When the ‘good child’ becomes an adult.

What are possible consequences of being ‘too good’ as a child?

 

Being the good child has implications on developmental challenges during childhood and adolescence. While other children can display a wide set of emotions like jealousy, greed, anger and disobedience, the good child learns that those emotions are better tuck away in de depths of personality. Therefore the good child does not experience that it is unconditionally loved with all emotions. When these emotions do show up  – because we are all just human –  it can evoke feelings of shame, distress, anger, insecurity and fear.

 

When the good child grows into the good adult the person can encounter particular problems around sex. Check. Being raised the virtue of pureness and kindness was being praised. Other desires, from the dark site, were not encouraged. Even when I was not thinking about sex at all, I was yelled at and called, you know, that one word women don’t like to hear outside the bedroom. I was 13. I was a bit confused about that because I didn’t see any harm in what I was doing and I didn’t have the idea that sex could be something to be angry about. I just didn’t have an idea. When I was about 25 or 26 I was able to by myself a skirt and wear it without hearing those words being thrown at me. I struggled with the concept of being a sexual being and as a young adult went the one and the other side. Being a little too open about it and too shy. The current depressive feelings and low self-esteem don’t help to spice things up. The ‘good adult’ may ignore his/hers desires, go cold and detach from their body. Check. Sometimes the pendulum swings to the other side and they give in to their desires but it leaves them ashamed and uneasy.

 

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Another area where the good adult can experience problems is work. Check. As a child they followed the rules, made sure not to upset others and keep under the radar. In adult life this approach doesn’t bring much joy nor the possibility to get ahead in life. Almost everything that is worth doing is a bit risky, can call for the need of bending the rules and will meet some opposition. Even when I don’t break any rules (which is also a means to keep people on a distance) I need to work and live with people that do. People that don’t share my values and don’t care as much about the rules as I think is requested. I become the opposition and it can irritate me.

 

When I keep up with following the rules of others I’ll be a people pleaser. When I don’t have the power to address my own rules and stand up for my life, things will stay grey and bleak. I have some growing up to do.

 

Being properly mature involves a frank, unfrightened relationship with one’s own darkness, complexity and ambition. It involves accepting that not everything that makes us happy will please others or be honored as especially ‘nice’ by society – but that it can be important to explore and hold on to it nevertheless… The desire to be good is one of the loveliest things in the world, but in order to have a genuinely good life, we may sometimes need to be (by the standards of the good child) fruitfully and bravely bad [1].

 

Refrences:

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

30 thoughts on “When the ‘good child’ becomes an adult.

      1. Who does like those chips?!? Salt is the flavor! It’s sometimes a little scary to write about the more personal things. But it’s what I want to do so I’ll do it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. But they’re so masochistic! You’re literally pouring salt and vinegar into your nerve-laden mouth. Have you ever walked away from eating salt and vinegar chips and said, “My mouth feels great!” Of course not, it’s a painful experience. We simply cannot accept these chips as a community. We’re allowing others to hurt themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Trying to get the right balance between good and bad is hard. I’ve come to the conclusion that being a hermit is a more workable alternative for me. Not mature by any stretch of the imagination, but workable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You published 2 books already, so you took some risk there from the ‘comfort’ of your own home. I start to sweat before pushing the ‘publish’ button, lol. And then I need to talk about chips to divert from the subject 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely post, Kacha 🙂 beautifully expressed!

    I can relate to some of what you have shared.

    I got called that word when I was younger than you by my father in the street in Paris because a man passing by looked at me as I was walking ahead of my parents trying to get away from them fighting.

    I wasn’t quite as “too good” as you since I was also required to be other things, and often got called a brat even when I was being well behaved because that was one of many roles given to me as a child.

    I’m an only child too.

    I’ve recently been exploring the concept of risk, and mentioned it in my most recent post (no, that isn’t a prompt for you to read it, that’s just me sharing a connection and part of why I decided to comment. I often just follow blogs and say nothing. I’m rather weird.)

    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! Nasty words spoken by people close to you are difficult to be un-heard and leave an impression.
      As a child you sometimes need to ‘fit’ in a certain role to survive and then they pick on you for doing so (later in life).
      I comfort myself with the thought that everybody has a path to go through.
      I’ll read your post, it can take me a while as it is rather lenghty for my concentration-less brain.
      Thank you for being that’ weird’ person that comments and is an only child too,

      Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a shame you could have shared your process 🙂 I think the growing part in life will be there all the time but every age has his challenges. I wouldn’t like to be a teenager again. I’m happy with what I know now and I will grow from that. Dank je voor je antwoord!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I look back and lt felt like less pressure after I met my eventual wife, just because I could settle into being “me” rather than the person I thought I was expected to be. Even more, after we had our child, because that’s what we’re meant to do, as human beings, right? When I finally met my wife everything was unbelievably smooth – that was one of the reasons – but life before then life had its fair share of turbulence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is such an honor to love itself. It changes lives and who you are. It also points out the need to live and love others as we need them to be ‘who we are’. Thank you so much for this answer!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think your comment that, by suppressing their emotions, “the good child does not experience that it is unconditionally loved” is absolutely spot on .. And, as a counsellor, I also agree that “when these (more negative) emotions do show up … it can evoke feelings of shame, distress, anger, insecurity and fear”. So what can we do to help in this situation? I would say that if our parents didn’t send the message that we were unconditionally loved and accepted, then we have to send the message to ourselves. That is, we need to tell ourselves that what we value most of is being authentic and real in our lives. I’m not saying it will transform us immediately, but over time it will start to make a positive difference.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for a great comment! I struggled to understand what self-care could mean in the light of a depression and I started this blog to send exactly that message to me. I hope it will help me. Being accepted here and reading such nice comments helps too.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This was a very relatable post. As a good child, my life was driven by fear, anger and a lack of boundaries. Learning to letting go of being ‘perfect’ was a huge step in recovery.

    13 was the age I was first called the dreaded S word. All for sitting under a blanket with 3 friends. 2 of whom were boys. It’s a lot for an innocent 13 year old to process.

    Sending big virtual hugs as you process your childhood memories. You’re deserving of love and care x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, you’re so sweet. Fear, anger, no boundaries it sounds familiar to me. I’m happy (not in a bad way) or maybe relieved that I am not the only one. My eyes are really being opened since writing about this. I’m sorry you were called the word and indeed a young woman cannot understand that completely. It leaves scars we need to adress as an adult. I send virtual hugs back to you and thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good post. The ideal of goodness has as its foundation guilt. Guilt is an awful burden to heap on an innocent life. It has a weight that leads to harmful self talk. In these, my December days, I have seen the damage guilt has wrought by church, and I have lived the hurt caused by a God fearing mother. I have preferred to tell my own children. “I love you but I hate what you have done or said.” In another life, or so, I might know whether this was right or wrong. (Scrub that – right and wrong is too binary a choice.)

    Liked by 1 person

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