan to overcome it. The book outlines how people-pleasing can arise from cognitive, behavioral, or emotional sources and delves into the negative consequences of trying to meet everyone’s needs but your own. By understanding the type of people-pleaser you are, you can tailor your journey towards change, focusing on distorted thinking, compulsive behavior, or fearful emotions.

Overcoming the Disease to Please

Discover if you’re a cognitive, behavioral, or emotionally avoidant people pleaser and learn how to overcome it through a 21-day action plan. The book explains how the intense need to please others can negatively impact your life and how you can refocus your attention on your own needs. The author emphasizes that the belief in the protective power of niceness is a holdover from childhood, and that true change requires focused attention and activity. With practical guidance and self-reflection, you can break free from the disease to please and regain control of your life.

The People-Pleasing Syndrome

The “people-pleasing” syndrome refers to the complex interrelations of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that drive those who compulsively try to please others. These individuals are controlled by their need for approval and often ignore their own needs. This behavior is a serious psychological problem that requires changes in behavior, thoughts, and emotions. According to the author, modifying the initial assumption that life is fair would go a long way toward correcting such depression-producing thinking. People pleasers who act this way primarily because of distorted thinking need to change such thoughts to recover. The people-pleasing triangle is an essential concept that explains how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of people pleasers are interrelated. Changes in any of these sides will affect the others and change the whole syndrome. This behavior may be addictive and can make people-pleasers ignore their own needs. Their very identity is derived from the image of niceness, making it difficult to resist the urge to please others. People-pleasers need to understand and break these habits to recover. Those motivated by all factors equally need to address all three areas to overcome their people-pleasing problem.

Overcoming the People-Pleasing Syndrome

The people-pleasing mindset is flawed and can be dangerous, leading to depression, anxiety, and guilt. The Disease to Please triangle shows how to cure people-pleasing problems by making small changes in the way you think, act, or feel. Sabotaging shoulds need to be overcome, and people-pleasers need to re-examine their belief systems. By seeking a balance of giving and receiving and taking care of oneself, people-pleasers can overcome their syndrome and feel less need to please others to win their approval.

Breaking Free From the People-Pleasing Cycle

Many people who seek approval and avoid disapproval through people-pleasing behavior may find themselves trapped in a compulsive habit or addiction. To address this issue, individuals must examine their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. People-pleasers must understand that seeking approval from everyone is impossible and that the most important approval is self-acceptance. By examining their values and judgments, individuals can overcome this behavior and relearn a healthier approach to interacting with others.

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