Why the Need to Please Could Lead to Codependency

Why the Need to Please Could Lead to Codependency

In what ways do you please or do things for others in order to make them happy or keep the peace?

Believe it or not, pleasing others to make them happy or keep the peace can be a sign of codependency, especially if you’re doing it consistently to the point of self-sacrifice or self-abandonment!

I know because I struggled with codependency firsthand in one of my most recent relationships.

What’s worse is that I didn’t even realize I was codependent until after the relationship was over & I was doing my healing work to address, own & resolve my part in the failed relationship!

And when I realized how codependent I had been, I initially felt a great deal of shame over it because in my 20’s I was a high-achieving, independent woman who had gained financial independence & success early on in my career.

It was a hard pill to swallow that I went from being so independent to codependent but it’s funny how God/Creator/the Universe brings us our life lessons, is it not?

That said, me leaving the corporate world to start my own business is actually what would eventually lead me to be codependent later in life!

You see…

The financial success I had in my 20’s in the corporate world did not follow me as quickly as I was hoping it would running my own business.

In fact, it took more than 3 years in business before I was finally in the green & several more years before I was consistently bringing income in at a level that covered all my needs & expenses.

During this entire time while building my business, I also went through a divorce & a bankruptcy that rocked my world financially & emotionally.

As you can imagine, my self-esteem took quite a hit because of what I’d been through & the deep-seated fear of not feeling safe or supported from childhood began to play out as an adult.

And then one day, along came a knight in shining armor that I was excited & hopeful to be in relationship with because the love & connection we had between us felt ancient & deep.

In fact, everything that happened to bring us together felt like it was divinely-guided or “kismet” & I began to believe that this relationship would help me heal my life & be an answer to my prayers for help & support.

And, for a little while it was ALL of those things.

I was deeply attracted to this man, deeply in love with him & deeply grateful for all the help & support that he was providing me.

But over time, the agreements we’d made at the beginning of the relationship on how expenses would get covered & who would do the cooking/cleaning/etc… began to feel more & more unfair as my stress, weariness & exhaustion increased.

In fact, after doing the calculations I realized I was easily investing 20+ hours more of my time each week into managing the household than my partner was, ALL while working full time in my business each week.

So what to do?

I broached the subject with my partner & although there was some resistance to making new & improved agreements, we finally agreed to some changes that felt more equitable.

And for a little while, things improved!

And then, I noticed that moments of anger, bitterness & resentment were arising more frequently between us & the love & respect we’d had in the beginning of our relationship began to wane.

I did everything I could to communicate & address these issues but somewhere along the way something had broken between us & we were no longer seeing, hearing or respecting one another’s efforts.

Because I loved him so much, I continued to do everything I could to fix & correct what wasn’t working & for many years I bent over backwards to keep him happy AND keep the peace while sacrificing my own soul, sanity or health in the process.

And then one day I realized that I was being loyal to him & to the relationship to a fault, to my own self-sacrifice… which made me part of the problem (vs. the solution).

And, I became really cognizant that one of the reasons I hadn’t been willing to face this hard truth before then was because of the many & varied secondary gains I was receiving by staying in the relationship.

After all…

We loved each other SO much, our sex life was great, & we’d created a beautiful & comfortable home to live in together over the years!

But, although there was LOT that we still enjoyed about one another, the reality was that we were simply no longer compatible or good for one another anymore.

Our interactions became more toxic than happy & I realized that in order to stand on my own two feet again, I was going to have to start focusing on honoring MY own needs (vs. his) & strengthening my own mental, physical & emotional health.

Fortunately, this focus of attention on myself over the last 2 years we were together is what finally gave me the strength to walk away from the love of my life & a situation that I had unknowingly become codependent in.

And, as I was facing & doing the healing work that was needed after the relationship ended, I began to learn about attachment style theory & codependency, which really helped me own & address my own part in the relationship ending.

And you know what?

Instead of feeling shame over being unknowingly codependent all those years with my ex, I began to better understand myself, him & why it didn’t work out between us.

