I am too friendly and too nice. I am so helpful that even I don’t like me anymore. The friendliness is the outer shell, it is a defense-mechanism due to fear of abandonment. That is not to say that I am not a friendly person deep down because I am but sometimes I overdo it. I feel when I’m doing it because in the same moment I’m overstepping my own boundaries. My strategy in life is to ‘kill them with kindness’ so ‘they’ won’t criticize or worse leave me! As a child I showed good behavior, what I thought was expected but my core values, which are good, were not seen. I was able to preserve them through my little acts of rebellion. I had a friend in high school who was not approved of but because I value friendships and I’m not judgmental we stayed friends. I even got my friend invited to my home once!
My need to ‘keep people close’ and to do that through being ‘good’ stems from my childhood. I was a good child. I grew up with one caregiver, to fall out of grace was to end up alone in the world. Growing up I rebelled and did speak my mind. There were numerous fights at home but I tried to be good and finally get that seal of approval. This strategy would end up giving me burnout. Trying to be the perfect mental health worker is not the way to go if you depend on external appreciation. I must admit that I believe that appreciation is a necessity when working with a chronic psychiatric population. But that is another discussion and not the topic of today’s post.
The good child is not born that way, it is not a trait that you have or don’t have. It’s also not a choice, it is not a pleasurable add on that you can enjoy. It stems from a necessity. Because ‘being good’ becomes a strategy to stay alive.
Many good children are good out of love of a depressed harassed parent who makes it clear they just couldn’t cope with any more complications or difficulties. Or maybe they are very good to soothe a violently angry parent who could become catastrophically frightening at any sign of less than perfect conduct. Or perhaps the parent was very busy and distracted; only by being very good could the child hope to gain a sliver of their interest. 
The problems occur when other more challenging emotions are suppressed in favor of the good behavior. This can result in difficulties in adult life. While on the outside they are perfectly able to sooth their surroundings, on the inside great conflicts can occur. The conflicts can show up in the form of symptoms, twitches, sudden outbursts and bitterness.
As a care giver or parent it is important to see the child with all his/hers emotions. To see the child as it is. This includes good behavior.
What are your thoughts on this? Were you a good child or did you ‘dare’ to fall out of grace? I hope you enjoyed this post. Next week I’ll look into how being a good child can bring problems in adult life.