Good girl syndrome - how to get rid of it? Psychology

The “good girl” syndrome in psychology is understood as an unhealthy form of perfectionism , formed in a person in childhood under the influence of parental education. During our school years, each of us had a classmate who only got straight A's, didn't go to the disco, and devoted all her free time to homework and helping her mother around the house. Psychologists are convinced that it is precisely such quiet people who are capable of suffering from a similar painful syndrome in the future.

The basis of the “good girl” behavior model is the need for approval and praise from adults , which over time develops into a priority task for the entire existence of the individual. But how happy are such people? As a rule, they feel like very unhappy individuals who seem to live someone else’s life for the sake of their immediate environment. The article will discuss the causes of the syndrome, give its characteristic signs, and also propose psychological methods for getting rid of this problem.

“Good girl” syndrome: what is it?


As is known, most psychological disorders have their origins in early childhood . Intense stress, fears and experiences can be forgotten by the individual, because memory tries to protect us from their harmful influence. However, they do not disappear anywhere, they simply “sleep” in the depths of the psyche, waiting for the right time to manifest themselves in full force in the form of increased anxiety, various phobias and difficulties in establishing trusting contacts. One of these “psychological” anchors that pulls a person to the bottom of depression and poor health is the “good girl” syndrome.

Its essence lies in the fact that a person lives in an atmosphere of constant readiness to help others , even against his own interests. Psychologists are convinced that the syndrome is largely formed under the influence of the life attitudes of the individual’s parents. It is they who give him a life guideline in the form of “do everything well and you will become good yourself,” to which he unsuccessfully strives throughout his life. In childhood, correct behavior is reinforced with praise and affection, which makes the situation even worse. It is from here that a person’s conviction comes that if he tries to behave differently, his mom and dad will turn away from him.

“The essence of the syndrome is that a person lives in an atmosphere of constant readiness to help others, even against his own interests.”

So, we found out that the “good girl” syndrome consists of two components - the parental “life guide” and the fear of being rejected by loved ones. What are the characteristic signs of such a psychological disorder? Let's figure it out.

Causes of the syndrome

The complex is purchased in childhood. Then the child receives attitudes that contribute to the formation of the image of a good girl:

  • be modest;
  • do not contradict your elders;
  • be obedient, polite, etc.

In most cases, the mother is to blame for the formation of this complex. In order to earn her mother’s love and attract her attention, a girl must bring good grades from school, wash the dishes, clean, and only after all this could she hear words of praise addressed to her. The girl has a firmly rooted belief: in order to be loved, you need to be good, give people what they expect from you, forgetting about your feelings and needs. The girl takes this childhood model of behavior with her into adulthood: she strives to please everyone, in return to receive care and attention, and the approval of others. Your own choices, values, and desires fade into the background.

The need to do something to be loved is one of the signs of the syndrome

Signs of the complex

Psychologists have determined that the characteristic features of a person suffering from the “good girl” syndrome include:

  1. Imbalance of emotional manifestations and “floating” self-esteem . As a rule, such a person simply does not know how to accept and love himself just like that; he definitely needs some reason for this, usually in the form of gratitude from other people.
  2. Pathological desire to “ live by the rules ” and reluctance to make independent choices. The person does not play around in kindergarten, diligently attends school, enters the university that her parents recommended to her, and even marries the one whom her mother and father recommended to her.
  3. The desire to receive approval from every member of the environment . The desire to please everyone around can reach the point of absurdity, because such a person is ready to do anything so that nothing bad is said about him.
  4. A positive reaction to any actions of significant people and sincere joy for their successes.
  5. Absolute inability to say “no” in response to requests from friends and family. A person is ready to give up his own plans for the evening or a long-awaited vacation, just so that a friend or work colleague does not regard her behavior as selfish. As a result, everyone around is relaxing and enjoying life, and the “good girl” sits with other people’s children or works in a stuffy office, driving herself into a whirlwind of depressive thoughts and incessant stress.
  6. Fear of criticism from others. As a result, such individuals are very conservative; it is difficult for them to change established habits and behavioral patterns, even if they are ineffective and make them unhappy people.
  7. Hiding your own irritability and anger. You will never hear a “good girl” complain about anyone from the team, since she is afraid to openly demonstrate her hostility towards a person, preferring to skillfully disguise it as goodwill. This leads to the accumulation of aggression within the individual, which provokes the development of psychosomatic disorders and other health problems.
  8. " It's all my fault ." Another characteristic feature of the syndrome is that people suffering from it blame only themselves for any failures. Did a major deal with a foreign investor fall through at work? The “good girl” will come up with a dozen reasons to torture only herself for this. Are any of your relatives sick? She will say that she did not pay him enough attention. And so on ad infinitum.
  9. Oddly enough, “good girls” do not know how to accept sincere praise and compliments, although they always strive for them. Why is this happening? They are simply confident that people evaluate them positively in advance, although in reality they have not done anything yet. That is, such signs of attention for them are just empty, meaningless chatter, because they know how far they are from the ideal of a good worker, mother or wife.

