Being a People Pleaser Because of Bipolar

July 30, 2015 Natasha Tracy

I admit it; I’m a bit of a people pleaser because of bipolar disorder. How is this possible? Well, I suppose I have a bit of a fear of abandonment – as most people with bipolar disorder do. This isn’t an irrational, “please don’t leave me” kind of a thing, it’s the experience of having had people leave my life because of bipolar and not wanting that to happen again. So I try people pleasing because of bipolar.

What Is People Pleasing?

People pleasing just means always doing what other people want regardless as to what you want (Are You A People Pleaser?). This can come out in really subtle ways like always letting others pick the place and time when you’re going out or always letting others pick the movie. Or maybe it comes out in always agreeing with others even when you have your own thoughts on the matter. Or it can come out in much bigger ways wherein you put other people’s needs so far ahead of your own that you harm your own life. Like with most things in life, people-pleasing is on a spectrum.

Why People Please?

Many people-please but if you have bipolar you may people-please more. Here's why being a people-pleaser because of bipolar is dangerous and how to stop.I guess it’s a matter of wanting people to like me and not leave me. I suppose that sounds rather childish, but it’s true. I have had people cut me out of their lives because of bipolar and it has wounded me so much that I want, from the bottom of my soul, it not to happen again. People pleasing just seems like a natural extension of that.

And, as I said, I’m a bit of a people pleaser. I’m not harming my life to bend to the will of others. I don’t do that. But I do find myself in a people pleasing role more than I would like to admit. I just want to be easy to be around and not a chore. I want to hide my bipolar feelings so as not to bring other people down. I want them to enjoy being with me and not view me as “too much work.”

The Dangers of People Pleasing Because of Bipolar

Of course, the thing about people pleasing is that you’re not truly being your authentic self. You’re being who someone wants you to be. Subjugating yourself to another person isn’t the way to build a healthy, equal relationship. (How To Stop Being A People Pleaser)

And who are these people who want you to be different anyway? Are they really that important? Do you really want people like that in your life?

And what if it’s not the other people that want you to people please but, rather, you simply projecting your fears and feelings onto them? Maybe they like you for you. Maybe they don’t mind if you pick the restaurant sometimes, even if it’s sushi. Maybe these are high-quality people that aren’t going to run simply because of a little messiness. Maybe you should give them the benefit of the doubt.

To some extent, I think, people pleasing is pretty normal for some and not a big deal. On the other hand, though, if you realize it’s not you and realize that you don’t like its inauthenticity, maybe it’s time to try something new. Feel out the waters by making one decision that’s different from what the other person wants. Be honest about one, not-so-nice emotion. I believe this will strengthen true friendships as the other person gets to know the real you and not just a you put on for convenience.

So maybe don’t be a people displeaser, but maybe try being a you pleaser for a while and see what happens. You might like the results. Just because you fear something, it doesn’t mean it will happen.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or Google+ or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2015, July 30). Being a People Pleaser Because of Bipolar, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

chuck mistretta
August, 1 2015 at 3:17 am

I am bipolar, I am not a people pleaser, but enjoy people. I would please myself if the effort were worth the time and the experience had any lasting effect. People pleasing is for those who are afraid to piss someone off.
If you fear something it has already happened. Decide who you are and forget about improving, just be yourself.

August, 1 2015 at 11:06 am

People pleasing for selfish reasons (to get others to like you) is a form of lying... and I hate lying. I believe healthy relationships should involve a bit of compromise or give and take but you shouldn't have to give up your authentic self in the process..
To be honest though I have to admit that I too am guilty of people pleasing from time to time but that's usually when I allow my insecurities to take hold.
I am more than my disorder and anyone who can not see beyond that is simply blind. It's up to me to open their eyes by either choosing to educate them about this disorder in a way that dispels the stigma or shut my mouth and put my best self forward (ahead of this of this disorder) and pray that others will like me for who I really am, my authentic self.
Remember God doesn't make junk. He loves you unconditionally. Have a little faith in yourself and maybe others will too
John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Bipolar disorder may be the thief but you are better than that. You are a child of God. Never forget that!
Keep shining!

August, 1 2015 at 5:39 pm

I don't please people. I put up walls instead.

August, 6 2015 at 2:03 am

I’m not bipolar, however I am a recovering people pleaser myself. I thought I was very much alone in this, only to find that a lot of people are fighting it! I’ve since made the transition (still find it showing up sometimes) and I can tell you that life is so much better on the other side! Here is my story:

September, 4 2015 at 9:58 am

I know I'm late to this party, but I only recently found this site/blog and have been reading through past articles/posts. This is a HUGE problem for me. I do what Sarah does, I put up walls which are very tough to break through. Like most of you said, I have had too many friends and family walk away from me because of this disorder. So as not be crushed by that again, I don't allow myself to even try to find anyone to connect with. I find myself lonely sometimes but I simply cannot will myself to try. I try to hang in the background when I am with other people, sometimes talking a wee bit about some non-personal thing. Because of this, I think some people think I'm being "snotty". I'm not that AT ALL but they are confused by my behavior.
I just think, why f**king try only to make progress and then have that taken away AGAIN when anything at all comes out about my illness. With one ex-friend, I actually went off my meds because she said I didn't need them. (She's an RN and think she knows EVERYTHING) Yep. Back to the lovely hospital for 10 days.
My psychiatrist has been really pushing on me to at least try to make connections. That I need a "better support system". I don't think I even remember how to do that. I'm a tough case of bp because I'm in a mixed state the majority of time. So yes, I can get pretty nutty and I'm scared of that happening in front of anyone. (sigh)
Thanks for listening and reading.

August, 11 2021 at 11:30 pm

I am guessing I am bipolar. It was suggested by a doctor when I told him I had not saved sufficient funds for retirement and had spent money without thinking. At the time, I did not want to believe him, but now at 76 years of age and STILLWORKING because I will starve if I don't, this must be the problem. I spent money instead of saving while being involved with my narcissistic xhusband to whom I was married twice and lived common law once because I did everything he wanted. I seem to always want to please others instead of considering my self. I was abused as a child by a family friend who fondled my genitals and I guess I did it to please him too. At my age and in my situation, I simply want to commit suicide and get out of this life. I have destroyed the lives of my daughter and grandchildren and my own. It is useless now!

August, 13 2021 at 1:10 pm

Hi Marion,
Thank you for the comment. I can't say whether you have bipolar disorder or not, but what I can say is that it sounds like you need to reach out for some help. We have a great resources and hotlines page for you here:…
Remember, you don't have to be suicidal to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (number at the above link). They may be able to point you to more local resources as well.
You don't have to live the way you have been living. Other people can help you make the change.
Good luck. You can do it.
- Natasha Tracy

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