Masterful Mindsets ~ Disease to Please, Superwoman Syndrome or BOTH
“If you’ve ever felt like you had to be “Superwoman” to accomplish everything you’ve set out to do… Then it’s time to take off the cape and find your true power.” ~ Michelle Weimer
Do you constantly strive to do more? Do you refuse to ask for help? Do you find yourself wanting to be everything for everyone at the expense of yourself? Do you feel the need to be perfect or strong? Do you suffer from Superwoman Syndrome?
In last week’s Masterful Mindset, I mentioned that those who are People Pleasers also suffer from Superwoman Syndrome even though not all who suffer from Superwoman Syndrome are People Pleasers.
This comment may have had you scratching your head, as it did some of the other readers in my community because I got a handful of emails about it. They really didn’t see a difference in the two. (Which likely indicates that they probably fall into the category of being both.) But I wanted to clear the confusion once and for all. So here goes…
I’ve already given you the Ten Commandments of People Pleasers as based on the book, The Disease To Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome by Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D. And in reviewing that list, you can easily see that people pleasers most often do what they do to “please others” because their sense of value and worth is directly tied to making people happy.
So quite often those who suffer from the Disease to Please get caught up in Superwomen Syndrome because they give and give of themselves without ever stopping to take care of themselves. They take on too much, they don’t ask for help and they rarely say no. Again, they do this primarily because they want to please others.
Someone suffering from Superwoman Syndrome might also feel that they have to do all for everyone at the expense of themselves. But often their reason for doing this is not to please people but to prove themselves. They base their self-worth on their productivity and accomplishments. They don’t really worry so much about pleasing others to be kind. Instead, they want to prove their own perfection and strength. This is where the big difference comes in! The actions and behaviors often look the same but the INTENTION behind those actions and behaviors is quite different.
If you suffer primarily from Superwoman Syndrome, it’s highly likely that you do not like to ask for help, you want everyone to think you have it all together all the time, you go above and beyond often, and you rarely take time for yourself. You are always wanting to prove that you can handle anything that comes your way. You strive for perfection in your personal and professional life. You want others to think you are strong, never cry and can take care of everything. Yet in the quiet of your own heart, you are exhausted, overwhelmed, lonely and tired of pretending to be strong. You hide behind your “cape” of courage and strength and yet you don’t completely know where your own power lies because you never give yourself permission to seek it out. You do what you think is expected of you. And the more you do, the more you feel is expected of you because you rarely recognize your accomplishments.
So you can see how the two can get tangled up. The actions and behavioral similarities are strong. But again, the intention behind the two are different. And while I’d say most people truly do experience both, there really are some who suffer solely from Superwomen Syndrome.
My challenge for you today is to decide which category you fall into. And yes, if you are still reading this, odds are you do fall into one or both. Knowing what causes your struggle can help you determine a cure. Otherwise, it’s like treating symptoms for allergies when you actually have the flu. You won’t get better unless you treat the right thing. Take some time this week and journal about what drives you. Use the following prompts to help you begin to get clarity:
I feel most proud of myself when…
I feel I have to…
I want people to think I am…
I often take on more than I can handle because…
My greatest success would be…
I know it can be difficult to admit that you are suffering from People Pleasing and/or Superwoman Syndrome. It can be even more difficult to break the pattern. I encourage you to listen to me interview 22 amazing and successful woman entrepreneurs who have taken off their own cape, unleashed their true power and created the life they desire in my online virtual event: Superwoman Syndrome – Take Off the Cape and Find Your True Power
***I want to hear from you… Share your comments below.