How people pleasing can serve as a defense mechanism | Health


When we are brought up in dysfunctional homes, we grow to be in constant fear of rejection and betrayal. We are also taught to not express our emotions and to be vulnerable. Hence, when we grow up, this upbringing has significant effects in the ways we navigate through our adult relationships. Often, we end up becoming people pleasers to stop others from having any kind of negative emotions about ourselves. We grow up with the urge of people liking us even if that means altering our behavior and attitudes. “People-pleasing can be considered a defense mechanism because it involves altering one’s behavior, opinions, or preferences in order to gain acceptance, approval, or avoid conflict with others. It often stems from a fear of rejection, criticism, or negative judgment,” wrote Therapist Gessica Di Stefano.

How people pleasing can serve as a defense mechanism(Unsplash)
How people pleasing can serve as a defense mechanism(Unsplash)

Speaking of the negative consequences of people pleasing, the Therapist further added, “Overtime people pleasing can have negative consequences. It can lead to feelings of resentment, burnout, and a loss of personal identity. Building healthy boundaries, assertiveness skills, and self-esteem can help individuals overcome the need to constantly please others and develop more authentic and fulfilling relationships.”

Fear of rejection: People pleasers use this as a defense mechanism against making people reject them. They feel that if they constantly keep others happy, they will eventually not be rejected.

Low self-esteem: Sometimes people have such low self-esteem that they rely on external validation to feel good about themselves.

Conflict avoidance: Being brought up in homes with conflicts and chaos, they grow up to be adults who always want to maintain harmony around them. Hence, they refrain from sharing their opinions and thoughts as a way of avoiding any sort of conflict.

Perceived control: When they are constantly in the process of pleasing others. It may give them a sense of being in control of their social interactions.

Emotional suppression: In the process of meeting the expectations of others, they are constantly trying to suppress their own emotions.

Courtesy –


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here