My People-Pleasing Addiction: I Want It to Stop


I beg God about what to write, but when He says, “Just be real and don’t hide what you’re struggling with,” I don’t want to accept His answer.

I sit here stuck because I know what He wants me to write, but I don’t have a clue how to say it. Ok, I’ll try…

I’m a people-pleasing addict and I have a daily struggle with it. My life is too much about trying to please others and to control things that are out of my power instead of about being real, being who I am and who God created me to be, accepting who I am and what God has placed upon me.

I stress myself out far too much about hurting and disappointing people and it’s taking its toll on me. I will stretch myself beyond my limitations just to please someone else with no regard to my own health. I worry. I don’t want them to think I don’t care and that they’re not important to me. But the truth is I’m also worried they might love me less, and I drive myself crazy with it. I further terrorize myself with guilt that I’m not trusting their love enough.

“Something has to change,” I tell my husband for the umpteenth time when I again got sick. “I don’t want anyone to feel hurt, disappointed, or unhappy because of me. I’m always trying to please others.”

“But not yourself…” he replies.

But my mind reasons that I should think of others above myself. But I have that all mixed up. I would be thinking more of others if I took care of myself. When I don’t take care of myself, I’m disregarding the feelings of my loved ones who are pained when I get sick. It tears my heart out when any of them suffer, so I should remember how they must feel when I suffer.

My need to please others results in my becoming a bully of myself, and I know in my heart that God does not want that. But I don’t know how to stop it sometimes. Maybe that’s the problem. I keep trying to stop it instead of admitting I can’t stop it myself. I’m always spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. Sliding back into that addiction again and again. I need help from a Higher Power, but I’m afraid to release my own power.

As I lay sick again, God whispered, “Just rest, My child, just rest.” Rest physically for my body but also rest in my spirit. Giving all things into His hands. Relinquishing my power to Him. Free-falling over the cliff into fear and uncertainty, trusting He’ll catch me and carry me on.

We all have an addiction in one way or another that punishes ourselves and detrimentally affects our loved ones who care so much. No matter who we are, we can all learn from AA’s Twelve Steps. Based on these steps, let’s search our hearts:

  1. Do we admit we are powerless in ourselves over _____ addiction? Do we admit our lives are unmanageable?
  2. Do we believe a Power greater than ourselves can restore us?
  3. Do we make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him?
  4. Will we search our hearts and do a fearless moral inventory of ourselves?
  5. Do we admit to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs?
  6. Are we entirely ready to have God remove all our defects of character? (Jesus says in John 5 – “Do you want to get well?”)
  7. Do we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings?
  8. Do we make a list of all persons we have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all?
  9. Do we make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others? (Amend means to change and make improvements, not just to say I’m sorry.)
  10. Do we continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it?
  11. Do we seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out?
  12. As we have a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, do we try to carry this message to other _____ addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs?

It’s time for us to take care of ourselves as God wants us to. God is for us, but we can be our worst enemy when we’re wrapped up in our addictions. Let’s let go of our own self-sufficiency and fear to trust anyone else and fall into the hands of a God who loves and has our best interests at heart.

“For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11


May we relinquish our control to God
Who has the power of love and grace in His hands!

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

12 thoughts on “My People-Pleasing Addiction: I Want It to Stop

  1. Trudy,
    Thank you for being real. Your brave words encourage me, and I am sure others too. You are so kind and so thoughtful. Praying you are able to rest in Him, and take some time for you. Sometimes, I grab Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray and turn to page 97 and read about why we need to rest in Him to become the beloved: “Because the focus of God’s heart has always been your heart, self-care is really a soul’s journey to fully receive His love.” Then continue on page 98 with the five movements! Praying for you friend, as you pause and rest in HIM may you fully receive His love for you! Hope you feel better soon. Love you! ❤


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, caring prayers, and loving support, Michelle. I just got my book out, and I have the same thing highlighted on page 97. I love also the part where it says, “Your soul is an instrument of God’s voice. Taking care of yourself nurtures the voice God placed in you.” Thank you for reminding me of this, Michelle. I’ll have to check over more passages I’ve forgotten already. 🙂 Praying for blessings of rest and peace in Jesus! Hugs! 💝


  2. I read the 12 Steps a few times a month myself just for good spiritual practice. There’s so much value in them. We all have addictions of some sort, and most of us probably relate to yours specifically of wanting to please people.

