Too good to be good.

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.

 

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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. [1]

 

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.

 

References:

[1] https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/the-dangers-of-the-good-child/

21 thoughts on “Too good to be good.

  1. I was considered the good child because I was the successful child. I did well in school and participated in the kinds of extracurricular activities that my parents deemed good. Being overly concerned with people-pleasing wasn’t part of the successful child role that my parents conceived of, so that was never something that I got into a pattern of.

    Now my brother is the good child because he’s married and is about to have a child, and fits my parents’ concept of the successful adult. I’m now in the unsuccessful child role, which probably contributes somewhat to the difficulties I have relating to my parents.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I can imagine but it isn’t ‘right’though imo. The expectations of parents (maybe from a loving place) can be a struggle to deal with (for me it is like that). To separate yourself from the ‘child’ role and maintain a healthy relationship with ones parents is a huge task, again in my case. Thank you for your personal answer!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Same. Except my brothers are so messed up that I’ll always be “the good one” even if I were to rob a bank. Which is not necessarily a good thing as it historically put a lot of pressure on me to continually make good decisions, which led to my breakdown.

      Sorry you have to experience this, it’s not the most fun spot to be in, at the mercy of other’s expectations. You are a wonderful human being though, I can tell from your writing and I hope you continue to make your own way ❤

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Wow, I can’t believe you just described me so accurately! I was definitely the good kid and my heart goes out to you for what you’ve been through.

    My Mom was also a very harassed single parent and expected a lot out of me emotionally while she handled my brother’s mental illness. It wasn’t until I was on my own that I felt able to completely fall apart.

    I hear you on feeling like you’re too nice but it also makes me sad because being nice and loving and kind are all wonderful traits to have and you seem to be discrediting them for yourself.

    IMO, it’s okay to be that way because I’m that way too lol and I spent a long time trying to destroy that part of myself to make people like me. I think the piece that’s often missing for people like you and me are the boundaries. If we don’t have those, it’s easy for people to take advantage of our kind nature.

    So thank you for writing this and remember you’re amazing just how you are ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is such a nice comment, thank you so much! I’m sorry for the later response. I struggle with boundaries but I’m hopeful that therapy will help me on that front. I understand from your words that I should also love those loving and ‘softer’ traits of me what makes sense. I’ll need to find a balance. I feel very appreciated and understood through your answer, so again, thank you very much ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I was not the good child. I was the one who did what he wanted and said sorry instead of asking permission. I was the one with little empathy and emotion and not willing to share too much of myself with them. I wasn’t overly reckless and I knew how to gaslight the hell out of them by the time I was in middle school, so it wasn’t like I was a terror they always feared about. I just wasn’t my wholesome brother. He was the good one, and I learned later in life, a lot of that was just an act, too. He decided early on to bide his time, not make waves and the first chance he could, he was going to move far away. Today he lives 3,300 miles away on the other coast. I’ve seen this elsewhere in my extended family and I think that there are a lot of roles children and siblings play and it may just be a matter of filling a role one of the other kids hasn’t already taken.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is a high possibility that one child had the ‘good child’ role and the other one ‘the not so good’. Children feel what they are expected to do and they also react to the possibilities given or the circumstances. A ‘good’ or ‘bad’ child still has needs to be seen as a ‘whole’ person and not the ‘role’ they are assuming. This post focussed on one of that. I am a ‘good’ one and I also moved away. That’s so weird to read about your brother. I wish I was a bit more badass! Still a lot to learn in this lifetime.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I think I’ve told you that I was also the good child due to living in a chaotic family. As an adult, I still do this. I try too hard to please everyone. For someone to dislike me feels like a knife to my chest. I give and give and give, yet rarely do people reciprocate. I get taken advantage of a lot! I have had years of therapy and read dozens of self help books. Yet I still act this way. And whenever I get burned I swear I won’t let it happen again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmm sounds so familiar! You give, give, you are nice and sweet and considerate and you forget about YOU till there is nothing left to give. That is what happend in my life. ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’, now I get that. But it is also in my nature, so naturally I react in that ‘giving’ way. You know I feel guilty when I can’t walk the doggie from my sister-in-law because I am depressed. I don’t feel bad for me, but for the dog. We need to learn one way or another to take of us too, to protect ourselves. Maybe blogging can help us! 😄 I really appreciate your comment, it means a lot to me. ❤

      Like

      1. It helps me to think of what they say at the beginning of a flight: when The Oxygen masks drop down, you must first attach your own, then help The Person beside you. Because if you don’t take care of yourself….how can you take care of others?

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Yet another thought-provoking post, one I can identify with. I was the good child at home – I could do no wrong in my single-parent mum’s eyes cos I always cheered her up and I got away with far too much. My sisters hated it. I wasn’t clever or pretty or the best at anything. I was just told by mum and everyone how much I smiled and made people feel happy. So I used that smile and I suppose I have ever since, trying to please people and make them like me (that sounds awful doesn’t it!). But they weren’t always the right kind of friends. Outside of home, I was a pretty reckless and chaotic youth. Desperate to be liked because I didn’t feel nice enough to be liked. I felt tainted and dirty – but I had a great smile!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do the same. I feel sometimes like I manipulate people into liking me because I don’t know how to cope otherwise. In the eyes of my single-parent mum I did everything wrong so I went out and just prayed that someone will like me. Not really like me but would stay and would not leave me all alone in this world. Amazing how much this is all alike!! Must be why we like to read each others blogs 😆😂

      Liked by 1 person

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