Above we have listed the most striking symptoms of a person having the “good girl” syndrome. If you recognize yourself in at least a couple of points, then you should think about starting to change your own behavior. The next section of the article can help with this.

Tip #2: Don't be afraid of change.

Often former lovers work at the same enterprise, in the same office. Who should leave - him or you? It's a matter of bargaining and opportunities - who has more of them. But life shows that as soon as such a radical change as divorce occurs, sometimes everything changes: specialty, city, country. For some time the woman rushes about, searches for herself, tries something.

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No scandals or breaking of dishes. Is it possible to turn divorce into a holiday? And here it is important not to be afraid of change. A new stage is approaching, the old possibilities have been exhausted, the beloved has at least fulfilled his mission, he has helped you get off the ground. And at the same time, you did not become a boring, useless old maid; you had your own story, after which something began to happen. Maybe not always skillfully. But we need to move on, forward. Not back to your mother, because your mother (especially in old age) expects good news from you, but forward, without giving up the new opportunities that open up before you.

1Increase your self-esteem

As a rule, every “good girl” suffers from low self-esteem, which stems from her reverent attitude towards other people’s opinions. You can fix this by doing it yourself. How to become an independent person in our time? Everything is very simple. Do what you want . Have you always dreamed of doing sports, for example, morning jogging? Go ahead, get busy. Are you tired of work and want something new? Quit your job and find something you like. The main thing is, before you take a decisive step, do not ask anyone for advice except yourself.

Fear of failure in your personal life, which forces you to be in an “impossible” relationship

If you are a Good Girl, you always attract the “wrong” men. But there are no “wrong” men, just as there are no ideal ones (I think you already understand the latter).

However, if you take a closer look at past relationships, you will find many similarities: they were all based on at least one key factor. This factor prevented the relationship from ever becoming complete, in which the partners are able to fully devote themselves to it.

What is this factor? Any or all of the following (and I'm not mentioning all of them):

• He is married (and obviously not to you)

• There is a big age difference between you (20 years or more) and you are at different stages of life (for example, he no longer wants children, but you do)

• He has some kind of strong addiction, whether “bad” like alcohol, drugs and gambling, or “good” like workaholism

• He's in jail

There is only one rule: You choose a man who, for whatever reason, cannot develop your relationship with him.

You stay with it as long as there is an obstacle, something you can fight against. So you hide from your own fear and blame the man for all the misfortunes. A typical thought: “If only he would stop doing this and start doing that...” Of course, there are also wonderful, long-term relationships that prove otherwise. But exceptions only confirm the rule.

What to do? Hmm, this is very difficult. You need to become aware of the pattern of behavior and then step away when you notice it. This will happen naturally when you begin to love and value yourself. As if by magic, you will stop being fascinated by the “wrong” men. I warn you: there will be a lot of returns to the past. Be patient, keep going, it will get easier over time - but not overnight.

3Don’t hold back negative emotions

This strategy will only lead you to depression and various diseases. Therefore, learn to throw out aggression, and not accumulate it inside yourself, putting your mental and physical health at risk. How to do it? Get creative, where you can express your anger in artistic form, or go out into nature more often, because there you can scream at trees and stones to your heart’s content, and no one will ever know about it.

