PLACATER Role


Placater 

I CAN’T STAND DISCORD –
I have to make nice

PREVIOUS: Hero Role

SITE: Conflict Styles


❧ PLACATER
  Role (a Twisted form of Service)
A combination of the Satir & Wegscheider versions

GOAL
Provide soothing to make others feel better about themselves & better just in general
PURPOSE
GOAL
For Self: try to not keep getting abandoned, to feel safer/not get hurt & be loved, by calming everyone, preventing conflicts or any overt expression of anger
For Family:  When parents are impaired in some way, they become a surrogate. Born negotiators, they seem to have an uncanny ability to ‘read’ what others are feeling, but at their own expense, learn early to smooth over potentially upsetting situations & take responsibility for everyone’s pain & emotional well-being.

BIRTH ORDER: can be oldest child, usually the girl
IN SCHOOL – very compliant, well-liked, so-so students – preoccupied with other’s problems rather than studying
FAMILY TREATMENT
Used as the family social worker, inappropriately told all the adult problems, ‘valued’ for not being any trouble

ACTIONS /STYLE
Virginia Satir suggested that 50% of people will typically use defense. They say YES no matter what they really feel or want
Personal:
• 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’, 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
Social:
• Grateful that anyone talks to them at all, they can be syrupy, martyr-ish & boot-lickingtoo sweet
• Are likely to be complemented, get positive attention & draw sympathy for their long-suffering, are hypersensitive to others & can be the life of the party
• BUT never focus on concrete changes that would make life better, not much use in times of crisis or emotional distress, not very helpful when someone has a big problem that needs solving
• Hard to resolve conflicts with them because of an intense need to avoid confrontations – they respect & the context of a situation, other people’s views but not their own

Body Position (From V. Satir): Use kinesthetic style. This stance says “Please don’t hurt me” & is 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, have hunched shoulders, look down, smiling, not sexy
• Usually present image of being on one knee, a bit wobbly, head bent way back looking up, eyes strained, eyebrows raised as for a question or only in the middle as in pleading.  One hand reaching out, palm face-up in a begging gesture
Energetic Description (by Dr. Bulbrook): Placaters (Ps) damage their energy field by pleading, sucking-up & having weak or no limits – anyone can walk all over it. They keep on giving beyond what is appropriate, hoping to be accepted & fit in, so are easily taken advantage of. When challenged, will easily back down.

Potential harmful impact: at first, people on the receiving end may be pleased butannoyed at placater over time become annoyed & then pull away, as Ps can be too wishy-washy, not giving an opinion when asked or expressing needs
• ALSO – Placating aims to evoke guilt, by saying ‘poor me, I can’t help it’, as an indirect form of Blaming, but without forceful language or gestures.  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, they’re not much fun to be around

Reacting TO a Placater (via NLP): Using a Blamer stance will turn the tables on them, evoke their guilt, stop the ‘game’ & possibly balance the Ps view of self, others, and context
• but Blaming may just be a reaction to their wimpy-ness, causing a desire to dominate, control or punish them – which they tolerate & accept, possibly making the Blamer feel even more guilty
• Also – Blaming may do nothing more than trigger a stronger Placating response, if they feel too intimidated

DEFENSES
• Are great listeners, develop a high tolerance for inappropriate behavior,
will take the blame for things not their fault (ironically) thereby protecting others from being responsible for their behavior
• Main concern is on themselves & how they’ll be perceived. They react to stress or ‘uncomfortable truths’ by trying to avoid it, sometimes going to extraordinary lengths to avoid confrontations
• May sacrifice themselves – are willing to lose so others can win
• Efface & belittle themselves, while inflating others, to get brownie points & stop possible aggression. Actually believe they care so much about others & that no one cares for them
DEFICITS
Have few self-protective boundaries, don’t have a clear identity of their own, are not in touch with their own emotions & needs & so can’t get them met, are ‘lost’ without someone to please or fix

BELIEFS:placater girl
FROM: “If I’m nice, everyone will like me” , “Don’t rock the boat”
“If I focus on someone else, it won’t be on me & that’s a good thing”
“If I take care of you, you won’t reject or leave me ”
“I’ll do whatever you tell me to do. I’m here to make you happy.”

TO: “It’s ok to have a focus”
“I am likable without having to take care of them”
“I don’t have the power to keep you with me, but if you stay it’s because of who i am not what I do for you”

EMOTIONS
Frustrated rage, fear, powerlessness, low self-esteem, guilt. Show shame via victimization, depression, perfectionism
COST TO SELF
Deep sense of not being good enough just as they are, or the right to get equal attention & caring from others.  Denying personal needs, they’re unable to receive, have ‘false’ guilt, a great fear of conflict & anger, are hyper-vigilant with high anxiety.

PARENTS CAN HELP CHILD
To:  separate their personal worth from doing/ care-taking, help them to focus on Self instead of others, learn to express emotions & playing
By: validating P’s intrinsic value (being vs doing), helping them develop ability to take care of & prioritize for themselves (when child IS helping another – ask them what he/she is feeling at the moment)
• reinforcing that the adults can take care of themselves & other family members, so they can relax

AS ADULTSover-giving
They’re often in abusive & one-sided relationships (with spouse, children, friends, bosses…), constantly giving without getting anything back.  Are overly responsible so become excellent enablers, marring addicts or other ‘broken’ people. Often choose careers as helping professionals, which can reinforce the tendency to ignore their own needs, such as social workers, nurses, therapists…. (more likely in ‘supportive’ positions, so not often male doctors)

Adult RECOVERY NEEDS
• gain self-esteem without having to depend on being of use or on others’ good graces
• learn to rest, relax & enjoy
• find an appropriate outlet for their negotiating skills & get paid for it
• find ways to help others without short-changing themselves

STRENGTHS
Caring, compassionate, empathic, quiet, good listener, sensitive to others, able to give, nice smilegood listener
Positive Use: Ps play ‘softball’ in negotiations which is usually seen as weak, but can sometimes be a useful strategy: when playing with small children, when diplomacy is needed (what do you give a 200 lb gorilla? anything he wants) or to give the appearance of weakness when in danger

NEXT: Scapegoat Role

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