Okay I will admit I have been guilty of this. Growing up it was always my job to take care of others, even the adults in my life. I went without, if that meant without food or clothes or shelter, that's what it meant. It was ingrained in me that if I stood up for my own needs, not even wants, I was selfish.
So for years I would say or offer to be polite. I typically resented myself more than anyone else. It has taken A LOT to learn to say what I mean. It's something hubby and I both still work on in little ways. After realizing we have both hurt each other and working to heal that you feel a little like walking on egg shells. So now we just have to remind each other, I won't know, if you don't tell me, we won't learn to trust that we are honest with each other if we don't actually speak up and be honest!
Sadly, it was actually easier to start with the saying what you mean with strangers. I still get people that will apologize for upsetting me over things and I'll have to explain that I am seriously not upset, just stating how things look to me!
Me: Late 30s pansexual poly.
DH: My husband of 19 yrs and father of 3 teen girls.
DC: LDR of +4 year