I’ve already shared with you all about my learning disabilities, including my dyslexia.
Given different comments I received on those essays, an internet reader sent me the following request: Talk about people who are too nice and who live through the hell of being too nice.
I won’t approach such a topic from a theoretical direction. Here’s what I’ve experienced those times I tried to be everyone’s gentle teddy bear, and the consequences on me.
Niceness and Codependency
I was a codependent person. Always being the nice guy is perhaps one of the consequences of being codependent. Always afraid to displease, afraid of losing, afraid of not being liked… These days I like people well enough, but not to the point of losing my head over it. I want to go a certain distance with them along their road, but not to the point of losing my own way…
For a long time I gave others more importance than I gave myself. From ages 16 to 21, I took care of my mother, a divorced orphan, who had cancer. I didn’t give myself the right to take my own place in front of my mother, to speak of my limits, of my needs.
In the end I was the faithful servant who sat on all my emotions.
After my mother’s death, my father suffered a great deal. He too was codependent. Unable to survive when his wife left him, his agonies were more important than my own. Because an endlessly nice guy always thinks that the agonies and the happinesses of others are more important than his own.
When we met, it was the nice guy who took care of the music, the drinks, the dishes, the clean-up afterwards…
While everyone else was having fun, while everyone else took advantage of the nice guy’s service, I felt my inner rage and frustration grow. Everyone else was always more important than me. And when they walked out the door, I felt an emptiness inside myself, an emptiness which only grew and grew.
As for my romantic relationships, well, I’ve written several books on the subject. I never left a romantic relationship. It was others who always left me. I didn’t want to displease them. And I was incapable of displeasing them, leaving them, or expressing my own needs.
My inner emptiness was filled by this growing rage. Now a nice guy can’t shock himself. He can’t displease others. Between my needs and my emotions, I’d created a wall that prevented me from thinking of myself and experiencing my own emotions, which I thought were all negative. Until one day, when everything exploded like a volcano.
That plunged me into a deep depression followed by two suicide attempts. I had taken all that inner rage and turned it on myself.
Having gone through all sorts of therapy sessions and rehabs, I found a nice balance between being nice to others and being nice to myself. If I don’t set limits, if I don’t take care of my own needs, I can’t take care of others’ needs. As they say, charity begins at home.
And as the saying I just coined goes: Being nice in the right way begins with yourself!