A few years ago I was watching the Oprah show and one of the guests mentioned the disease to please. From what I recall some of the symptoms were:

  • Saying yes when you really want to say no.
  • Knowing that you are being manipulated but still say yes.
  • Afraid that you will hurt someone’s feelings if you say no so you say yes.
  • Saying yes, knowing it will hurt you.

Whelp, if you said yes to these things you got the evil disease to please!

When I first heard this I was like OH MY GOD that is me. I will admit that I wasn’t always willing to stand up for myself. I was raised to be polite, gracious, humble and a people pleasing young lady. But I got that twisted especially when dealing with manipulative people. Being all of those things did not mean I was supposed to be a darn doormat. But I was and it cost me.

You cannot give so much of yourself that you have nothing. You should give only when you have given to yourself.

One of the dumb things I did was that I lent thousands of dollars to folks I knew could never and WOULD never if they had the chance to pay me back. I could have used that money and gone on a trip to my favorite beach watching well tanned and of age well oiled pool foreign boys but I didn’t. I felt bad for that person. That person saw I had that disease to please and I allowed that person to use my sentimentality to take advantage of me. You see classic manipulators are drawn to people like that. They see us as marks. They may not call you a mark but that is what we are.  I realized that no one will stand up for me but me. So I said no mas. The truth is I was afraid of their reaction when I did say no. Yes, they were mad. But when I did it I felt so empowered.  The Power of No is addictive.

Here is another example. I know an older lady who takes care of herself, her sick cousin, her children, her grand kids and her great-grandchild on her retirement checks. They all live with her, drive her car, eat her food, run up her bills and guess what? They give nothing back. She is always sick, behind in her bills and she can’t do what she wants. It’s heartbreaking and INSANE! Everyone should be taking care of her not the other way around. She should be kicking back on the beach sipping virgin margaritas somewhere but she isn’t. This lady has worked for over 50 years of her life and is still living in the hood and waiting on god to provide while stressing about the next bill. She has that disease to please making her unable to say no and it is costing her big time.

You are probably wondering why I am sharing this. Well, I want you to have the life you imagined. I want you to save your money to buy your dream home or start your business. I want you to wisely manage your time because life is short and I want to protect your heart from the pain of dealing with manipulative and energy draining people. Let’s also get something straight for the naysayers. I am not saying not to help people. I am saying you can do so without destroying yourself for people who you know deep down are not willing to do the same for you.

“Never make someone else responsible our happiness.”-  Iyanla Vanzant

So before you fall back on your pattern of making excuses for the bad behavior and the poor choices of others let me ask you a question. When was the last time those who have always asked you for money, a car ride, free babysitting, and a place to stay offered to help you? Are they willing to go to ends of the earth to help you like you have done for them? The honest answer is no because they would have already done it. Secondly, if they really cared about you and saw how you have struggled they would have never asked in the first place. So I want to ask you why the heck are you doing this for them?

3 Easy Steps To Curb the Disease To Please

  1. 1.    —Analyze your motivation. Before you say yes to anything, do a quick self-analysis. Why am I doing this? Why am I buying this? What am I expecting in return? If you can answer “nothing in return,” then your motivation is pure. If there’s another answer, it’s probably some form of manipulation.
  2. 2.    —Realize you are in control. Becoming assertive is the way to arrest this disease. It takes courage to say no, to be honest and to set limits. Decide how much you will spend. Then stick to it.
  3. 3.    —Buy time. Experts say that time is the best antidote for the “disease to please,” whether it be five minutes or five months. Never answer on the spot. Nothing is so urgent you cannot take time to think about it. – TheCreators.com

What do you get out of it? The truth is you get nothing but ill-health, co-dependence from adult leeches, unnecessary bills and somebody else’s burdens laid upon your doorstep. Trust your instinct/guardian angel/god/gut feeling when it tells you to say no. You have that protection mechanism for a reason.

Saying yes when you want to say no is not fair to you, your partner and if you have little children it is not fair to them. You are the most important person in your life. You deserve happiness. So I am asking you to let go of the leeches and live for you. If they need help direct them to professionals. That is what social services are for. See the links below.  If they get mad at you oh well. That is less stress in your life.

Good luck and god bless!