In fact, in doing my research & personal growth work I found out that 95% of the population is actually codependent in some way, shape or form & we don’t even realize it!

The need to please or keep the peace are just a couple of more common ways that codependency can show up in our lives.

And, one of the reasons I’m talking about this today is because I truly believe that the more we can all learn & understand what codependency actually is, the more likely we can heal our own lives & set ourselves free from unhealthy attachments to others that are addictive & toxic in nature!


Because knowledge is power.

The more we can learn, grow & better understand ourselves & others, the happier we can ALL be!

To help you better understand what codependency actually is, here is a technical definition…  


  • Broadly: dependence on the needs of or in control by another;
  • A psychological condition or a relationship in which a person manifesting low self-esteem and a strong desire for approval has an unhealthy attachment to another often controlling or manipulative person (such as a person with an addiction to alcohol or drugs);
  • A dysfunctional relationship dynamic where one person assumes the role of “the giver,” sacrificing their own needs and well-being for the sake of the other, “the taker.” The bond in question doesn’t have to be romantic; it can occur just as easily between parent and child, friends, and family members.

So with this above definition in mind, I’m curious…

Are you ready to own, heal & release codependency in your own life?

If so, I have a few questions for you to consider…

  1. Are there any areas of your life where you please or take care of others in a way that causes you to self-abandon or self-sacrifice yourself?
  2. If so, what is the need to please costing you personally?
  3. What are the benefits you’d receive if you could overcome this once & for all?

And, if you’re struggling to overcome codependency on your own, one of my specialties is helping my clients heal & release unhealthy habits, patterns & behaviors that sabotage our lives & our greatness.

In fact, I’ll actually be taking a deeper dive into this topic during my self-rescue training on Wednesday at 11:30 am MT inside my Brave-Hearted Woman Self-Rescue community where I’ll be sharing 10 ways that YOU might be codependent & what you can actually do about it!

Simply join the group & look for the post in the Self-Rescue Support Guide. :)

And finally, to learn more about the various ways I can support you with this week’s topic or any other area of your life that’s not working, simply take advantage of the following forms of self-rescue support that I offer below:

  1. Sign up for a FREE Self-Rescue Toolkit that includes an Enneagram, Saboteur & Self-Care assessment to help you assess any fears, burnout or self-sabotage you might be struggling with & identify the self-rescue road map that will help you become your very own hero! 
  2. Sign up for a FREE 15-minute Self-Rescue Assessment Call where we can assess your self-rescue needs one-on-one & identify any self-sabotage that might be holding you back in your own life. 

I hope you find the above resources helpful & here’s to us ALL learning how to be interdependent in our lives (vs. independent or codependent!) so we can live, love, lead & work from a place of happiness, health, wealth & wholeness!

Jess Bonasso, also known as The Self Care Goddess, is a Brave Life Catalyst & Self-Rescue Coach, Author & Keynote Speaker who has been teaching worn out working wonder women how to master the art of self-rescue since 2007.

After unraveling at a cellular level the self-sabotage from her corporate-climbing 20’s & business-building 30’s that led her into burnout, breakdown & a proverbial midlife crisis, she created The Brave-Hearted Way, a self-rescue compass & road map to brave-hearted courage, authenticity & wholeness that empowers worn out working wonder women to live, love, lead & work in a way that leads to happiness, health, wealth & wholeness.

In addition to being the creator of The Brave-Hearted Way & a published co-author of Speaking Your Truth: Courageous Stories from Inspiring Women (Vol.2), Jess is also an accredited practitioner of The Journey Method®, a highly effective form of cellular trauma release therapy that can unravel at a cellular level the core fears, limiting beliefs & unhealthy behaviors that cause us to sacrifice our soul, sanity or health.

Be sure to follow Jess on social media where you’ll receive daily inspiration & support on how to heal & fuel your life so you can embrace your greatness on FacebookTwitterYouTube, or LinkedIn! :)

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