Day 230

by Karolis Strautniekas


On a bit of a learning curve today… in search of answers after the last two days of tough interactions with C.

I’m slowly becoming aware that I’m a (recovering) people-pleaser, and having learned that this may have something to do with my upbringing, I am determined not to do the same thing to our boys.

I’ll give a recent example – one that doesn’t really make either of us look bad – just a function of working together as a team. Work approached me with a request that I travel to NC again for an important meeting. This time, for 3 days, not 1.

Initially, C was very resistant to the idea – for a number of valid reasons.

After getting past his anger at my request, we brainstormed other possibilities (getting a sitter to stay over night, having my mom travel down to be at home with the kids, looking into a video conferencing option out of Philly, telling work I couldn’t do it and they needed to find another person etc etc).

In the end, after eliminating most of these alternative options, C told me it was OK with him if I went. Through this whole process, he had been less than happy about the idea so I asked him if he was going to be upset if I went.

I really wanted him to tell me he wouldn’t be angry or hold it against me; that in the end, he saw that the benefit outweighed the cost and actually wanted me to go. I wanted him to be happy about it before I made the final decision. I wanted to please him.

I was allowing his mindset to determine my decision.

But I can’t control his mindset. Nor is it my responsibility. If I’m confident that I’m doing nothing wrong, that my intentions are pure, how he reacts to the decision is HIS responsibility, not mine.

Here comes the rub, though.

If he’s angry about it or holds it against me in the future, that negatively affects me. And THIS is where the people-pleasing becomes toxic.

I need to learn better how to set boundaries, so that I’m not as hurt by these behaviors or take them to heart so seriously. If I’m confident that his negative opinions of me are inaccurate – then I need to dismiss them instead of absorbing them so completely.

And this involves growing a stronger sense of Self. A project that has only started emerging since I quit drinking.

Cheers to that.