When Pleasing You is Killing Me by Dr. Les CarterWe began reading the book, “When Pleasing You is Killing Me” by Dr. Les Carter. One of my favorite therapists and teachers. His videos on narcissism and toxic family dynamics, as well as marital challenges, can be found on YouTube or accessed from his website.



  • Are you one who likes to keep the peace even when it comes at a high emotional price for yourself?
  • Do your attempts to resolve differences with a controller leave you feeling wrung out and discouraged?
  • Do you sense that your best traits (goodness, kindness, cooperation) somehow become a disadvantage with an overbearing counterpart?

These questions and many more are addressed in the book When Pleasing You Is Killing Me.
With decades of experience as a psychotherapist, Dr. Les Carter takes you inside his counseling office, inviting you to share in real-life stories of people just like you who are trying to make sense of persistent, controlling demands from all sorts of controlling people.

A major premise explained by Dr. Carter is that every person has a built-in inclination to be controlling, but as maturation happens, controlling behaviors diminish.

People pleasers are naturally positioned to increase their maturity since they are already predisposed to being loving, kind, and respectful. But when they routinely butt heads with controlling counterparts, their maturation is stunted as they predictably get pulled into power forms of communication that include coercion, shaming, accusations, defensiveness, anger, suppression, and the like.

In the book, Dr. Carter will recount how real-life pleasers developed relationship boundaries by incorporating assertiveness skills, ceasing unnecessary defensiveness, and setting aside false guilt for inner trust.

Readers will be inspired to set their own pace in life, as opposed to letting the controller call the shots.

30 Symptoms of People-Pleasing

The perpetual people pleaser…
1. Avoids asking for, and accepting, help.
2. Is not clear on what they want.
3. Choose nice and perfect over happiness.
4. Automatically Says YES when they want to NO.
5. Experiences exhaustion from trying to be “perfect.”
6. Is baffled by self-kindness.
7. Thinks that if they “do” the right thing they will be “accepted” or “loved.”
8. Strives heroically to please strangers while neglecting loved ones.
9. Fear risk or that they might be wrong.
10. Bankrupts themselves because they feel undeserving.
11. Overprovides.
12. Says “I’m sorry” when no apology is necessary.
13. Believe others’ happiness is their responsibility.
14. Does more than their share.
15. Chooses to be nice over being real.
16. Swallows true desires and feelings.
17. Never has enough time.
18. Lives with irritability because of constant pressure.
19. Tries to control everything for everyone with no regard for his or her self.
20. Defends unhappy, self-centered, controlling people so they can feel better about themselves.
21. Replays conversations and events imagining how things would be different if I-did-this-and-they-did-that.
22. Criticizes themselves about everything.
23. Is unable to accept compliments from others.
24. Lacks problem-solving abilities.
25. Feels shame for what they perceive as failures to make others happy.
26. Seeks appreciation from other people.
27. Declines to share their own opinion.
28. Worries that one day they will be “found out” and people will discover they are unworthy, unskilled and untalented.
29. Hides their light, opting for a bland personality instead of appearing unique, or challenging.
30. Wonders why they get so little respect and everyone takes advantage of them.