Aimee grew up in a huge family, she has 4 brothers. She is the only daughter of her parents, the second born child. During the university years she met with her fiance Michael, they spent almost 5 years together. Michael proposed Aimee, and a little after the proposal they broke up. After this broke up Aimee had many relationships and affairs, but she hasn’t found a man with whom she could imagine her life for ever. She did everything for all her boyfriends, still all of them either cheated on her, or treated her disrespectfully, or both. Aimee is going to be 35 years old very soon, and she is desperate. She has no idea what’s wrong with her, why she cannot find and keep a trustful man by her side.
Aimee – as the only girl among the boys – was the caretaker. When the kids went out, her duty was to make sure if all the boys had their jackets on when they went home from the playground. Aimee helped her mom to set the table while the boys were running around in the house, enjoying playing together. Aimee helped to clear the table too, and collected the socks from the floor after bath time. Aimee loved to do these things, as her mom was always very thankful for her. And she loved to be helpful and useful.
Sometimes she felt she wanted to play with the boys too, or she felt a little sick, or she just simply didn’t feel like helping her mom, still she did it. The boys were harsh and wild, she was the good girl who made no trouble to her parents. She was the island of stillness in the stormy ocean. When she was younger, she was jealous of the boys for their openness and wildness, but later she thought that her parents loved her more, because she was always good, and so she looked down on her brothers, because of their lack of manners.
When her parents divorced, Aimee was a second-year student at the university. She was always ready to help her parents getting along with their lives, with their pain. She listened to them hours long, even if she had a lot to study. Aimee felt it her duty to make her parents feel better, so she was available to give a helping hand, or a listening ear when they needed it.
Aimee felt it no trouble to help others with their emotions, however she didn’t know much about emotions back then. But she willingly gave her time for those who needed some comfort. She can give comfort, that’s for sure. Or she could. She has a lot of emotional issues these days and still she can’t give comfort for herself.
Aimee thinks that she is doing everything fine. She is just nice, she just wants to help, she is just available for others, and she just does everything for others. What’s wrong with this, she is the good girl!
This is people-pleasing, and this is a form of narcissism.
Many narcissistic experts agree that there are overt and a covert narcissists, but less would agree that in a narcissistic relationship there is an overt and a covert narcissist.
A people-pleaser is a covert narcissist. They call themselves as the victims, that feels much better and positive to hear and to admit than saying: I’m a covert narcissist. However calling themselves as people-pleasers will not help them to get out of narcissism, because they feed their image of their positive role.
But in case if they are people-pleasers, it means that they modify their true self to create a behavior to manipulate other people for some reasons. This is a learnt process, so it can be unlearned. And this fiction that narcissism cannot be healed or cured is partly refuted.
It cannot be healed and cured by others, only by the person himself, and as it is not a disease, but a developed personality disorder, it can be undeveloped. The exceptional requirement is that the narcissist himself should initiate his own healing, it cannot be and shouldn’t be pushed through. More on this very soon.
Aimee learnt as a child how to please her parents. It was her superpower against the brothers, she was exceptional in behaving as the perfect child, and she placed it on such a high level that it became her personality disorder. She pleased her parents, and later her boyfriends too, even at her expense.
And that’s the keyword here, that while she was doing it, she acted against her own wish and will, her true self, modified her behavior to manipulate people to love her and praise her. She abused her own self, by saying YES, when she really wanted to say NO.
She knew that if she said NO, people would have given her a different reaction, but by manipulating them with her fake behavior, she could get that reaction what made her worthy and useful.
Manipulative behavior is the main tool of narcissists. Lying, saying YES when NO would be appropriate, is also a strong narcissistic tool. No matter if someone does these to herself or to others, she abuses herself or others. She acts as both a self-narcissist and as a narcissist.
Aimee couldn’t see how she acted against her true self and true wish to have a steady, trustful, loving and caring boyfriend, because the only thing she saw was that she just wanted to be loved. Covert narcissism is more difficult to spot, as it’s disguised as good will.
Aimee is not happy. Aimee hasn’t realized that by manipulating her relationship to her Self, she has created a huge gap. She no longer feels herself worthy and useful alone, she has no idea how to love and nurture herself, as she made her life dependent on others. She lives for others at her own expense. And the gap is between her and her Self. With her boyfriends she tried to fill her gap, but no one fits into her puzzle, only her Self.
And this is true for all people-pleasers. They cannot find happiness and comfort alone, they need a subject person to please, and they gain their worthiness from this subject. But fake acting fires back. Covert narcissists find their mates in overt narcissists, and they abuse themselves and each other. Aimee pleased all her boyfriends, she gave all the signals to them that she lived for them, instead of being herself, so her boyfriends took the message: I’m not worthy to live for, that’s why I live for you. And her boyfriends didn’t find her worthy to live for, they cheated on her and treated her emotions poorly. When you place others prior to you, they will place themselves prior to you too.
Aimee still doesn’t call herself a people-pleaser, but a victim. She doesn’t want to accept the fact that just wanting to be good with others at her own expense is self abuse, and with her self abuse she teaches others to abuse her. Aimee calls her exes as narcissists, however because of her manipulative behavior – when she acted untrue to her self – she abused her exes too, by showing them a completely different picture of herself than she was. She played a role, wore a mask, covered her real personality in order to be loved and accepted. This is pure narcissism.