But the best solution is to learn to express your negativity directly. Has a person upset you? Tell him about it directly, but in a calm tone and without falling into hysterics. You will immediately feel relief, and the offender will avoid provoking your patience in the future.

Inability to say something that might upset another person

Your friend is trying on a dress that makes her look like a sausage roll. Instead of telling her this (you can choose another, softer comparison), you say: “Oh, you look great!” You just don't want to offend her.

Behind this behavior lies the idea that you are responsible for other people's feelings. And you treat them like fragile crystal glasses, capable of falling and breaking at the first gust of wind.

What to do? As with the word “no,” unpleasant words spoken politely and sensitively will not destroy relationships with other people. Your sudden honesty may offend some, but that’s their business. In the future, they will still appreciate it or go their own way.

4Learn to accept criticism

Experts are convinced that only that person can call himself mature who has learned to accept constructive criticism from others as “raw material” for his own future changes. Think about it. You are criticized not because you are a bad person, but because of a sincere desire to make you better and more successful. So is it worth worrying or shedding tears over this?

Why is an adult “good child” convenient for everyone, but not for himself?

  • One of the main problems of many adult “good children” is that they are unhappy and always dissatisfied with themselves
    . This is logical for a situation when a person abandons his desires and feelings in favor of some imposed ideal. But in reality, firstly, the ideal is unattainable; secondly, it is almost impossible to please everyone around; thirdly, it is difficult to be happy when your feelings and emotions are completely or largely ignored. Some adult “good children” are so accustomed to not paying attention to them (and why, if no one listens to them since childhood?), that they themselves do not understand what they really want. The same trait is found in infantile individuals.
  • Because adult “good kids” constantly try but fail to please everyone around them, they feel guilty, stressed, and unnecessarily pressured
    . They themselves are partly to blame for this - because they only want to achieve ideal results. At the same time, it seems to our heroes that they are not doing everything quickly and/or efficiently enough, and not to the fullest extent.
  • even occur to such people to refuse someone
    , because “good boys/girls” do not refuse anyone.
    And because of this, sometimes they accumulate a huge number of cases
    . Moreover, many of them in reality could either not be done at all, or done with less time.
  • The problem is that such people do not achieve their ultimate goal
    - to earn love and good treatment.
    Often those around them begin to take advantage of the dependability of “good boys and girls”
    and get used to the fact that they always go along and do what they are told. This is taken for granted and can have a negative impact on our heroes.

There are other problems, of a relatively smaller scale:

  • Good boys and girls perceive any (even minor) mistakes as a tragedy
    - after all, the idealistic hero they look up to makes no mistakes.
  • They are hostile to any criticism
    : it is seen not as an opportunity to improve results, but as “proof” that the work was done incorrectly, imperfectly.
  • Good children, like infantile individuals, often have problems making decisions
    , especially if the issue does not fit well into their system of values ​​and moral guidelines.
  • The heroes of our story will not defend their point of view
    (after all, this may offend someone); they have difficulty standing up for themselves.
  • Many people don’t know how to take care of themselves
    or pamper themselves. All energy (and material resources) goes into caring for others and striving to please them.

5Accept yourself

Each of us has certain shortcomings and flaws. People are not perfect, but they strive for the ideal. However, it is not feasible. So is it worth spending your whole life searching for impossible dreams? It is much better to live “here and now”, enjoy a sunny day, birdsong, favorite music or mint tea. And most importantly, enjoy your own company . In addition, by accepting yourself, you will quickly gain confidence in your own abilities, and this will help you cope with the “good girl” syndrome and give you peace of mind.

Psychological reasons: how does it work?

Love for something (a lesson learned, dishes washed, good behavior) does not easily become a guideline. From early childhood, a person does not easily learn that people will love him only in response to desired actions, and will not accept him as he is. Good girls and boys grow up trying to maintain their positive traits. Consciously or subconsciously, they strive for approval. The fear of upsetting loved ones, the desire to please, to please even to the detriment of oneself, develops into a life scenario.

