8 signs you are suffering from the good-girl syndrome
You believe what you do is who you are and what people think of you matters more than what you feel about yourself.
What's worse than the being the eternal good girl? Being an unhappy good girl. Here are eight signs that you are struggling with a self-induced compulsion to be the good girl.
1. You believe what you do defines who you are
It doesn't matter if it's always completing work on time, baking the perfect cookies, or turning up looking impeccable for a social do. It's important that others find no fault in you and the silent seal of approval determines your sense of self-worth. Your nice-girl behavior often makes you the reliable one, who people can count on.
Even on the days you feel blah or a little under the weather, you somehow manage to deliver what you promised or stick to your usual routine. Basically, your doing determines your value as a human being.
2. You just CANNOT say 'No'
You'd rather take a bullet than turn down someone's earnest request. Yes, you are kind and generous, but your large heartedness is not driven purely by love. It is driven by some amount of fear.
You could be PMSing, feeling exhausted, and having a long day at work. If someone calls you to "be a sweetie and pick up something on the way," you cannot say "I'm sorry, I don't think I can do that." Like a keyed toy, you will be at the store, waiting in a long queue while your body screams in rebellion. You might hate bright shoes, if your friends think you should get them, you oblige. A voice in your head says, "Well, they mean well and they know better."
Here's a tip: Like they say, NO is a complete sentence and doesn't require an explanation. But if that's unimaginable, go with "NO, I won't be able to do that." or "No, I'd love to, but I can't do that today."
3. You can't draw or hold your personal boundaries
Boundaries? What boundaries? Time boundary, energy boundary, digital boundary, social boundary, sexual boundary, person space boundary.... If there's a colleague who casually reads your emails while you are away from the desk, you sweetly squirm your way back to your sweet.
If a nosy neighbor, an overbearing mom, or clingy friend drops in at odd hours, you cannot tell them that you need some time alone and that they have to call you before visiting. To you, drawing boundaries equates to earning someone's disapproval or worse, their judgment.
4. You rush to take care of others before meeting your own needs
It's easy for you to lose touch with your own needs and focus on others. You put others' demands, requests, schedules, and priorities before your own and sometimes give up on basic things like rest, timely meals, personal agendas and plans in order to tune into other's routine.
People around you often depend on you to be there "no matter what" and you feel great to hear this. You are likely to be the one to work overtime for no extra pay, you feel compelled to offer help when you sense someone is in need, and say "YES" to things without thinking about your own convenience and comfort.
5. You cannot say something that might upset another person
Your friend is making a big mistake by dating the wrong guy. Every possible alarm goes up, but you nod attentively to all her stories. What you want to say is "What the hell is wrong with you?" Instead, you say, "Aww. That's so sweet."
Your partner asks you where the keys are for the millionth time that week. He asks you once again while you are busy getting some work done. You'd want to snap and say, "Why the F&%K do you ask me, it's where you left them!" Instead, you take a deep breath and ask him to look around the cabinet. Or worse, you stop what you're doing and go fetch it for him.
You believe you should not express any thoughts or feelings that could hurt another person. Well, this will work if you live in a land where everyone treats everyone else with deep respect and empathy. Well, look around. You got to trust yourself and your relationships better to be honest and real in expressing yourself.
6. You tend to attract partners who are wrong for you
Because of your compulsion to be the good girl, you attract men who do not value commitment, independence, and loyalty. You end up with men who take your niceness as a sign of weakness and often take advantage of your pattern. They break promises, lie, arrive later, go missing in action and turn up when they need you, mostly for reasons that aren't the same as yours, and still no you will be there for them.
Because of your innate fear to rock the boat, you might unconsciously ward off commitment by ending up with the wrong guys. You also find a pattern where you are the one doing all the giving, often taking care of your partner, and feeling disconnected or not cared for.
7. You smile even when you're sad, pissed off, or bored
The other person never really knows when you are upset. "Nice girls don't bother others with their own emotions" is the message you carry. It doesn't matter how you feel inside; when you are with others, you tune out from your own emotions and wear a mask or an acceptable expression to suit the mood of the environment.
Why is this dangerous? You might think you are lying or hiding from others. But after a point, you will lose touch with your authentic feelings and begin to borrow others' idea of how you should feel and behave.
8. For you, criticism or disapproval is life-threatening
God forbid, if someone finds a fault in you or points out at something you missed, that's pretty much the end of the world for you. Well, at least for that moment. You cannot take feedback with a pinch of salt or choose to not let it bother you. The slightest of negative input can turn your day into a disaster and impact how you feel and what you think about yourself.
If a partner thinks your outfit is wrong for the place your heading to, or your friend thinks you need to change how you talk to guys, or a colleague says your report was not so impressive, you don't say "Well, that's what you think, but I don't agree," or "Well, maybe. Let me think about it." Instead, you want to dig a hole and cover yourself up until you come out flawless so that no one can say anything more on the subject.
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