Be a good girl and do … xyz for me
Oh, your daughter is such a good girl, she’s always quiet and never misbehaves.
Oh, Sarah is such a good girl, she always listens to everyone and studied so hard in school, never did anything wrong, and now she’s going to university to study medicine to be a doctor.
Why can’t you be like your sister, she’s such a good girl, and never talks back?
At least you don’t have to worry about her, she’s a good girl.
Can you hear their voices resounding in your head?
The Good Girl Complex
Being called a ‘good girl’ has always been such a compliment, something girls are proud to be labelled with. A nice pat on the back for being the epitome of ‘goodness’ and everything pure and perfect in the world.
Well, thank you cruel world, and society, for giving us a complex of putting ourselves second and being obsessed with pleasing everyone else first. The social pressure of being a ‘good girl’ starts in early childhood, and so it’s no wonder that the imprint is so ingrained and engraved into our nature.
Good girls don’t have needs, their existence is solely for the purpose of fulfilling other people’s needs…
It’s tiring being a ‘good girl’.
And it’s insane when you realize you don’t know how to have boundaries because it’s just dependent on whom you want to please.
And that is very dangerous as an adult. A toxic trait that can be exploited and abused.
Having boundaries are very important because they protect you, and ensure you’re not mistreated and your needs are being met.
How The ‘Good Girl Complex’ Can Ruin Relationships
Scenario: You found the guy who you want to be with, but it’s early on, and you want to take it slow. You wanted to take it slow… but he seems like he really likes you, he’s complimentary, and affectionate, and tries to move things along…
What do you do?
You don’t want to hurt his feelings, and you do like him, and you don’t want him to reject you because you made an issue out of something that was probably not even an issue. Another person would probably be fine with this.
So you should be fine with this? Okay, so you swallow the apprehension you’re feeling and allow it to happen… I mean, you’re in the moment, you don’t want to ruin it.
It’s sad that we put the other person in the relationship first because we’re trying to please them, like the onus is on you on whether this relationship works out.
They also have to make you happy, you’re the prize, after all…
However, he isn’t in the wrong, completely.
It’s easy to ‘take’ when things are given so easily, so they take thoughtlessly — they take and take and take. While you are silently becoming more resentful of the amount you’re giving and not receiving, but never vocalizing your feelings because you don’t want to make an issue. You don’t want to ‘misbehave’ or ‘act out’…
When you vocalize your boundaries, and communicate your needs, the other person is more aware of the significance of what you are giving and so they are more appreciative.
The relationship is more balanced and you can both meet each other’s needs, instead of you taking the reins and being the epitome of the best partner, while they absentmindedly receive the gifts they’re given.
Sometimes you have to stick a label on it to announce that this is a gift and should be received like one. It’s not a right, it’s a privilege.
Fear of Rejection
If you said no, would that person reject you?
If you had vocalized your boundaries, and said you weren’t comfortable with the situation, do you actually think they would reject you?
‘If you don’t let me do xyz, that means you don’t love me, or trust me, and I can’t be with someone who doesn’t trust me’.
Leaving you on the floor in a puddle of mixed emotions, including shock, fear and regret.
Rationally, if they liked you, then, we can rationally say they probably wouldn’t go down the cliché emotionally abusive and manipulative route. Obviously, if they do, they are abusive, and not exactly someone you should be with.
In a normal healthy relationship, you still have these somewhat irrational fears, that you could do something like communicating something you require in order to have your needs met, and they could leave because it was too much for them.
You fear that they’ll take their love away.
What would happen if you voiced your boundaries is probably a serious discussion about comfortability levels. Probably an awkward conversation, but a very necessary one. And you’ll be happier that you communicated that, instead of closeting your feelings away because you’re scared they won’t be able to handle them.
And if they can’t handle them, then they weren’t right for you. You’d rather know that early on so you can quickly end the situation and move onto someone who has more emotional maturity and intelligence to be exactly what you need.
Attaching Your Self-Worth To Them
Do you attach your self-worth on whether people like you?
You know that you are a good person because people think you’re a good person. That propels you to further be a ‘good’ person.
If you attach your self-worth to the person you’re in a relationship with, you’ve already put them on a pedestal and require them to validate you. You’ve lessened your own importance. Your likeability as a person is dependent on whether they like you, which can also happen with friends.
This is unhealthy. You didn’t need me to tell you this.
So if this relationship ends, what does that mean for you? That you didn’t mean anything? That you’re not worth anything? This stems from a lack of self-confidence that they boosted in that period of time that you were together.
If this is something that you feel like you struggle with, it’s very important to address the crux of the issue with yourself. You could go on a ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ type journey and find yourself and what you’re good at, outside of doing things for other people.
Having a ‘good girl’ complex can be toxic because it includes a desire to make other people happy and put their needs above your own. It can even mean that you make yourself unhappy in order to make other people happy. This can cause a build-up of resentment and your ability to want to be a ‘good girl’ can be exploited by other people who know you will be dutiful and ‘fall into line’.
1) Voice your boundaries
This complex can be very dangerous in relationships because it can mean you don’t voice boundaries and communicate your needs.
People will always attempt to push towards whatever they desire to achieve, it is your right to stop that if what they want encroaches or extends beyond your comfort level.
2) Challenge your fear of rejection
Communicating your needs is not you ‘making a big deal’ or creating an ‘issue’, it is just calmly stating that you don’t feel comfortable, and if they respect you as a person, they will respect that.
3) Don’t attach your self-worth to other people
You need to find your own self-confidence outside of your friendships, relationships, and humans in general. You allow yourself to be loved, by loving yourself first.
You deserve to be in a healthy loving relationship, and if you don’t put yourself first, who will?
This post was previously published on Medium.
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