When Someone Blows Your Entire “Conflict Budget”

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In today’s essay I’m going to talk about something that will make a lot of sense to recovering people pleasers. It will likely make very little sense to people who don’t have those issues. But perhaps it will still be of utility to those who don’t struggle with people pleasing — but have loved people who do and will get some insight into what goes on in the minds of people they love.  » Read more

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Growing Up Trying to Be as Little Hassle as Possible

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I was a really happy-go-lucky kid. Naturally. But as I grew older, I learned to lean more into this feeling. I took on a willingness to compromise. Didn’t need to get much of what I wanted.

This was because I had a few very particular people who also lived in my household. And they were always holding everything up.  » Read more

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I’ve Always Been a Sucker for a Comeback & It Almost Destroyed Me

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There’s a meme that’s been flying around for some time that talks about how kids who were mistreated will learn to love unwanted things. I personally have loved Godzilla and other kaiju for a very long time. And a lot of other people I know who had rough childhoods will frequently root for the villain.  » Read more

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If You’re Asking Yourself If You’re Being a Doormat, Then the Answer Is Yes

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The other day I got a question from a reader in response to my essay on the importance of being around gracious people.┬áThis is true all of the time, really, but particularly when you’re in a polyamorous relationship system.

They asked me a question that might seem obvious but hit me rather funny.  » Read more

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There Are So Many Transitions That the Transitions Have Transitions

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I’m a recovering people pleaser. There’s no getting around it. As I’ve been working on those issues for nearly a decade and have made an incredible amount of progress, some people might go so far as to call me a recovered people pleaser.

But I won’t go that far. Not yet. And probably not ever.  » Read more

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The Moment When I Realized I Couldn’t Become Impossible to Disappoint

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I’m sitting in the midst of yet another week where folks seem hellbent on limboing under my already perilously low expectations.

I’ve heard it said so many times, typically by someone smug and tipping an imaginary or real hat, as they intone words they act like they made up but are just parroting.  » Read more

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The Middle Path Between Accepting or Rejecting a Difficult Self-Belief Outright Is Testing It

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There are lots of important things I was never told about relationships. Not told by popular depictions of course, which are really a strange way to learn about what relationships are like (although a lot of us do learn primarily this way).

But also not told by my parents. Or anyone else, really.  » Read more

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If You Don’t Want to Write Back to a Stranger, You Probably Shouldn’t

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I have been getting random Internet messages from people I don’t know for a very long time. Certainly these days — but well before. Back before I wrote daily in public or managed a large social media page, I still got a steady stream of outreaches from strangers.

I’ve never quite reasoned why.  » Read more

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The Subtle Art of Differentiating Between Self-Imposed and External Pressure

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“God,” I say. “I’m so sorry.”

I’m rushing around the kitchen. He’s not supposed to be here yet, but he is. My math was wrong. He’s home a few minutes earlier than I thought he would be. And dinner is not quite ready.

Well, it’s not served at least. It’s just about cooked.  » Read more

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The Unappreciated, Accidental Romantic Upside of Being Solely a “Freezer” and a “Fawner”

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I recently wrote an essay called “It Was Terrifying the First Time I Dated Someone Who Was Really Good to Me.” Here’s an excerpt:

I was used to being self-reliant. I had been conditioned my entire life to never ask for help because it meant being sharply criticized by others or told that I was weak for asking.  » Read more

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