We become “good guys” for our family, colleagues, friends, neighbors. We rejoice at the opportunity to help, thereby earning a positive reaction in our direction. Strengthening the belief that our task and responsibility is to benefit people. But sooner or later, such a diligent person begins to wonder how the desires of others compare with his own goals? What does a “good girl” lose by solving other people’s problems first? The status of “good” begins to weigh heavily, it depresses and burdens. But a person with a firmly established habit of being good, having no other action scenario, does not know how to prioritize in his favor. He does not dare to challenge his rights and real desires. There is an alarming feeling that she is living someone else’s life, postponing her own for later. Even if such people deep down understand that it is time to think about themselves, they repent and reproach themselves for such thoughts.

A person follows a sense of duty, which guides him like a flickering light in a hopeless night. Getting used to following his lead, she loses the ability to separate the desires of others from her own. The engine of his activity is the will of strangers. He cannot imagine his life otherwise. The goal for the individual is to move mountains for both acquaintances and strangers. The inability to live for oneself, without looking around, makes a person dependent: on others, their opinions and moods, their approval and praise.

Following public opinion and submitting to it, the “good guys” will fall with bones, but will prove their usefulness. They don't know any other way. Everyone's approval is an indicator of how important they are. For them, this is a measure of love and respect.

Sometimes a “good girl” literally imposes her help in finding gratitude in order to establish that she is needed, respected and loved. This means that life is not in vain. She asserts herself and again becomes convinced of how much her services are needed. The circular movement is consolidated and repeated.

In adulthood, a person who carries out the will of others still manages to realize himself and become a self-sufficient person. He wants, but on the way, the desires, goals, requests and tasks of others, more important, always arise.

6Differentiate your own “I” from the rest of the world

You should understand that personal goals, aspirations, tasks are much more important than everything else put together. So stop living for someone else (parents, husband, children, work), and start living for yourself. This does not mean that you should become a selfish lady who puts your own interests above all others, just pamper yourself more often with delicious delicacies, regularly update your wardrobe, and go to visit your friends. The world won't fall apart if you devote a few hours of free time to yourself. But you will become much happier.

Excellence complex. Good Girl Syndrome. How to get rid of the good girl complex?

Finally, I would like to say that the “good girl” syndrome is an ineffective behavioral model that leads an individual to an awareness of the meaninglessness of existence, apathy and depression. If you notice signs of such a problem, then don’t waste your time and start solving it. After the first successes, you will immediately feel mental relief, it will become easier for you to accept the sympathy of others and give your love in return. This way you will find your own path in life and become a happy person.

Tip #1: Don't try to go back to your own past.

There is a misconception that it is in principle possible to return to your former self. After the breakup of a relationship, the person himself changes, the old you is no longer there - there is another. Left alone, a person tries to somehow fix himself, in this disintegration he grabs onto his previous experience. But this experience is not always positive: then you were alone, you were waiting for your lover, and in that life there was everything except love. Why do girls throw themselves into love relationships? Because we have a huge deficit of love. A very “vegetarian” existence since childhood: dad is cold, mom is also tough. Therefore, all children, including girls, live with a feeling of lack of emotions. This is one of the reasons why a girl throws herself at anyone. She tries to realize all her fantasies, accumulated since childhood, together with this unfortunate man, who actually did not plan to play the role of a wizard. And high expectations are always associated with great disappointment. Therefore, it is not worth returning to your former self.

Tip #4: Don't get rid of old photos.

After all, this is also part of our life. There is no need to store them in large quantities, but put some of them in some distant drawer. Suddenly there will come a time - perhaps in 10 years - when you want to see what you were like before.

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Single and happy! How to survive a breakup People change, become different over time, and there comes a time when you don’t really understand your old self or treat this experience with a smile. In this sense, the surest way to get rid of love is to grow out of it. Because in any case, this is a certain point of growth, the beginning of a new stage of life. And memories are important simply for the next reconstruction. It’s like doing general cleaning in an apartment, where, of course, there’s a lot of trash that needs to be taken out, but something needs to be preserved, because even if this thing is useless, maybe it once supported you, consoled you.

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