Category Archives: People Pleasing

Fun? When was the last time you had some?

In Step Four of our Depressed Anonymous Workbook, we find the statement: “When was the last time you had some fun?” You could also add when was the last time you actually laughed or even had a smile on your face? In one of our early Depressed Anonymous meetings. Bob told the group that the DA meeting was the only place where he could actually find himself laughing.

At our online Depressed Anonymous meetings, we are presently sharing our thoughts and feelings about Step Four. As part of our inventory, there are a number of questions pertaining to our Family of Origin. The following section helps me to take and reflect on my own family of origins and the relationship that I had with all those persons who I shared my life in those early childhood years.

In order to make a good inventory I need to go to my roots and discover how I came to be the person that I am today. AS the saying goes, “WE are our parents.”
When we were small, we “swallowed” our parents, meaning “swallowed” their main personality characteristics. Even today parents, grandparents, a stepparent, or guardian all are now part of our personality -for good or for ill. For myself to escape from my depression I need to discover how I might have received certain messages from my depression I need to discover how I might have received certain messages about myself from those adults who surrounded me as a helpless infant and child. All of us have received messages as children -some helpful and others not so helpful. Some messages directed toward us might have made us feel worthless because we got the message that we could never do anything to please others.

Our Depressed Anonymous manual, with an excerpt from Step Four gives a detailed and traumatic account of one of my experiences as a 10-year-old child. This event had recurring consequences for my young life and into my adult years. We might want to take a deeper look into some of the unpleasant feelings that we have today, traced to their origins in our childhood. I know for a fact that these events, producing guilt and shame, were finally dealt with in therapy as a young adult.

“I still remember being embarrassed when my third-grade teacher told me in front of the whole class That I would never be like my brother who was much smarter than me. I used to feel my face get hot every time I thought about that embarrassing incident. But the more I share my shame of having been exposed to others about something that I had no control over, the freer I became of that fear. The same principle is at work here in the Depressed Anonymous group. We can take our own personal inventory of our weaknesses and fears and trust the group to hear us out and accept our stories of shame and hurt as we accept theirs. We begin to see how and why so many people feel bad because in their earlier years people made them feel they could never measure up to the way others expected them to grow up. By becoming our little child once more, we paradoxically grow up.”

More about our childhood experiences, pleasant and unpleasant in the days to follow. And since it is time for school to start again, it seems that our bodies, sensors that they are, remind us that the Fall weather and school both arrive at the same time of year.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, p.29.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, (2011) THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, p. 55.

The joys of approval seeking.

The following post was  written by Bob P.

“I have observed that many depressives, including me, are given to approval seeking, some more than others. It seems fair to call it a kind of emotional dependency. Little children are completely dependent on their parents or whoever is taking care of them. They have no choice and are helpless. They  better have their parents approval or else.

Some of the children carry this kind of dependency right on into  adulthood, even to their graves unless they do the hard work of unlearning it. They have become so unsure of themselves, their opinions, and thoughts and skills, that they feel an imperative urge to get someone’s approval   that they are doing the right thing and that they are still ok.

When we, the former children, reach physical maturity, we find that people soon resent those who become dependent on them. They often become contemptuous of them -leaners, clinging vines, etc.  We literally drive them away from us with our constant demand for reassurance, hanging onto them, and begging them to throw us a few crumbs of approval now and then. We become fearful of asserting ourselves at all for fear of retaliating  such as outright ridicule, not being given a seat around the campfire, the doghouse, prolonged silent treatment, or stopping cooking, etc.  How can we avoid this treatment? Please them  more, of course?  Hardly. That brings only more contempt.

What will become of us?  We will spend our lives doing what others want us to do. Not what we want to do. If it gets bad enough, we will have feelings of total worthlessness and  self-loathing. Some will reach the point where they would rather die than to continue lving with that yoke around their neck.

You can free yourself from this fetter, but it’s really tough depending how badly you are addicted. It will take determination and sustained effort. It’s worth it to finally breath the air of freedom. And, you gave it to yourself. Start with a proven self help progam like Depressed Anonymous.

I include some words by Lao Tzu, 500 BC, who wrote the Tao Te Ching.

“Care about people’s approval

and you will be their slave.

Must you value what others value

and avoid what they avoid?

How ridiculous!

When you are content to be simply yourself

and don’t compare or compete

everybody will respect you.”

NOTE:

Bob P., Evansville, Indiana,  is  a  founding  member of  Depressed Anonymous and  one whose  friendship and thinking  I  cherish.  (Hugh S).

This article first appeared in the Spring 1995 issue of The Antidepressant Tablet, (Vol 6. No. 3)

Always trying to “please others” diminished me!

“I’d rather be imperfect and happy than always trying to be perfect.”  The THIRTEENTH WAY to leave the prison of depression.

The following two  excerpts quoted below  are from   Believing is seeing:15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2015). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

”  One of the areas in my life where I strive to excel is in the area of trying to be perfect.  Somewhere in our early development as children we got the message that if we were perfect we could be more acceptable to others. I gradually began to believe the more I  tried to please other’s that this would bring me happiness. Instead all it brought me was a loss of myself.  The loss of self reduced me to a shallow self without direction  or meaning.” Page 63.

”   Eventually, my depression became a sort of a comfort as it kept me from having to risk an unpredictable life. In other words, this way of living took away all hope. This is what keeps many of us depressed. We hold onto the mistaken belief that since bad things happened to us in the past, bad things will continue to happen to us in  the future.” Page 64.

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SOURCE: Copyright (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE for more information on other publications offered to the depressed by Depressed Anonymous Publications.

It’s the miracle of the group where I can start loving myself!

I have hope that I can accept myself today and just let fly all the old messages from the old tapes of childhood.

“You desperately wanted people to love you, but you became wary of giving your love to others.  You reasoned that the less you loved another person the less it would hurt when the inevitable rejection came.” Dorothy Rowe

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I have been holed up for so long in my own little world of feeling hurt and rejection that to attempt to love someone else like the greatest challenge of my life.  I desire so badly to be loved by someone else that this lack of another’s love makes my isolation from others so hurtful.

After having witnessed the miracle of the group in DA, where depressed persons come together with their feelings of being hurt and rejected, I find that other’s love and nurture challenge me to hope once again,. I can share with the group the fact that I haven’t measured up, that I am angry and that I just want to lay down and die.

I am open enough now to let the light of love from others , who like myself, realize that I am not alone and that  I am beginning to feel better already now that I no longer need to be perfect.

This means to be willing to affiliate and give of myself for someone else’s good. In the program I am starting to love-myself.

MEDITATION

We are going to make a mental decision right now to let God, as we understand God, guide us and instruct us on how best to love ourselves .”

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Source: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. March 3rd. Page 47.