People Pleaser? or Codependent?
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People Pleaser? or Codependent?

What’s the difference between people pleasing and codependency? 

A lot of times, people will say they are a people pleaser, but they don’t necessarily identify as being codependent. In my research, and in my life experience, I have found there is no difference. It’s just a little nicer way to say it when you say “i’m a people pleaser” versus codependent.

There’s still a lot of shame and stigma around mental health, addiction, and trauma –


People aren’t really able to speak openly about these topics.

At the core of it – there is no difference between codependency and people pleasing. I have found that our tendencies to be codependent stem from the core issue of not feeling lovable. These feelings are usually born in childhood.

For me, I’ve done a lot of work – I was 35 years old before i was able to determine that my feelngs of unworthiness and not being “good enough” stemmed from my parents having another baby. I went from being the only child,  to at 4 ½ having a brother – and

I spent the next 30 years of my life feeling not good enough.

As an adult, I think “What the hell kind of sense does that make??” but to 4 ½ year old Erin, it was a big damn deal. I went from being the only child, getting all of the attention, to having to share space and my family with this screaming baby.  And – to top it all off – with him being a boy, I didn’t know what to do with him – he was noisy and played with cars and stuff.

Now that I have 2 daughters and a son of my own, I can see how it’s just different how you love your daughters versus your sons. It’s not an amount, it’s just the way. And I strive to ensure that all of my children know that I love them dearly – but that’s another story for another day.

As an adult it seems insane to think “I’m not good enough because my parents had another kid” – it doesn’t make sense to the adult brain. But the roots of that, feel so true for a 4 ½ year old.

When you’re ready and willing to trace your feelings down to the core – and ask yourself – why do I feel unlovable, but why do I feel like I’m not enough – but why but why but why – that’s the magic question.

Doing the work is the key to getting to the root of the issues.

Until you do the work, you’re most likely going to keep repeating the pattern. You might be able to ignore it, but if you want to be better, and until you’re tired of being miserable, you will always put other people first.

On the flip side – until you get used to “doing you” – you’ll feel guilty!

I’d feel guilty getting myself a candy bar at the grocery store, even with a cart full of food for the family in tow! Any little thing that was for me, I’d have major guilt over. Not for getting lunch (hey – a girls’ gotta eat) but for something like new underwear, a pedicure, haircut, etc.

There was a long time I refused to shop at a fancy store we all know that starts with a V for panties – because I’d convinced myself that the big box stores’ drawers were good enough, that no one would see them anyway, etc. When you’re a wife and a mom, it’s almost part of you to give give give.

You will give to others before you give to yourself.

And to top it all off: you’ll probably feel resentful because you didn’t get anything in return, and there’ll be some jealousy around people who CAN do those things. I would see women with their hair and nails done (I’m incredibly no-maintenance) or their fancy shoes – and I’m a sucker for shoes. I would never spend that much though – I’d always hit the clearance rack first.

Not saying don’t shop clearance, but if that’s the only place you’re willing to look, and that’s the level of value you place on yourself – (like you don’t deserve the full price items or there’s not an element of choice) – that’s something to pay attention to and sit with.

We need this info – it’s not something we learn in school.

Chances are if you’re codependent, you’ve got some generational issues with it too- you learned it somewhere (family of origin). Not saying anyone’s parents are horrible – mine certainly aren’t – but we learn how to BE in our families. In order to break the patterns, you have to notice them and actively work on breaking them.

Imagine the changes your children will benefit from you doing this work!

If you’re ready to do your work, and unpack the baggage you’ve brought with you so far, I’ve got your back sister!  Let’s connect! 

I offer complimentary coaching calls to women who are ready to invest in themselves and their futures (Click HERE to schedule). There’s also a variety of programs and products available to help you on your journey.

Erin Hill is a writer, speaker, and healer. She resides on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with her husband and children, who are her greatest teachers. She is currently working on her first book.

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