    Truth here: “God is for us, but we can be our worst enemy when we’re wrapped up in our addictions.” I want to keep letting go of more and more self-sufficiency and learn how to trust God more! Thanks for this, Trudy.


    1. Thank you, Lisa. Yes, there is a lot of value for all of us in those 12 steps. Good idea to read them more often. Praying we both will let go of our self-sufficiency and learn how to trust God more! ❤️


  3. Hi Trudy! Sometimes it sure is hard to see ourselves as the worthy ones. I can relate to your people-pleasing, I was like that too. Well, I’m sure I backslide on it too…I’m not sure I can ever be rid of all of it.
    Getting sick though, yuck. Maybe your body is saying ‘How about me?’ I think that 12 Step idea is such a great one. I was addicted too, just not to drugs. I was addicted to pleasing others. It’s a long road, but so worth it! And you are worth it Trudy!! You do such wonderful work here on your blog, God truly speaks to you and through you. Take care of yourself so you can keep being a great support to us all.
    Blessings to you always,


  4. Dear Trudy. Thank you for listening to God and pouring out your heart here. I, for one, am so grateful for your openness and the gift of grace you extend to others. Maybe your husband is right. Perhaps it’s time to be good to yourself? Our nearest and dearest often have an uncanny knack of seeing to the heart of things. As you say, “My need to please others results in my becoming a bully of myself” and it may be that your body is suffering accordingly. A soul ill at ease can mean a body performing likewise.
    Once you can rest fully in God and in the truth of who you are and who you are becoming in Christ, it will eventually set you free from people-approval addiction and all that holds you captive. I am a work in progress in this area and my heart goes out to you as you battle it. But the suggestions above have stirred me to remembrance. I will pick up my copy of ‘Finding Spiritual Whitespace’ (that got put aside for a while when its words hit too close for comfort); I will check against the 12 Steps list here too and begin an inventory. We can help encourage ourselves and one another on this journey toward healing, wholeness and freedom. Rooting for you, friend! xox ❤


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and continuous support, Joy. Yes, sometimes I think my hubby knows me better than I do and often keeps me honest. 🙂 I know God wants me to quit bullying myself, but sometimes when I get overtired I seem to fall back to my default mode. The lies come barging in, and it gets so hard to focus on the truth of who I am in Christ. I’m a work in progress, too. Each day I have to get up and remember again whose I am. I’m so grateful God is so very patient with me. Isn’t His unconditional love amazing? I’m so glad we can encourage each other on this journey, Joy. Praying for healing, wholeness, and freedom for you, too! 💝


      1. My hubby does exactly the same thing, Trudy. He is unrelentingly honest at times, so I rarely ask his opinion on the suitability or otherwise of an outfit! Mind you, the look in his eyes is usually enough; it speaks volumes. By the way, have you read ‘Love Idol’ by Jennifer Dukes Lee? It is a really helpful read for all who are struggling with people-approval addiction. Just a thought. I also treasure your company on the journey and am thankful for your prayers. They mean a lot. xox 🙂


      2. 🙂 Yes, I have read “Love Idol.” A great book, perhaps another one I should revisit my highlighted passages. I think I have come a ways since the beginning of the year, but sometimes it’s so easy to fall back into the rut again. Thanks, Joy, also for often sharing my posts on Twitter. Hugs! 🌹


  5. Yes the struggle is real for me too. I have always hated the idea of someone not liking me, so I do everything I can to make them like me. That doesn’t work! It is sad that I see it in my 8 year old. I think I need to be her example of how to let God break those chains! 🙂


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