People pleaser

Recently a friend admitted to being a people pleaser, for the incapacity to say “no” to certain people. I struggled to believe this statement, as I have also seen a mean streak, a cold sometimes callous person and at others red blistering anger and wickedness. I sat in contemplative silence, stunned.
 Diverting attention elsewhere on random silliness to avoid eye contact I tried to not think about the gravity of the declaration: Later on my mind would not let this assertion rest, it looped insisting on answers.

What exactly does it mean: a people pleaser?
 Why was this person so mean to some people?
 Why were they particularly nasty in the company of certain individuals? Were those the people they wanted to please?
 Was this a jackal and Hyde situation?
 Why was some of that anger directed at me in the past and why did I let the anger be directed at the people around me and myself?

I began to think back to all the times they were mean to me, and mean to certain individuals, all the times they stood by and did not speak up when they knew a wrong was committed. To all the times they demanded, bullied even particularly in the presence of certain persons. The times they sulked and cried when I put my foot down and bitched about it behind my back.

Answers began to formulate, and sadly it meant some harsh realizations too. 
 First I would need to protect myself from these rather callous outbursts, but how? They were a very integrated part of my life and it is not as if avoidance was ever a solution. 
 Befriending those individuals was an outright flop too, there was little in common and the feeling of an unstable friendship not based on the true definition of friendship evolved. They only wanted what was in their best interests, did not want to support others unless they had a direct financial benefit and were more than happy to evolve a relationship based on undercutting others and being in a seat of power. True friendship does not mean this to me. I was back at the drawing board; I did not want to loose a friend.

Outright confrontation perhaps, until I remembered that the individuals they was particularly nasty in the company have always hovered around with a pack mentality. I reason these were the people my pal felt a desire to please. Granted for all the wrong reasons, but the more I observed the more I understood why they felt an allegiance. They had created a protective circle; a “we have your back” mentality had formed during the early years of their friendship. Despite it seeming toxic to the outsider: me, I did begin to understand that this was a security blanket and that nothing was going to cause that to break at least not in the foreseeable future. 
 Perhaps this is why I was often the target of such malice and why my immediate circle was also the source of such viciousness. Was I seen as a threat?

This pal felt such a strong allegiance to these individuals that in order to please them they would do anything to gain affection, admiration, attention and acceptance.