Avoider & Pleaser – Similarities & Differences

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For the next few weeks we are going to share the similarities and differences between the styles  Let’s start with the pleaser and the  avoider.  These two styles are alike in a few ways.  Neither of these styles likes strong emotions or upset feelings.  Avoiders  don’t feel competent when someone around them feels a lot of emotions so they often distance themselves. The avoider will suddenly remember something they have to do or tell you to pull yourself up by the boot straps and move on.  George Clooney in the movie the Descendants plays the classic avoider as he tries to navigate a family tragedy with his two daughters.  He has no ability to connect with his daughters as they display painful emotions.

Pleasers are good news junkies so difficult feelings make the pleaser feel they are not doing a good enough job at pleasing.  Unlike the avoider, pleasers will stay engaged and try to help but the pleasers assistance will be to distract, minimize the problem or point out the positive things about the situation.  The pleaser might also increase their efforts to do something nice.  Neither style is comfortable diving into difficult emotions or asking about feelings and going deeper into the pain in order to understand it.

Pleasers are more upset by anger than the avoider.  Avoiders can dampen their agitation and minimize their internal reactions.  They have a lot of practice at this as they have been doing it for years.  Pleasers are more agitated by anger as they believe they have not done enough to please.  The avoider is likely to walk away when others are angry.  Pleasers on the other hand get very anxious and scurry around to make the anger in others go away.

If negative emotions are difficult for you you may be an avoider or pleaser.  Try and think about your response.  Do you find a way to distance or do you stay close by and increase your efforts to please?  Can you shake it off if others are upset or does it make you anxious?

Next week we will look at the similarities and differences between the pleaser and vacillator.  Questions?  Comment on the blog and I will respond.

Blessings, Kay