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  • The Neurodivergent Therapy Space

People Pleasing as Neurodivergent Person

People-pleasing behaviours can manifest differently in neurodivergent individuals.

As a Neurodivergent person, we may face unique challenges in social interactions and communication, which can influence our people-pleasing tendencies in distinct ways.

Here are some considerations for people-pleasing in the context of neurodivergence:

1. Social Challenges: Neurodivergent individuals, may experience difficulties in understanding and navigating social norms. In an attempt to fit in and avoid social discomfort, they might engage in people-pleasing behaviours to conform to expected social behaviours. This can also become tangled with any childhood trauma and any behaviours you may have adopted as a way of keeping safe or getting your needs met when young.

2. Hyperfocus on Others' Needs: Some neurodivergent individuals, may tend to hyperfocus on others' needs and emotions, often at the expense of their own. This can lead to people-pleasing behaviour, as they prioritise meeting the expectations and desires of those around them.

3. Difficulty Asserting Boundaries: Setting and maintaining boundaries can be challenging for neurodivergent individuals, and this difficulty may contribute to people-pleasing tendencies. They may struggle to assert themselves and say no to requests or situations that are overwhelming.

4. Sensory Sensitivities: Neurodivergent individuals may have sensory sensitivities that influence their desire to avoid conflict or disapproval. Fear of negative reactions or overwhelming sensory experiences could contribute to a heightened inclination to please others.

5. Communication Challenges: Neurodivergent individuals may have unique communication styles or difficulties expressing themselves verbally. People-pleasing can be a way to compensate for these challenges by avoiding potential misunderstandings or conflicts in communication.

It's essential to recognise that neurodivergent individuals have diverse experiences, and not everyone with a neurodevelopmental difference will exhibit people-pleasing behaviours. Addressing people-pleasing tendencies in neurodivergent individuals may involve a combination of self-awareness and support from therapists or other professionals who specialise in working with neurodivergent individuals.

Encouraging open communication, providing clear expectations, and fostering environments that embrace neurodiversity can contribute to a more inclusive and supportive context for neurodivergent people. It is also important to look at childhood experiences to help gain a better understanding of where your people-pleasing behaviours may come from.

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