Time to Question the Seven Deadly Shoulds?

A few days ago, I wrote about the Ten Commandments of People-Pleasing as I needed a reminder about people-pleasing (yes I am transforming that part of myself). In her book the Disease to Please, Dr Braiker says there is a hidden eleventh element –

“I should fulfil all of these should and shouldn’t expectations of myself completely and perfectly.” (p.17).

What are the Seven Deadly Shoulds?

The people-pleasing syndrome involves a variety of expectations and rules about how other people “should” treat you, given how nice you. The following seven deadly shoulds are like a trade-off, if I follow the Ten Commandments of People-Pleasing, then people “should” live up to the following shoulds 

  1. Other people should appreciate and love me because of all the things I do for them.
  2. Other people should always like and approve of me because of how hard I work to please them.
  3. Other people should never reject or criticize me because I always live up to their desires and expectations.
  4. Other people should be kind and caring to me in return, because of how well I treat them.
  5. Other people should never hurt me or treat me unfairly because I’m so nice to them.
  6. Other people should never leave or abandon me because of how much I make them need me.
  7. Other people should never be angry with me because I will go to any length to avoid any conflict, anger or confrontation with them.

As Dr Braiker says –

“The seven deadly shoulds set you to have negative feelings when others fail to fully meet them. But, of course, the expression of negative feelings towards other – such as anger, resentment or disappointment – is prohibited by the Eighth Commandment of People-Pleasing: You should always be happy, and never show any negative feelings toward others. The net result of this self-imposed trap is that you: (1) feel guilty about having negative feelings toward others, and (2) blame yourself for not pleasing others enough to elicit consistently positive treatment from them in return” (p.17).


Over to You…

Now you know “the seven deadly shoulds”, you can decide if they are serving you and whether you are ready to start to transform by questioning their relevance and effectiveness within your life. Also, remember that “should” is a faulty thinking pattern. If you have any questions, feel free to share them below!


If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?


Reference –

Braiker, H. (2001). The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome. USA: McGraw-Hill. 

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