PREVIOUS: Placater Role #1
⬅️ “The ups and downs of a serial placater”
Placater (P)’s ACTIONS / STYLE
suggested that 50% of people typically use this defense. They say YES, no matter what they really feel or want
• Similar to Hero, sometimes the clown, but more passive & people-pleasing. Talk in an ingratiating way, won’t disagree or stand up for themselves, overly grateful, apologize for things that are not their fault…. a ‘yes man’, even agreeing with anyone’s criticism of them
• May use humor as a diversion from pain & rage, but it’s not their primary style. Mainly they worry & fret, nurture & support, listen & console. Entire self-concept is based on what they can provide for others
• are hypersensitive to others, grateful that anyone talks to them at all
• can be the life of the party, syrupy, martyr-ish & boot-licking
• are likely to be complemented, get positive attention & draw sympathy for their long-suffering
• rarely focus on concrete changes that would make life better for themselves
• are not much use in times of crisis or emotional distress, not very helpful when someone has a big problem that needs solving
• make it hard to resolve conflicts with them because of an intense need to avoid confrontations
• respect the context of a situation & other people’s views, but not their own
Body Position (From V. Satir)
Use kinesthetic style. This stance begs “Please don’t hurt me”, especially good for situations such as giving bad news or asking for something. It says ‘please don’t be upset or take offense’ – a request for someone to stay calm.
• If standing, they hunch shoulders, look down, smiling, not sexy
• Usually present image of : one hand reaching out, palm face-up in a begging gesture, as if being on one knee & a bit wobbly, head bent way back looking up, eyes strained, eyebrows raised as if asking a question or only in the middle as if pleading.
Energetic Description (by Dr. Bulbrook)
Placaters (Ps) damage their energy field by being needy, sucking-up & having weak or no limits, so anyone can walk all over them.
They keep giving beyond what’s appropriate, hoping to be accepted & fit in, so are often taken advantage of. When challenged, will easily back down.
Potential harmful impact: at first, people on the receiving end may be pleased, but over time become annoyed & then pull away, as Ps can be too wishy-washy, not giving an opinion when asked, or not expressing needs
• ALSO – Placating is sneaky, aiming to evoke your guilt by saying ‘poor me, I can’t help it’, as an indirect form of Blaming, more by gestures & without explicit language.
It shifts responsibility for mistakes or flaws (ever so diplomatically, so they’ll still be liked), leaving people feeling resentful but not able to confront them. Ultimately, Ps are not much fun to be around.
Reacting TO a Placater (via
Use a Blamer Role stance which will turn the tables on them, triggering their guilt. This may stop the ‘game’ & possibly balance the Ps view of self, others, & the situation
• but – Blaming may just used as be a reaction to the P’s wimpy-ness, wanting to dominate, control or punish them – which they will tolerate & accept, possibly making the Blamer feel even more guilty
• Also – Blaming may do nothing more than create a stronger Placating response, if they feel too intimidated
Adult RECOVERY NEEDS – TO:
• find an appropriate outlet for negotiating skills, and get paid
• find ways to help others without short-changing themself
• gain self-esteem without having to depend on being used, or on others’ good graces
• learn & pursue healthy ways to to rest, relax & enjoy
Able to give, caring, compassionate, empathic, good listener, nice smile, quiet, sensitive to others
Positive Use: Ps play ‘softball’ in negotiations – which is usually seen as being weak, but can sometimes be a useful strategy IF :
— you’re dealing with a small, difficult child
— needing to give the appearance of weakness when in real danger
— diplomacy is required “What do you give a 500 lb gorilla? Anything he wants”!
NEXT : Scapegoat role #1