Pleaser & Vacillator – Similarities & Differences

Both pleasers and vacillators like to have others close by and both try hard to please and make others happy.  The difference is vacillators really want a return for their efforts.  If the pay off isn’t there or their efforts are not appreciated or reciprocated vacillators get mad.  Pleasers rarely get mad because they are afraid of expressing displeasure as it may result in separation or rejection.  Vacillators have no trouble expressing anger and often feel better after they vent. The one exception is that introverted vacillators may just pull away and distance rather than yell but the whole family is well aware they are mad.

Vacillators can be honest to a fault expressing their feelings and opinions with intensity and often in an unkind manner.  Many times people think they are pleasers and Milan and I always ask, “Do you express anger openly?” If the answer is, “Yes, I do get mad and I express it.”  If that is true then we ask that person to consider whether or not they may be a vacillator.  Pleasers can be dishonest to avoid conflict and need to develop the emotion of anger learn how to express displeasure.

Pleasers can be wishy washy, unable to make decisions and unsure of what they want and need since their focus is on the needs of others.  Vacillators have definite opinions and  have high expectations that others should meet their needs.

Both pleasers and vacillators make a lot of assumptions without asking directly to see if their assumptions are accurate.  Pleasers are trying to guess what will make others happy to lower their anxiety and to avoid negative emotions.   Vacillators are assuming the motives and intentions of others and ruminating about why others may not like them or seem distant and uninterested.

Pleasers don’t really think about whether they are understood, seen and valued until about midlife.  By then, pleasers are beginning to get annoyed that no one gives to them but often are not aware they don’t know how to ask directly for what they want and need.  Vacillators often feel misunderstood, unseen and unappreciated and let others know exactly how much this upsets them.