That’s not being “too nice” that’s people pleasing and codependency. Codependents aren’t nice out of the kindness of our broken, black little hearts. We’re nice because we think that, in order to manipulate another person into taking care of us, we must first take care of them. We over compensate for failures, do un-reciprocated emotional labor for others, and we expect others to do the same for us. We feel broken inside, and instead of using our meager resources to fix ourselves, we attempt to find another two-legged stool on which to lean precariously in a laughable simulation of real life and relationships.
We say things like
“They need me”
“But I love him”
“I’m sorry I fell asleep at the wheel and crashed my car into a preschool, but my mom is sick and my kids are doing poorly in school and my husband just lost his job again, so could you please tell all those mourning parents that it really isn’t my fault?”
If you’re still wondering when it’s going to be your turn, that’s probably because you haven’t taken your turn yet. You say yes to things you want to say no to, you put other people’s feelings before your own, and you’re standing on the deck of your sad, neglected tug boat wondering when your ship will come in.
Ships don’t go anywhere to come in from if no one invests the time and the money to build them.
There’s no such thing as “too nice.” Frequently people who think they’re “too nice” are perceived by others as being either doormats, or game players who have a pathological inability to ask for what they really want. Somewhere someone taught us, probably brutally, that when we speak up for ourselves, when we lay out our boundaries, we will be punished for it. Best case scenario, the people who taught us these lessons felt, or at lease justified their actions by claiming they felt like they were teaching us not to need so much. So when we asked for love and affection, when we needed to take a brake, or if we needed food or water and it wasn’t given to us, we learned a different way to get those things. We emotionally manipulated the situation in whatever way possible in order to be safe and fed, if not loved and adored.
Being mean to people only goes so far in securing their loyalty, but being nice, even “too nice” is a pretty great way to ingratiate ourselves to others, especially if, like us, they are deficient in basic skills and looking for someone else to meet the needs they should have been taught to meet for themselves.
So, how does one stop this soul-sucking codependency? A far as you’re concerned, I have no idea. That’s a journey you’re going to have to go on your damn self, but I started with saying no. And being mean. Especially to people who were mean to me.