Co-Dep EXTERNAL Negatives – from OTHERS

I’m just trying to be nice!

PREVIOUS: External negatives – in us

SITE: Negotiation & the ‘niceness trap (4 parts, re.

The HIGH COST of being ‘too nice’ (cont.)

NOTE: This is how others can react to co-dep ‘niceness’The ‘THEY’ applies to the unscrupulous, the walking wounded, or average joes/janes who aren’t malicious, but don’t have much psychological or personal insight.

• They take advantage of you
Being too available encourages depressed, passive-aggressive, addicted, lazy or narcissistic people (takers) to use you to their benefit – counting on your good nature, & giving nothing back! Once it’s clear that you’re ‘soft’, they’ll ignore any boundary or objection you try to apply. They’ll also demand increasingly more from you, taking you for granted

 They don’t trust you
Since most people assume that few of us are genuinely kind, they’ll tend to doubt your best intentions, considering it a red flag of insincerity. This is true in many circles, where dog-eat-dog prevails. People assume you want something in return, & you do – but probably not what they think. So you risking being misunderstood, since your motive is to be liked & accepted into the ‘inner circle’, no matter how tacky or immature it is

• They have expectations
Because you always do too much, you actually train people to expect you to function way beyond what’s reasonable, or what the job calls for. This becomes their norm for you, at home & work. People actually appreciate you less, taking you for granted, & depend on you to take up their share of responsibilities

They will people-please you
If you’re too nice all the time, your friends – or employees if you’re a boss – will be reluctant to tell you if you have distorted thinking about something or come up with an unworkable idea.  It’s a form of ‘polite deception’, since they don’t want to hurt you, & maybe they think (or know) you won’t be able to handle disagreements or reality. This prevents people from helping you think clearer, make better decisions, be emotionally healthier & more successful

They don’t respect you
You may be seen as a wimp, a patsy, a fool, or just naive – not someone worth listening to.  If you’re a boss, they assume you’re weak, not to be looked up to or able to lead. Whatever your role (family, friends, work), you may in fact be under the delusion that you are building friendships, protecting yourself from ‘depressives’ & making yourself indispensable

HOWEVER: Most unhealthy people talk about others behind their back! Your over-niceness just gives them another topic, & when you find out – third hand – you get angry, but silently, of course!

• They don’t take you seriously
If you let others get away with their ‘crap’, if you give everyone the benefit of the doubt when they clearly don’t deserve it, if you forgive & forget too easily –  people will take your position of  taking the ‘high road’ as oblivion, stupidity or that you don’t care. They will ignore & disregard any opinions or valid suggestions you have to offer, since they assume (or know) you won’t object

They ignore you
If you find it hard to say no, people will eventually assume you mean Yes – even when you say No. That gives them permission to keep pestering, coaxing or manipulating you to do something you actually don’t want to do, because they know you’re a pushover. Also, there are always those who will guilt trip you if you try refusing  them what they want, & some people will be able to talk you into helping them with everything – even when you’re not feeling well, or are busy with other things

• They take offense
If you’re doing too much, too fast & better than everyone else, it makes others look bad, which they will resent. If you’re too positive, pleasant, willing or too flattering, the higher-ups may find it acceptable or at least tolerable, but your peers will ‘not be amused’. This can also apply to parents vs children, siblings with each other, bosses vs co-workers…..

•  They only come or call when they need something
For most people you become nothing more than a means to an end – theirs. They only contact you when they need something, whether it’s a favor, a rush job or just someone to dump their woes on. You’re only a tool to be used, albeit very caring & full of helpful information

• They find you boring
 Your conversations are not usually very interesting. If you never push back, if you never have a clear opinion, if you don’t know what you want….. it’s as if you’re a blank, invisible, not someone others can connect with – which is unsatisfying. Plus it makes them do all the work in the relationship, which is tiring.

NEXT: EXTERNAL Neg. results #2

4 thoughts on “Co-Dep EXTERNAL Negatives – from OTHERS

  1. Hello,
    Reading this gives me an opening to see myself as I have been and really still am, I guess it is the way it is written (I can relate to the experiences) combined with the recovery I have to date giving me a clearer access to be honest with myself. I think.

    I sense I am starting to experience, may see and definitely feel the consequences of my way of living.

    Not being consulted by others about what is happening – being left out, that is how I experienced my childhood – feeling like I an idiot because I don’t know what is happening and sensing that others are leaving me out and I don’t know what to do about it. I think I gave up a long time ago.


  2. Yes, growing up may of us were truly left out & felt stupid because we were not taught things we needed to know, left too much to ourselves or expected to be little adults.
    BUT now we can change at least a little of that if we practice being kind to ourselves and find places where people are more accepting, maybe church, maybe groups, maybe Al-anon……


  3. It’s so funny. Things are so upside down for acoa’s. The whole being nice and agreeing thing makes so much (painful) sense to me and yet I hate it. The pain of being in people’s company sometimes can be excruciating and all the while trying to find a way out through being nice and it doesn’t work!!! Double whammy! Yet when I have been able to stand my ground, speak up and dare to dare, I can taste a little of what it will be like when I am free. Thankyou for this.


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